BY SANDY HARPER
Gone seem the days where people sent thank-you cards and personally invited guests to their party. Modern-day technologies have made things easier, faster and simpler. Yet, they lack the personal touch that anyone born before the new millennium may remember.
Though the times have changed, party etiquette still exists. The details are a bit different, but the underlying meanings that they are based on are still there.
Whether it’s a fancy dinner party, a casual cocktail party or a children’s birthday party these seven basic party etiquette rules apply.
Send Personal Invite – When planning a party, it is important to invite each individual or family separately. Asking in one large group message loses its significance. Sending a personal invitation, whether paper or digital, gives people a feeling of importance and sense that you sincerely want them to come.
Give the courtesy of putting all the important details on the invitation, such as a GPS-friendly address and a contact number, or an e-mail address in case a guest has a question about the party. Send the invitations far enough in advance. That way guests have time to add it to their calendar, find sitters, make travel arrangements, etc.
Recipients respond to RSVP – One of the most inconsiderate things an invitee can do is not respond to an RSVP. Answered RSVP’s give a host insight into how much food/drink to have, into seating, and whether there will be room to invite others, and much more. It’s best to RSVP as soon as you can. Let the host know you won’t be able to come if something changes at the last minute, rather than just not coming.
Send a Thank You – Everyone is busy these days. Therefore to use the excuse that you are too busy to send a thank-you note or message to guests is unacceptable. Guests took time from their busy schedules to come to your event. They deserve a thank-you. Even if card and pen are not your style, there are other options in this modern time. Instead, you can call them, send a personal text or e-mail. A mass message on social media does not count as a thank-you. It is not personal, and much less sincere.
Have Beverages and Snacks Available – Not every party warrants a full meal or buffet, yet there needs to be something for guests to turn to when thirst and hunger hit. It can be as simple as bottled waters and vegetable and fruit platter. If possible, it is important to consider individuals with food allergies. A bowl of peanuts on the food table would force someone with a nut allergy to steer clear, or even possibly leave, for fear of an allergic reaction.
Don’t spend Party Time on the Smart Phone – Nothing is ruder than spending time on your phone while at a party. It would seem this is common sense, but it’s not. Staring at one’s phone is so ingrained into everyone’s daily life that it takes conscious effort to not do it. This doesn’t mean you can’t make or take an important call if needed, or use your phone to take pictures. It means, don’t ignore other guests by playing games or scrolling social media on your phone. This is even more important if you are the host or hostess. If guests see you constantly on your phone, they are more apt to leave early, because they will feel you don’t care that they are there.
Make sure there are bathroom accommodations – Most parties last more than an hour, plus offer food and drinks. To keep guests from leaving, or suffering because of restroom needs, make sure there are bathroom facilities at the party location. Additionally, make sure that the bathroom has enough toilet paper, soap, etc.
Help where you can – One of the best things you can do for a host is ask them what you can help do. Most hosts are overwhelmed with all that a party entails. Plus, it never fails that something isn’t going as planned. A host will appreciate your offering to help at any stage of the party planning or at the actual party.
Whether you are having a small intimate party or a big birthday bash, it’s important to remember these party etiquette do’s and don’ts. By taking a few minutes to give those extra personal and appreciated touches, you can truly make a great party.