It’s party season or at least I have been invited to my share of events lately. The lovely shower I attended last Saturday was the inspiration behind this post.
Ten tips on how to be a good guest:
1. Haven’t gotten your spring pedicure yet? Tuck a pair of socks in your bag. If the hostess prefers you to leave your shoes at the door, you won’t be uncomfortable to obey. (Elise, I forgot to return your socks, I am sorry, they are going to be washed and returned, I promise–with the internet as my witness!)
2. Confirm the address and directions before you leave the house. Don’t rely on your memory or hand held device to get you where you are going. Apparently evite and the iPhone aren’t compatible. I tried to click on the link and got an error message. Fortunately, my dear friend was available to hack into my gmail account (thanks Gabrielle!) and retrieved the information for me. This technical difficulty delayed my arrival.
3. Sometimes it’s not what you give, but how you give it. My friend is having twin girls (how lucky is she!) I found adorable dresses with matching hats and shoes but instead of wrapping them in a box and tying it with a ribbon, I was inspired by the season. I got two Easter baskets. I filled them with pink grass, candy eggs, and put pink m&m’s and pacifiers in plastic eggs and jelly beans in clear plastic baby bottles. The gift was complete with chick peeps. In the card, I wrote that I was looking forward to meeting her baby chicks!
4. I am invited to my friend’s sister’s husband’s retirement party. It’s fancy, I am excited to wear a dress and not be working. I love a party and they are a great family. I admittedly don’t know the guest of honor well enough to personalize a gift for him. I was going to bake him cookies and wrap them in a lovely box. My friend tells me he is not into sweets. (I clearly don’t understand, but…) Instead a mutual friend said she was going to bring wine. You can certainly personalize it with a wine bag, wrapping paper or a custom label… instead I am going to get lottery tickets, just a few to wrap around the wine bottle.
5. RSVP. My mom recently told me that she let my cousin know on the day-of that she wasn’t coming to her daughter’s birthday party. I sarcastically said that, that was kind of her to let her know, as now she can plan her food purchasing and preparing accordingly. Many people do put much thought into making sure they have enough seats, plates, food, party favors, goody bags, space, etc. The courtesy of a reply can save your hostess time, money and effort.
6.) Someone recently asked me, do I need to bring a gift? NEED to? no. But if you’re stumped, gift cards, a bouquet of flowers, a bottle of liquor or chocolates are perfectly acceptable last minute and little effort gifts that are often appreciated.
7.) The only blackberries (or iPhones) at the party should be in the fruit salad or on top of the cupcakes. There are of course exceptions, depending on the circumstances.
8.) One of the lovely things I took from this shower, was from the gift giving. The hosts had each guest take the gift she brought and hand it to the guest of honor. After the mom-to-be opened it, the host photographed the mom-to-be with her friend and the gift. How nice is this for thank you card writing time! I love this modern twist on the hand written list of gifts received and who gave them.
9.) In New York it’s common to have a doorman. Know the hosts last name or the apartment number. Hosts: Is the name the doorman knows you buy the same name on the invitation? Be sure to let your doorman know you’re expecting company.
10.) Growing up in my family, parties were always a more the merrier, casual type of affair. We overcooked and rarely started gatherings on time. When I first moved to New York, I was invited to an engagement party, and that in itself should have made me take notice (engagement parties are less common in Wisconsin) Because the party was outside of the city and I wasn’t yet comfortable navigating the outer boroughs, I brought a friend. The hosts were gracious and my guest and I had a great time, but it was a seated dinner and initially I was embarrassed for not having realized this. Check with the host before bringing uninvited guests.
Do you have a stash of gifts to pull from when you need something in a crunch? What has been your favorite gift recently? What was the worst gift you remember getting? What are your party pet peeves?
Happy April Fool’s Day! Did anyone get you good this year?
Photo credit: Elan Artists
Favorite gift: Bottle of fancy vodka. Which was immediately stashed away for a rainy day.
Pet Peeve – When people leave early and interrupt the party by having long goodbyes with everyone who's staying!
And YES on the April Fool – Julia Newman posted to FB that she was engaged. And I fell for it.