Party etiquette Q&A
Forks on the left, elbows off the table, cell phone stowed away and a gift in tow? There's so much to remember when hosting or attending a party. Here, etiquette expert Lisa Mirza Grotts answers some commonly asked etiquette questions from hostesses and guests.
Q: How should I handle unannounced guests or guests who didn't RSVP? Graciously! If you're throwing a cocktail party, you're in the clear. If it's a sit down dinner, time to shuffle place settings to accommodate the unannounced guest.
Q: I'm hosting a cocktail party. Is it okay to ask guests to bring a bottle of wine or an appetizer to share? The word 'host' implies it's your party. One way to get around it is to host a 'potluck' at your home. Try offering up the main course and have the other guests bring side dishes (including wine).
Q: Is it okay to throw my own birthday bash? My friends just don't have the same party planning panache that I have. Absolutely, especially for the decade birthdays complete with party favors.
Q: How can I politely inform guests that their children are not welcome at my decidedly grown-up affair? Some of my friends bring their tots everywhere. If the invitation states evening, this implies no children. If, however you are worried about a particular guest, send a follow-up email to all guests reminding everyone to book their sitters.
Q: I'm throwing a housewarming party; can I mention gift preferences on an invitation? The only gift should be the presence of your guests. They will bring along hostess gifts as a thank you for hosting the party. It's nice to say 'no gifts please' so others will not feel obligated to add to the money tree.
Q: What's the biggest party faux pas that you've personally witnessed? Party crashers, and I don't mean at the White House. Black tie, sit down dinner crashers!
Q: How can I politely remind guests that they need to turn off their cell phones before dinner, or I'll trample their texting fingers? Pray that a phone goes off during dinner so you can make your big speech.