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Etiquette Isn't a Bad Word

In this casual world of social media, blue jeans and informality there are still some common courtesies that apply to both the host and the guest.

noun \ˈe-ti-kət, -ˌket\ : the rules
indicating the proper and polite way
to behave.  –Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary

Regardless of what kind of party you’re having, there are some things you should remember, even before the party starts.

Make your invitation clear
Include all pertinent information. Other things to
consider including are dress code, party mood (casual, formal), whether children or additional guests are allowed, etc.

Prepare your guest list carefully as that can be the key to a successful party.
Create the right mix of guests, and make sure that the group you invite can get along. Also, keep in mind how many guests you can handle with respect to available space and your budget.

Keep your stress under control.
Calm is key! Throwing a party can be enjoyable, especially if you keep it simple.  Do as much as you can beforehand, and get help if you need it.   Don’t let guests see you running around like a chicken with your head cut off. If you appear stressed it can rub off on your guests. Planning and preparing ahead will allow you time to enjoy your guests and the party too.

Make your guests feel welcome.  
Make sure they are greeted warmly and made to feel welcome, and be sure to introduce people to each other.  Keep an eye on things; if you notice that a guest needs a beverage or if there’s a person standing alone or looking lost fix the situation.

Be flexible.
If one of your food offerings doesn’t turn out right or someone you invited arrives with an unexpected guest be flexible. Good to have a little back up plan in place for food and as far as the uninvited guest goes?  As discourteous as it is for someone to surprise you with an uninvited guest, no polite host would ever send an uninvited guest away.

Be thankful
Thank people for coming as they leave the party and don’t forget a special thank you if they brought a gift or helped with the party.
These tips for guests apply for even the most casual

Respond promptly if an RSVP is requested. 
If there is no RSVP it’s still polite to give the host a heads up if you are coming or not. The longer you wait to RSVP the harder it is for the host to plan details for the party.

Be on time. 
In general, guests should arrive at or shortly after the time stated on the invitation. Do NOT under any circumstances arrive early.

Be engaged in what is going on at the party.
If the host announces dinner, or has some games or activities going on, be a willing participant regardless of how you feel about it.

Offer to help when you can. 
It never hurts to offer help preparing, serving, or cleaning up. Even if your offer is refused the host will appreciate your offer.

Don’t overdo it. 
Don’t eat as if you haven’t seen food in days. Other people are eating too, and you want to make sure there is enough for everyone plus you don’t want to call that kind of attention to yourself.  Also, no one likes a drunk. Keep you alcohol consumption under control.

Thank the host. 
Thank the host when you leave the party and follow up with a phone call or an email the next day. It will be most appreciated. If the party was formal a written thank you is proper, but even in the case of a casual party a written thank you stands out and shows you really appreciated the invitation.