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Party Etiquette

Learn how to practice proper party etiquette from manners expert Faye de Muyshondt in this Howcast video.


Hi, Faye de Muyshondt with a few tips on party etiquette. You might be going to a party tonight, so probably one of the first questions I get asked by people is what do I wear to a party? It all depends on what the party is for and the nature of the occasion, but what I like to say is always dress on the more formal side for any party. If you're going to a cocktail party for an engagement, for example, you might want to dress a little bit more formally than you would for a party for someone's birthday at a club or at someone's house or at a bar. But more importantly, if you feel uncomfortable in whatever it is you're wearing or if you have a question in your mind that it's a little bit too informal or a little bit too formal, it probably is. And it'll show, because if you're in something that you're uncomfortable with, it shows in your body language. It shows in so many different ways.

Another important part of parties and being a guest at a party is bringing something. It could be a note to say thank you or it could be a bottle of wine. It could be cookies. It could be anything. But, I always say when you go to a party, don't show up empty handed. The only time when that might be okay is if you're going to a bar for a party and you might not want to weigh someone down with all sorts of gifts and packages and you might want to give a gift in advance of the party or afterwards. But more importantly, bring a gift. Do something special for the person. It doesn't really matter how much you spend. It's more about the thoughtfulness and the acknowledgement of thanks.

In terms of timing for a party, every culture has its own idea of timing. So in some cultures, if a party is called for four o'clock, it's normal to show up at 5:30 or 6. But, in the United States of America, it's pretty customary to show up about 15 minutes late for anything. Now, some people show up a half hour late for a drinks party, but if you're doing to a dinner party, it's much more important to be on time. The reason is because someone is preparing dinner and someone is on schedule to get a meal out. So, for a dinner party you should be as punctual as possible.

Another question is, should you send a thank you note after a party? It's absolutely not necessary to send a thank you note after a party. However, these days with modern communication, why not send a text or a quick email to tell someone how much you enjoyed a party or how much fun it was or how beautiful you thought it was? If you've ever thrown a party, you wake up the next morning and you love to hear feedback from your party. So, stand out. Send a text. Send an email and an expression of thanks for a party. It'll really set you apart. Those are just a few pointers on party etiquette.

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