entertaining etiquette

entertaining etiquette

By now you should all know that we love to host! Whether it’s a brunch for six, an open house for 100, or a beer tasting, we both love having our home filled with people we love. There are 100 different ways I could write this post to include appropriate table settings, table manners, formal addressing, or how to give the perfect toast but I wanted to get the basics out there first.


Give your guests all the information they could need. You don’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable or forget to tell them a key part of your event. A few examples of details that should be included (besides the obvious time/date/location):

What date do they have to RSVP by

Is it BYOB or will you be providing alcohol

Whether or not the invitee can bring a guest or children

Will there be enough to eat or should they have a meal before

Will your guests be asked to take their shoes off

What’s the dress code

Is it indoor our outdoor

What’s the purpose of the party

What are the parking options

I cannot emphasize enough how important method of delivery is when sending an invitation.  The more personal the better, so write out a hand written note with the details, pick up the phone, or stop in to your neighbours. If you must send an email, a program like Evite is a great option. Word also has lovely themed invitations. Following the email, a phone call a few days later is never a bad idea. I understand convenience however there are a few inexcusable delivery methods; please for the love of Emily Post, refrain from Tweeting, Facebooking, or sending an invitation via your Outlook Calendar.

During the Party

Offer a party related tour if your guests have never been over before. Highlight the coat room, washrooms, bar, food, and anything else that might pertain to their experience.

Hang their coats for them and make sure they know where you put them. No one should have to make a scene if they need something from their pocket or bag.

Always offer the initial beverage, but from there we like to have a bar set up so that guests can help themselves.

Be present. There is nothing worse than going to someone’s home and not seeing the host or hostess because they spend the whole time in the kitchen. For a sit down dinner, you want to prepare as much as possible in advance, for a drop in setting, have stations set up so that guests can serve themselves. Whatever you do, do not clean up while your guests are still there, and please don’t allow them to clean up for you (family dinners may be the only exception, but I could argue against that as well). As beautiful as your home may be, your guests are coming to see you!

Be appreciative! So your soufflé didn’t rise properly, life will go on! Take the compliments you are given graciously. Your guests have taken time away from their day to spend time with you- be thankful for that!

For other helpful tips on how to be party ready, check out this article on Organized Entertaining!

I want to hear from you! Please leave your party hosting do’s and don’ts in the comments section! 

Kirsten xo


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