Unless you’re David Attenborough, Stephen Fry or Mary Berry, you probably don’t get ‘dream dinner party guest’ status without a bit of work. While most party planners will tell you just to bring yourself, to do so could have you knocked off the list next time. Put a little thought into the next dinner party you’re invited to and bring more than your wit and good conversation.
1. Be polite
First things first: ask your host if you can help out. While most many party planners will take care of everything, it’s always polite to ask if there’s anything you can bring which will lighten the load. It’s a great help if a guest can lend a hand and supply a side dish or dessert from time-to-time. For extra brownie points, check again with your host on the day of the party in case they’ve forgotten or need anything – you might just save the day.
2. Give the gift of time
Perhaps the biggest dinner party faux pas is arriving early. No matter how well prepared the organiser is, there will always be last-minute alterations to make to the table, messy corners of the kitchen to be mopped up, and welcome drinks to be poured.
Give your host the gift of time by arriving fashionably late. There’s a thin line between breathing room and being rude, but fifteen minutes later than advised on the invitation is regarded to be the perfect time to turn up.
3. Bring a bottle
Some people may argue that a bottle of wine is not actually very thoughtful, given that it’s such a fail-safe gift for your host. While there are many more creative and personal gifts, who doesn’t love a good bottle of vino? It’s important to remember that it is a gift and shouldn’t be something cheap you grabbed from the local off-licence. Take some time to pick out something special that will really be appreciated. Often, your party organiser will have chosen drinks to complement the meal already, so don’t expect to be sampling the wine you bring – if you don’t want to miss out, it’s best to get yourself a bottle too!
4. Mix it up
Want to do something a little different? Instead of the usual bottle of wine, why not – quite literally – mix it up a bit? If you know that cocktails are a hit with your host, buy them the ingredients to make their own. This is an impressive gift that’s super-easy to pull off. With a little bit of research and some shopping around, your can gather the different spirits and garnishes to create your own cocktail-making kit. Turn up with some treats for the home-bar and you’re sure to be invited back.
5. Thanks a bunch
Bringing flowers to a party is rarely a poor choice. Who doesn’t love a bunch of flowers to dress up a coffee table or windowsill? For many people, flowers are a treat to be sent to others rather than bought for themselves. If you’ve never been to your host’s home before, stick to neutral colours or seasonal blooms to steer clear of any colour clashes.
Avoid dragging your host away from the party by pairing the flowers with a simple vase. This way, you can be sure that your carefully picked bouquet will survive the night without putting anyone under the unnecessary stress of flower arranging as the oven timer goes off.
6. Toast the host
Making the party planner feel special doesn’t have to be all about gifts. Spending the whole evening worrying about others can be exhausting. Fill up your host’s glass and raise a toast to them for the delightful evening they’ve pulled off.
Fiona King is a writer for Britannia Living. Check out their blog for delicious, seasonal recipes and helpful kitchen tips, or to discover the latest trends in kitchen design.