Mistakes Party Guests Make

3 May 2023

After so much time celebrating events electronically, live events are back on calendars.  It is possible that we all have become somewhat lax about actions that considerate guests will take.  In other words, our etiquette has slipped a bit.  Here are some things to be aware of so that your host/hostess will welcome you with open arms.

The Plus One

If you would like to bring a guest to the party but the invitation didn’t specifically say you could, it is polite to ask if you can bring someone else along.  The same is true with children.  Sometimes invitations specify “adults only”.  Even if they don’t, be sure that children will not be a problem.

Just give the host or hostess a quick call, leave a message, or text.  By the way, the party giver is under no obligation to automatically accept that you will be bringing someone else along.  It is just fine to say it would not be convenient and no explanation necessary.


As the host, if you want to control the people who are attending your event, send out a specific invite.  It can be through the postal service or an e-vite, but be sure you provide all the details in writing.  This is handy if you want to be sure to have enough food and beverages on hand, space considerations, or other reasons.  You can handle this in one of two ways.  You can specify a date for a reply, or if you want to reduce the number of messages, ask for “regrets only” and the phone number.

It is rude to ask your host who the other guests are, or will be, especially prior to your own confirmation of attendance.

For the host, set the date at least a week prior to your real deadline.  That will give you the opportunity to check back with those who have not responded to be sure they received the invitation and whether or not they will be there.

Dress Code

If it is a themed party and you are asked to dress in a particular fashion, do your best.  For other parties, weddings, or special events, if you don’t know what to wear, ask.  If all you have are jeans, then pair them with a nice shirt or top and maybe a jacket.  Just be sure the jeans are clean, neat, and without holes or tears…that goes for “distressed” jeans as well.  You want to be noticed, but not embarrassed.


Being punctual is the best.  Coming late to an event like a sit-down dinner is rude.  Inappropriate is coming way too early.  It can be embarrassing to the host if they are not ready.  Offering to help is nice but too often the early guest is just in the way and makes things awkward.

When you do arrive, find the host and say hi.  At that point you will probably be offered something to drink or directed to the food.  Be cordial as you wend your way through the others.  Monitor your alcoholic intake.  No one wants to be around a drunk.  It can also cause problems since the host has some legal responsibilities if you drive under the influence.  The same goes for gobbling up all the good stuff on the food table before others have a chance to taste it.

Finally, don’t overstay.  Invitations sometimes have an end time but if not and you are one of the few people left or the host is cleaning up, head home.

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