Recently on Instagram stories, I answered a bunch of home entertaining etiquette questions. Everyone posed great questions that many of us probably have wondered about at some point. Keep reading below for the Q&A!
Getting Guests to RSVP on time
Q: How do you get people to RSVP in an appropriate time frame?
A: When I’m hosting an event and need people to RSVP, I specify an RSVP date on the invite and then will set a reminder to go out about 1-2 days before the RSVP date. Generally, I use Paperless Post’s e-vites so this is very easy to do automatically. Usually when I send this reminder, the stragglers will respond to the invitation. I wanted to do some research though and these were the best suggestions I found on getting people to RSVP when you need them to:
Don’t specify a lengthy amount of time to RSVP: I often run afoul of this one because it’s difficult to get my group of friends together due to our differing and busy schedules. I’ll usually schedule even a relatively casual cocktail party about a month in advance and then set the RSVP from then until about 5 days before the event. However, I’ve learned that this sets people up to delay as long as they can. I am going to try this suggestion in the future.
It’s OK to send a reminder: It’s perfectly reasonable to text or call guests who have not RSVP’ed and kindly ask them about their plans. Be as friendly as possible and just let them know you need a final count for planning purposes!
Q: When is the right time to ask people to please use coasters instead of setting wet glasses down on furniture?
A: I’m protective of my furniture as well so I can commiserate with my friend who asked this question. Who wants water stains on their furniture?! Usually, I’ve driven myself mad setting drinks on coasters all night. It’s quite annoying to be the “coaster police” so try these two suggestions:
Set yourself up for success: Instead of leaving coasters in a stack or in a manner that looks as if they are part of the decor, scatter them around the area you’re entertaining in so that guests will be more apt to use them.
Play the perfect hostess: Additionally, you could try this. When you see that someone is yet again failing to use coasters, try saying something like “here, Ann, let me get you a coaster” and bring it to them; rather than “could you please use a coaster” which sounds more aggressive. Of course, this still puts the onus on you, but at least your furniture will end the night as beautiful as it started. Further, your guests may get the message when you do this rather than just placing the drinks on coasters surreptitiously.
The Shoe Controversy
Q: Can you politely ask people to take off their shoes when they visit your house as a guest?
A: This isn’t clear-cut. However, these are the guidelines. It’s perfectly fine for you to ask guests to take off their shoes. Some of the articles I read when researching indicated that it is the guests who must adhere to the customs and ways of the place they are visiting. That said, if you do want your guests to take off their shoes, it is best to offer socks or slippers so that no one feels uncomfortable when they are caught without a pedicure.
On the other hand, if you’re hosting a large event where you might not be super familiar with all of the guests, it is probably best to forgo the “no shoe policy” and factor in a potential rug cleaning as part of the cost of hosting the event. The same goes for fancy events where people will be in dresses and suits.
Personally, it can be annoying to be asked to take off my shoes because often they are part of my outfit; however, I completely understand and happily comply with whatever the host or hostess requests. Additionally, here is a fun fact – Martha Stewart has a strict “no shoes” policy at her estate in Bedford and provides her guests with slippers instead. So I would say if Martha can ask people to take their shoes off, so can you!
A Package Deal
Q: Can you invite only one half of a couple to an event or other gathering?
A: Two for one; all or none. When it comes to couples, if you’re hosting a dinner party, cocktail party, or other similar event, the advice is very clear. It’s rude to only invite one half of the couple. Sorry everyone – even if you can’t stand your best friend’s boyfriend, it would be considered impolite to leave him off the dinner party invite.
Multitasking During a Dinner Party
Q: How do you socialize with guests while also making sure everything is served and presented well at a dinner party?
A: Prep as much as you can ahead of time and also realize that you’re guests don’t expect perfection. They are probably overjoyed you are hosting them for an evening of drinks and homemade food.
Tell me what you think and send me more questions in the comments – I’d love to make a second part to this post in the future.