If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that dinner parties don’t need to be reserved just for the festive season. They’re a great excuse to get together with friends and shake the kids for a couple hours in favour of a little adult time. We’ve all got to eat, so this way you can mix up your daily routine and maybe even try something new in the process. But there are a few rules every dinner party guest should know before heading over to your host’s house – and these tips will help you get a second invite.
Never show up empty-handed
A small token for the host or hostess might sound a little outdated, but considering they’ve whipped up an entire meal for you it’s only right to bring a little something to show your appreciation. The internet is packed with simple ideas for host and hostess gifts, but if you’re short on time, a bottle of wine will do just fine.
Always ask if you can bring a dish
With kids and jobs taking up most of our day, finding a few minutes to cook meals is difficult at the best of times. To ease your host’s burden, it’s considerate to ask if there’s anything you can bring or do ahead of time, even if it’s last-minute. On the off-chance your host agrees to you bringing a dish, you can take things easy with crispy potato wedges like these McCain Lightly Spiced Wedges or party platters from Tesco. They’re tasty, but most of all simple.
Don’t arrive early
Punctuality might be appreciated on the job, but it can be stressful to a host who’s planned each dish down to the second. Arriving on time is acceptable, but showing up early is a big no-no. To be on the safe side, you should try to arrive around 10 minutes after your host’s invite time. And if you had to get the kids fed and deal with the babysitter, 10 minutes late is probably a generous estimate.
Put the phone away
Nothing says your head’s in a different place more than pulling out your phone. Your host worked hard to put a night together for you, so it’s important you show your appreciation by being fully present. No Candy Crush, no BBC Sport and definitely no Facebook. If there’s an urgent phone call you absolutely have to take, excuse yourself and try to keep it brief.
Return the favour
The best way to show how much you’ve enjoyed a dinner party is by returning the favour to your host. Odds are they put a lot of effort into having you over, so showing the same courtesy will let them know how much you appreciate it. Even if you aren’t comfortable showing off your cooking skills, you can treat your former host to dinner at your favourite restaurant – it’s the thought that counts after all.
What are your top tips for dinner party success?