Society is much more relaxed on etiquette than it used to be, but that doesn’t mean it should be ignored. Whether you have a birthday party, a wedding reception, a funeral, or a baby shower to attend, using the correct etiquette is essential. Take special note of these five essentials.
The R.S.V.P. card
Weddings, graduation invitations, and some parties have an R.S.V.P. card. This helps the host plan her event with how much food to prepare, and how many seats are needed. Showing up without a reservation makes the situation awkward for everyone. Even if there isn’t a formal R.S.V.P. card, you should let the host know in advance if you will make it or not.
Before you go, make sure you know the formality of your event you plan to attend. Is it casual, dressy, professional, or formal? Knowing this information will help you understand what to wear, and how to act. There is nothing like showing up to an event you thought was casual and finding everyone wearing dressy clothes. You may also need to know the protocol for a more formal affair, and could do research beforehand. Knowing the level of formality is key!
Depending on what event you are attending, you should determine whether a gift is expected or not. If in doubt, bring a small gift. The type of gift appropriate for your event will depend on the party itself. A child's birthday party is more likely to use a tangible gift; whereas, an adult birthday party could be something unexpectedly out-of-the-box. Including a unique message with your gift will make it more meaningful, regardless of what the gift is. With funerals, it's especially important to pay attention to the requests of gifts made by the family. Some have a cause, or ministry that they would prefer to promote, instead of the traditional flowers and plants.
Being a good guest
Take note to not leave a trail of mess in your wake at an event. The hostess, should not remember you as the guest who left a pile of work for her to do, but rather the wonderful conversation that you had together. Be thoughtful, and leave the space as nice or nicer than when you found it. Your hostess will take note and invite you again.
How long to stay
No matter the event, all have limitations for the length of time that you are welcome. A tired hostess does not make a good hostess; don't overstay your welcome. Take note before you attend of what time the event is supposed to end. You could set a silent vibration alarm on your phone to tell you time is almost up.
Etiquette doesn’t have to be super fancy or intimidating. It is simply meant to help you feel comfortable in whatever situation you find yourself. If you don’t know what to do, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your friend will be more than happy to answer.