Guest re­la­tions

Melissa Pen­fold has some ad­vice for peo­ple who want to be in­vited back.

Belle - - Style Etiquette Right N Ow -

GOOD GUESTS are in­vited ev­ery­where be­cause they give an evening zip. They are con­ge­nial, un­de­mand­ing, thought­ful and en­ter­tain­ing, good at small talk, witty, clever at pick­ing up small clues, lling awk­ward si­lences, mak­ing peo­ple feel com­fort­able and keep­ing the mood light. If you’re a per­fect guest you’ll be out all the time. You’ll never have to cook again. Here are the rules: DO NOT AR­RIVE EARLY It is rude. Walk around the block, go and pick up some fresh ow­ers, any­thing. DON’T BE LATE Be up­front with the host about your ETA. Don’t give minute-to-minute up­dates about cti­tious taxis or phan­tom traf c jams. Also, give the host per­mis­sion to pro­ceed with­out you, or if you’re go­ing to be re­ally late, ask if it’s bet­ter if you don’t come. BE THOUGHT­FUL Don’t bring sub­par, last-minute wine to din­ner par­ties. As much of a no-brainer you may think the bot­tle of wine-as-trib­ute is, therein lies its down­fall: very lit­tle thought. DON’T PRES­SURE YOUR HOSTS to serve your bot­tle of wine – un­less it re­ally is an amaz­ing treat. Cham­pagne is a fool­proof gift, as it won’t in­ter­fere with the meal. DO NOT BRING SOME­ONE un­less you have cleared it with the host rst. Even if it is not a seated din­ner, it is not a barn dance. Likely it will be ne, but it’s not your call. DON’T RUSH IN and let the words “Can I use your phone charger?” be your open­ing line. WORK THE ROOM Put in the hard yards when it comes to so­cial­is­ing. Re­mem­ber peo­ple’s names and what they do. Laugh at anec­dotes, don’t get worked up about pol­i­tics, and steer stormy con­ver­sa­tions into calm wa­ters. RE­SPECT THE SEAT­ING PLAN Yes, you may have been put next to to­tal strangers, the weird un­cle, the CEO with the wan­der­ing hands, but you’re just go­ing to have to live with it. Name-place mov­ing is very bad form. SPLUTTER IN PRI­VATE If you need to blow your nose or have a thor­ough cough, trot around the corner. LET YOUR­SELF BE A GUEST Pitch­ing in is ad­mirable if the sit­u­a­tion re­quires, but it can of­ten be­come awk­ward. Of­fer to help, but don’t in­sist. Peo­ple who hang around chat­ting slow things down in the kitchen when they should be an­i­mat­ing the din­ner ta­ble. THERE IS A TIME AND PLACE FOR IN­STA­GRAM It is at­ter­ing for guests to want to post pictures of a party, but keep your phone away, at least at the ta­ble.

1 LM Home ‘Cam­bridge’ white cot­ton nap­kin, POA, lmhome.com 2 Pol Roger Vin­tage Cham­pagne, $120, dan­mur­phys.com.au 3 Wedg­wood Vera Wang ‘Jardin’ place­set­ting, $129/4-piece, ‘Duchesse’ crys­tal gob­let, $149/set of two, ‘Har­row’ cut­lery, $199/16-piece set, ‘Fo­lia’ vases, from $99.95, wedg­wood.com.au. Rat­tan place­mat, $39.95, and linen nap­kin, $22, suzie­an­der­son­home.com 4 ‘Fri­t­il­lary But­ter y’ notelets, $42/box of 10, smyth­sons.com 5 Mont­blanc Star­walker ‘Ur­ban Spirit’ foun­tain pen, POA, mont­blanc.com

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