For a Valentine’s Day brunch, lunch, or dinner, or for any party, here are some tips that will make hosts love their guests and guests love their hosts.
• Tell their guests who else is invited to the party. For all the guests know, the party could be a small intimate dinner for six or a gala for 25. Also, knowing who the other guests are prevents problems like mentioning the party to someone who is not invited. Some electronic invitations allow guests to see the full list of invitees. Finally, it is best to be intentional about who you are bringing together, such as college friends, work colleagues, neighbors, etc.
• Give the guests some idea of the food to be served. You might say cocktails and appetizers, desserts only or a sit-down dinner. I once went to a party without knowing what food would be served. So, I took a small portion of the first course to save room for the entree, only to realize that there was no second course!
• Set the table before the guests arrive and be ready for the guests on time. That will make them feel special and show how organized you are.
• Bring a small gift for the host; most thoughtful is something special that the host would enjoy. Perhaps, bring a great bottle of olive oil, a box of special herb teas, imported cheese, pretty cocktail napkins, or a small houseplant. Flowers might not be a good idea because the host will have to look for a vase. Of course, a bottle of wine is always popular. It is a nice gesture to tell the host that the gift is for them alone and it is not necessary to share with the other guests at the party.
• Do not bring food of which the host is not aware. While you may think it is a nice idea to add to the menu, at best, it might still detract from the host’s menu. At worst, it might be unintentionally insulting to the host and imply that their food might not be good or plentiful enough.
• Do not bring an uninvited guest or guests to the party. If you want to bring someone, call the host, and ask. Otherwise, there might not be room for a surprise guest at the table or the host might not have prepared enough food.
• Please arrive at the time the host indicates, not too early and not too late.
If you follow these little tips, hosts will love their guests and guests will love their hosts at a Valentine’s Day party, or any other party.
By Maureen Molé
Maureen Molé is a lecturer, product spokesperson, and the author of The Book of Entertaining at Home. Email her at MaureenMole@gmail.com.