16 January 2010

Entertaining Etiquette...The Art of Being a Gracious Guest

Wow!  Don't know about the rest of the savvy hosts in the world, but we almost got pulled into the undertow of the holiday/end-of-year tide....

So, can we dish for a minute?  We'd love a little feedback and dialogue on an entertaining etiquette topic - The Art of Being a Gracious Guest.

Imagine you've worked hard to create and/or prepare a special menu, set a beautiful table, laid out appropriate libations and attended to all the "back of house" items necessary (the extra hangers and t.p. rolls do matter after all).  Your guests - friends or family - have enjoyed the appetizers and are helping to clear for the main event - your meal.

In the kitchen, hard at work, you find yourself in the midst of the following dialogue:
  • "What's in that?  Is that heart-healthy? How many points is that?"
  • "Shouldn't you add more (less) salt - pepper - garlic - ...."
  • "Wouldn't it be better to serve it this way..."
  • "Isn't that too much sauce...salad...rice...food?"
  • "Oh, that's just so fattening - how can we eat that?"
This Savvy Host wants to know when it became acceptable to question the host or hostess or offer anything other than a gracious "Wow! that looks wonderful" or "How hard you must have worked to prepare that!".  Time for a little dose of "if you don't have anything nice to say, say nothing at all".

At one otherwise lovely dinner party, we sat next to a certain guest who felt the need to analyze the fat and sugar content of each dish our host placed on the table.  We noticed the host did an excellent job of not dumping the dessert tray into this particular guest's lap for a closer review ;-)

As a guest, it seems only polite to appreciate the hospitality being extended to you.  There has been some level of investment from your host or hostess in creating a wonderful occasion for sharing stories, ideas, laughter and life.  You don't have to accept the invitation after all, but if you do, we think appreciation and respect for whatever the host has arranged is mandatory.

If a guest has special dietary considerations (not necessarily limited to food allergies), they should simply advise the host/hostess when accepting the invitation.

A guest can also limit the amount of food ~ sauce ~ salad ~ rice eaten from the plate.  Add a polite comment about having "filled up on the hors d'oeuvres".  Or a side comment to your host that you are trying to watch what you eat, but "so enjoyed every delicious bite, it was difficult not to lick the plate clean!!"

So many cultures place a high priority on welcoming guests - or visitors - with a showering of abundance, generosity and kindness.  Shouldn't being a "good guest" include respect for the effort that the host/hostess has undertaken to make you feel welcome (whether or not it matches your personal taste?)

Looking for some expertise in dinner party etiquette, we found these posts to hit the mark-
What do you think ~ can we bring the art of being a gracious guest back into fashion in 2010?


Mindy Lockard Etiquette said...

Great post & I love that you're blogging! Being a guest is a privilege and should be approached with respect and care. No exceptions.

The Hip Hostess said...

Very good advice you've given here. We spend so much time trying to be the perfect hostess, that we sometimes forget we also need to be a gracious guest. Great tips here, thank you for sharing this important info we can all use.

the savvy host said...

thank you for the feedback, ladies! you are favorite sources of savvy entertaining inspiration!

Related Posts with Thumbnails

looking for something specific?

find SavvyHostMarket on amazon