Something happens to your social life after a certain point. Maybe it’s age 24 for her or 34 for him; but usually pizza and (your drink of choice) on the sofa transcends into an actual dinner party with silverware and all. Last weekend in Frankfurt, Germany we visited my in-laws and they hosted a class-act Polish dinner party. They served authentic dishes from Poland that I loved including beet soup, Pierogi dumplings and more I can’t pronounce washed down with what else; a shot glass of Polish vodka.
In between rounds of Na zdrowie! (nah zdroh-vee-eh) – That’s ‘Cheers!’ in Polish – I got to thinking. When you first enter the world of double dates, 3-course meals and dinner parties, it can be intimidating. Beyond the Emily Post Table Manners, here’s my Top 6 Tips from etiquette to style for ‘The Dinner Party’…
1. Take a Breather ~ Social anxiety can creep up when you least expect it. Maybe you’re going to meet your new bf or gf’s family over the holidays or having dinner with new clients. Ready? Take a few moments to yourself before, have a cocktail (but not too many) and remember, ‘Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.’ ~Doug Larson
2. Can I Bring ‘X’? ~ I’ve never actually hosted a dinner party like we had here last Saturday; but I made some snack platters once for a NYE pre-party and it was a lot more work than I anticipated. A bottle of wine or champagne, maybe flowers or a dessert is well deserved for any host who’s putting in hours of planning, shopping and cooking.
3. What to Wear ~ If there’s no specific dress code mentioned like ‘Cocktail Attire,’ this fall go with leather pants, a sweater, statement necklace and skinny jeans or a blazer over a cut-out top. Leopard print is a classic ‘Fall Do.’
4. ‘A Woman’s Right to Shoes’ ~ Remember that Sex & the City episode where Carrie takes off her Manolo Blahnik heels at a friend’s party and they disappear. While the latter likely won’t happen, if you’re in a home that requires shoe removal, I recommend a 3 inch heel or lower and a pedi. This way you’re fully prepared and won’t feel like that scene in ‘Honey, I Shrunk the Kids’ taking off 6 inch platforms.
5. You Get ONE Food Allergy ~ I hate sea-food and after being forced to try it a few times in my early 20’s, I decided ‘I’m allergic to seafood.’ It works. Maybe for you it’s brussels sprouts, veal, turnips or tuna. I recommend a max of 1 faux food allergy. Any more than one at a dinner party and you’ll be labeled a ‘picky eater.’
6. Participation Counts! ~ I’m a full supporter of keeping-up on current events. I know some people are anti-news, but it makes a huge difference in life. Plus, you can join all kinds of conversations or start new ones at social events. My daily sources for a wide variety of current events and pop culture are The Today Show, The News with Robin (Howard Stern), Sky News (here in Europe), the Daily Mail and definitely Twitter, just never at the dinner table.
What are your ‘Dinner Party’ tips whether you’re a host or a guest?
Have a great weekend. Full week of posts, plus a giveaway starting Monday!