We enjoy helping my members make great first impressions. Here are a few tips to help you make a great first impression as a gracious guest when invited to a dinner party.
Tip #1 : Begins with the invitation, when you receive an invitation to a formal dinner party that you are interested in attending, you must RSVP. RSVP is an initialism derived from a french phrase meaning "Please reply" It is very important that an invited guest respond to the invitation as soon as possible to allow the host/hostess to plan properly.
Tip#2: Follow the dress code on the invitation you received; if there is no dress code specified call your host/hostess in advance to clarify the dress-code. It is nothing more embarrassing than showing up to a party improperly dressed because you decided to forgo clarifying in advance. When in doubt, it's better to be under dressed than over dressed. (Think Business Casual)
Tip# 3: Bring your host/hostess a gift, but by all means avoid flowers, by bringing your hostess flowers you are pulling them away from the party to arrange them, and they may feel pressured to display them even if they have already meticulously planned the theme of the party. A more suitable gift may be a bottle of wine, an assortment of chocolate, or my personal favorite a picture frame or scented candle.
Tip# 4: Sit where your place card is, do not rearrange the place card because you don't want to sit next to someone. The host has already assigned seating, go with the flow.
Tip #5: There is nothing fashionable about being late, and there is nothing grand about a late entrance. Be on time, no latter than 10 or 15 minutes from the time of the party starting. If you arrive an hour or more late, do not expect to start from the first course, you may be given the course everyone else is on.
Tip #6: You are obligated to speak tot he person to your right, and your left, and directly across from you. Ignoring people who are seated next to you even if you don't know them is rude. Now is the time to break out some of those ice breakers to get a nice conversation going at dinner. Avoid overly personal questions, politics, and religion.