The new p's and q's of playing hostess
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Etiquette Update1 of 9
Want your dinner party to go off without a hitch? We've got your guide to entertaining, with our p's and q's countdown. Find out which rule is the most important!
Doggone It2 of 9
Yes, we know a beloved pet is often part of the family, but not everyone feels the same way. Even well-mannered pooches could be a nuisance to guests who dislike dogs or are allergic to them.
Have a Seat3 of 9
If your party's small (fewer than eight people), then you can leave guests to their own devices. But if you're entertaining more than eight people, assigned seats will do away with the whole fuss of where to sit, a relief for most guests—especially those who arrived solo.
Party-Starters4 of 9
This is mostly for your own sake: Having a friend or two who you know will show up a little early spares you the anxiety of waiting for that first guest, plus it creates a lively atmosphere when party-goers do arrive.
Groovy Tunes5 of 9
Spend a little time to create a playlist of background music. Silence at a party is anything but golden; having music will fill the space between any awkward lulls in conversation. Just make sure to keep the music at a level where guests don't have to shout to be heard.
Hello, Hello6 of 9
While you don't need to stand by the door receiving guest after guest, you should hover nearby, so you can easily make each person feel welcome shortly after their arrival.
Save the Speech7 of 9
Now is not the time to reveal that you're engaged, with child or quitting your job to become a cattle rancher in Montana. Guests may feel blindsided by the announcement. Delivering major news—whether good or bad—is best done personally, not en masse.
Play Matchmaker—Discreetly8 of 9
It's fine to invite your single pals and hope they hit it off—just don't force the issue. A dinner party should not be a façade for a blind date.
Have You Met...?9 of 9
If someone doesn't know the other guests, be sure to introduce them to at least one or two other people. As part of the introduction, point out something that the guests may have in common.