58-kitchen-party-hostessWith the holidays just around the corner, the heart of the home (your kitchen) will come alive with festive foods, cocktail parties, and caroling.  Maybe not the caroling, but at least the cocktails. I’ve been to many holiday bashes and I must say – nothing compares to a great host. There is something to be said about walking into a home and getting the vibe that all is in order and you are in good hands.

So how do you be a good host? The holidays are a great time to brush up on this – so I reached out to a business and etiquette professional. Savannah Shaw is certified by the Protocol School of Washington and The Etiquette & Leadership Institute, and answered my top questions.

CV: What are your top three rules of etiquette when hosting a party?

  • Decide whether your event will be formal or informal and proceed accordingly, don’t switch back and forth.
  • Be conscious of customs, religious holidays and such so as not to cause conflicts in scheduling.
  • If you send out an invitation, put as much information on it as possible, so that guests know what to expect.

CV: Is there any “golden rule” that is an absolute no-no for the host?
SS: Don’t drink too much.

CV: How should you seat your guest?
SS: The guest of honor should be seated to the host’s right.

CV: If a man was hosting the party, are the rules still the same?
SS: Yes.

CV: If you have a more casual style get-together (i.e. cookout), how do the etiquette rules differ from a typical dinner party?
SS: Dinner parties tend to be more informal now, unless for ceremonies or perhaps business.  Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that proper thought, organization, and manners will result in the very loveliest occasion.

CV: Any small tips for being a host?

  • Once guests start to arrive, relax.  Your role is to put everyone at ease, and you can’t do that if you are not.
  • Don’t concern yourself with keeping up with the Joneses.  YOU are hosting the party, not the Joneses.