What do you bring to a party?


Proper Host and Hostess Gift Etiquette

Are you aware you shouldn't show up at a party empty-handed?

Unless you’ve been instructed to -- and sometimes not even then. Bring wine or dessert or a plant.

Whether you're going to a dinner party or staying with someone for the weekend, you need to show your gratitude by bringing something to your hosts. It doesn't have to break the bank, but you do need to put some thought into it.

Yes, it is still in vogue to bring a gift for the host or hostess when you go to a party or even a casual get-together. The problem is many people don’t know proper guest etiquette, so they feel uncomfortable having to make a decision about what to give. Remember that the size or price of the gift is insignificant. What you need to focus on instead is what that person will like.

Remember that this is a gift, not an accompaniment to the meal. If the hostess wants you to bring a dish to share, she will ask you during the invitation. Give it to her at the door so she can put it away before greeting other guests.

The host may choose to share your food or beverage gift during the party. If that happens, be gracious and wait until everyone else has a chance to try it before you partake. Allow the hostess to tell everyone where the gift came from rather than announce it to the group. If it is a costly item, never brag about how much you spent.

Appropriate gifts for a dinner party hostess include:

  • Bouquet of flowers in a vase
  • Boxed candies
  • Potted plant
  • Bottles of wine
  • Tin of cookies
  • Decorator candles
  • Guest soaps
  • Flavored vinegars
  • CD or DVD
  • Tickets for a movie or event