Etiquette Tips for Party Guests

A chance encounter in Brentwood, TN allowed me to meet a sweet mother and daughter who own Southern Grace, an etiquette program for young boys and girls. I was delighted to learn they taught etiquette classes, and strongly believe that etiquette goes beyond just sending a thank you note. The importance of etiquette is still high on my list for party hosts and guests, so I am thrilled to share with you some top tips from Southern Grace!


  1. When invited to a dinner party, promptly RSVP (repondez, s’il vous plait). This is vital for the hostess to know, so she can plan and prepare accordingly.
  2. Be punctual and arrive to the dinner party on time. It is not good manners to hold up the meal while everyone waits on your arrival. If you must show up late, do your best to arrive no more than thirty minutes past the time indicated on your invitation. Also, it’s a good idea to call your hostess and make her aware of your situation.
  3. It is always nice to bring a small hostess gift to show your hostess your appreciation. Gift ideas could include things like a monogrammed hand towel, a scented candle set, a cookbook or a kitchen soap gift set.
  4. It is considered good manners to introduce yourself to other people attending the party that you haven’t met.
  5. If there are place cards at the dinner table, always sit at your assigned place even if you don’t like the placement.
  6. Do not eat until everyone at the table has been served, and even so, wait until your hostess begins.
  7. Don’t be intimidated by the vast array of silverware surrounding your plate. If you are uncertain of the order in which to use your silverware, a good rule of thumb is to work your way in from the outside. formal dinner setting
  8. When served bread or a roll on a bread/butter plate, break the bread with your fingers into pieces small enough for one or two bites. You may butter a small bite then eat it. Do not butter the entire roll or bread at one time.
  9. Be considerate of all of the guests attending the party. Make polite conversation with those guests around you.
  10. Always thank the hostess before leaving the party and let her know that you appreciate her hospitality. Also, send a personal note to the hostess shortly afterwards thanking her for a wonderful evening.. etiquette children's dinner party

Rita Woodard, founder and owner of Southern Grace, firmly believes that we must work together to build a more civil society. She began Southern Grace at Fair Haven where she and her husband, Herbert Woodard, reside. Rita has her etiquette certification through The Etiquette Institute in Saint Louis, Missouri. Her expertise in dealing with children, coupled with her own experiences at raising her two daughters inspired her to create a program that encourages self-confidence, poise and graciousness in young people. Rita believes these qualities along with good manners will contribute to a person’s success for a lifetime.


abby green etiquetteABOUT ABBY GREEN
Abby Green, Certified Etiquette Instructor, is passionate about teaching etiquette and social graces to children. Abby is married to Nathan Green and they have two sons, Dylan Green and Easton Green. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Relations from Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Abby teaches children’s etiquette classes at Southern Grace in a fun way that appeals to her students. She believes in the importance of guiding children to be honest, respectful and considerate. Abby has her etiquette certification through The EtiquetteInstitute in Saint Louis, Missouri.

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  1. Yay for me! I’ve already been doing all this!

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