Hosting a party is fun, rewarding, and a whole lot of work! As the master of ceremonies, it’s up to you to plan the festivities, make sure guests are enjoying themselves, and then wrap things up tactfully. There’s a lot on your plate!

Fortunately, you have the experts here at Mary Jurek Design to be your go-to get-together guide every step of the way. We’re here to explain the ins, outs, ups, and downs of party hosting etiquette so your celebration goes off without a hitch.

First things first—let’s raise a glass, toast the host, and remember that having fun is the first rule of hosting etiquette! Yes, there’s much to do, but try to remember what entertaining is all about: having good times and making great memories with friends and family.

With this guide to walk you through the hosting process—before, during, and after the party—you’ll be ready for a magical night surrounded by the people you hold dear. Let’s get into it!

Before the Party

Proper planning is the key to any successful event. Long before the date arrives, you should be laying the groundwork so you’re not scrambling at the last minute (or later). 

While there’s certainly nothing wrong with impromptu parties, proper hosting etiquette requires forethought. You need to have a foundation to build the perfect party! Here’s what you need to know.

1. Send Informative Invitations

A party invitation

A handwritten and mailed invitation adds such a special touch to the event. Online and even phone invitations just don’t have the same personal significance, and a physical invitation sets a classy tone for the evening.

Invitations should leave no room for error. You don’t want to receive a barrage of phone calls with unnecessary questions. Remember: you’re the leader of the show. A big part of hosting etiquette is making sure everyone’s on the same page.

Here are the types of details to include:

  • Date and time (start and finish)
  • Location
  • Occasion
  • Name of the host(s)
  • RSVP date (if required)
  • Dress code 
  • Theme
  • Gifting information (if applicable)
  • Directions and parking details
  • Food and drink details

2. Consider Your Guest List Carefully

Your guest list can make or break the mood. Party hosting etiquette requires careful finesse and discernment. It’s important that your guests are compatible. That means you need to choose them carefully.

Choosing who to invite is probably the most difficult aspect of hosting etiquette. You don’t want anyone to feel left out. But at the same time, you need to consider the big picture, too. If two guests don’t get along, everyone pays the price.

Of course, if you’re throwing a huge bash and anyone and everyone is invited, your guest list isn’t as much of a focal point, if at all. However, smaller dinner parties, for example, really require compatible attendees to keep things harmonious.

3. Prepare the Space

Go all out with your decorating! Parties are perfect opportunities to showcase your unique personality and exquisite taste. And, part of hosting etiquette is simply providing an environment that keeps spirits high. Whether themed or fancy, make your space look stunning.

Beyond the visual side, make sure your home is physically set up for the crowd. You may need to move furniture around and borrow or buy some extra seating. If possible, provide indoor and outdoor spaces where people can congregate.

4. Plan the Menu

Your drinks, appetizers, and main courses should be planned well in advance—not only what you’re serving, but whether you’ll be making it yourself, ordering from a local restaurant, or having the event catered.

Providing food for all diets is hosting etiquette 101. You don’t want guests feeling left out and going hungry because you didn’t provide a suitable option. In addition to having a variety of diet-friendly foods, make sure you have non-alcoholic party drinks available.

5. Use Your Finest Serveware

A table with handcrafted serveware by Mary Jurek Design

Proper party hosting etiquette means no paper plates and plastic utensils! Fortunately, you’re at the right place. We offer a wide variety of handcrafted serveware, including barwarepitchersbowlstrays and plattersflatware, and more.

Besides giving your tablescape a beautiful presentation, our high-end serveware feels fantastic in the hand. Guests notice little details like that, so don’t overlook the household basics. Being mindful of every last detail is what separates good from great hosting etiquette.

6. Provide Entertainment

This is a party, not a business meeting! Provide a variety of ways for guests to stay entertained. Good conversation is important, but even those with the gift of gab run out of words eventually. It’s your job to keep the mood electric!

Here are some activities that’ll make your party pop:

  • Dance floor and music
  • Karaoke station
  • Indoor and outdoor games
  • Professional entertainers (magicians, musicians, dancers, DJs, and so on) 
  • Outdoor film projector
  • Casino games
  • Murder mystery
  • Bonfire

7. Dress to Impress

You’re the star of the show, so dress like it! Whether that means an elaborate costume or your fanciest attire, look the part.

During the Party

Now you’re covered for hosting etiquette before the big day rolls around. It’s time to dive into what you must be doing and how you should be acting throughout the soirée.

1. Give Guests a Warm Welcome

People greeting each other at a party

Make it a point to greet every guest. If that’s not possible, even a quick smile can improve your party hosting etiquette. At very least, make sure every guest is acknowledged at some point. This lets them know that they’re welcome, naturally helping them to feel at ease.

2. Be Attentive

Don’t be overbearing, but do be aware. If someone’s glass is empty, ask if they’d like a pour. 

That said, there’s a fine line between following hosting etiquette and being pushy, so keep it light and easy. You don’t need to cater to the whims of each and every guest, but try to make sure everyone’s having a good time. 

3. Lead With Confidence

As the host, it’s your duty to lead the party. That could mean inviting everyone outside for a toast at the perfect moment, being the first to start the dance party, or recognizing when it’s time to change the music. Again, don’t be pushy, but do be proactive.

4. Be Punctual 

If the invitation says dinner starts at six, start dinner at six. Some guests may have tight schedules, so stick with the plan. 

5. Maintain a Tidy Environment

Hosting etiquette isn’t all glory all the time! As the host, cleaning duties fall on you unless you hire outside staff. Of course, nobody expects a party to be spotless, but try to maintain an inviting, classy atmosphere. Toss empty bottles, cans, and other waste as you go.

After the Party

Party hosting etiquette doesn’t end at the end of the night. Don’t worry—the hardest parts are over! Here’s how to wrap things up.

1. Signal the End of the Party

A group of friends sitting around a table at night

If the party has run its course and you still have some stragglers, tactfully show them that it’s time to call it a night. Now, this requires some expert hosting etiquette prowess. The goal is to convince them that leaving is their own idea—not you giving them the boot!

Politeness and gratitude are the keys to this step. Give guests a big smile and a handshake, high five, or hug, thank them profusely for coming, and let them know how wonderful it was to see them. 

This friendly goodbye should give them a hint that the party’s over without making them feel unwelcome. If that doesn’t work, be honest and direct—kindly explain that you need to get some much-needed rest after a long day (a yawn never hurts to make the point!).

2. Express Gratitude

Within a few days after the party, fulfill your final hosting etiquette duties by thanking everyone for coming. A handwritten letter is the most meaningful expression of gratitude, but a phone call or online message will do. 

If someone gave you a gift, be sure to mention how much you love it, how you plan to use it, and any other pertinent information that lets them know you didn’t overlook their kind gesture. 

Shop Upscale Party Serveware at Mary Jurek Design

Now that you’re prepared with proper party hosting etiquette, get ready for the big day by ordering luxury serveware now. Don’t wait until it’s too late! 

Whether you need fancy home bar accessories for cocktail hour, large water pitchers so guests can stay hydrated, or elegant trays for finger foods, our handcrafted party essentials are sure to impress.

For more hosting etiquette tips, recipe ideas, decorating inspiration, and all sorts of other helpful information for entertaining in style, follow our hosting blog. Questions? Get in touch! Order modern serveware at Mary Jurek Design, and make your party an unforgettable experience.

Author Mary Jurek

Mary Jurek is the founder of Mary Jurek Design, a luxury serveware brand. She started her career in the jewelry industry, designing for notable brands such as Piaget Watch, Tiffany & Co., and Cartier. After receiving four international awards for her work, she was inspired to step out on her own. Her experience working with luxury jewelry firms led her to establish Mary Jurek Design Inc in 1997. She lives in Los Angeles and loves the arts, entertaining friends and family, gardening, and all things that make a home comfortable and inviting.