if you’re coming over for dinner…

I grew up in a home that hosted many, many parties. My parents are incredibly hospitable and love to show off their cooking & entertaining skills. My birthday parties were legendary and my friends still talk about the Hanukkah parties my parents threw almost every year (how many kids in WNC can say that?).

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party princess, for sure

 

When I went to college, I continued the tradition of hosting festivities in my teeny-tiny apartment. Although there were many occasions, one of the highlights of my college years was hosting “Top Model Night”–a weekly potluck where my closest girlfriends and I would have a themed potluck (Thanksgiving dinner in March, kid food, even RANCH) and watch America’s Top Model with lots of wine and laughter. These potlucks were some of the best nights of my life.

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exchanging gifts with top model crew

When I moved to an even teenier-tinier apartment in Washington, D.C., my roommate and I just couldn’t leave our Southern party hosting skills in our storage units. We hosted lots of parties, full of tasty food and even tastier beverages for our guests.

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keeping the Hanukkah party tradition alive in D.C.

When I moved to Asheville, my home continued to be a hot-spot for all the friends I had made throughout the years.

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my “welcome to asheville” party that consisted of an incredible band, a lot of booze, and all of my best friends

When I started living with Craig, I was incredibly fortunate to find not only a wonderful partner, but a BRILLIANT co-host. Together, we have hosted legendary dinner parties filled with unique food, bountiful booze, and lovely conversation.

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Taking a break during our Boston-themed going away party for Sarah and Brian

What I’m getting at is…I pretty much rule at hosting parties.

It probably comes at no surprise to you that I expect a certain type of etiquette from people who attend these parties. As someone who has hosted and attended countless celebrations of varying degrees, I know that not every rule applies to every party. But when it comes to a dinner party, you gotta know what you’re getting into.

First and foremost, ask what you can bring. Chances are your host will say “Just yourself!”, and that is fine. But sometimes the host may say “Actually, could you bring a bottle of wine?” or “We need a dessert!”. If you commit to bringing an item, bring it. If you can’t commit to bringing an item, tell your host so they can make other accommodations. No one will be mad if you say upfront that you can’t chip in anything, but they will be mad if you’re in charge of bringing a side dish, you don’t bring it, & the host has to make last minute adjustments.

Secondly, please. Please. PLEASE show up on time. By on time, I mean at least 10-15 minutes after your host has requested your presence. If I say come on over at 7, and you show up at 7:15, I won’t be bothered. But if you show up at 9 expecting a full dinner service, I will be annoyed. Of course, things happen that are out of your control–traffic! Flat tires! Etc! But if someone is consistently tardy for the party, it comes across as disrespectful and unappreciative.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you how to enjoy your meal. If you don’t like the food that’s being served, or the food is bad, or the conversation is lousy…figure it out. You’re a grown-up at a dinner party. Chances are, you have been in numerous awkward situations, and you have figured out ways to get out of them before. I am going to say that even if you hate the food or you hate the other people attending the party, the people that are hosting that party worked very, very, very hard at selecting the right menu and inviting fun guests, so try your best not to be a Debbie Downer and make them feel bad. It takes time, work, and money to feed a group of adults, and if someone volunteers to do it, you need to be appreciative. How you show that–even if you hate something about the meal–is up to you.

After the meal and drinks and laughter, when everyone is full and ready to go home, you better do something that is crucial. It could be the most important part of the meal. When you’re putting on your coat and about to walk through that door, you better turn around and give your host a HUGE “Thank you for inviting me!”. Even if you hated everything about the food, even if you drank too much wine, even if that one girl that was also invited gave you the stank eye the entire time–you look into your host’s eyes and give them a sincere, warm thanks. I repeat–it is a LOT of work, time, and money to throw a proper dinner party. And you need to show your appreciation.

As someone who loves to host parties, I have experienced an infinite amount of joy and love from guests that have come into my various homes and celebrations. So many people have expressed extreme gratitude and respect for a meal and conversation, and it is because of that that I will always want to throw parties. I hope that I can continue to be a fun host that can cook a hell of a dinner, as well as a grateful and kind attendee when my loved ones throw shindigs (and believe me, my pals can throw an AMAZING party). 

So enough yapping, let’s get to eating!

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