Etiquette for Events

Since the beginning of time we have had banquettes where there has been times of gathering people together in one place.  The kings and queens of times past had their fine halls where a whole host of courtiers and people of importance were called upon to join in the festivities.

Many of us do not have access to such elaborate halls or accommodations so, generally, we have to seek out venues in order to host our events.  Baby showers, book parties, weddings, bridal showers, birthday parties, anniversaries, family reunions, funerals, and holidays are among some of the common reasons we invite and gather with our loved ones.  It is in these times we get to see people that, often times, we have not had a chance to see for a very long time.  Everyone gets a chance to visit, make their rounds, and catch up for lost time.

What happens if you are ill prepared and people are looking for things they need like more food or they feel guilty to get more food because there is not near enough to go around.  Believe me, this happens.  I have been to events where the hostess has to say… “There are not enough hamburgers to go around, so please only take one and lets limit the burger for the adults. The children can have the hot dogs.”  Seriously?  I was standing there with gaping mouth and actually felt embarrassed for the hostess because it reflects poorly on her behalf.

Just a bit of forethought on the amount of people could have alleviated this lack of having enough food to go around.  When I was the guest at this particular event, I thought, “If only I would have known that the hostess was short on meat, I could have picked up enough for my family.”

You never want to host an event without planning for enough space and food for your precious guests.  Each guest should have a plate of food, a comfortable seat, and refreshments.  I like to plan to bring nearly double the food that I would need to feed my guests in the event my guests would like to go back for seconds.  I never want my guests to go home hungry.

Our family was invited to have dinner at a fellow farmer’s homestead and the farmer said to us as we were getting ready to fill our plates, “Now please don’t be shy.  We have plenty.  Take all you want and if you go home hungry, its your fault!”  That stuck with me.  It was actually a fun way to think about all my future events.  I want my guests to feel full in their stomachs as well as their hearts.

Every event comes with a whole host of timeless etiquette.  In order to have a stress free experience, there are some simple guidelines one must consider.  I have compiled a list of tips that are sure to help you avoid embarrassment in the future…

Finding the Location
Ask yourself what your event is about and the size of space that will be needed.  You must make sure that each guest will have a place to sit.  There have been events that you have to feel guilty to sit down because there are only a few seats, standing room only, and a fair share of elderly, disabled, or pregnant women.  You would not dare sit on a chair when someone else will need it more than you.  I am sensitive to seating since I had the experience of being disabled with severe pain for years of my life.  I know what it is like to stand there for 10 minutes and feel like you might die from the intense pain.  I HAD to sit.  I could not stand the pain of having my foot down.  There are going to be guests that may have bad knees, chronic pain, or swelling.  They need to be able to sit promptly.

There will be guests that maybe do not have a medical need to sit, but they can get tired.  You have to think of these things.  If you want to invite people, for goodness sake, make sure you have enough chairs!

If you want to host an event at your home and you already know it is too small, you may need to find another place.  Perhaps a park and let your guests know they can bring a chair if you do not have enough.  I have been invited to events that the host asks you to bring a chair and we are happy to bring ours.  I usually bring extra just in case there is a person there that forgot.

Make sure there is plenty of food.  If you are not able to afford to have a catered meal with all the fixings delivered to your event with a line of hired help, you can always have a pot luck style.  You can ask your guests to bring a dish to pass.

Smaller events (baby showers, birthday parties, book parties, etc.)
If it is an intimate group of ladies meeting for a bible study or baby shower, you may find that it will suit best to have your small gathering in your home.  If your home is too small for accommodation, then you might decide to ask a friend or family member to utilize the space of a larger room in their home.

If you are granted permission to host an event at a friend’s home, you must make sure it is not a burden on them.  Offer to do everything and that they will hardly know you were ever there.  If there is prepping required, you have it all planned out and make sure you are not putting their schedule out.  If they allow for a Saturday afternoon, you plan to arrive 2 hours ahead to help clean, decorate, set up, and plan to stay after for complete clean up so they will not need to be involved.  They offered there home and that is a huge sacrifice for you as it is.

Make sure you cover all your bases.  I would suggest having plenty of paper and plastic utensils.  It makes clean up a snap if you just run around in the end to gather up all the used up utensils, plastic cups, and paper plates and drop them into a large trash can.  Be sure to bring cleaning supplies (brooms, wash cloths, sprays, dust pans, vacuums, garbage bags, toilet paper, paper toweling, etc.). You do not want to have the embarrassment to ask the home owner to offer you their own supplies.  Plan ahead so you have EVERYTHING needed to put this event on as if the home owner has NOTHING that will help you besides their space.

I have offered my home to many people throughout the years to host events for them.  One of the women had a baby shower and she was so prepared.  She brought everything she could possible need and I did not have to do anything to help.  After she left, there was not a trace of the party.  I felt so impressed that I would host another hundred events for her in the future because she really understands etiquette.  It makes it a very nice experience for me.

On the other hand I have hosted events at my home for other people who are completely disorganized.  They have nothing in order and have to ask me for everything in my home.  They need ingredients for food, towels for showers, soap, scissors, the use of my refrigerator, freezer, shower, my own food, as if I am actually the one responsible for EVERYTHING.  I am happy to help yet I think in my mind, “Why should I have to provide all these things for THEIR event?”

I have been caught off guard a few times when these things happen and wondering how I could have helped more to train them.  It’s not that I would be offended by having to make up for someone’s lack, because I am the type of A worker personality that I love helping out. I would not feel comfortable to just sit and watch while others work, but I strain to feel that if they would use someone else’s property they would end up with a bad reputation and never be allowed to host events in the future.

Leaving the place WAY cleaner and more orderly than the way you found it is a good example to leave.  Don’t just pick up.  Wash the surfaces, sweep and mop, clean the bathrooms thoroughly, wash mirrors, and make sure to remove all of your belongings.  That would be the proper way to treat the person who is offering up their space for your event.  They should not have to feel frustrated or have to work overtime because you forget to consider them.

I seen a lack in preparation for events on a number of occasions and I come to the realization that there are people out there that need to learn proper instruction on etiquette.  That is the long and the short of it.  There are better ways to do things so that you do not cause future conflict, hard feelings, or take advantage of others.  It can all be avoided if you cover your bases and understand proper etiquette.

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4 thoughts on “Etiquette for Events”

  1. I like what you write it is REAL I also listen now to nancy’s podcast. I also read above Rubies Facebook page Now. It is from reading your blog and you introducing her to me through your blog. What really grabbed my attention about her was the happiness and joy she had in teaching motherhood . Wow she had something I hadn’t felt in a while! It has lifted my spirits and is helping me to enjoy my children more. What a blessing and encouragement she brings in those writings. I also watch your teatime show with her every Tuesday I really have enjoyed those as well! Keep on keeping on the work the LORD has for YOU. You are Appreciated Greatly!

    1. Thank you so much Karla! I will let Nancy also know. We are so thankful to have an opportunity to work together like we are doing with the Tea Times. So special. God is so good. Nancy does bring so much to the table. I love that she is an older woman in the Lord. She offers so much time tested wisdom. I feel so blessed and like I am learning a ton as well. Thank you for taking the time to let us know! Love you !

  2. Very good to be well thought out and planned. I usually have way too much of everything but I look at it as better to have too much than not enough. I think I stress to much though about the event because I often wonder if it will be good enough taste good enough etc, I wish I did not. I am not a big talker to a large group but can talk one on one easily. I need some help in that area as well but I do love to help anyone I can and do for others whatever needs to be done. The Lord has been gracious in letting us provide and help others. Everything we own is his and a gift from him. Do you also do table etiquette? Im sure you do….that is also very important to me for my children to learn.

    God Bless,

    1. Thank you so much, Karla. This is such precious feedback! It can be so stressful to put on an event. So many things to consider. Yes, I did talk about table Etiquette in my book. I think I am still learning. I have come along way, but started out with the most terrible manners. LOL! Now I like to have meals around the table and I learn even more etiquette when I have an opportunity to eat with Nancy. She sure knows the ropes. It is so good to be teachable and fun to learn new things each day. I really appreciate feedback, I nearly stopped writing because I never know if people appreciate what I write about, even if they don’t like it, I like to know. That way I know what to improve on. Love you, Karla, take care! Good to hear from you!

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