{Food & Entertaining}

Socialite Savvy 101

Hello Socialites!

Spring has sprung, and summer is simmering on the burner!  Nice weather means tons of invitations to sift. Pour a glass of champagne and let’s talk entertaining!

Socialite Savvy - Easy centerpiece designThere’s nothing I love more than hosting a good event. Ever been to an affair and notice something small and special: creative appetizers you’ve never thought of; perhaps an exotic signature cocktail that just HAS to be costly to make; floral accents that are too good to be homemade? Be it a cocktail party, a sit-down dinner, or my annual holiday soiree, the magic is all in the details!

Know what detail is absolutely free and yet often overlooked? Manners.

It starts with making others comfortable, which is ALWAYS elegant and budget friendly! You don’t need to spend a million to make others FEEL like a million.

Here’s a few quick tips to get you off on the right foot!

Gracious Guesting:

  • RSVP. Literally, it stands for the French request, “Répondez s’il vous plait” – “Please respond.” You’ll see it at the end most invitations for a reason: your host needs to plan appropriately! There’s a big cost difference between dinner for 4 and dinner for 10. There’s also logistics that your host needs to consider: are there enough plates/glasses/ice/wine/bail money…wait…strike that last one. You get the picture.  Whether you can make it or not, please respond!
  • Arrive on time to 15 minutes after the start time.  It is SO stressful when a guest arrives 30 minutes early. You might catch your host fresh out of the shower, coated in cake frosting, or just arriving home after a last minute ice run. The polite host will stumble through excuses and apologies and pause their prep to tend to you, but you’re not supposed to see the magic before it happens – arrive when the show starts and we’ll all have a better time.  Of course, if you’re close to your host, offer to come early and help if you’d like. Key word: offer. Don’t just show.
  • Never arrive empty-handed. A host/hostess gift doesn’t have to be huge or expensive – you’re simply making a gesture that says “thank you for having me.” A bottle of wine, a set of coasters, a candle, creative spices for the kitchen – there’s many ideas out there, under $10, that are ideal to grab and go!

Heavenly Hosting:

  • Don’t flip over those who can’t make it. When RSVPs are “with regrets” instead of “with pleasure”, never guilt or hold it against your invitee. For every event you throw, there will be some on the list who simply cannot make it. Be gracious, not petty! “It’s a shame we won’t see you – you’ll be missed!” That’s all the reply you need. Last minute no-shows and cancellations are another story though. You may hold it against them…in the form of limited invitations in the future. You’d be surprised how this fixes those issues
  • As host, you set the tone of the night – plan your pre-event time well. If you answer the door in a tizzy, with half-done hair and a face that says “CRAP! You’re here!” it’s hardly a welcoming start to the evening. Plan your time out well so you’re relaxed and in party/dinner/cocktail mode when you open the door for the first guest. You should open the door, drink in hand, smile in place! You ARE the party, Socialite!
  • Make introductions. Obviously, you know everyone at your own event. But do they know each other? As each guest arrives, welcome them to the room with a quick introduction. No need to be formal or complicated – a quick “this is my friend Jane Doe!” usually leads others in the group to embrace the newcomer with conversation… or the pressing business of getting them a cocktail!

ISocialite Savvy -Table layout’m thrilled to be guesting, courtesy your fab web mistress, Trinidad!

::champagne glass >CLINK<::

We’ll chat monthly about how you can pull off feats of entertaining fab on a budget!  Being a good host doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank. But you know that already, right? Afterall, you’re a Budget Socialite.

See you next month!
(Image Source: EvaSaidIt.com)

Socialite Savvy: now it’s your turn! Have any hosting (or guesting) tips to share? Have any entertaining horror stories? Let us know in the comments.


Contributor | Eva Said It
Eva is a mother, writer, entertaining doyenne, and snark expert based in New York City. Money can’t buy happiness, but it buys her lots of wine and stinky cheese…which is close enough. Catch more of her stiletto clad sarcasm at www.evasaidit.com.


Oh snap! There's more:


  1. Leora

    One of my key tips for hosting is do as much as you can in advance. Even small details mean less time spent with guests and more in the kitchen. I often serve salad, and I wash the lettuce a few hours beforehand and put it in a bag with a towel to absorb any extra wet. Last week, I should have sliced the beets and put them in a serving bowl before my company came (my friend was early).
    Leora recently posted..Twitter for Beginners: Taking the Steps to Your First TweetMy Profile

  2. Andrea (The Time Lady)

    I agree, there’s nothing worse than doing the last-minute final touches and somebody arrives half an hour earlier. And you’re torn as to what to do: talk to them or finish what you’ve been doing or involve them? That’s why we have partners and husbands though 🙂
    Andrea (The Time Lady) recently posted..Blogging Challenge FAQMy Profile

    • Trinidad Pena

      What about us single gals? LOL!

  3. Edward Reid

    You are so right. The devil is in the details. I remember organizing some large promotional events at one of the newspapers where I previously worked. The best events were the ones where we had enough people to properly greet and help guest feel welcome. No matter how much money was spent.
    Edward Reid recently posted..The Journey From Barney to Music SuperstarMy Profile

    • Trinidad Pena

      Yep, it’s all about the personal touches!

  4. Arleen

    I love to entertain and it is important for me to spend time with my guests. I try to get everything done in advance. I find that serving buffet style is more relaxed. No matter what I do everyone seems to end up and stay in the kitchen so I don’t want to be doing anything at the last minute. I do agree that you can’t get upset when someone is unable to attend. I always think, they missed a good time. Very well written post.
    Arleen recently posted..Branding Your Image | When is it necessary to update your brand?My Profile

  5. TheGirl

    Hello Savvy Socialite,

    Thanks for sharing your tips on hosting dinner parties. You’d think some of this would be common sense but many people actually don’t do this…and this can get guests to be uncomfortable.
    TheGirl recently posted..So Jon took out a dating adMy Profile

  6. Adrienne

    I don’t go to many parties, but when I do I frequently have to kick myself later because I usually forget the hostess gift! It’s a small thing, and the hostess isn’t really expecting it anyway, but it’s so nice to surprise someone with it.
    Adrienne recently posted..Music Monday: Not A Big DealMy Profile

    • Trinidad Pena

      It’s the little things!

    • Trinidad Pena

      You can’t go wrong with wine.

  7. Sabrina at MyMiBoSo

    One that I’d like to add is this: Once the guests arrive – RELAX and enjoy.

    As the hostess, I often forget this – tidying up before I need to, disappearing for periods of time to restock – when really my time would be better spent relaxing and enjoying the company of my guests 🙂
    Sabrina at MyMiBoSo recently posted..Infinite Shades of GreyMy Profile

  8. Kristi

    I LOVE hosting parties but live in a very small space. I find pre-planning to be my biggest ‘win’ when hosting a party. Getting all food pre-prepped and extra veggies cut, punch mixed etc and ready to go so I don’t have to be tearing through my kitchen (which is where the party always ends up anyway!)

    • Trinidad Pena

      Eva know how to throw a good party and is the queen of making people feel welcome.

  9. Mary Slagel

    Great post! It is amazing how many people forget manners these days. It blows my mind. Some people have even lost the art of saying excuse me when they must walk in front of you at the grocery store while you are scanning a shelf or waving when you let them out onto a crowded street. It is sad really.
    Mary Slagel recently posted..How to Make your Own Good LuckMy Profile

  10. Krystyna Lagowski

    My mother raised me to never arrive empty-handed! When wine is superfluous, flowers fill the bill nicely. In fact, I’d rather bring a nice bouquet of freshly cut flowers to complement the decor – if I don’t know the host or hostess well, I get a small arrangement that can stand on its own. Thank you for reminding us that manners are always in fashion! : )
    Krystyna Lagowski recently posted..What would Peggy Olson do?My Profile

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