Who doesn't love a great dinner party? If you're like most people, you enjoy getting invited to the home of a friend to enjoy a meal that you don't have to cook.
A dinner party experience goes beyond that. It gives you an opportunity to socialize in a private setting with friends and get to know other people they invite.
It's also fun to dress up, go to someone's house, and enjoy great conversation while eating something that's not limited to your standard meal rotation. Remember that your host works hard to serve food you'll enjoy, so you need to show your appreciation.
Importance of Sending a Thank You Note
When someone thinks enough of you to invite you to a dinner party, you should send a thank you note as soon as possible afterward to show that you consider it an honor to have been a guest in the person's home. Don’t be surprised if you are on the next guest list because of your excellent manners.
If You Don't Send a Thank You Note
On the other hand, not sending a thank you note may not be noticed, but if it is, you'll be considered rude and ungrateful, and you might not get invited next time. Think about it. The host goes to the trouble of adding your name to the list, sending an invitation (or calling to invite you), planning the meal (often based on preferences and health issues), buying the food, preparing the meal, cleaning the house, being gracious while you are there, serving you, and cleaning up after you're gone.
That is a lot of work. The least you can do is let him or her know how much you appreciate it. The small gesture of sending a note goes a long way to show your appreciation.
What to Write
When you write your thank you note to the dinner party host, make it as personal as you can. Start with a nice comment and say "thank you." Then elaborate on some of the details to show that you put some thought into the message.
You might want to compliment the person on a beautifully set table, the delicious food, and the delightful conversation. And it's always nice to add something about getting together in the future. The note doesn't need to be too long or gushy. Just make sure the highlights are covered.
What Not to Write
There are some things you shouldn't say in a thank you note. First of all, don't ever say anything negative about the dinner in the note. Even if you didn't care for the food, find a positive twist on it. Perhaps you can mention something about the lovely presentation, the host's creativity in coming up with such a unique dish, or one aspect of the food that you did like.
Avoid writing comments about the other guests because you never know how they'll be perceived. And never suggest something else the host could have done to make the party better.
Method of Sending the Note
While it's always best to handwrite a thank you note, you may send an email immediately afterward and follow up with a handwritten note later. You may use a preprinted card with your message added or unlined paper.
Examples of Dinner Party Thank You Notes
What a lovely dinner! Thank you so much for inviting me and being such a gracious hostess. You have always been an excellent cook, and you really outdid yourself with the lasagna dish. I hope to see you at the next civic club meeting.
Dear James and Judy,
Thank you for inviting Sarah and me to your dinner party. The exquisite lamb shank was delicious. I would love to have your recipe, but I doubt it will be anywhere near as good as yours. Sarah and I are having some friends over for an open house during the holidays, and we would love to have you join us. I’ll call you as soon as we have the details.
Dear Trisha, Mark, and boys,
Thank you so much for having our family join yours for your annual outdoor barbecue. The whole afternoon in your backyard was delightful! Those burgers were grilled to perfection, and the lineup of condiments and toppings was second to none. I'd love your recipe for those lemon cupcakes. The games were a blast, and we'll remember them for a very long time. On our way home, we talked about how much fun we had and agreed that we need to get together more often. Next time, we'll have food and games at our house.
Family friends always,
The Parkers (Tim, Judy, Alicia, and Stacy)
Points to Remember
A thank you note goes a long way in letting the host know he or she was appreciated. It should show gratitude, offer sincere praise, and be encouraging. It shows that you not only have good manners but you also appreciate the effort they went to for you and the other guests.