Summer gatherings are well underway and will only become more prevalent with the Fourth of July on the horizon! However, are your manners in tip top shape? We've spoken with event planners regarding the most common mistakes people make at summer parties. Read on to learn more about seven major no-nos to keep top of mind so that you can feel confident as a guest and continue to score plenty of invites all season long.
1. Forgetting to RSVP or Bringing Additional Pals
Sure, it may just be your coworker's Fourth of July get together, not her 40th birthday party, but if you receive an invite, you should respond to it. "Even for a casual backyard BBQ, it's helpful for the host to know how many items to throw on the grill," says Lindsey Morgan, owner and creative director of Bello & Blue Events in Denver, Colorado. Really, how hard is it, anyway? "There are many platforms to use to RSVP such as texts, phone calls, Facebook, Instagram, et. cetera," notes Cassie Fier, lead planner at Olive and Co. Events in Coastal Maine. "This will allow the host to not have to track anyone down, just like RSVPing for a wedding!"
Additionally, just as is also the case with weddings, your invitation is for you and only you, unless you're specifically told otherwise. "Do not bring a plus one unless you have been invited to do so, or if have approved it in advance," Morgan notes.
2. Not Thinking to Lend a Hand
Hosting can be stressful, even in the case of a more low key event like an outdoor party. Offering to assist your friend with prep shortly after you arrive is never a bad idea, Morgan comments. "Opening a bottle of wine, bringing dishes to the table or helping to toss a salad can be a welcomed assistance just before serving, and will be appreciated by those throwing the party."
3. Not Thanking Your Host
A small gesture of thanks goes a long way—and if you have the means or foresight to pick up an additional token of appreciation, that never hurts either! "For extra points, arrive bearing a hostess gift," Morgan says. "Flowers or veggies from your garden or a scented candle goes a long way as a thank you for the hospitality and effort!"
4. Not Dressing the Part
Courtney Ward, the owner and primary event planner at Mainely Modern in South Portland, Maine, suggests keeping dress code in mind before heading out the door. "It’s always best to double check your invitation for clothing attire and wear the suggested clothes," she says. "You don’t want to be the person who shows up in jeans or shorts while everyone else is in casual cocktail attire." On that note, pay close attention to footwear and consider avoiding heels this. time of year, Fier says. "In the summer, lots of parties will be on grass or sand, and there is nothing worse than sinking into the ground all night."
5. Arriving Too Early
Being an early bird isn't such a good thing when parties roll around. "Show up fashionably late—no more than 15 minutes after the start time, unless the invitation states to be there at 3 p.m. sharp for example," Ward comments. "You never want to be that one guest who arrives way too early and causes the host stress because the gathering isn’t ready yet."
6. Scrolling Through Your Phone
Say goodbye to screen time and focus on the quality time with your crew. "Your host has gone above and beyond to throw a wonderful gathering for you to be a guest at so, just being present and in the moment is best," Ward advises. "Tuck that phone away and just enjoy everyone’s company!"
This pertains to food and alcohol alike, Ward says. "With the warm weather of summer, it’s always easy to overindulge in alcoholic beverages and/or certain food items," she comments. Be mindful regarding consumption, both so that you don't accidentally act sloppy or foolish or deplete your host of all of her refreshments. Ward adds, "It’s best to take small portions and not to get seconds until everyone invited has eaten their share as well."