14 modern rules you’re probably breaking when you attend, decline or host a party

7 January 2019
By Fashion Quarterly

Keep it classy with our guide to the dos and don’ts of modern event etiquette.

Summer is the season of entertaining; raising a glass to the year that was. Keep it classy with our guide to the dos and don’ts of modern event etiquette.



Not RSVPing is not the same as declining. If someone has been kind enough to invite you to an event, you owe it to them to politely decline if you can’t attend.

using your phone

If you’re attending a dinner party, don’t have your phone on the table. In fact, put it on silent in another room and be present. If you must keep your phone on you, set it to vibrate and put it in your pocket. If you receive a call or a text, take a trip to the bathroom!

social media

We’ve all been tagged in photos and videos online where we don’t look our best — and it sucks. Keep that in mind when filming the lit dancefloor for your Instagram story at 2 am. If you’re cognisant enough, save your stories down to post the next day instead — or better yet, don’t film the d-floor at all.

wedding contributions

Attending a wedding and the couple has asked for a contribution to their honeymoon fund? The general consensus around the Miss FQ office is that $50 is the perfect amount to give if you’re going solo, or $100 if you’re attending with a partner, however, it’s important to consider your financial situation. You shouldn’t have to go into debt to buy a gift! If you can’t afford to give anything, a thoughtfully written card is a lovely mark of respect and a cute keepsake for the couple.

taking over the DJ

Do you exclusively listen to German trance or bFM? Keep your music taste to yourself and don’t pester the wedding DJ to play your jams. Suck it up and dance the Macarena with your best friend’s grandma, okay?

drinking at work events

The free alcohol on offer at your work Christmas party is not an invitation to get blind drunk; trust us, your behaviour is always noticed by someone, and you don’t want to be the subject of the day-after debrief. A ‘personality drink’ or two will help get you in the mood and give you the courage to make conversation with colleagues you don’t normally mix with. Just be sure to pace yourself.

gifts for the host

Have you been asked to attend a friend or partner’s family Christmas ‘do? A small, thoughtful gift to the host makes a great first impression. Be social and try to mix and mingle with the other guests, rather than sticking to your friend/partner like glue. If you’re nervous, try to nab yourself a task, such as helping with food prep, working the barbecue or doing the dishes, as a way to keep busy.

dietary requirements

If you have dietary requirements that you need to be strict about, always let the host know ahead of time, rather than asking if the stuffing is made with gluten-free breadcrumbs just as dinner is being served. Most people are totally happy to accommodate if they know in advance. And if you’re hosting, ask your guests if they have any dietary requirements when you invite them.

thank yous

It’s a lovely gesture to thank the host of your party/dinner party the next day. Your thanks don’t need to come in the form of a bunch of flowers or a handwritten note (unless the occasion calls for it). A simple ‘thank you’ text will do the trick!

seating plans

When attending events which involve a seating plan, please stick to it. We’ve all been sat next to someone we’d rather not be at some point, but remember, your hosts will have put a lot of time into mapping this out to perfection, so don’t think you can just go ahead and swap your seat!

leaving early

If you’re on track for your carriage to turn into a pumpkin, don’t feel like you have to announce your departure to everyone. A quiet ‘smoke bomb’ is perfectly acceptable if the party is still raging, however, it’s always polite to let the host know you’re on your way out.

Words: Lucy Slight
Photos: Pinterest


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