A summer supper club is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a breezy dinner outdoors, a sunny afternoon meal, or a relaxing evening with good friends. In my last article, I shared my etiquette tips for the supper club host; today we will tackle how to be a sophisticated guest. If you have the good fortune of being invited to a supper club, there are a few things you can do to add a bit of mannerly fun to the dining occasion...
Abide by your host's wishes. If your host has asked that you provide a favorite appetizer, showing up with an extra dessert defeats the purpose of her request. Your host may love children, but if they are not specifically included on the invitation, written or verbal, don't ask if your children may attend. Being a polite guest means refraining from changing place cards so that you may sit closer to your friend when your host has seated you next to a new attendee.
Arrive with a token of appreciation. Even if you are not asked to contribute to the meal, it is always nice to honor your host with a kind gesture. Whether you bring a bottle of their favorite wine, or a basket of monogrammed finger towels, a gift for the host shows your gratitude for their hard work and is a special way to thank them for the inclusion.
Avoid last minute cancellations. Once you have RSVP'd, unless there is an emergency, you should do everything within your power to be in attendance. Your host has gone through great effort and a last minute decline for a better offer is rude. If you must cancel, do so at least 48 hours in advance whenever possible to give the host more time to find another guest to fill your seat.
Contribute positively to the conversation. Come prepared with a few simple talking points when the opportunity presents itself for some upbeat dialogue. Did you recently travel to a stunning destination that others may enjoy hearing about? Or, have a hilarious encounter that could bring some laughter to the table? What is your favorite childhood vacation memory? You'll notice a theme of pleasant and engaging topics. Invite your table mates to share similar experiences.
Respect your host's home. Unless your host offers, don't wander into private spaces of their home for a self-guided tour. They may have a pet in an area of the house they prefer to keep separate from their guests. You might be a pet lover, but taking it upon yourself to interact with their furry companion is almost as invasive as interacting with their children without permission (which is another obvious faux pas).
Know when it's time to leave. Don't be the first to leave and avoid being the last. Take your cue from the host or rely on the designated time the supper club generally comes to an end. A gracious host will make you feel welcome from beginning to end, but it's up to you to say goodbye at the appropriate time. Leave when the first group of party goers offers their farewells. It may just start a chain reaction and the dinner party will end on a bright note.