Cocktail parties are the norm of any celebration today, be it weddings, anniversaries or birthdays. Cocktails quite literally take the centre stage in these events and there is a rulebook to be followed while throwing or attending such parties. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
In such events, good conduct and socialising skills are very important because they leave a very big impression on whoever you meet. Such events call for the absolute best manners on display at all times. Regardless of whether you’re the hostess or being hosted, there are certain ground rules and etiquettes to be followed to maintain the essence of a cocktail party.
Invitations and arrangements
Being a host comes with a lot of responsibilities and one of the biggest is to make sure that none of your guests feel uncomfortable in the presence of another. So, plan your invite list accordingly and make ample seating arrangements making sure you seat people who get along well, next to each other. If you’re the invitee, then you are obliged to respond to the invite and inform the host whether you will attend the party or not, and whether you’ll have a plus one. Remember, you need to inform them within two days of receiving the invite, otherwise it will be considered rude. Later, if you show up at the party and you aren’t happy with the seating, you can’t blame the host.
Whether you’re the host or the invitee, maintaining timing is of importance. Usually, the invite specifies a time range for the party. They generally last for about two hours. So make plans accordingly and show up on time. Being fashionably late isn’t really fashionable.
Choose your attire based on whether the party is business related or casual. Traditionally, cocktail dresses were ankle length. But with time, they have become shorter, and now, they are usually till the knee. Most times, the LBD (little black dress) passes for appropriate cocktail party wear. It is fit for both business as well as casual cocktail parties. Depending on the time of the day and the place, work on the makeup. Don’t overdo it, but don’t go with zero makeup either. Just a little bit of eyeliner and a pink tone lipstick would do wonders when paired with the right hairstyle.
As soon as you enter the party, preferably within 10-15 minutes of arriving, seek the host and say hello, and thank them for inviting you. This lets them know that you made it to the party on time and you are there out of your own interest.
Hold your drink
Avoid drinking too much, no matter how much of liquor is available. Getting drunk and creating a scene is not respectful, and is an embarrassment for yourself as well as the host.
Parties are all about one thing: socialising. So when you’re at one, go around and greet all guests and engage in light conversation with everyone. Talk about current affairs, issues specific to your field of work or theirs, other interests and so on. But one thing to keep in mind is to NEVER GOSSIP. If you find the topic taking a turn and becoming centred about another person, no matter whether you’re related to them or not, politely leave the conversation or change the topic. Because when you gossip, you might be misheard or misjudged and it will not bode well later.
Don’t overstay your welcome
Leaving a party is almost as awkward as entering one. If the invitation specified an end time (which invites usually do), then make sure you don’t linger for long after the specified time. You don’t have to wait for the host to ask you to leave or tell the party is over. If the time arrives, then you can gradually make your way out. If the invite did not specify a time, then look around and when about half of the crowd is gone, you can slowly find your way out.
Before you leave any party, always remember to thank the host for throwing a great party, even if you were bored the whole time. If it was a formal party, you can send a written thank you note within a week of the party. Only when you follow such manners, people will attend your party when you throw one again.