6 Things I Do “Wrong” as a Host That I Just Refuse to Change — Ever

published Apr 19, 2023
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friends embracing at entrance -
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I’ve been hosting dinner gatherings regularly since I was 18 and burning meals in my very first apartment. Many years and many kitchens later, I still love a house full of good friends and delicious food, and make it a point to host monthly dinner parties.

When it comes to dinner party etiquette — both for guests and hosts — I don’t, however, love obligatory rules. Below, the six “rules” I break with absolutely no shame. Maybe you should, too.

1. My stemware doesn’t match — at all.

Yes, I could just buy a set of wine glass charms, but I’m not interested in purchasing jewelry for my stemware. Those rings are fiddly in the first place, and after a couple of glasses, I’m honestly not sure if I had the seahorse or the starfish. Instead, I have an eclectic collection of wine glasses I absolutely love, like this one, and these. Yes, my tablescape looks a bit chaotic, but my guests never forget which glass is theirs. 

2. I don’t decant condiments. 

I know how important decanting is for certain pantry items. However, you will not find condiments in pretty little bowls at a dinner party at my house; that’s just an unnecessary dish to wash, in my opinion. If I invited you, I like you, and if I like you, you aren’t the sort of person to be scandalized by my sour cream container. (Although I do have a penchant for pretty packaging.)

3. I will squeeze as many people as I want around one table. 

This is likely a carryover from our tiny apartment days, but if the choice is between excluding someone and pulling an extra chair up to the table, you know where I stand. (Or sit.)

4. I always sit by my spouse at the table. 

Honestly, there’s no universe in which sitting by my spouse means I will ignore my guests. My husband is my favorite person, so I’m going to sit by him, and my guests are welcome to sit with their partners, too. Seating assignments are so elementary.

5. My guests share a hand towel. 

I love the idea of individual guest towels in theory, but I don’t offer them, in part because my bathroom doesn’t have the counter space, but mostly because … laundry. Also, if we’re choosing to breathe the same indoor air, I think we can share a hand-drying towel. 

6. I *never* turn down an offer to help clean. 

The experts say a guest is a guest, no matter how well you know them. I say, I made delicious food and will gladly accept help with cleanup. I’m far more likely to host another party if when I say the last good night and close the door, I turn around to clear counters and a running dishwasher. I mean, what a concept!

What hosting rules do you break with no shame? Let us know in the comments!