Independence Day is a time to celebrate with friends and family while you enjoy fun, food and fireworks. Here are a few party etiquette tips to help you enjoy your July Fourth holiday.
1. Always RSVP. Let the hosts know ahead of time that you’ll join them for their barbecue, picnic or pool party. For informal get-togethers with close friends, a quick phone call or email will be appreciated. If you received a Facebook invitation to the event, follow up with the host directly to let him or her know you’ll attend.
2. Arrive on time. Plan to arrive at the location when the party is set to begin. If you have a prior engagement that will cause you to be late, let the host know a few days before the party. Unless you made arrangements ahead of time, it’s polite to stay long enough to greet the host, enjoy some food and mingle with other guests.
3. Bring a small gift for the host. For barbecues and potlucks, it’s perfectly acceptable to bring a food item to share. Ask the host if you can bring a side dish, beverage or dessert. For more formal gatherings, or if you’re unsure of what to bring, choose a small token of appreciation like a bottle of wine, a pretty plant, or a candle for the host’s home.
4. Show good manners. The host has put in a lot of work to make the party a success. If you have a food allergy or sensitivity, it’s best to tell the host ahead of time or be polite and find a few side items to enjoy. If you don’t drink alcohol, drink sparkling water, soda or juice instead. Finally, if the host looks like he or she could use an extra hand, offer to help.
5. Thank the host. As you leave the party, be sure to say goodbye to the host and thank him or her for putting together a wonderful party. The most polite thing to do is to send a short thank you note as well — especially if the host is a new friend, colleague or acquaintance.