How to Behave at Formal Parties
While most of us probably know how to behave in public, the expected behavior at a formal party is rather different than we are used to. It is very important to be sure to know the proper etiquette before attending! Refer to this guide for tips on how to behave at a formal party:
This is the big one. Drunkenness is one of the leading causes of embarrassment and bad behavior at a formal gathering. Sip slowly and keep drinking to a minimum. Be sure to alternate with water. For best results, avoid hard liquor altogether and just stick to wine or beer. Savor your drink, rather than chugging it – this isn’t a kegger, after all!
-Don’t fight for attention-
Though at some parties it is acceptable to gather a huge crowd to show off a party trick or tell a hilarious story, at a formal party, this is not appropriate. Stick to chatting in small groups and taking turns with attention. Hogging the spotlight all night is the surest way to get on the nerves of the other guests and steal the thunder from the host or hostess.
This means to everyone, not just to the host or hostess. Introduce yourself and your date to new people, be sure to thank any staff that may be available when they assist you, and make pleasant conversation on appropriate topics. Avoid hot-button issues like religion or politics, unless you are able to make it a respectful conversation. Most of all, be sure that you thank your host or hostess at the end of the evening.
-Exercise basic table manners-
If the party is a dinner party, do not shout down the table to chat with someone, eat slowly, do not talk with your mouth full, and do not reach for things you need. Just remember all those things your parents enforced at the dinner table and you will be fine. If you are faced with multiple utensils, just work from the outside in – and it is better to ask someone the proper etiquette than to do it wrong, so if you have doubts, discretely ask what is correct.
A formal party calls for formal clothing. For women, this means a nice dress, shoes, and jewelry. Hair should be styled, and most women will probably wear makeup. For men, this means at least a suit, though some parties may require tuxedos.
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