The three golden rules for successful hosting are :

  • Relax and have fun; after all, that’s what entertaining is about.
  • Resist anything too adventurous or extravagant.
  • Keep it simple because more often than not, less is more.
  1. On the invitation, make sure you state clearly the venue address, time of arrival and any dress code. Be sure to include a RSVP and an email or telephone number so your guests can indicate, as soon as possible, whether they will be able to attend.
  2. Lunch is usually at 1pm while dinner is served between 7.30pm – 8.30pm. Do serve finger foods during cocktails (usually half hour before dinner) and have non-alcoholic drinks available.
  3. When planning seating arrangements, give some thought to choosing personalities who will mix well.
  4. As a rule, the most important guest should sit on the right of the host. When appropriate, try to alternate men and women.  Using place cards will ensure your guests are seated in the preferred arrangement.
  5. Choose your menu carefully. Think about whom you are inviting and what their tastes are.  Take into account anyone who is vegetarian, who has a food allergy and has any halal requirements.  Always provide for unexpected guests.
  6. Three courses are customary, although sorbets and water ices can be introduced to cleanse the palette.
  7. When serving coffee or tea, remember some people prefer decaffeinated coffee or herbal teas. Don’t allow guests to drive home after one too many drinks.
  8. Door gifts and photos are great for remembering the event.


  1. Within 3 days on receiving the invitation card, please call or email to RSVP. Numbers are important to the host.  Food, wine and seating depend upon it.
  2. Dress accordingly. This is a sign of respect to the host.
  3. It is advisable to be punctual, although acceptable to be ten minutes late (no more).
  4. It is polite to take along a small gift for the host or hostess, such as flowers, wine, after-dinner chocolates or champagne.
  5. Should your host present a completely inedible dish, at least make some attempt at disguising your disgust; cut it up and move it around your plate a little – perhaps no one will notice.
  6. Make polite conversation (however small) with the person to your right and left, and make sure you give both sides equal attention. It can be difficult if you are next to a boring person but it happens to everyone.
  7. Some foods are notoriously difficult. Get the cue from the host on how to tackle these.
  8. Write or email and thank your hosts. You will be in the minority by doing so, but you will stand out from the crowd and make a good impression.