Formal dinner parties can be intimidating, but as long as guests know what to expect, these affairs can be fun-filled and entertaining.

To survive formal dinner parties, follow these helpful tips.

  • RSVP - Once the RSVP arrives, it's polite to respond as soon as possible, preferably within a few days or a week after receiving the invitation. This helps make it easy for hosts to plan venue, meal and drink accommodations.
  • Dress - Dressing appropriately is a vital part of being a good formal dinner party guest. If the event is formal, then a suit and tie are likely appropriate, but if the event is casual, it's still important to appear professional. This means leaving yoga pants at home and donning an outfit that is classy and tactful. This also shows appreciation and respect towards hosts.
  • Ask - Instead of assuming or feeling anxious, just ask hosts questions. If the attire is not stated, simply ask if the event will be formal, professional or casual. While invitations should contain all the necessary event details, if anything is not addressed, simply ask beforehand.
  • Time - It's respectful to arrive on time to events. Keeping hosts waiting is rude and inconsiderate. However, it's also just as important to not arrive early, as hosts are likely finishing up last-minute details.
  • Gift - Always bring a thoughtful gift, such as wine, an assorted cheese platter or a dessert. Bringing a small token shows appreciation and thoughtfulness.
  • Social - Being social is a key aspect of showing respect for hosts and guests. Don't sit in a corner. Formal dinner parties are social affairs so consider seeking out a friend or an acquaintance. 
  • Etiquette - Basic etiquette applies at formal parties, including chewing with mouths closed, being considerate of others, not taking more food than one can eat, putting napkins in laps to avoid spills, etc.
  • Place Settings - Knowing the way around formal dinner settings is necessary for dinner parties. This includes knowing the differences between the water goblet, red wine and white wine glasses. Formal dinner settings also include a circle charger plate with a dinner plate on top and then a soup bowl. A bread and butter plate with butter spreader is placed in the 10 o'clock position of the dinner plate. The left hand side of the plate features the napkin, salad fork, dinner fork and dessert fork. The right hand side of the plate highlights the dinner knife, teaspoon and soupspoon.
  • Gratitude - Always thank hosts before leaving and say goodbye to everyone.
  • Fun - Most importantly, have fun and enjoy formal events.

Just Charger Plates offers an assortment of formal charger plates, which are perfect for campaign dinners, holidays, charity dinners or formal dinner parties. Classic formal dinner party designs and colors include gold charger plates, glass charger plates and wood charger plates.