Party Etiquette Is Always In Style - Some people think party etiquette is a forgotten art, but everyone appreciates good manners. It is the little niceties that make parties successful and leave guests feeling fulfilled and satisfied. Party etiquette is never out of vogue, and polite people are always in style.
Here is an etiquette primer with mannerly advice from experienced party planners:
Invitations - The old journalists' imperative of "who, what, where, when, why and how" can be applied to invitations. State up front who is issuing the invitation and why. Be clear about the nature of the occasion -- anniversary, birthday, pool party, formal dinner -- and what kind of attire is appropriate. Don't forget to mention the day, date and time of the event, as well as the street address and a map to the party location. The most important detail is to make it easy for guests to reply by telephone and/or email.
RSVPs - Just because your invitation says "RSVP" doesn't mean you should expect guests to respond. In fact, the top complaint from professional party planners is people who don't bother to RSVP. It's OK to make some calls a few days before the party to round up the strays; however, it is never polite to point out the etiquette faux pas of others, so keep your tone warm, inviting and friendly.
Table Settings - A proper table setting tells guests when to use each utensil during the meal. Forks on the left, spoons and knives on the right. Items used first are set in the outermost position away from the plate, and utensils used later in the meal are gradually set closer to the plate. Small dessert forks or spoons may be placed horizontally above the dinner plate or set directly on the dessert plate.
Winding Down - Here is how to subtly inform guests when the party has come to an end. Reduce the volume of music or other media in the room by half, and raise lighting levels slightly. Make the rounds with coffee, chilled water and non-alcoholic beverages to help guests realize the party is winding down. Don't forget to thank everyone who brought a gift, and the best party etiquette is to say "Thank you for coming to my party!"