Pimm’s on the grass, strawberries and cream, floral dresses, sandwiches, and if you’re very lucky, a male specimen cooking sausages and burgers on the barbecue (BBQ not an essential requirement for this). It all sounds delightfully British and as such, our girl Kate will be accustomed to a British summer garden party (growing up amongst the very middle class and a private education means she WILL be very well acquainted with the art of a British garden party) and I’m sure she’s used to the etiquette that is expected of a guest if it’s an important event or for a cause. Even if the garden party you’ve been invited to isn’t at Buckingham Palace with the royals, life is short and there’s nothing stopping you from treating it like it is!
+ Always RSVP whether you plan to attend or not. It makes things ten times easier on the host if they know how many people to expect.
+ Although not necessary, a small token gesture of wine, a dessert, or a side dish will go down well, and they don’t have to be expensive. If you’re unsure of what to bring, call and ask the host if there’s anything in particular they would appreciate – it’s always Pimm’s O’clock! Note: If you do not know what Pimm’s is, it’s a British drink, associated with tennis, the posh, and summer.
+ Don’t arrive before the specified time even if you are an ‘early’ person, like me. It’s that time for a reason – you never know what state the house or the host could be in before that time! I once arrived when the host had just got out of the shower.
+ Similarly, don’t outstay your welcome. If it’s already been planned to end at a certain time, make sure you have arrangements to go home at that time, they can always be adjusted if things change.
+ If a dress code has not been specified, ask, but if you can’t get hold of the host for some reason then remember that it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed but don’t go too overboard when it’s clearly not a black tie event.
+ Don’t overfill your plate. Nothing is stopping you from going up for seconds later on.
+ Offer your services to fill glasses. If one person does it, you’ll usually find other people will chip in and take over that role after you.
+ Socialise! You never know who you might meet! That friend of a friend of a friend may just be the key to the next big thing in your life.
+ Clean up after yourself, like you would in your own house. You don’t have to stretch as far as doing the dishes, but you can help with taking plates and glasses back to the kitchen or help to clear up any bottles.
+ If there’s alcohol, know your limits and don’t be THAT person, unless of course, it’s supposed to be THAT sort of party. I’m sure we’re all accustomed to THAT sort of party.