Gift Etiquette

Dinner Parties

Receiving an invitation to a dinner or cocktail party is exciting. It provides the opportunity to meet up with associates, family, and friends. If you want to be invited back, make sure you remember a few essential dinner party gift etiquette rules. Our party gift dos and don’ts list provides a useful etiquette guide for guests who want to get the perfect gift for the host or hostess of a dinner party.

Cocktail Party Gift Etiquette


Give a useful gift for the future. Find something the host might find useful for a party in the future. Not only are you giving your host something useful, your thoughtful gift etiquette has given them a reason to invite you to a future party. A book of party themes, an appropriate game, or other party-related items will be very much appreciated.

Give a useful gift for the present. Bring a gift the host can use at the party you’ve been invited to, but only if they are likely to appreciate it. If they are a meticulous party planner, they might not appreciate an unplanned item.

If fitting your style, feel free to bring a tasteful joke gift. Don’t committee a gift etiquette foul by bringing something offensive.


Bring something that will take the host’s attention from their party duties (such as anything that might require assembly or has complex instructions).

Dinner Party Gift Etiquette


Bring something that can be used in the meal or could be an ingredient for meals in the future. If you really want to show off your gift etiquette, bring that kitchen tool you think is great. Things like napkin rings or cloth napkins are always appreciated.

Bring anything that is fun, that can be used to entertain guests before the meal is ready. Don’t use them at the party your invited to unless you have the host’s permission.

Check with the host to see if they need anything you can bring.


Buy flowers as you are driving to the party. Committing this violation of gift etiquette will require the host to find a vase and tend to the flowers instead of attending to their other party duties.

Bring a food item that must be eaten at the party you are invited to. The host has gone to the trouble of planning and creating a menu and may not appreciate the unplanned addition.

Bring candles that have a scent. A strongly scented candle at the table can have a negatively impact the scent of the meal.