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HomeArticlesParty Etiquette

Party Etiquette

Local Etiquette Expert, Sue Ann Brown answer questions about everything you need to know about having good party manners.

Whether you’re hosting a party or attending one, you may be wondering—do people really RSVP anymore? What about goodie bags, are those still a thing? Do I need to stay with my child at the party? Can I ask if siblings are invited?

We asked local Etiquette Expert, Sue Ann Brown, founder of “It’s All About Etiquette” and a consultant and leader in etiquette training services, some of these questions and more. Here’s everything you need to know about having good party manners in today’s day and age:

Should you RSVP? If you receive an invitation to a party, you should RSVP no later than three days from receiving the invite. This helps the host to plan for the party.

Should you provide a goody bag if you are hosting a party? The host is not expected to provide a favor, but giving out a goody bag is a nice gesture. It does not have to be expensive, and it’s a nice way to say to your guests, “Thank you for coming to my party.”

When should parents stay at the party and when should they leave? A parent should stay with their child if they are five and under as they may need more individual care and supervision. Also, they may experience separation anxiety. You can drop off your child if he/she is mature enough, trustworthy and socially comfortable around others.
Do you know the host and some of the kids at the party? You may want to hang around at the party to make sure you both feel comfortable and then leave the party.

If someone asks for no gifts, should you still bring one? If the invite says, “no gifts,” do not bring one, as it will make the other guests feel uncomfortable that they did not bring a gift.

What if you don’t want gifts but rather would like to ask for money instead? To ask your guests to give money depends on the occasion and how well you know the recipient. Giving money toward a charity, a wedding gift, or a graduation is acceptable.

Can you ask if a sibling can attend the birthday party? If your child’s name is not on the invitation, then I would assume they are not invited. It would depend on the location, the closeness of the family, and the activities taking place at the party.

Should thank you notes be sent or is a text or email acceptable? It depends on the get together. If this was a pizza party and was very casual with your friends, it is okay to text or email a thank you. If the party was more formal, a hand written note is necessary.

Other Tips and Advice.

  • Be on time for the party, greet the host, and leave on time. Do not forget to thank the host and say good-bye.
  • Once you RSVP you are committed to attend the party unless you have a family emergency or you are ill.
  • Before the party, sit down with your child and tell him/her to be on their best behavior. No running in the house, no shoes on the furniture, don’t eat three pieces of cake, and use “please”, “thank you” and “you’re welcome”, and ask to help clean up.

SueAnn Brown
SueAnn Brown
SueAnn Brown is the founder of “It’s All About Etiquette” and a consultant and leader in etiquette training services nationally. As a certified Etiquette Instructor, she presents seminars to corporate executives, business organizations, private clubs, and individuals of all ages. Her goal is to enhance individuals, groups, and organizations by teaching proven continental and international etiquette training and techniques. For more information visit



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