The Dinner Party Table Faux Pas Martha Stewart Strongly Advises Against

Martha Stewart smiling
Martha Stewart smiling - Jason Mendez/Getty Images

There's nothing quite like an intimate gathering of your favorite people sitting together under one roof and enjoying a nice meal. We are talking about a classic dinner party, of course. The Washington Post's Miss Manners recently claimed that "[a dinner party is] the second-most pleasurable activity human beings can indulge in together."

When it comes to how you should and should not behave at a dinner party, Martha Stewart might just be the expert. In an interview with Andy Cohen on "Watch What Happens Live," Stewart shared ways to be the perfect dinner party guest and how to look out for behaviors that might rescind your invite to the next event. One extremely frustrating dinner party faux pas is when a guest alters the host's table layout. If there are no assigned seats, feel free to wander and mingle with guests while people eat. But under no circumstance should you move intentionally placed placards around.

Stewart shared from personal experience that one switch can really mess up your host's plans. One Thanksgiving, her daughter changed all the seating assignments without telling anyone, which "did not go over so well" in the Stewart household. When providing meals for friends in a traditional dinner party setting, hosts often need to know which plates are for which guests. Considering dietary restrictions and taste preferences is one thing, but the host also likely had a plan for how guests will mingle and enjoy each other's company, and it's best not to mess with that.

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This Dinner Party Habit Might Actually Make Things Harder For Your Host

Group of people surrounding present
Group of people surrounding present - Azmanjaka/Getty Images

When attending a dinner party, everyone should agree that the host knows best, even when it comes to seating arrangements. You may have been guilty of quickly trading places with one or two other guests after spotting who you are seated around. It's not uncommon to have a partygoer or two who don't quite get along, but placards are typically assigned for a reason. Endure the company around your assigned seat and then speak to your friend privately afterward about a change for future dinner parties. Very likely, the host placed you somewhere on purpose. Either you and those around you share similar interests and pastimes, or the host might intend for you and the person you aren't so fond of to get to know each other better over a nice dinner.

In addition to abiding by the host's seating arrangement, you might also want to show your appreciation by bringing a gift. Stewart claimed that bringing a hostess gift is still very much the gold standard, even when the host insists they have everything they need. Stewart claimed her go-to dinner party gift is a dozen eggs from her chicken coup. You want to avoid dinner party gifts that make the host feel obligated to shift their menu, especially if you were not asked to bring an additional dish.

Don't Be Too Late (Or Too Early)

Dinner party guests laughing
Dinner party guests laughing - Filadendron/Getty Images

If you plan to host a dinner party, Mondays are the best days for this entertaining style. Just keep in mind that your guests may not arrive until a little while past the start time. Being fashionably late is still very much in style -- Martha Stewart even recommended that guests give the host a few minutes to put the finishing touches on things before arriving. Emily Post Etiquette agrees, claiming that 15 minutes or so after the agreed-upon arrival time is still polite; however, any longer is a bit rude. Hosts are advised not to wait on absent guests for too long. If you arrive an hour after the party begins, expect your food plate to be cold.

While a late dinner party guest is a tad irritating, an early one may be more difficult. If you are expecting someone who is running behind, Stewart permits a host to push the latecomer's seat to the end of the table and continue entertaining. However, Emily Post warns that an early guest can hinder the host's ability to prepare for the party and overwhelm them before the gathering begins. When in doubt, take a few extra minutes to get ready; your host might appreciate those extra minutes of calm before the storm.

Read the original article on Daily Meal