How to Be a Great Party Guest


As a catering server, I have worked a lot of parties. From tailgate barbecues at a college to a wedding at Cher’s house, my experience runs the gamut. But no matter where I am, no matter what the clientele, no matter what the function, there is one constant that remains true: some people know how to be a great party guest. And some do not.

So in case you are wondering, “Oh my! Am I somebody that the servers are talking about in the kitchen! Have I committed a faux-pas!”, I have laid out five simple rules on how not to be a schmuck.

Enjoy and You’re welcome.

1) Unless you are the guest of honor, calm down

Contrary to the bullshit customer service whores feed the system, you are actually not always right. You are also not the only person that matters. When there are 400 people all wanting drinks and hors d’ouevres, you are not special. And you can wait your damn turn. Unless you are tipping the server; money will get you everywhere.

2) Hyberbole will get you nowhere

Unless you just arrived off the boat from Africa or stumbled in off Skid Row, you actually ARE NOT “starving.” So when your server comes by with some grilled figs on cambozola cheese, they will give you one. But save the histrionics for your therapist. It’s really not necessary.

3) The Buffet is not the place to put dirty dishes

That one is self explanatory. Oh, and the reason that each dish has a tong is so that you use it. Keep your fingers out of where everyone else is going to eat, you douche.

4) Beware! (and Be Aware)

If a server is coming towards you with a tray of dirty glasses, get out of the way. No seriously. Move. We may be “invisible” to you, but have some awareness. Unless you want someone’s half drunken Jack and Coke all over your dress. Also, when our tray is full, that is not the moment to try and give us your plate. We will be back. This is our job. And I know you may think you are being helpful, but DO NOT place your items on the tray. Hand them to us. Balancing a tray is like playing Jenga. And at any moment, it can all come crashing down.

Oh, and if the party is over and you and your group of five friends are the only ones left on the dance floor and you see about 25 servers lined up around the perimeter of the room with annoyed scowls on their faces, leave. Most events cannot be cleaned up until everyone is gone. So get gone. It’s 1:30 am. You are drunk. The bar is closed. The DJ is starting to play songs he played two hours ago. The party is over, dude.

5) Servers are people too

“Oh my God. Are the celebrities totally snobby?” Actually, no. When you have money – and have had it for awhile – you are accustomed to being waited on; therefore, know how to treat “the help.” It’s the people who are decked out in their Sunday finest for the first time in years or the ones with “new money” who don’t know how to behave. These are the ones who feel they are entitled to service – and can treat the servers anyway they please. The wealthy and the famous are incredibly polite. Please. Thank you. They are almost apologetic in their requests. (At least with the famous, it is probably from first hand knowledge, remembering their lean years as a server themselves…) They want to know your name. Treat you as an equal. Laugh with you. It is the bourgeoise people who want to remain distant, to remind themselves that they are (one-step) “better” than you. At least for the night. At midnight, you will turn back into pumpkins. So check yourself. Because we are human. Even if we are holding a tray.