CK & GK Podcast

Become a Dinner Party Pro: Etiquette Tips from CK & GK

April 18, 2023 Jenny GK and Caitlin Kindred Season 2 Episode 65
Become a Dinner Party Pro: Etiquette Tips from CK & GK
CK & GK Podcast
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CK & GK Podcast
Become a Dinner Party Pro: Etiquette Tips from CK & GK
Apr 18, 2023 Season 2 Episode 65
Jenny GK and Caitlin Kindred

Send us a Text!

It's not about the spill, it's how you handle the spill. - Caitlin 

When CK is invited to a dinner party, she must battle her own clumsy tendencies as she strives to be the ideal guest and not offend her gracious hosts. GK loves hosting (often creatively themed) dinner parties and ensuring her guests leave with a smile.

Do you dream of hosting remarkable dinner parties? Are you in need of proper etiquette and planning to make it a night to remember? CK & GK are here to provide the answer. Learn how to create an unforgettable dining experience with the right etiquette and planning!

Listen to be able to

  • Master the art of dinner party hosting and guest etiquette for unforgettable social events.
  • Tackle dietary restrictions with ease, designing all-inclusive menus that satisfy everyone's tastes.
  • Create seating arrangements for optimal guest engagement and comfortable conversations.
  • Gauge the perfect cocktail hour length while offering a variety of drink options to suit all preferences.
  • Establish graceful plate-clearing practices and post-meal cleanup procedures to leave a lasting impression.

The resources mentioned in this episode are:

Get more insights in this episode's blog post, here. 

The best support is a rating and a share.


Support the Show.

View our website at . Find us on social media @ckandgkpodcast on
- Twitter
- Instagram
- Facebook
- TikTok
Thanks, y'all!

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text!

It's not about the spill, it's how you handle the spill. - Caitlin 

When CK is invited to a dinner party, she must battle her own clumsy tendencies as she strives to be the ideal guest and not offend her gracious hosts. GK loves hosting (often creatively themed) dinner parties and ensuring her guests leave with a smile.

Do you dream of hosting remarkable dinner parties? Are you in need of proper etiquette and planning to make it a night to remember? CK & GK are here to provide the answer. Learn how to create an unforgettable dining experience with the right etiquette and planning!

Listen to be able to

  • Master the art of dinner party hosting and guest etiquette for unforgettable social events.
  • Tackle dietary restrictions with ease, designing all-inclusive menus that satisfy everyone's tastes.
  • Create seating arrangements for optimal guest engagement and comfortable conversations.
  • Gauge the perfect cocktail hour length while offering a variety of drink options to suit all preferences.
  • Establish graceful plate-clearing practices and post-meal cleanup procedures to leave a lasting impression.

The resources mentioned in this episode are:

Get more insights in this episode's blog post, here. 

The best support is a rating and a share.


Support the Show.

View our website at . Find us on social media @ckandgkpodcast on
- Twitter
- Instagram
- Facebook
- TikTok
Thanks, y'all!

00:00:00 - Jenny GK

It's tuesday, tuesday, gotta get down on tuesday. Yay.

00:00:10 - Caitlin Kindred

It's Tuesday. We're so glad you're here.

00:00:13 - Jenny GK

You heard of Rebecca Black? Now you got Jenny Green Kujawa.

00:00:19 - Caitlin Kindred

I was waiting for that joke to come. I was gonna let you make it.

00:00:23 - Jenny GK

You didn't make it with a ladder.

00:00:24 - Caitlin Kindred

Like if or 6 seconds, I would have done it. I know, right? It was there. It was coming, y'all. We're so glad you're here today. Today we're talking about dinner party etiquette, both for the host and for the guests. So now that people are being social again, we've got some tips for how to not do things that annoy the bejesus out of people who are at the dinner party with you.

00:00:48 - Jenny GK

Right. And today we have Caitlin, who is the ultimate dinner party guest. She can work the room like an extrovert or she can sit in the corner with you while you introvert.

00:00:57 - Caitlin Kindred

Oh, I love that. I can also sit in the corner and eat all of the guacamole. And I will be the one who goes and finds your pet at the party. So I'm really good at those things. Also good at taking something from a level of funny to a level of now everyone's uncomfortable with the joke that I just made. So if you're really into that, have me over. Really good at those things. Jenny over there you are, my beautiful, sassy mannequin all come to life.

00:01:29 - Jenny GK

I love it. Like that movie that had wasn't it called the mannequin? There was a movie called mannequin. I am thinking of the christmas movie that my sister loved that had the name of the movie is like, life size or something, but it's like a barbie that comes to life.

00:01:44 - Caitlin Kindred

Life size? Yeah. Is it a christmas movie? Didn't tyra Banks tyra banks didn't tyra banks do a movie like that? She did a movie where she was like a life size barbie. Speaking of barbie, this is completely unrelated. We have to go see the barbie movie. We have to go see it. It's our friend date. We're going to go do it. We just talked about dating your friends. This is what we're going to do anyway. Okay, let's catch up. All right. What's going on?

00:02:09 - Jenny GK

I went to go get my hair done. Those of you who are listeners and have been with us since the beginning, you know that I get my hair cut at a place that is above a grocery store and specializes in men's cuts and fades because that's the name of the place. And I wasn't able to get in to get my roots worked on, my roach roots, I wasn't able to get those worked on before coming back from christmas break. And because I'm a little bit vain and I don't want the kids to see all of my growth, I just colored my hair red in the kitchen sink, like with a box from target. And even as I'm doing it, my eleven year old daughter is saying, mom, Letty is going to get mad at you. You know you should not be coloring your hair. Last time you did this, she yelled at you. So I come in and as I walk in to cuts and fades and have a seat, she looks at me while she's working with another customer and says, where are your highlights? Did you colored your hair again?

00:03:16 - Caitlin Kindred


00:03:17 - Jenny GK

And I just looked at her and I said, well, Abby said that you were going to be mad. She says, yeah, I'm mad. Good girl, Abby.

00:03:23 - Caitlin Kindred


00:03:25 - Jenny GK

For the rest of the three and a half hour appointment, she is berating me on coloring my own hair and saying, don't do it. I don't know what's in those boxes, I don't know what kind of chemicals you put on there. I could accidentally turn your hair orange and then you'll be mad at me, even though it's not my fault. She says, next time you are about to walk into Target, you come here and I will just fit you in between people. It might take all day, but I will color your hair. Do not do anything impulsive again.

00:03:54 - Caitlin Kindred


00:03:55 - Jenny GK

And then she does my color, she does my highlights, cut, whatever, and she's styling me and she gave me a middle part.

00:04:06 - Caitlin Kindred


00:04:06 - Jenny GK

So I haven't had a middle part since middle.

00:04:09 - Caitlin Kindred

Have you come over to the dark side? Do you love it? Right?

00:04:12 - Jenny GK

I think I might love it. Do I love it because it's trendy or do I actually love it? I don't know. I keep thinking of Rogers and Hammerstein's. Kindred, do I love you because you're beautiful? I don't know.

00:04:27 - Caitlin Kindred


00:04:30 - Jenny GK

Because I love you. But I'm into it right now.

00:04:35 - Caitlin Kindred

So here's the thing. I've always been into a middle part, but only if my hair is straight. If my hair is curly, I don't like how it just kind of turns into a triangle.

00:04:47 - Jenny GK

I cannot empathize with it though, because my hair is straight all the time.

00:04:51 - Caitlin Kindred

Yeah, no, my hair has some texture. It's curly most of the time. And you can't tell right now because it's up in this hot mess of a bun, but if it's straight, I will middle part it every time. I love how that look is. And I've always for forever. And when I go get it done yeah, you are middle parting. When I go get it done, I always even with a Bot, I'm always like, no middle part down the middle. And she's like, but you came in and it was off to the side. And I'm like that's because it was dirty and curly. Like, no, part it down the middle. That's how I want it done. Because otherwise it doesn't sit right when I part it down the middle. So, yeah, I'm glad you're here. It's a great place to be. If you like it, you like it, and if you don't, I rock both the side part and the middle. So do you.

00:05:33 - Jenny GK

I'm keeping my skinny jeans, though. I will wear a blanket scarf.

00:05:37 - Caitlin Kindred

Those aren't going anywhere.

00:05:38 - Jenny GK

Every time the temperature drops below 50 degrees.

00:05:44 - Caitlin Kindred

Oh, well, if we're talking about things that are like, kind of outdated, have we already talked about the new show on Bravo, the SWV and Escape show? Escape show. Do you remember SWV and do you remember Escape, those RMB girl groups from the 90s?

00:06:02 - Jenny GK

But I do not remember SWV.

00:06:05 - Caitlin Kindred

Think free Willie. There's that song that has the girls singing with Michael Jackson in the background and it's The Love Will Be Right Here song. That's SWV. Okay. So I loved both of these groups when I was a kid. And if you are not a Bravo person, you should know that Candy Burris, who is the lead singer of Escape, is one of The Real Housewives of Atlanta.

00:06:29 - Jenny GK

Also, spoiler alert, she may or may not have been on The Mask Singer.

00:06:35 - Caitlin Kindred

Yes. Didn't she win The Mask Singer?

00:06:37 - Jenny GK

She totes won, and John called it out for the first episode. He was like, oh, it's that chick from Real Housewives. He was like, Fly above you can.

00:06:47 - Caitlin Kindred

Tell it's her, right? Exactly. Fly above all the haters. Exactly. That okay. So Candy and the girls from Escape and SWV, the three person group, have decided that they are going to come together to create a reality show on Bravo TV. And it's them, like, on tour and figuring out the logistics of their show.

00:07:14 - Jenny GK

When our powers combine.

00:07:16 - Caitlin Kindred

Right. They are rehearsing their R and B shows or RMB songs from The Jamming and loving the drama at the same time. This is the stuff of my ninety S R and B dreams. I am so happy that this show exists. And my husband, who also has a Bravo thing, we both just really love it. He was like, I need to watch that show. Just from the previews. I'm interested, I'm ready, I'm ready. And I'm like, yeah, you are. You're going to watch it. And me having a personal, deep connection to the music that I lived as a kid is like, yeah, we're watching it. And he's like, no, I'm just here for the entertainment value. I need to watch that show. So we started watching it, and it is exactly what my heart hoped it would be. So that's one of my obsessions right now. I love it. It's so good. It's SWV and escape on Bravo TV. Escape.

00:08:13 - Jenny GK

All right, so here comes my favorite part of the show. This is the gem of the week. This is your opportunity to either laugh alongside me or at me, and in this case, it is at me. As our dedicated listeners know, both my children play flag football.

00:08:29 - Caitlin Kindred


00:08:30 - Jenny GK

The update to this season is John is coaching both teams, the four year olds and the eleven year old girls. Right? Just pick two. A lot of work, more difficult teams to coach. All right. We've got preschoolers and we've got middle school girls. Okay. So he was out in the front yard throwing the ball around with both kids. Abby uses a slightly smaller than regulation ball and Kit, the four year old, his ball is very small because they have very small hands. So small, in fact, that it fits in the storm drain.

00:09:14 - Caitlin Kindred

Oh, no.

00:09:15 - Jenny GK

Well, in my mind, the ball goes down the storm drain, it's lost. Sorry. Right. Like, not a big deal. It's not going to impact our ecosystem. Eventually it'll flush out. Maybe it'll even come out in the pond by the end of our house, and we could pull it out of the pond. I don't know. But the ball is gone. No. John goes back into the house, gets all the tools that he needs to then remove the manhole cover and send Abby down like she's some coal miner in Pennsylvania to go get the ball out of the storm drain. I only noticed as he was putting the manhole cover back on, so I couldn't even stop it. I was like, you did what? Oh, it's fine. She had to bend over when she got in there. It's not that deep. You just put our kid in the drain. Please don't put my children in the sewer.

00:10:19 - Caitlin Kindred

Okay, hold on. Is it now and then? Is it now and then where? She goes into the storm? Is it now and then? Yeah. And you hear, like, what's her name?

00:10:33 - Jenny GK

Teeny Teensy.

00:10:34 - Caitlin Kindred

She's, like, crying and, like, the bands. Oh, my goodness. No. I'm like, I have to fan myself. It's fine.

00:10:42 - Jenny GK

Well, then doesn't matter when the skies open up and it rains forever. And so I was just like, look, right? Could have happened.

00:10:50 - Caitlin Kindred

Oh, my God.

00:10:51 - Jenny GK

It's fine. It was dry. She could touch. She could reach out the top.

00:10:56 - Caitlin Kindred

Oh, man. Okay, well, sorry. I'm like fanny.

00:11:01 - Jenny GK

I'm so glad that I caught anxiety.

00:11:04 - Caitlin Kindred


00:11:04 - Jenny GK

I would not have let it happen.

00:11:07 - Caitlin Kindred

Right, because you would have been no, you would have been freaking out.

00:11:11 - Jenny GK

Put my kids in the sewer. He put my kids in the sewer.

00:11:15 - Caitlin Kindred

Thank goodness she's tall. I would have gotten lost. She's almost as tall as me. Oh, goodness. If not taller at this point. Okay, so full disclosure here. I don't know the context around this story. I only know the two lines that I heard from the story. I can gather that it happened around the time that we were supposed to be heading towards bedtime. So, like, at our house, it's like, finish the homework, take a few more minutes to relax. Timer goes off, and then it's off. The timer is telling us it's time to clean up and go wash, like, have a bath, have a shower, whatever it is, and then we're going to start the wind down process.

00:12:01 - Jenny GK

What time does that timer go off? Like, for me, it's like 230, maybe three in the afternoon. Biological timer, right. It's just that idea that like, oh, it's time for me to wind down. I need to go to sleep.

00:12:15 - Caitlin Kindred

Yes. Oh, man. Well, while my mind and body are telling me that 230 is the right time, my child is still at school with that, so I can't really use that. But like, 657 o'clock is when we start that wind down process for our family. So right around that time, I'm like doing the dishes so you can't really hear everything that's happening going on behind me, which is why I don't have the full context for the story. But I turn off the sink just in time to hear my husband go to our son. Boy, you sure made that difficult. And without skipping a beat, my son goes, yeah, well, Difficult is my middle name.

00:13:02 - Jenny GK

Accurate, right?

00:13:06 - Caitlin Kindred

Sam difficult. That works perfectly. We're going to change your initials. We'll add it to your list of nicknames. No problem. So if you are wondering if your child has difficult as a middle name, there's a good chance that they might have already given it to themselves. And you're not alone in that situation because that was rough.

00:13:27 - Jenny GK

It makes me think of that comic where the dog says, hi, I'm no, no. Bad dog.

00:13:33 - Caitlin Kindred


00:13:37 - Jenny GK

Poor baby dog.

00:13:42 - Caitlin Kindred

Oh, man. Oh, goodness. Well, that's the gems, folks. Let's move into some real talk for this week. So we mentioned earlier that we're talking about dinner party etiquette, like how to be a good host and how to be a good guest. I'm going to preface this by saying that I did not make all of this up. However, I am adding my own color commentary to this, as Jenny will be. But I loved these tips. I thought they were really smart. This is from an article on Pure wow. By Sydney meester or Meister, I'm not sure. But I will link that article in the show description so you can read it for yourself. She had some dinner party and some sort of experts also contributing to her article. So some of what I'm going to say is not necessarily just my idea, but I am organizing this a little bit differently because I feel like it's important to draw a distinction between some of these behaviors as a guest and some of them was June Cleaver, which doesn't happen. Yes.

00:14:45 - Jenny GK

What about Emily Post?

00:14:47 - Caitlin Kindred

She was not. No. There is someone who does mention an Emily Post thing in the article. I did not talk about Emily Post. However, I of course, looked for that name and yes, it's there. Okay, so I'm going to say this. We tell our child that good manners are how you keep yourself from being embarrassed in a social situation. Right. And that is just like if you have good manners, you can hopefully ward off some social embarrassment. Now, if you're me, you have good manners and you still know how to make things awkward for your guests and for the people around you. So maybe that's just who you are. That said, a lot of this just comes down to just thinking about someone else in the moment, right? Okay. So I'm going to start with the guest side of things for how you should behave at these dinner parties. Remember, we're thinking dinner party or like cocktail party. We're not thinking like a rager, which I don't know how many of us are going to those if you're one of our audience members, you probably have left those days long. Okay? So as a guest, the number one rule is don't offend the person who was kind enough to invite you into their home.

00:16:01 - Jenny GK

That's a great rule.

00:16:03 - Caitlin Kindred

Right. So if it's a dinner party, I'm going to start by saying we are in the era of the dietary restriction, right?

00:16:12 - Jenny GK


00:16:12 - Caitlin Kindred

People are mindful of what they can and cannot eat for health reasons, but also for their own personal reasons, whatever those may be. Okay. That said, the host is not responsible for you among all of their other guests. They can do the best that they can, but you don't need to be pushy with your dietary restrictions. Right. They're probably going to ask, they might say like, well, I'm going to have this, but I also know that XYZ is vegan, so I'm going to also have that. Right. But you don't need to be pushy about it. If you are on a strict eating regimen by choice, I'm going to say eat what you can on the plate and then don't draw attention to why you chose not to eat it, especially in front of the host. Right. Just don't do that. If you're concerned about being hungry, either eat a little snack beforehand, eat your dinner beforehand, or just decline the invitation and say, like, you know, I have really strict dietary needs and I just can't I appreciate the sentiment. Let's get together and do XYZ some other time.

00:17:22 - Jenny GK

Right. As a host, like strive for inclusion.

00:17:26 - Caitlin Kindred


00:17:27 - Jenny GK

Nothing can be as isolating as food and you're sitting at a table and everybody has the same plate, it doesn't feel great if you can't eat it. So when you invite someone, ask them, do you have dietary restrictions? What are your dietary needs? Make it open that conversation so that someone doesn't have to come to you now. If you ask the question, you got to adhere to it.

00:17:51 - Caitlin Kindred

Yeah, you can't just be like, oh, I know you told me you're vegan, but everything here is made with milk and butter and eggs. Thanks.

00:18:00 - Jenny GK

But if you are a guest and you have strict dietary needs, ask, May I bring Blank? Instead of what can I bring? Right? Can I bring a salad? Can I bring a side? Or straight up, say I have a good friend who is very gluten free, right. Just eating something that was cooked in the same pan is enough for her to have a flare up.

00:18:27 - Caitlin Kindred

Oh, wow.

00:18:28 - Jenny GK

Yeah. And so she brings her own food and she says, I know it's weird, but is it okay if I bring my own food? It's like yeah, as a matter of fact, it is. I'm so happy that you can come.

00:18:42 - Caitlin Kindred

Right. Oh, that works.

00:18:44 - Jenny GK

Yeah. I like it. She explains, right? Like, it's nothing against you. It's nothing against anything that you're making. But I'm highly sensitive, and is it okay if I bring my own food? Yeah, but asking if you can bring a salad or if you can bring a side and you know it's something that you can eat, most of the hosts will say, yeah, I'm making pot roast. Bring something that goes with that.

00:19:07 - Caitlin Kindred

Sure. Makes sense. Okay. This one is for me. We talked about stains in one of our previous episodes, and primarily because you and I both make a mess, please don't use a cloth napkin to clean up your red wine spills. Oh, yeah, no, if it's a cloth napkin or a linen napkin, don't do that, especially with red wine. Now, I am very intentional about red wine, and I don't drink it in public because I know I spill on myself on other things.

00:19:36 - Jenny GK

I did not know that about you.

00:19:37 - Caitlin Kindred

I do not drink red wine in public. I won't do it.

00:19:40 - Jenny GK

Even if it's like if there's, like.

00:19:42 - Caitlin Kindred

A steak in front of me at a restaurant and red wine is what goes with that. Okay, fine. Because I'm at a restaurant and I know they're equipped to handle that sort of thing, but I don't drink one, so good.

00:19:54 - Jenny GK

I also get knowing yourself.

00:19:57 - Caitlin Kindred

Right. I also get, like, purple lips and purple teeth after a sip, so I'm just like, no, I'm not going to do it. I won't touch it.

00:20:06 - Jenny GK

I don't drink more than four shots of tequila in public. How's that?

00:20:13 - Caitlin Kindred

Talk about knowing yourself good. Okay, so I'm just going to say this spills happen. It's not about the spill. It's how you handle the spill. Right.

00:20:25 - Jenny GK

Everyone knows brush ups. Do you know it was like, a little thing you slipped on your finger and you would, like, scrub your teeth after you drank red wine?

00:20:31 - Caitlin Kindred

Yeah, I used it on my lip because I'll have, like, red. Yeah.

00:20:35 - Jenny GK

Do they still make those?

00:20:36 - Caitlin Kindred

I don't know, but I hope so. I'm over here, like, using my finger or, like, the underside of my shirt. Yeah.

00:20:43 - Jenny GK

Did people just say I could just use a regular toothbrush instead of that little finger thing?

00:20:48 - Caitlin Kindred

Not if you're in public. What are you going to do? Excuse me? Like, just start brushing at the table. No.

00:20:54 - Jenny GK

Yeah. Well, you didn't do that thing at the table, did you?

00:20:58 - Caitlin Kindred

Sometimes I'll rub my lip at the table, but it doesn't look as though.

00:21:01 - Jenny GK

I'm talking about the thing that you would, like, slide on your finger.

00:21:03 - Caitlin Kindred


00:21:04 - Jenny GK

And then brush your teeth.

00:21:06 - Caitlin Kindred

No, I don't think I would have done that at the table.

00:21:08 - Jenny GK

Okay. Yeah, sorry.

00:21:09 - Caitlin Kindred

Continue on. No, you're good. So it's more about how you handle that spill. Ask the host what they want you to use to clean it up. Like, if they say, Hang on, let me go get paper towels, don't touch anything. Wait until they get the paper towels. If they say, oh, please don't bother, let me do it. Don't touch it. Let them do it because they probably are saying that for a reason. Please don't try to blot it up and ruin someone's napkins.

00:21:40 - Jenny GK

Okay, so if they are using paper napkins and they are not white, also, do not use them to clean a spill because paper napkins have so much dye in them that when you get them wet, the dye can then go onto the tablecloth or the carpet or whatever it is that you're trying to clean up.

00:22:02 - Caitlin Kindred

You're right.

00:22:04 - Jenny GK

Seriously, just say, hey, I spilled this. Now, here's the other thing. Your napkin should stay in your lap until the host or hostess picks hers up and puts it on the table. If they haven't put their napkin on the table manners. Emily Post says you keep it in your lap.

00:22:21 - Caitlin Kindred

Really? I did not know that.

00:22:24 - Jenny GK

And if you are getting up mid meal, you neatly fold it and put it to the left side of your play setting. Do not leave it on your chair. Do not hang it over the back of your chair. If you're out somewhere of a certain caliber, someone will come back and refold your napkin for you and replace it. But yeah, you don't leave it on the chair.

00:22:45 - Caitlin Kindred

Oh, my goodness. I don't know if I'd noticed, but that's interesting information for me. The other piece of this is if you are someone who wears lipstick, blot it, please. Blot it before you wipe your lipstick on someone's napkin, a cloth napkin. Blot your lipstick or make sure it's that kind that doesn't transfer. That happens, too, but just don't wipe your lipstick on their napkins. Gross. Okay. Another thing, and this one is going to be tough for people, because we all know when you show up at someone's house, especially for some sort of dinner party, you need to bring something for that person. It's like bring a bottle of wine, whatever it is. Here's the problem with that. When you bring something, you need to ensure that it's not something that's going to take up valuable fridge space. This person is hosting a dinner party or a party of some sort where there is food, which means there is more food than normal in their refrigerator, which means the space in the refrigerator is lacking. So if you show up with a bottle of wine that needs to be chilled and say, Here you go, then you're taking that valuable fridge space. Same thing with a six pack which is even bulkier than a bottle of wine. It's not okay to bring something that's going to take up valuable fridge space. And if you're like, oh, I brought the six pack for me to drink, okay? It's a dinner party. They probably put together a menu that has beverages that go along with that. No, you're not. You're not going to drink your six pack while no, you're not, because that's just rude. Don't do that. So consider bringing something else. Bring maybe you can assume this person probably likes to cook, right? Yeah. Head to a local nice grocery store, find a beautiful bottle of vinegar or olive oil at a farmer's market. Or just prime that mess to yourself and be like, oh, look at this gorgeous bottle of extra virgin olive oil. Here you go. That can sit on their counter. They can use it later. They don't have to put it in the fridge. That's a big deal. And if you're going to bring flowers, bring flowers that are already in a vase so that you're not making them stop. Put flowers in a vase during their dinner party and giving them more work to do, right?

00:25:11 - Jenny GK

In our gifts episode, we talked about wrapping these things in a tea towel so that they get a little towel as part of their gift.

00:25:19 - Caitlin Kindred

It's a really good idea. Love that. Also, dinner party and probably cocktail party, too. Don't show up fashionably late, okay? Don't be the guest who shows up an hour late. A cocktail party, you probably have like a ten or 15 minutes window to show up, right? You don't want to be the first one there. I understand that that's always awkward for everyone. However, if it's a dinner party, that means that they're planning to serve food at a certain time and you need to show up on time for that food. If you're the person who is showing up after the meal is supposed to start, come on, don't be that person. It's awful. That's just really bad.

00:26:06 - Jenny GK

And I would say on the flip side, don't be too early either.

00:26:10 - Caitlin Kindred

Oh, yeah.

00:26:11 - Jenny GK

Because if someone is cooking, they're probably using all of that time and trying to time their meal so that it matches the arrival that they set.

00:26:21 - Caitlin Kindred


00:26:22 - Jenny GK

So if they said come at seven and you show up at 630 at my house at 630, I'm not even dressed.

00:26:30 - Caitlin Kindred


00:26:33 - Jenny GK

I am frantically trying to chop or get something in the oven before I go upstairs and get dressed, which is always the last thing I do, because like you, Caitlin, I spill. And I spill a lot when I'm cooking, and I tend to wipe my hands, like on my shirt or on my apron. So don't show up half an hour before I tell you to, right? For you.

00:26:54 - Caitlin Kindred

No, I'm going to use that last 18 minutes to wipe myself down with the baby wipe and then slap some clown paint on my face and get myself ready to go. So the cleanest thing in the house is going to be me, but it's going to be with the baby wipe probably, so just putting that out there. Okay. So those are some guest rules. I'm going to move into host rules now.

00:27:16 - Jenny GK

Sounds great.

00:27:17 - Caitlin Kindred

Okay. As the host, your rule for the night is you are fun facilitator. I understand that you probably feel like head chef also and head server, right. Your front of house and your back of house. I get that.

00:27:33 - Jenny GK

But you're tonight's scheduled entertainment as well, right?

00:27:36 - Caitlin Kindred

You are fun facilitator. Okay. Mandatory fun is happening around you. That is your job. So don't spend all your time in the kitchen. Don't do it. The key to being a great host is not being stuck in the kitchen when all of your guests have arrived. Now, if you have one of those houses like I have, where literally your kitchen is open to the entire living room and you're spending your time in the kitchen, everyone's going to be in there with you. So you're not going to be able to get things done anyway. You might as well have set yourself up for success by being ready to go when people show up and having it arranged and ready. Okay. So choose something that you can make ahead of time, be served in one dish at the table, or if you're fancy and you can get someone to help you with that serving. Right. Get someone to make sure that the food comes out to you at a timely manner. That's another cool way to do that, right. And get dessert taken care of by a professional. Unless you are someone who can bake. I'm a pretty good baker, so I'll say that, but I would rather have something that I could bake ahead of time and then pre, like, cut up or whatever so that I can just have it be served and ready to go. Or just choose coffee. Right? Like, get a professional to do it. Make it something ahead of time, or just serve coffee. And when people are done with their coffee, then you can kick them out. Just make it easy on yourself so that you aren't constantly in the kitchen the entire time and not enjoying your guests because they're there to hang out with you, right?

00:29:09 - Jenny GK


00:29:10 - Caitlin Kindred

There you go. Okay. Don't seek couples together at the table. You're going to be tempted to seek couples together, and some couples are going to be like, they might not know anyone else. Whenever I go to an event and I don't know anyone else, I am stuck, like, white on rice to my husband. Right. Like, that's just how it is. Velcro right, for sure. However, you're trying to facilitate mingling, and you're trying to facilitate conversation, and if you seat couples together, there's a good chance they're going to only talk to each other and not. To other people at the dinner party.

00:29:51 - Jenny GK


00:29:52 - Caitlin Kindred

Yeah. So I'm going to say split couples up, even if it's across the table. And if you can alternate, like male, female. Now, if there are people who are non gender conforming, put them wherever you feel like it makes sense. You can also group people based on common interests. Right. Like Bobby likes podcasting. Oh, no way. Caitlin also likes podcasting. Maybe I should put them next to each other so that they can talk about podcasting. That makes sense. You can do that here. Right. And if the party is larger than four people, it's going to sound cheesy. It's going to sound very Martha Stewart, but use a place card. You can put their name on ornamental gourds if you want to. Or you can just put a sticker. Who cares? Just put it so that people don't go, oh, well, I'll sit here. No, because then you're going to have people sitting next to people that they're comfortable with and not necessarily having that mingling new conversation. Right. And if you're a host, sit at the end of the table.

00:31:00 - Jenny GK


00:31:00 - Caitlin Kindred

That's your job, right? Yeah.

00:31:04 - Jenny GK


00:31:04 - Caitlin Kindred


00:31:06 - Jenny GK

All right. So that if you sit at the head of the table at a restaurant, you are offering to pay according to Emily Post.

00:31:15 - Caitlin Kindred

Whoopsie. Keep that in mind. All right. Don't have an extended cocktail hour.

00:31:24 - Jenny GK

I know where you're going with this, and I'm already starting to feel uncomfortable.

00:31:27 - Caitlin Kindred

Okay. The best episode this is Arguable, so I'm just going to put this out there. The best episode of The Office is The Dinner Party episode. Okay this is the one where the cold open is Michael pretending to cancel late night work and then inviting Pam and Jim over to his house for dinner with Jan. This is the episode where we learn that Michael runs through the glass door because he thought he heard the ice cream truck. This is the one where he dips his food in his red wine. This is the one where he thinks he's being poisoned by Jan because her cooking is so bad that he thinks she's trying to poison him.

00:32:08 - Jenny GK

Sleeps on the bench at the foot of the bed.

00:32:10 - Caitlin Kindred

He sleeps on the bench at the foot of the bed like a joy. Right? She makes bond fire candles. This is the best episode ever. He talks about he pushes the TV into the wall. This is the best episode ever. But remember that Jan is making osabuko and it takes 3 hours for it to cook. So she traps the guests there for 3 hours. She says everything else is done, but the osabuku needs to braid for 3 hours. Oh my gosh. Who does that?

00:32:50 - Jenny GK

Let me tell you this. I love the idea that it's a dish that needs to braise for 3 hours as a potential host meal because you could get it in the oven at 03:00 and then have time to prep and get the table set and yourself ready. And then when your guests arrive, you can just pull it out of the oven and it's ready.

00:33:13 - Caitlin Kindred


00:33:13 - Jenny GK

Do not put something in when people arrive. That takes 3 hours.

00:33:18 - Caitlin Kindred

No. Oh, gosh. So yes, you want to spend time with your friends and family, but they don't want to be held hostage at your house. So think 1 hour max for cocktails. You could even do 30 to 45 minutes and then move on to dinner. You're also going to want to ensure that there is some sort of level of balance between flexibility of what people can do with their time and structured time. Right. So cocktail hour, free floating people throughout the house, whatever it may be, but dinner time scheduled, everyone is seated at the same time and we're all eating together. So have a nice balance there and do not hold your guests hostage for that amount of time.

00:34:01 - Jenny GK

You can consider shaving some time off of this by having fewer drink options. So just I've opened a bottle of wine and I have some sparkling water and just set those out so that people can serve themselves and they see what the options are. Or you could have a few cocktails prepped. Right. Like, I'm offering margaritas tonight. I've already blended them, they're ready to go. Pull the pitcher out of the freezer and say, okay, this is what we have. Would you like one?

00:34:29 - Caitlin Kindred


00:34:29 - Jenny GK

And the answer is yes or no. It's not, oh, well, I'll have this. And next thing you know is you're handcrafting four or five different types of drink, right? Which if you're my dad, he loves that. Like, he lives for it. The bar is open and you can order whatever you want. He has the ingredients and he'll sit there and hang and crack the ice, but that's just who he is.

00:34:48 - Caitlin Kindred

Some people like that, but that's also part of the thing, right? Like, you know that's what you're going for. Whereas if this is a dinner party, it's a different thing. Yeah.

00:34:55 - Jenny GK


00:34:56 - Caitlin Kindred

Okay, so this is my last piece of advice. This is for both people, both host and guest. Do not preemptively clear the plates from the table. So if you're the host, don't start clearing plates when there's people who are still actively eating. If you finish and you see that other people are like starting to wind down, there's napkins coming up on tables. People are sitting back in their chairs, right? Sure. Go ahead and give it a few minutes, maybe ten minutes after everyone's done eating and then you can stand up and start clearing plates. The problem with doing that is that once you do your guests, if they're still eating, they're going to take that as a cue that it's time to wrap it up and they'll either rush through their food or they'll stop eating altogether. And that's not what you want. You don't want anyone to feel rushed with their food, right?

00:35:53 - Jenny GK


00:35:54 - Caitlin Kindred


00:35:54 - Jenny GK

I have a rule when I host dinner that no dishes get done that night, and I even say it when someone offers to help. I say, oh, no, I don't do dishes. The night that I have friends over, I might have someone help me scrape plates and then stack them back on the dining table, but I want to enjoy the evening as well. I'm the fun facilitator, so I just don't do the dishes that night.

00:36:23 - Caitlin Kindred

So then what do you do to get that out of the way? Like, if dishes are on the table, do you just move to a different location in the house? Yeah.

00:36:31 - Jenny GK

So I say, let's go to the living room and have dessert, or we're going to have dessert on the patio and just move to another space for dessert and coffee. I just leave it and say, don't worry about it, we'll take care of it tomorrow. It'll all be there.

00:36:44 - Caitlin Kindred

Love that idea. That's brilliant. If you are the guest and the host is sitting and enjoying their guests and not moving, don't stand up and start cleaning up again. Then the host feels like they haven't done their job of keeping things moving and all of that. You're going to make people feel uncomfortable. Other people will start to feel like they have to clean up. Like, just don't bother. The other thing is, it is okay to offer your host a hand with cleanup. I encourage that.

00:37:18 - Jenny GK

It's expected.

00:37:20 - Caitlin Kindred

Right. However, if they decline your offer and they say, oh, no, just sit tight, as Jenny just explained, she does with her gus. Sit tight. Don't just start doing it. It makes people feel uncomfortable when you do that. And they're probably telling you that for a reason. Maybe they're going to wait till the next day to clean up. Maybe they have someone coming to help them to take care of it later. You don't know what the circumstances are.

00:37:47 - Jenny GK

But you definitely dishes might not go in the dishwasher.

00:37:50 - Caitlin Kindred

Right. You offer to help, and then if they say if you just want to stack them or you want to grab the wine glasses and just bring them into the kitchen and then leave it there, that's what you do. You always follow your host lead. Do not go above and beyond what they tell you to do. And if they tell you to leave the dish at the table, it's going to make you uncomfortable, but you're going to leave the dish at the table.

00:38:13 - Jenny GK

Now, if they accept your offer, follow their lead again because you can say, okay, I'll wash and you dry. Do you want me to help you put the food away? Get a specific task, because they probably have a routine in their mind about how this is going to work. The other thing is you could always start by saying, oh, can I take out the trash for you.

00:38:40 - Caitlin Kindred

Oh, that's a good one.

00:38:41 - Jenny GK

For me, chances are the trash is full because I've been cooking all day, or the trash is full because you just scraped plates. And so that's an easy task that you can't really screw up, right. And the host can pass on to you feeling good about it.

00:39:01 - Caitlin Kindred

Right. For me, this is going to come as a surprise to many people, especially you, but I like things to be done just so, right? Surprise, surprise. So for me, if I have someone who's like loading the dishwasher for me, I play dishwasher tetris. So I'm going to go back in and rearrange what you did in the dishwasher, right. It's going to bother me. I also don't like to be fielding questions about, oh, where does this dish go? Where does that dish go after you've dried them off? So I'm just going to tell you to stack them, right? So for me, if I'm telling you, oh, no, don't worry about it. I mean, don't worry about it because otherwise I'm going to go back in and fix it anyway. So please, just reggae just leave it just leave it alone for me, right? It's fine, but you can definitely take out the trash.

00:39:50 - Jenny GK

Is there a task I can do that doesn't take more mental energy to describe to me than it would for you to just do it yourself?

00:39:58 - Caitlin Kindred

Right? Taking out the trash is one of those things. Bringing the recycling out to the recycling bin is one of those things. That's a great task for anyone who asks, how can I help? Oh, you can take the trash out. Perfect. I'm going to use that from now.

00:40:12 - Jenny GK

Oh, it's great.

00:40:13 - Caitlin Kindred

Love it. Okay, so to recap, I've given you eight. Is that eight, right? Is that right? Eight things that you should do as a dinner party host or guest. So we're going to say your main rule is to not offend people, right? So don't offend your host who invited you to their house. And don't offend your guests by making them feel uncomfortable. Don't be pushy with dietary restrictions. Don't use cloth napkins to clean up any red wine spills. Don't bring a gift that requires fridge space. Don't show up fashionably late to a dinner party. Don't spend all of your time in the kitchen if you're a host. Don't put your couples together. You want to facilitate fun and conversation. Don't hold your guests hostage like Jan Levinson from the office. And don't start cleaning up too soon. Always follow your host lead when it comes to the cleanup process and leaving their home. Right?

00:41:14 - Jenny GK

Well, this is the part of the show where I tell you, if you liked us, you should tell the world and give us that five star review. Write something nice about us. Consider us your host, and that's your way of thanking us for the evening. And make a choices.

00:41:37 - Caitlin Kindred

Bye, babe. Bye, babe. Yeah. Don't be a jan. Kay. Bye.

Dinner Party Etiquette