Sunday, August 19, 2012

"How to Be a Gracious Houseguest" by Loretta Neff of The Elegant Way School of Protocol!

Today I'd like to introduce you to a very special lady who has agreed to do a guest post for The Glamorous Gourmet. Loretta Neff is the President and Chief Etiquette Officer of The Elegant Way School of Protocol - she also happens to be a really fabulous person as well! Loretta is one of those people who is innately blessed with impeccable taste and style and is a bona fide authority on all things elegant. 

I've asked her to write about a relevant topic for many South Florida residents: the virtues of being a gracious houseguest. Whether we have friends and family visiting us during the fabulous Florida season or it's us doing the visiting during the blazing hot Summer months, it's always good to be armed with etiquette - especially if you want to be invited back! 

So without further ado, here is Loretta's advice for being the best houseguest you can be. For more information on all things relating to manners and etiquette please check out Loretta's website at

"Everyone Loves a Gracious Houseguest"

Courtesy of The Shoreby Club
During the summer, the big question everyone asks is, Have any special plans?Most people answer with a resounding, Yes! and then they begin to tell you all about them.

Special plans can run the gamut… from house parties, sports outings, family vacations, romantic getaways to metropolitan cities, exotic ports, old-world countries, and underdeveloped regions.

For some, the itinerary may be as simple as spending quality time with family and friends.  And for others, the itinerary may be as elaborate as boarding planes, crossing major oceans, and traveling through multiple time zones to seek adventure, marvel at a piece of history, or immerse themselves into another culture.

Whatever your pleasure, should any of your plans involve the good fortune of being a houseguest, you may wish to refresh your memory with the tips that follow to ensure a harmonious stay…and perhaps another invitation in the future.

How to Be a Gracious Houseguest

Depending on the closeness of your relationship, staying as a houseguest requires some communication and understanding beforehand to make a visit congenial. As a rule, a three-day stay is best or one runs the risk of overstaying one's welcome. As a guest you should be thoughtful and self-sufficient. You should clean up after yourself in the kitchen, bath, and sleeping areas (this includes removing any hair or residue in the sinks or around the drains, hanging any wet towels, and inquiring where to place your soiled bed linens.)
If you’re an early riser and your host is not, be sure to discuss preferences for making coffee or tea, and learn where things are kept. Most often your host will tell you where food and beverage items are so that you can help yourself.  If your host doesn’t, then you should ask permission ahead of time.

If you are given the use of a car, be sure to have it cleaned and refueled upon return. Most importantly, honor your departure date.

Courtesy of Vosges Haut-Chocolat
Upon your departure leave a bedside note and small gift, or send them once you’ve returned home. The advantage to the latter choice is that you’ve had a chance to observe the decor and learn about their objects of affection, so a gift idea is made easier. For longer stays, you should expect to contribute to household duties and grocery items, and purchase a significant gift.
Gifts may include one or more of the following:  Soaps, Candles, Wines, Champagnes, Chocolates, Coffee, Tea, Jams, Monogrammed Guest Towels, Table Books, or Gift Certificates.

As a Houseguest, Definitely Don’t…
  • Ask to bring your pet. 
  • Accept an invitation from someone else during your visit without first checking with your host. 
  •  Use your host’s phone, computer, or any other equipment without asking. 
  • Use more than your share of hot water. 
  • Snoop
Courtesy of: Emily Post’s Etiquette 18th Edition Manners for a New World

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