Dinner party rules


A nationwide study uncovered the golden rules for the perfect dinner party, with checking if your guests have allergies (41 percent), never cancelling at short notice (30 percent) and NOT serving cocktails in jam jars (27 percent) all topping the list.

Almost half (41 percent) feel allowing people to vape at the table is a faux pas, while a further 41 percent said a modern host should always check for any allergies. 

27 percent believe you should never gossip about people who are not present, while clearing up in front of your guests is considered terribly rude by a quarter of Brits. 

A further 26 percent claim that a formal introductory speech is a big no no, while a fifth said talk about politics has no place at the modern dinner party, and 15 percent believe the conversation should focus on lighter subjects, such as the TV shows or Netflix series people are currently watching rather than BREXIT.

The survey of 2,000 people, which was commissioned by cooking appliance manufacturer, Stoves, also found posting photos of your own food on Instagram is poor taste according to 16 percent of Brits, while 12 percent claim you should, at all costs, avoid posting unflattering pictures of fellow guests on social media.

Prosecco is on the way out as half felt an English wine or Cava would be better, while one in five felt serving a formal starter is outdated, and one in ten said you should always sit people boy/girl/boy/girl.

Other rules for a successful party in the modern age include thinking carefully about pairing the wine (19 percent), never asking guests to take their shoes off (17 percent) and, under no circumstances, texting guests asking them to hurry up (15 percent).

Some 46 percent of those attending a dinner party, however, thought turning up dressed appropriately is rule number one of being a good dinner guest, while 44 percent added that they must compliment the host’s cooking. In a modern twist, more than one in ten (15 percent) believed it is a must to thank your host on social media the next day.

More than one in 10 (12 percent) consider allowing guests to help with the cooking acceptable, 13 percent believed it is ESSENTIAL to have fresh flowers at the table, and a further 14 percent said it is OK if people are fashionably late.

A tenth felt everyone should leave by midnight - as nothing good happens after 12.

The research also found that the average household has one dinner party a month, while half of Brits prefer staying in and cooking for friends more than eating out.

A spokesperson for Stoves said: “The research shows dining in with friends – or ‘staying in in’ – is as popular as ever, but that the rules of the dinner party are changing. Many of the traditions of the past, such as introductory speeches and formal starters are falling to the wayside yet cooking to impress is still key to the perfect dinner party."


Despite the enduring popularity of supper soirees, almost four out of five (78 percent) Brits think the term “dinner party” is outdated, yet almost a quarter (24 percent) admit that hosting one makes them feel grown-up.

More than half (57 percent) said getting together with friends is the thing they love about dinner parties, while 46 percent enjoy being able to relax at home, and a third (33 percent) like the fact you can take your time over the meal when dining in.

However, the average Brit has had two of their dinner parties take a turn for the worse, half (48 percent) of the nation hates clearing up afterwards, 37 percent get cross when guests don’t eat up their food, and almost a third (31 percent) think people not saying thank you afterwards is very rude.


  1. Do not call it a dinner party, call it a kitchen supper - 78 percent 
  2. Do not serve Prosecco - 50 percent 
  3. Do not allow guests smoke or vape in the house - 41 percent
  4. Be fully prepared before guests arrive - 42 percent
  5. Make sure no one has any allergies - 41 percent
  6. Never cancel once you have invited people - 30 percent
  7. Don't gossip about people who aren't there - 27 percent
  8. Do not serve cocktails in jam jars - 27 percent
  9. Do not start clearing up until after the guests have left - 26 percent
  10. Do not give an introductory speech - 26 percent
  11. Do not allow people to talk about politics - 25 percent
  12. Don't make a formal starter, it's not the 1970's - 20 percent
  13. Think about pairing the wine with the food - 19 percent
  14. Have a vegan option - 19 percent
  15. Don't have a dress code but guests should be smart - 19 percent
  16. Never accept help with the cleaning up - 18 percent
  17. Never ask guests to take their shoes off - 17 percent
  18. Never take pics of your own food and upload to Instagram - 16 percent
  19. Always have a bottle of sparkling water on the table - 16 percent
  20. Talk about what Netflix/ TV series you're all watching - 15 percent
  21. Make a carefully considered playlist - 14 percent
  22. Don't text people if they are late asking where they are - 15 percent
  23. Do expect people to be fashionably late - 14 percent
  24. You must have fresh flowers - 13 percent
  25. Only post flattering pictures of your guests to social media - 12 percent
  26. Do let guests help with cooking - 12 percent
  27. Get everyone out by 12 - nothing good happens after midnight - 10 percent
  28. Do sit people boy/girl/boy/girl -10 percent