Gifts for the Hostess

So you're all dressed up and ready to go - off to a friend's dinner or cocktail party.  You dutifully asked the hostess "what shall I bring!" to which she says, "oh just yourself darling."  But really, what shall you bring.

Any time a hostess throws a soirée she should provide everything (unless its a potluck or you've offered to bring something specific, like a dessert, and she has said yes).  Anything less would offend the historic rules of hospitality.  If your hostess says that you needn't bring anything along with you, you really don't need to.  Except that it's always sweet to bring a little something for the hostess herself.  A bottle of wine or a bouquet of flowers is perfect.  But here's the trick:  any such item is a gift for the hostess and not a contribution to the party, even if you bring along something edible (an appetizer, a nice bottle of champagne, a delicious cheese, a sweet dessert).  Give the item to the hostess herself (rather than, for instance, placing a bottle of wine directly on the bar).  It's up to the hostess whether she'd like to serve the item at the party.  It's a faux pas to bring along something you expect the hostess to serve because you might not realize that the hostess has already set out all of her best servingware or that she's spent a good deal of time planning the menu.  That said, a clever hostess will always find a way to honor her guests.

Today's image is from one of my favorite style blogs, Atlantic Pacific.