Etiquette for Event Managers - Etiquette on Events (part 5)

In this last episode of our miniseries, Etiquette for event-managers, you will learn everything you need to know as an organizer about etiquette at parties and events.

Kevin Van der Straeten
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In this last episode of our miniseries, Etiquette for event-managers, you will learn everything you need to know as an organizer about etiquette at parties and events.


Hi Vincent.




Welcome back for the last episode of our miniseries on etiquette.


Thank you, yes.


Today we're going to talk about etiquette, especially for events and parties.


Yes, if you go to specific events and parties, sometimes etiquette can be a bit challenging.

For example: when do you start eating? Because, at events, sometimes you have bigger tables than in a normal diner. So, let's say, for example, you have this big table. Twenty people and you're sitting, kind of, to the side. So, you got your hot food served. When do you start? Well, there's a few possibilities.

First of all, the host or hostess could say, please start. That's when you start.

It could be the maître d'.

And last, but not least, it could be yourself, deciding that. You should at least wait until the person in front of you and the people to the left are served. So, it's kind of a block of people who are served and then it moves on towards the end of the table.

Because it's always a pity, to have hot food cool down.


Yes of course. It's like you said before, you wait until the host starts.


Exactly, you just wait until the host starts, if the host is sitting at the table. If not, you just start until everybody has been served.


A very difficult one at events is the dress-codes.


Yes, it's a bit strange, because sometimes we have invented dress-codes, like casual chic actually doesn't exist in the rules of etiquette.

We have a few formal ones, which is the morning dress or morning suit, which we would recognize a butler from, for example, but is more for weddings.

Then we have the black tie. That's the first one.

Then we have the very formal one, the white tie, which we see at Nobel prize, which we see at the opera.

And then we have, actually, what we call the lounge suit. So, the lounge suit is actually a suit, as we know it, with a tie.

But we have to be careful, if we go towards the evening. Then it's actually evening dress. And it's the same as the lounge suit, but the difference are the colours. So, after six o'clock, a gentleman would wear dark colours, such as black or navy blue. We wouldn't wear, for example, grey or pinstripe. That's more for business during the day.

But then, if we look at events, sometimes we see: casual chic with a touch of gold. And I do understand why, because it's the concept of the event.

But even then, you have to be careful. Because bermudas with golden flip-flops is also, maybe, a touch of gold.

But, it's then up to you to whether read it on the invitation, or if it's not on the invitation, you simply ask the organizer. Or, you could also ask a few people you know, also going to the event: what is your feeling on this? So, at the end of the day. there's no exact answer.


Yes, you don't want to end up over or undressed, of course.


Exactly. I can see myself with my flip-flops with the king. So, that wouldn't be good.


A lot of people get annoyed at events, when the speeches start.


Well, what you must know is: there are two sides to this. We have the speaker and we have the people listening to the speech.

First of all, the speaker should be somebody who has an interesting topic. Who talks loud enough. And generates a certain interest. If you're not planned as a speaker, you should keep it as short as possible. That's the first thing.

Second of all, if you're somebody listening to the keynote or to the speech, you should give your undivided attention. Because there's nothing more annoying than people talking through your speech. Not... You know, I speak a lot and I'm kind of trained in that. And if I get, like, a disturbance, I just continue. But people doing one or two speeches a year, it could kind of get their attention away from the speech and things might start happening.

But what the speakers also have to think about, is the timing. The timing of the event. Because talking for ten minutes too long, could have a great effect on the logistical side of the event, the catering. I mean dishes going under- or overcooked. Et cetera, et cetera. So, it's a very delicate subject.


Maybe a last subject. And that's the start of an event, but in much situations, it goes already wrong of there. That's the invitation.


If there is one.


If there is one, yes.


If there is one. What we see these days, with social media, is a Facebook event invitation, is also an invitation, apparently. Amongst friends it could be a text message, it could be a Whatsapp, whatever. But if we look at formal events, obviously, we will have an invitation. Now, what is the rules around invitation? It's what we call the RSVP. It's actually coming from France. It's the abbreviation for répondez s'il vous plaît, so: answer please. And that's the least of the things we can do: it's answering if you get invited. Because again, the number of people attending the event, has a great effect on location, catering, pricing, et cetera. So, we should answer as quickly as possible, when we get an invitation.


Okay, what about the names on the envelope? Mr. and Mrs?


Yes, so if you have just Mr. and Mrs., you would address them as Mr. and Mrs. and then the last name of first the gentleman and then the lady. Depending sometimes with a hyphen.

If you have titles, you should be very careful. You have to look it up. You have to look up how to address these people. Because it's so very complex. Even I have to look it up sometimes.

If you have, for example, same gender couples, then it depends on the situation. For example, let's say two gentlemen are invited to an event, but it's an event of the company of one of the gentlemen. Then his name would be first on the envelope. And then the second name would be the one of his partner. So, it depends. For example, if you look at a wedding, then it would be the person closest to the family, that would be first. His name would be first then.


Okay Vincent. Thank you very much for sharing all your knowledge on etiquette.


My pleasure, it was funny.


And you at home, thank you for watching our show. I hope to see you next week.