For a book I paid under five dollars for, I feel that I got more than my money’s worth…although I’m pretty certain that you aren’t supposed to mention money in a party situation. The full title is ‘Town & Country Handbook for Hosts: A Practical Guide to Party Planning and Gracious Entertaining’ and it gave a lot of advice that I knew and reminded me of some that I have forgotten. ‘Handbook’ is a short read of 136 pages that takes about an hour and a half to get through. It is divided into four sections including: party preparations, being a good host, entertaining overnight guests and being a good guest. The most important lesson is that parties should be fun for both the host/hostess and party goers.
The only real complaints I have about ‘Handbook’ is that in some areas it appeared a bit out of date, which shows you how fast society changes in that it was first published in 2006. At times it seemed a little behind the times in terms of email usage, plus it didn’t even mention texting. The music recommendations were laugh out loud funny when part of the advice the book gave earlier was to play music at a cocktail party that came from an era when most of the guests were at their wildest – say during their undergraduate years. When I read the list I thought are there enough ninety year olds of my acquaintance that would come to a cocktail party I would host?
The book gave helpful advice about how much wine and liquor a hostess should have on hand when a party is a sit down dinner affair versus a cocktail party. A little helpful hint, if you are having a cocktail party, which you should say on the invitation that it goes from say 5:30 to 7:30 you should count on having at least hor d’oeuvre per guest per hour. Further, if it is a cocktail party you shouldn’t have enough seats for people to sit down because the point of the party usually is that you want guests to mingle.
I thought it was interesting that a man is supposed to be introduced to a woman. “Sally Cartwheel I’d like you to meet Mike Antsinhispants.” A Younger person should be introduced to an older one. “Still Indiapers, I’d like you to meet Sam Hipdisplacement.” A less prominent person should be introduced to the more prominent one which really seems out of date. “Joel Streetsweeper, I’d like to introduce you to Molly Makesmoremoneythanyou.” The book does point out that the prominent tradition seldom is used except for circumstances when you are introducing a friend to your boss or CEO of your company.
I would recommend ‘Town & Country Handbook for Hosts’, which of course, is tied to the ‘Town & Country’ magazine. I found my discount copy at the Zona Rosa ‘Barnes & Noble’ (a bookstore that I hopes stays in business for a very long time – just saying). I’m keeping my eyes peeled for the other five books in the ‘Town & Country’ entertaining series including, ‘Social Graces’, Modern Manners’ and ‘Elegant Entertaining’.