6 Etiquette Tips to Keep in Mind this Labor Day Weekend

Potluck Etiquette_Jules Hirst Etiquette Expert

If you are ask­ing your guests to bring a dish, you must be clear.

 Labor Day week­end, the unof­fi­cial end of sum­mer, is one last time for a get-together with fam­ily and friends to cel­e­brate what I hope was a won­der­ful sum­mer.  If your week­end plans con­sist of a potluck or if you are host­ing, here are six eti­quette tips to keep in mind.


1. If you are ask­ing your guests to bring a dish, you must be clear as to what you are pro­vid­ing and what your guests should bring.  I know some peo­ple have a hard time with this one.  But, to be the host­ess with the most­ess, it is your respon­si­bil­ity to make sure you have a vari­ety of dishes and not an over­flow of plates and napkins.

2. Com­pli­ment the food whether it is true or not.  Always try to com­pli­ment the guests on the dishes they pro­vided espe­cially those who are not com­fort­able with cook­ing.  If they made an effort, let them know you appre­ci­ate it.  Not only are you show­ing your appre­ci­a­tion but you are also giv­ing the inex­pe­ri­enced cook a vote of con­fi­dence, which I am sure they will appreciate.

3.  Greet all of your guests.  Whether you are hav­ing a small gath­er­ing or a large party, it is your respon­si­bil­ity as host to greet all of your guests as they arrive and to make sure every­one knows each other.  This is a per­fect time to put into prac­tice your intro­duc­tion skills.


1. Bring a dish; a bot­tle of wine is not a dish!  If the host does not ask for a spe­cific dish then offer suggestions.

2.  If you are plan­ning to bring a dish that needs to be heated or refrig­er­ated, don’t assume that you may do so.  Con­tact the host ahead of time to make sure there will be room.

3. Bring a host­ess gift.  Although you are never required to pro­vide a gift, the host has opened their home, cleaned before the party, will clean after the party and although every­one is bring­ing a dish, the host still spends quite a bit of money to put this party together.  I often hear, “I am bring­ing a dish, isn’t that my gift?”   No, it is not.

Regard­less of what your plans are this week­end, I wish all of you a happy and safe Labor Day week­end.  One last thing, if you do spend time with your fam­ily and friends, they deserve your full atten­tion.  Turn off your cell phone.