What to bring to a dinner party when you are a guest? Design Babylon gives you 7 options to consider

photo :: melvin sokolsky
photo :: marvin sokolsky

You’ve been invited to a dinner party at a friend’s house…. Now what do you bring as a gift? Here are some ideas for you (and some things to avoid!)


wine bottles



1.  A bottle of wine is always a great gift.  Make sure to let your hostess know if she should serve it at the event or save it for another occasion.  If you would like your hostess to serve the bottle of wine at the event, be sure to find out the menu — you can’t have your gift clashing with the food now can you?



delicious goodness from whimsy & spice


2.  Some sort of sweet treat that is easily served (you don’t want to add to your host’s list of to-dos).  If your dish requires preparation, make sure you let your host know that you will take care of it for them, and again, make sure whatever you are bringing is inline with what your host is serving. {I highly recommend Whimsy & Spice, a husband and wife team in Brooklyn, NY who create some seriously mouth-watering delights)


arrangement by lily & co

floral design by lily & company, jackson hole, wy

3.  Fresh flowers are always a beautiful addition to any table, but again, you don’t want to create more work for your hostess, so if you plan on giving her flowers that may require tracking down a vase and arranging, send them earlier on the day of the event.  This way your host will have time to either arrange the flowers, or find the perfect spot for the stunning arrangement you so thoughtfully sent ahead.


cocktail napkin from gallery 19 & stoppers from jonathan adler {bien sûr!}
4.  Wine/cocktail-related accessories are also a great idea.  An elegant or fun bottle stopper as well as cheeky cocktail napkins make great gifts.  Not only are they useful, every time your host uses the items they will be reminded of what a thoughtful guest you are.


Camellia - Seda France
camellia candle from seda france, available from candle delirium
5.  Candles are another great option, but be careful about scent.  Fragrance is very personal and if you don’t know your host very well it’s best to steer clear of this option.


mini-potted herbs



6.  If your host is a big cook (or a master mixologist), herbs in a ceramic pot are another great option.  Does your host love to throw together a batch of Mojitos at the last minute?  Get them some mint!  Basil is always a good idea as well as the herb is used in many recipes and tastes even better when it comes from your own plant.


iomoi gift tags 

gift tag from iomoi {pink! retro patterns!  elephants!! what’s not to love?}


7.  Don’t forget to label your gift — in the hustle and bustle of pulling off a successful party your hostess may forget that it was you who brought the hilarious cocktail napkins!


Remember, a gift is a courtesy, not an obligation!  However, as a frequent hostess I can tell you that gifts are very much appreciated — it’s a way to show your host that you appreciate all the effort that went into the soirée that you are now attending.  


merci beaucoup - snow & graham
“merci beaucoup” thank you notes from snow & graham via RedStamp.com


The best gift of all is a thank you note — take five minutes to let your hostess know how much you enjoyed the dinner and conversation and touch on what you thought to be the highlight of the evening.  It can be anything from the artfully produced soufflé or when one guest fell off their chair because they were laughing so much.