How to Act

When you arrive at the venue, party planner Kari Alexander urges guests to "look immediately for place cards or a seating chart." But don't spend the night stuck to a table. Check out the space, hop between food stations, and hit the dance floor if it moves you. Be friendly and open, focus on having fun, and — apart from the occasional photo — be sure to keep your eyes off your phone all night.

What to Wear

 

When doing a pre-party flip through your closet, Alexander advises following the guidelines on the invitation. "If there isn't a guideline, a very common way to dress would be party festive," she says. Ultimately, you want to look sharp while keeping yourself comfortable. Unless it's "black tie optional," guys can usually leave the ties behind.

What to Bring

 

If you give a gift card or check, it's common to give an amount that is a multiple of 18. "The number 18 is made up of the [Hebrew] letters chet and yud, and when combined spell the word chai, meaning life," explains Rabbi Avi Fine at Temple De Hirsch Sinai. "When giving a gift of $18 or of a multiple of 18, we are gifting the recipient more than money — we gift them a wish for a long and meaningful life." If you want to go a less traditional route, consider gifting an experience.

What to Eat

 

Alexander notes that food stations are beginning to replace traditional sit-down meals — but where to begin with the increasing overflow of options? According to Alexander, popular trends include build-your-own mac and cheese and sushi bars. Our advice? Go for the food that's most exciting first, and if it's a buffet, grab a spot in line before you miss out! Many parties these days go way beyond the basic sheet cake with elaborate dessert bars, so save room.

 

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