The best dinners, and those that give most pleasure and satisfaction both to guests and hostess, are not necessarily the most expensive or ceremonious. First of all, in issuing invitations, be sure that your guests are similar in taste and in the same social scale. Then, a cordial welcome; a cheery dining room; with bright conversation and a delicate attention to each guest; with dishes well cooked and daintily served, will insure a charming meal, and you will be pronounced a Royal hostess.
Great tact should be exercised in selecting guests for a dinner party. Those moving in the same social circle and of known congeniality should be brought together.
Avoid bringing in contact those who are not on friendly terms with one another.
Persons of literary tastes should be invited with artists and musicians. Religiously-inclined persons would not be agreeably entertained by those inclined to theatricals or dancing.
Gentlemen should not be invited to a mixed company without their wives. And ladies should not be invited without their husbands if other ladies and their husbands are invited.
Invitations should be sent by messenger, and not mailed, unless to persons out of town.
Among a variety of forms, we give one of Invitation, one of Acceptance, and one of Regret:
Mr. and Mrs. Guy Livingstone request the pleasure of Mr. and Mrs. Roy Hamilton's company at dinner, On Friday; Jan. Second, 1885, At Six o'clock, 5030 Washington Boulevard.
Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton write an Acceptance as follows:
Mr. and Mrs. Roy Hamilton accept with pleasure the invitation of Mr. and Mrs. Livingstone to dinner on January Second, at six o'clock.
Or, if circumstances require it, send Regrets, as follows:
Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton regret that a previous engagement will prevent them from accepting the kind invitation of Mr. and Mrs. Livingstone for January Second.
In a note of acceptance it is well to name the day and the hour, to avoid any possible mistake.
If the dinner is very ceremonious, the invitations should be sent out from one to two weeks in advance. If not very formal, from two days to a week are regarded as sufficient time.
An answer should be returned at once, that the hostess may make her arrangements accordingly.
Guests should arrive about fifteen minutes before the hour named for the dinner. A delay beyond the hour is unpardonable. A hostess ought never to wait beyond fifteen minutes for a tardy guest. When the guests are all assembled, after removing their wraps, the hostess will inform each gentlemen whom he is to escort to the table.