If you are new to the Hamptons social season or a fortunate guest of a homeowner, here are a few tried and tested pieces of advice, plus, of course, some ideal gift ideas for that host or hostess. After all, manners can help smooth any situation and we would all hope to be re-invited.
Tips For House Guests From Manners That Matter Most
• Your host or hostess may not reside all season at their home. Try to coordinate your arrival to give them a chance to settle in.
• If you have a busy social agenda, offer to include your host or hostess rather than use their home overtly as a base camp for your personal adventures.
• As William Shakespeare put it, “Parting is such sweet sorrow.” In the context of being a guest for the weekend in the Hamptons, try to time your departure early to give your hosts time to decompress before their work week starts, whether locally or at the other end of the Long Island Expressway, in New York City.
Tips From Etiquette Guru Maryanne Parker
• Do not change the dynamics in the house. If the breakfast is served from 8 to 9 AM, try to attend. Also, being too picky in terms of food is perceived as bad manners. Being judgmental is never ok. If the host is a vegetarian and you are not, do not try to change his mindset.
• Do not give orders to the housekeeper (if the host has one). Always communicate your needs through the hostess.
• Be nice, friendly, clean, and polite. You don’t need to be a comedian and entertain your host, but being a nice companion always helps.
On Being The Best Guest, From Mister Manners, Thomas Farley
• Plan your own transportation. Your host may insist on picking you up from the train station or the nearest Jitney stop, but if that offer is not forthcoming, be prepared to take a taxi or rideshare the final few miles to your destination. This is particularly important if the host has invited multiple guests, each of whom is arriving at different times and from different locations.
• Upon your departure, express your gratitude for what was surely a wonderful stay. Think ahead and bring a thank-you note to write out and leave just prior to your departure in a common area where your host is certain to find it. Last but not least, send a thank-you present as quickly as possible following your visit. A flower arrangement, a book you know the host will enjoy, or anything else that may have come up during conversation during your visit will have particular resonance.
• You may be fortunate enough to be staying with a host who loves to cook. If that is the case, make yourself available to help with grocery shopping and/or meal prep and cooking. Do not expect, however, to be waited on hand and foot, and if your host is not a home chef, you will likely be taking many of your meals out — whether grab and go at The Golden Pear or Hampton Chutney or sit-down at John Papas or 75 Main. Be prepared to treat your host for at least a few of those meals, and ideally, one special brunch or dinner that caps your visit.
Champagne. The gift of choice to display your appreciation for your host or hostess. Herbert & Rist Wines and liquors in Southampton have something for every situation, from the ubiquitous Moet to Veuve Clicquot to the St. Tropez jet-set favorite Cristal from Louis Roederer. www.herbertandrist.com
Chocolate. Just about everybody loves chocolate and New York chocolatier, Mariebelle Chocolat, has a gift-packed patriotic American Flag Box ready for summer to show your host and hostess your appreciation for them, the Hamptons, and the U.S.A. www.mariebelle.com
Flowers. The traditional day-after thank-you gift from any serious guest. Make a beeline to Mark Masone’s store in Water Mill and select from a range of bouquets to deliver something special to your host or hostess. www.designsbymarkmasone.com
The Magnum bottle of rosé wine. Possibly rivaling the mighty dollar as a social currency during the Hamptons summer season, the double-sized wine bottle shows not only how big your heart is but also how your love for your host overflows. Seek out summer brand favorites Domaine Ott or Whispering Angel from the South of France.