Dear Tia Maria Sue:
I am new in town and I need some advice. My boyfriend and I are invited to a small dinner party starting at 6:00pm in the home of someone that I do not know well. This is our first invite in our new home town. The hostess has said nothing about attire. Can you give me some tips as to what’s expected of a good dinner party guest in San Miguel de Allende.
What should we wear? Do we take a hostess gift? Any suggestions for this? Should we arrive at the appointed hour on the spot? How long would such an event typically last?
I am so happy to hear from a fellow debutante! And such a wonderful question, one that expresses that you are a person who truly cares about making others feel respected and honored. Isn’t that what decorum and etiquette is really all about?
Now I know where you are coming from with this heartfelt inquiry… for I too was a debutante! (I think I may have already said that but I get paid by the word and need a little extra lana this week- that’s dinero darling.) Of course my coming out as a debutante in Dothan, Alabama is a little different as it’s combined with the 4-H Club Annual Calf and Cow show. It really does challenge a girl’s sense of style while insisting on a little common sense. I mean open toe sling back pumps and cow patties don’t work well together do they? It’s a quandary that has guided me through life with a sense of balance and a touch of style. But I digress.
So now back to you and San Miguel social etiquette. First, I think one of the reasons we all are drawn to San Miguel is for its sense of acceptance and none of the social pressures we felt up North. What we love about our adopted hometown is we leave behind those expectations of who we should be, act and dress. So go to the dinner party and be yourselves. Dress appropriately for the weather and for who you are. A small hostess gift is always welcome but not expected … just remember never take flowers unless they are already in a vase (you don’t want your host running around looking for a vessel for your gift.) Wine is always a good choice (unless it’s a Birthday party for someone in recovery of course.)
So just be yourselves and embrace the open causal and accepting place you choose to now call home. Arrive within fifteen minutes of the arrival time suggested, unless you are Candian and then please restrain yourselves from arriving early. Stay until you feel it’s time to go… and as for attire, dress for the occasion … unless of course you were planning to wear a gold lame halter top, daisy dukes and platform shoes … then you are beyond help. I mean really. It’s getting chilly at night and platforms on cobblestones are about as sensible as Open Toe Mules in the barn….and I should know.
I’m not judging…I’m just saying
Tia Maria Sue
PS: If this dinner invitation is during a pandemic, then don’t go or at the least wear a mask!