Society / Style

Should I Cancel My Party? A Dallas Etiquette Expert Weighs In

Heather Wiese-Alexander, Founder of Bell’Invito, on Being Socially Conscious During the Pandemic

BY // 03.13.20

During these unnerving times, there’s so little that feels truly in your control. And even when a big decision is left up to you, the choice may not be crystal clear, especially as new stories and concerns continue to emerge.

Whether or not to host or attend a party is certainly one of the lighter decisions a person can be faced with right now, but it’s still an important one. To help Dallas hosts navigate their social calendar during the pandemic, we spoke with Heather Wiese-Alexander, founder of luxe stationery brand Bell’Invito and an expert when its comes to party planning etiquette.

Heather Wiese-Alexander
Paper maven: Heather Wiese-Alexander

“There aren’t absolutes regarding cancelling or letting the show go on, but there is a guide hosts can follow to make the right decision for their guests,” Alexander says. “To many of us, it seemed far away at first, but we’re quickly realizing that we’re all in this together. Whether it’s flu season or the Coronavirus scare, there is an etiquette to being socially conscious and appropriate during a season of heightened health sensitivity.”

Alexander’s Social Tips for Guests and Hosts

– For those who feel especially vulnerable due to existing conditions or are in contact with someone with health concerns, decline an invitation with something simple like, “Sorry to miss, and thank you for the invitation.” Further explanations aren’t necessary. If you intend to change a former ‘yes’ to ‘no’ due to illness, let your host know asap, well before the day of the event.

– Supply extra hand soap, tissues, and hand-sanitizer on hand at your event.

– Put single-use hand towels where guests will use the facilities, and be vigilant about keeping the space clean during your party.

– Steer clear of those beautiful piled up boards of meats and cheeses and bowls of chips and nuts that are easily touched by multiple fingers. Opt for spaced food on trays, passed food if budget allows, or food served with utensils.

– Whether it’s offering an elbow-bump instead of a cheeky kiss, or a toothpick to a finger-food grabber, keep a light-hearted approach when greeting and entertaining.

– If you seem sick (allergies included), certainly do not attend.

– Accept declines and roll with it. Stay positive and party ready—plenty of us are still up for a great time and we need you to keep the engines running.

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