These are the new rules you NEED to follow when entertaining

The dinner party is dead! Long live the “causal kitchen supper”, apparently!

That is, according to a survey from Anglian Home Improvements. It's recently carried out a study into the nation’s entertaining habits and revealed white napkins, starch tablecloths, bread rolls and prawn cocktails in the style of The Good Life’s Margo and Jerry Leadbetter are simply a thing of the past.

As we adapt to modern living, more of us are now opting for homes with open and practical kitchen-diners, rather than stuffy, separate dining rooms. And, because we’re ditching this ‘dining room’ culture, 65 per cent are now more sociable than ever. On average, we invite friends over three times a month for more relaxed and informal entertaining.

Looking for kitchen diner inspiration? Look around this open-plan country-style family kitchen

dining area with white wall and wooden chair with curtains and flowers

(Image credit: future PLC/Helen Cathcart)

In fact, the study states that Brits will host an average of 36 supper and lunch parties every year at their homes. And we'll splash out just over £3,000 a year on food and booze for friends, according to the poll.

But as ‘casual’ as we appear to be in our entertaining, Brits secretly still pull all the stops out to impress. 62 per cent admit they tidy and clean the house from top to bottom before guests arrive, and 31 per cent say they agonise over choosing the right outfit.

Entertaining alfresco? Be bank holiday ready with our guide on How to clean and restore garden furniture

dining table with plates and bowls with spoon and glasses with foods

(Image credit: future PLC/Helen Cathcart)

41 per cent complained of guests drinking too much, while 26 per cent have had to deal with a friend or family member starting an inappropriate conversation. Ooh er.

A further 22 per cent have had a guest start an argument with a fellow diner, while 21 per cent of hosts say a guest had the nerve to turn up with people they didn’t know and hadn’t invited.

dining area with white wall and chili's on plate with glasses

(Image credit: future PLC/Helen Cathcart)

So, if you are planning a get-together this bank holiday, or are attending as a guest; here’s the new list for you to abide by according to Anglian. We at thought Parma ham with chicken was still posh – who knew?

Thinking for firing up the coals? Take a look at our BBQ round up


• Never text at the table
• Don’t talk about TV, jobs or children
• Do ask whoever cooked for the recipe
• Do talk about politics, sex and death
• Make sure your olives are from the deli rather than a jar
• Make sure what you serve is seasonal
• Never serve anything on a cocktail stick
• Never ask to stay the night
• Always have enough mixers and ice
• Never serve a chicken breast wrapped in Parma ham
• Never snoop in other people’s houses
• Always bring flowers, but not from a garage
• Don’t get really drunk
• Do prep food in advance so you can spend time with your guests
• Don't talk about how much you earn
• Never lick your knife
• Never arrive more than half an hour early or more than 15 minutes late
• Always say the food is lovely, even it isn’t
• Don’t leave coats strewn around the house
• Take high heels/stilettoes off if your hosts have wooden floors
• Never give “style advice” to your hosts
• Don’t boast about your own cooking prowess
• Do use your knife and fork correctly
• Don’t take over in the kitchen
• Do send a thank-you card rather than texting the following day
• Do make sure your lighting is right


Rachel Homer has been in the interiors publishing industry for over 15 years. Starting as a Style Assistant on Inspirations Magazine, she has since worked for some of the UK’s leading interiors magazines and websites. After starting a family, she moved from being a content editor at to be a digital freelancer and hasn’t looked back.