Etiquette Expert Explains the Only Time It’s Acceptable to Crash a Party

Etiquette Expert Explains the Only Time It’s Acceptable to Crash a Party

We asked an expert for unspoken party rules everyone should follow — and it turns out that Ashley Jacobs wasn't the only etiquette offender on the Southern Charm finale.

By Marni Eth
After Show
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The Southern Charm finale was filled with a lot of cringe-worthy moments leading up to — and during — Miss Patricia’s fabulous party. While not everyone gets the chance to attend galas and balls on the regular or have socialite-level drama, it's still helpful to have a refresher course on the "Do’s & Don’ts" of party etiquette, even for ordinary get-togethers.

Personal Space spoke to lifestyle and etiquette expert Elaine Swann, the founder of the nationwide etiquette training institute Swann School of Protocol, to learn how to gracefully handle many awkward party situations.

Don’t Share Party Details

Swann explained that a basic rule of thumb when you are invited to a party is “never disclose information" or details to someone not invited... especially someone who may want to crash for dishonorable reasons. Eliza Limehouse advised Ashley not to go to confront Patricia at her event, but she still discussed the party details with her anyway.

In the event that you do accidentally share party details, Swann advised, “The proper thing to do is to contact the host and let them know in advance." This is the best way to “prevent any discord between you and the host.” In this case, someone else overheard their discussion and warned that Ashley may crash, but it was also likely that she could have easily gained party details from someone else, if not Eliza.

Don’t Go with Ill Intent

Swann explained that it’s never acceptable to crash a party — especially if you have bad intentions in doing so. The only time it would be OK to go to a party uninvited is if you would be an “unexpected, but welcomed guest.”

One example would be attending a friend's surprise party that you were not invited to because the hosts thought you couldn't attend. In that case, Swann said that it would be acceptable to go if you know that “your presence would be a good present” for your friend.

Swann also advised that you “certainly would not want to attend an event if your intentions were not honorable and your purpose was to confront someone, or to make a statement.” Swann noted that if “you are tempted to crash... don't do it!" Instead, "reach out to the host at another time and make sure it’s a time that they would not be ambushed.”

Don’t Be Petty

One uncomfortable situation at Miss Patricia’s party that could have been avoided was when Shep Rose and Craig Conover brought dates that were meant to cause drama with Austen Kroll. Swann noted that “you never want to ambush someone,” whether it's the host or another guest, advising that “it is wrong to bring someone who can potentially upset the event.” On the Southern Charm After Show, Shep later admitted that he did it to be petty.

Another situation was Ashley's exit from the party. It is one thing to crash, but it is certainly another to make a scene. Swann explained that “if you make a social faux pas and/or cause a scene when you leave, you can expect to be completely left off a person's guest list" for future parties. Swann also warned to “be prepared for some fallout” which can include “ruining a friendship.”

It seems unlikely that Ashley will receive another invite to one of Patricia Altschul's parties, as the hostess later called her a "moron" and "insane," but Swann also has a good tip for hosts dealing with party crashers who may have less dramatic motives and actions:

Ask a Friend to Help

Not everyone can hire a bodyguard like Miss Patricia (shout out to Mr. Kale), so in the event where you suspect there may be a party crasher, ask a friend for help. Swann suggested enlisting a trustworthy and diplomatic friend and give them “the authority to ask that person to please leave.” Swann noted, “The important part is to pick a friend who is level-headed and can handle high stress situations with dignity."

The friend "can help to escort that person out if they come, or can stop them before they get in.” This way you won’t be dragged into confrontation and your “attention won’t be distracted” which can allow you to “tend to your guests.”

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