Here's What To Do If You Break A Dish At A Dinner Party

Anybody who has ever taken a toddler to a non-child-proofed house knows what it's like to fear accidentally breaking someone else's property. It's not just kids who need to worry about breaking dishes or other valuables when they visit someone's home, though. In restaurants, adults spill drinks and break dishes surprisingly often.


When you're visiting someone's house and you accidentally let a dinner plate go crashing to the floor, what do you do? It can feel embarrassing and awkward. Thankfully, etiquette expert from The Swann School of Protocol Shreveport and author of "Going Public" Nikesha Tannehill Tyson shared some tips on exactly what to do in this situation. If you're at a dinner party and you break a dish, Tyson advises apologizing and offering to repair or replace the item. "If the host declines, send flowers or a gift card," she adds. Sending something after the fact to express your regret is a great way to show them that you're truly sorry and that you want to make things right.

What to do if someone breaks one of your dishes at a dinner party

If the script is flipped and you're hosting a dinner party, the breaking of a dish can be an equally awkward and difficult situation to handle. Maybe the dish is special to you, or maybe you're just not sure how to tactfully deal with the situation. Of course, any time you have guests over, you run the risk of something getting broken, so try not to get overly upset or have a huge reaction. Nikesha Tannehill Tyson explains that etiquette is about putting others at ease. "Respond with 'it's okay' (with a sincere smile)," she says. There's no need to overreact to the situation or to make your guests feel even worse than they likely already do.


It's also your job to make sure guests feel safe and welcome in your home, so you'll want to promptly clean up the dish and any sharp pieces that may be on the floor or the table. Then, you can move on with the party without making a mountain out of a molehill.

How etiquette can help dinner parties go smoothly

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, etiquette is "the customary code of polite behavior in society; good manners." While it may feel stressful to have to memorize a set of rules and manners to have proper etiquette, having an unspoken set of rules in place can help people feel at ease during dinner parties and other social gatherings.


Many people think of dinner party etiquette in terms of strict rules such as putting their napkin in the right spot while eating (on your lap) or where to put your knife and fork when you're done eating (on top of your plate at four or six o'clock). However, many modern etiquette rules are more about being a good conversationalist or bringing a thoughtful host or hostess gift to the party. There's no need to do an extensive amount of homework before attending a dinner party, but if you brush up on some basic etiquette, you can help everyone at the dinner party (including yourself) feel more at ease and comfortable.