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Thread: Invite Etiquette

  1. #1
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
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    Invite Etiquette

    Quick question - we are having a party for Labor Day, a pretty informal event. We think we will be providing hamburgers and hotdogs and beverages (probably getting a keg and some n/a stuff). Is it rude to ask people to bring a dish to pass? Would you be offended if you got an invitation that asked to bring a dish? What is worse, a dish to pass, or byob?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by SW MI Planner
    What is worse, a dish to pass, or byob?
    Thanks!
    Up here, it's often that you bring both. BYOB is almost a standard for parties in Canada. What's the demographic of the people you are inviting? If they are mostly bachelors, I'd say BYOB and provide the food (otherwise, you'll get a lot of chips, salsa, etc... in my experience, at least). If you are inviting others that like to cook or have specialty dishes, they'd probably enjoy bringing something. If it's casual, barbeque type of affair, I'd probably supply the booze/beer and ask people to bring something to put on the barbeque or a side dish or something.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Most people are glad to bring both, they get to drink what they want to, and bring a dish so they feel they're contributing to the party. Don't be shy; ask for both. We're no longer in the age when Ward Cleaver can afford to throw a big party for umpteen people and June just stands by and serves cocktails...

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Boru's avatar
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    Usually, when I'm holding the BBQ i will provide the meats and also BBQ some vegetables. I ask people to bring along salads and garnishes. People dont mind in that it gives them something to do. As was said earlier, they become a "stakeholder" (I knew planning language could double up for other uses) in the whole shebang (party). I provide some beer and wine, but everybody brings their own. Mine is there as an emergency stock when the rest runs out.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by SW MI Planner
    Quick question - we are having a party for Labor Day, a pretty informal event. We think we will be providing hamburgers and hotdogs and beverages (probably getting a keg and some n/a stuff). Is it rude to ask people to bring a dish to pass? Would you be offended if you got an invitation that asked to bring a dish? What is worse, a dish to pass, or byob?

    Thanks!
    Potlucks are pretty common for casual military social gatherings. In my experience: It works well to provide the meat/main dish and the paper plates and such, then ask folks to bring sodas, side dishes, etc. I always made a list of what we needed and asked folks to sign up for a particular thing/category: side dish, desert, sodas, etc. If you know that someone is very reliable, you can ask them to bring something critical (like hot dog buns or cups, plates, napkins) that doesn't fit in your budget. Do not ask that of just anyone. Most folks cannot be counted on. Some won't show up. Some won't bring what they said they would. Etc. It helps to have them commit to something "specific" that they get to choose - ie I always had a sign up sheet with the things we needed listed and each person got to choose for themselves what they were willing to bring and things like "desert" had a lot of leeway as to what exactly that meant.

    If someone is kind of stuck for ideas, give them some suggestions/parameters. For example: Cupcakes work better than cake because you don't need a plate, knife to cut it, forks to eat it, etc. If they want to bring something that needs a particular dish paired with it, they should be prepared to provide both: Once when I brought Rolade (and gravy) I also provided the Spaetzle to go with it.

    I don't imagine you can do this in the fairly regimented way that a military social event is done. But if you make a list and communicate some of the parameters of what you need from folks without being too controlling or overly specific (ie ask for "a desert food" not "black forest cherry tort with real whipped cream -- bring extra whipped cream for the coffee...you do know how to make that from scratch, don't you??" ), most folks are somewhat relieved to have a little direction so they aren't bumbling around completely in the dark.

  6. #6
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Most definately ask them to bring a dish to pass. Here in SW Mich its pretty much the norm I'd say.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  7. #7
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Thanks for the offer, I'll bring homous, pita bread, tamales, Sander's Hot Fudge Creme Puffs and pazcki. J/K

  8. #8
    Cyburbian tsc's avatar
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    Around here,,, I think it is customary to bring something...at least booze to be left for the host/hostess. Most people like to bring something. You can just leave it optional...for those who are the best cooks...
    "Yeehaw!" is not a foreign policy

    Renovating the '62 Metzendorf
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  9. #9
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    You can do both! I know that if I go to a party with a Keg, I almost always bring a 6 pack of something that I like to drink. But then I will pour it into the same plastic up as everyone else so it does not stand out.

    As for the “bring a dish to pass” idea, that is not a problem. Food is good. More food is always better! The less formal the party, the more expectable the idea.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  10. #10
    I like knowing that the host expects us to bring something. Saves a phone call and puts to rest any theoretical uncertainties.
    On pitching to Stan Musial:
    "Once he timed your fastball, your infielders were in jeopardy."
    Warren Spahn

  11. #11
         
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    Definately ask them to bring something. Around here it is normal to expect to bring something to a BBQ or party...I always bring something regardless...but would rather be asked to bring something specific...

  12. #12
    maudit anglais
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    If it's an informal event I would definitely have no problem being asked to bring something. We tend to plan our events not expecting people to have to bring anything (especially food, since Mrs. Tranplanner and I like to have full control of the menu!), but it's always nice when they do - wine, beer, and spirits are always welcome in our household.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Jen's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner
    Thanks for the offer, I'll bring homous, pita bread, tamales, Sander's Hot Fudge Creme Puffs and pazcki. J/K
    Gotcha covered, I'll bring crudites, and wine in a box! Can I bring my kids too?

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    Southern hospitality 101 requires one to offer a dish or beverage to the host when invited to a party. No, I wouldn't be offended if an invite stated to bring a dish. I would just expect it, especially if it's an informal party.
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

  15. #15
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    There is nothing wrong with asking folks to bring something. The July 4 party I go to each year asks people to bring homemade ice cream. I usually do a rum ice cream, but mixed it up last year with a margarita ice cream that was quite tasty.

    Every party I've been to has been BYOB or pitch in for the kegs when the host is handling the BBQ meat cooking duties.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  16. #16
    Cyburbian
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    I have a different opinion on your question. No, I don't think that a person should send a written invitation that requests guests to contribute to the event. On the other hand, if you telephone people to invite them, most will offer to bring something. I would say call your friends and invite them, and wait for their offer. Know what you need to complete the meal when they ask. And if someone doesn't offer, don't worry about it. There will be plenty to go around, and since bringing a dish or bottle wasn't required, there shouldn't be too much grumbling about those who don't (unless the stingy one happens to be a real glutton).

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