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There’s been a buzz in the media lately about whether it’s polite or rude to charge your dinner party guests when you’re the host. In the world in which we live, now more than ever kindness and consideration toward others matter, along with honest and upfront communication. If you’re considering hosting a dinner party and are wondering about the etiquette of monetary contributions, here are some guidelines:
🍴 In certain situations such as a potluck, fundraiser or spontaneous home party, making the ask upfront is acceptable as it establishes the parameters and gives guests choices. For example: “Hey I’m hosting a (themed) potluck this weekend and I’d love for you to come!” defines a casual get-together, and opens dialogue for volunteering to bring a complimentary side or dessert, or having to decline. Hosting a fundraiser at your home that invites others to help an ill friend with medical costs, or request a contribution to a charitable or school cause sets the tone and expectations beforehand. Here, guests know they’re invited for a particular intention, and to please help as they can if attending the function. For close friends or family you often spontaneously break bread with, a request such as “Since it’s last minute and I’ll be grilling an assortment of meats for a bit, would you mind picking up a bag of ice on your way over?” is notably communicated upfront. And always just be honest: “I’m on a pretty tight budget and would love to get together; would you be open to splitting a pizza tomorrow night?”
🍴 When extending an invitation for a special, more formal or larger gathering in your home, you’re specifically letting your guests know you are hosting them. Your invitation implicitly lets them know you are responsible for and looking forward to welcoming them into your home, while providing food and beverages, and perhaps entertainment for the affair. Hence it’s not appropriate to charge your guests for the express occasion of being invited.
🍴 It would be rude to charge guests for a dinner party if monetary contribution wasn’t discussed, requested or made known prior to the event. Surprising your guests by asking for a monetary contribution after they’ve arrived reveals lack of consideration and common courtesy, as well as dishonest intentions. You are justified to say or communicate you weren’t aware of this when you accepted the invitation. It is also your choice to pay or not; consider your relationship with the other person when you make this choice.
🍴 Be considerate of your intended guests – you have a relationship with them and part of that relationship includes trust and honesty in your communication.