Etiquette Hell

Hostesses With The Mostest => Entertaining and Hospitality => Topic started by: lowspark on March 18, 2013, 10:29:30 AM

Title: Too early to the party/update #53
Post by: lowspark on March 18, 2013, 10:29:30 AM
A couple of weeks ago two of my friends and I were hosting a party in honor of another friend's daughter and her fiancÚ. It was at a venue where we brought all the food and decorations ourselves. We arrived two hours early to give ourselves plenty of time to set everything up.

About 30 minutes before the party was supposed to start, one of the guests showed up. Now, I was still in my jeans and t-shirt, running back & forth from the kitchen down the hall to the room, setting things up, carrying hot food, etc. I was like, "hi" but completely taken aback by the fact that she was so early. One of my fellow hostesses apparently knew the guest (I didn't), and gave her a hug so I moved on and just continued what I was doing. I don't know what conversation they had apart from the initial greeting. I later saw the guest off to the side, in a sort of currently unused corner of the room, fiddling with her cell phone and didn't pay much attention after that.

I finished my part of setting up and got changed into my party clothes just (barely!) in time to meet the first guests (aside from the early one) who arrived several minutes before the party start time.

My questions are, was this guest rude for arriving (what I consider to be) too early? She didn't get in the way aside from her initial arrival and greeting but I was a bit put off by her presence in my harried state. Were we, the hostesses, rude in any way for not paying more attention to her while we were getting all the last minute stuff set up? And lastly, has "fashionably late" gone out of style? Not that I wanted everyone to be late (of course, not everyone arrived on time!) but I was pretty surprised at the number of guests who were there before the actual start time.

Disclaimer: I didn't react in any bad way to any of them, I am just expressing my surprise here and wondering about the norm. Also, don't get me wrong, I was actually happy for the early guests because they definitely got the party started, I was just surprised.
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: TurtleDove on March 18, 2013, 10:33:19 AM
I think it depends on the type of party and relationship between the party-throwers/GOH and me.  For a child's party or a shower, I show up exactly on time. For a party where I am very close with the party-throwers I might come a bit early to help or I show up right on time. For more of a "party" party or open house, if I am more of a friend than a BFF or family member, I will be fashionably late, because I assume the closer friends and family will be right on time like I am for my close friends and family.

So, yes, I think that the early person was out of line.  I don't think you needed to pay attention to her any more than you did. 
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: cicero on March 18, 2013, 10:38:44 AM
I don't ;think anyone was rude, really. I don't like it when people show up too early for an event, but it doesn't sound like she was in the way. There is also a difference between showing up too early at someone's house and showing up early to a public venue - maybe the guest miscalculated how long it would take her to get there and figured she could just find a quiet corner and wait (which is what she did), or use the restroom.

Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: LazyDaisy on March 18, 2013, 10:46:57 AM
I think it's rude to show up to a hosts home before the set time. However this party was at a separate venue and not at a home. She probably didn't think that hosts/hostesses wouldn't be dressed yet, or still cooking and cleaning. I think as long as she didn't start eating, or get in the way, she wasn't rude. I would have handed her some decorations or assigned small tasks over to her though. If you show up early, you've "volunteered" to help.  ;)
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: Hmmmmm on March 18, 2013, 11:01:30 AM
It wouldn't have bothered me. I would have figured she had a concern about travel timing or maybe had someone drop her off. But I'll admit that any early guests who arrive to a party I'm hosting are usually going to be put to work.

Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: Outdoor Girl on March 18, 2013, 11:06:31 AM
I think she was rude to show up an hour and a half early, if there were other places within walking distance where she could have waited, like a coffee shop or something.  But if the venue was out in the middle of nowhere and that was the time she could get there due to transit issues, she was fine to do as she did and stay out of the way.

You were fine to greet her and carry on, as was your co-hostess.

The guests who arrived minutes before the start time were completely fine, IMO.  I generally plan to be ready to go 15 minutes before the actual start time of an event when I'm hosting for just this reason.  But if you're earlier than that?  You'd better be prepared to work or you need to go find somewhere else to hang out until the stated start time.
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: Dorrie78 on March 18, 2013, 11:26:27 AM
Perhaps she had told the hostess who was her friend that she needed to arrive early for some reason, but would be happy to sit in an out of the way area and occupy herself until the party started and was told that that would be okay. I would hesitate to say that this guest was rude without knowing all the facts about the situation. OP - did you talk to your co-host who knew this woman and find out why she was early? It doesn't sound like she was in the way, although I can understand being a little uncomfortable that she was there so early.
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: Softly Spoken on March 18, 2013, 12:00:22 PM
This is a timely post. I have never thought about being early as being rude, but I am always early.

Firstly, I hate being late so I always hedge my bets and have some "buffer" time because "stuff happens."
Second, I rely on the bus for transportation, and anyone who rides the bus can tell you that you have two choices: arrive early or arrive late.

I arrived early over the weekend to a two-day seminar (bus + ferry + longish walk in unknown area = lots of extra time just in case ::)). The lady in charge of hosting the event was very nice and invited me in even though she was still setting up. I offered to help and she was grateful.

When I arrive early to something, I either ask if I can help or stay out of the way. I don't expect anything from my host because they are not "on the clock" yet. I would never want my earliness to be an imposition. If it feels too "empty" or awkward, I will leave and come back depending on the circumstances. If I am early I expect, or at least am not surprised, to find the host unprepared/busy/disheveled etc. I have been there, I don't judge and I do what I can to help if possible.

I would never want my being early to put anyone out, but usually I can't help but arrive early. :-\
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: Outdoor Girl on March 18, 2013, 12:08:52 PM
Softly Spoken, you were fine.  Where circumstances dictate that you will be early, you either help out or stay the heck out of the way.   :)
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: cicero on March 18, 2013, 12:32:00 PM
I think she was rude to show up an hour and a half early, if there were other places within walking distance where she could have waited, like a coffee shop or something.  But if the venue was out in the middle of nowhere and that was the time she could get there due to transit issues, she was fine to do as she did and stay out of the way.

OP said she was 30 minutes early, not 90.
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: Outdoor Girl on March 18, 2013, 12:34:55 PM
Oops - I read 30 minutes into their 2 hour prep time.  Still, more than 10-15 minutes early?  Find somewhere else to wait for a bit, if possible.
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: DavidH on March 18, 2013, 12:42:48 PM
It's a tough call, I don't think it's rude to arrive early to a venue, but still awkward.  Arriving at someones home 30min early is more problematic since they may not be dressed or something like that.  It also depends on what's around.  If there is somewhere nearby you could go until the event starts, that's probably the better option, but if not and you're there, then you make the best of it like this person did.

If it was a party in a private room at a restaurant or a hotel, I'd suggest going to the bar and ordering something like a soda or drink to kill time rather than interrupt the others.  If that's not possible, and it's in a neighborhood, then finding a coffee shop or other place nearby where you could spend some time would be better.  On the other hand, if there's nothing else around, I don't think you're obliged to sit outside for half an hour until the even starts. 
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: Luci on March 18, 2013, 12:53:00 PM
I don't have any problem with guests being a little early - if they are family, I put them to work, but they know this by now.

She wasn't family, was greciously recieved, and stayed out of the way. We don't know why she was early and I don't really care. Public transportation, a long distance when stuff can happen, unfamiliar territory, being habitually early anyway have all been mentioned.

No one was rude.

It has been mentioned that it might be rude to show up at a home rather than a rented venue that early, but I still don't see that as rude. Even if there are kids, I usually have a quiet corner - even if it's just the sofa and coffee table - that the family can sit in while I bussle. We offer the beverage setup which we always do early, and go about our business.
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: Sharnita on March 18, 2013, 01:02:14 PM
Also wondering, since there were multiple josys and she knew one of tje other ones if it is possible she either was told a different start time or was told it was ok to come early?

Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: lowspark on March 18, 2013, 01:23:41 PM
To answer the questions, first of all, no, she wasn't told a different time. This party was by mailed invitation which clearly stated the start time. I was actually the one who created and sent the invitations, and it was my phone number & email addr on the invitation for replies so all the replies came either to me or to the GOH who then passed them on to me. The hostess who knew her only knew her through the GOH so they are just casual acquaintances.

The venue we were at was a private building which is in the thick of a business & shopping district. Easy to get to but traffic delays are common in the area so I can see if she was coming from far away (possible as I have no idea where she lives) that she might have left herself plenty of time and it just didn't take her that long after all. I just think in her place, I probably would have either sat in my car for a bit, or, like I said, lots of retail stuff in the area so it would have been quite easy for her to kill 20 minutes somewhere nearby once she realized how early she'd be. However, there was no bar or other kind of place to kill time in the actual building itself.

By the way, I'd say there was probably a 99.9% chance that there was no public transportation involved. We don't have good public transportation here, not to mention this party was in the evening and taking a bus around here after dark isn't that great of an idea, on the slim chance that there actually is a bus which goes from whereever she llives to this location.

It was not feasible to put her to work for a couple of reasons. Mainly because we three who were organizing the party were sort of each in charge of dealing with whatever we'd brought food & drink-wise. We'd split the responsibilities so we were each sort of doing our own thing while also coordinating with each other. So adding a fourth person to the mix who had no idea of what we were doing or what needed doing just would have created more work than help. In addition, this was a sort of cocktail dress type of party so I would not have felt comfortable engaging help from someone in a cocktail dress & heels in this situation. Like I said, I didn't get dressed till the last minute as I didn't want to run back & forth in my nice dress & heels.

So yeah, she wasn't in the way or even a huge inconvenience. I just felt uncomfortable that she's arrived so early as I just wasn't mentally prepared for any guests yet. I never did get a chance to talk to the hostess who knew her to see if she had any take on it.

I also think a social situation like this is different than a seminar or other kind of professional situation like what Softly Spoken mentioned.
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: Tabby Uprising on March 18, 2013, 01:35:23 PM
If she was deliberately and habitually 30 minutes early to events like this, I'd be more inclined to call her rude.  For a one time instance?  I'd rather chalk it up to a mistake.  It could be she just over-estimated her travel time.  Maybe she didn't know the area and wanted some buffer should she get lost or hit traffic. 
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: Luci on March 18, 2013, 02:11:30 PM
Lowspark, you said in the update that there were multiple shopping oportunities around the area. Well, I hate to shop, and far before people knew how bad my back was, I couldn't stand on my feet and move slowly for a shopping situation for 1/2 hour, although I could walk at a brisk pace for 2 miles or just sit for 3 hours.

I'm glad you undrstood that she could have been early for traffic and unfamiliar territory reasons, but I'm not sure I would have waited in my car - the weather is rarely conducive to sitting in a car - usually too hot, too sunny, too cold - and leaving a window open doesn't always help. I will never, ever, sit in my car with just the radio or a heater or fan going.

In your second to the last paragraph, you said you were uncomfortable. I'm sorry about that. You dealt with it well just by observing she was greeted and being fine.
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: SamiHami on March 18, 2013, 02:20:27 PM
I tend to think she was rude. There is a reason for a start time on an invitation. If it says 7 pm, then showing up at 6:30 is an inconvenience. She should have found some way to occupy herself elsewhere until it was time to actually show up for the event. The last thing harried hosts need while they are doing their last minute preps is someone showing up too early and throwing them off their game! Granted, in this particular case the early guest quietly sat out of the way, but that doesn't make it less rude.
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: Yvaine on March 18, 2013, 02:23:27 PM
Lowspark, you said in the update that there were multiple shopping oportunities around the area. Well, I hate to shop, and far before people knew how bad my back was, I couldn't stand on my feet and move slowly for a shopping situation for 1/2 hour, although I could walk at a brisk pace for 2 miles or just sit for 3 hours.

Most places with lots of shopping also have Starbucks (or similar) too.
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: doodlemor on March 18, 2013, 03:19:18 PM
Perhaps a family member or friend gave her a ride, and that was the only time that they would/could take her.  I've seen this situation at the beauty shop, and the operator does feel rushed when people show up way before their appointment time.

I think that she was a bit rude to show up early.  However, this was more in the misdemeanor range of annoying offenses, since she kept out of the way and it was a public venue. 

If someone showed up that early to a private home I think that it would be extremely rude.  I think that I've read some back threads on this.    Many posters in the past have said that people can be told to come back at the correct time.  I think that would be justifiable, but very difficult to follow with the elderly relatives who seemed to be the primary offenders in the threads that I remember reading.
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: lowspark on March 18, 2013, 03:30:30 PM
OK, I'll just comment that even in my house, no matter how uncomfortable or inconvenienced I felt by an early arrival, I would never ask them to leave and return at the appropriate time. In fact, at my own house, this sort of thing would be much easier to handle. For me anyway. I think a large part of the discomfort stemmed from the fact that we were in a place where we were sort of making do. We had to bring everything (food, drink, serving dishes & utensils, decorations, etc.) Plus the kitchen was down the hall from the room, not right next door, so we were back and forth carrying things, and making sure everything was set up properly. It was a lot of last minute stuff.

At home, I would have most of it already prepared and set up, and just be putting out a few things at the very end. At my house, I'd be able to offer an early guest a drink and a place to sit. In this situation, it was all I could do to just say Hi and be glad that the other hostess was stepping up to give a better greeting.

Either way, I would be taken aback, especially considering I didn't know the guest at all, but I think the circumstances we were operating in just made things way more hectic.

But turning someone away and saying, "come back later"? I absolutely could not do that.
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: Venus193 on March 18, 2013, 03:38:00 PM
This is most timely.  Yesterday was Eunice and Steve's annual St Patrick's Day party at which I do most of the food prep (They have an annual art project whose deadline is usually just after the day).  The start time of the party was 3PM.

Steve was still setting up the bar, Eunice was coming back from the liquor store with a last-minute purchase and still needed a shower and her party clothes, and I was devilling eggs while keeping an eye  on the chicken a la king I had just started.  I still needed to change clothes and put on makeup. Two female guests arrived at 2:15, which pleased none of the three of us.  All the decorations were up and there was nothing I could have assigned them to do food-wise, not to mention that most kitchens in NYC apartments are not very accommodating to having more than one chef at work.

Both women live within two blocks of the hosts' apartment, so I have no idea why they showed up early.
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: Lynn2000 on March 18, 2013, 04:02:13 PM
It seems a bit awkward all around, but I guess I wouldn't go with rude. 30min seems about the outside limit of "arriving early without being horribly rude," IMO, and she did sit quietly in the corner. Maybe she was sitting there thinking, "Wow, I didn't realize I was so early, I feel so awkward! Should I leave and come back? They all look so busy..." If she'd been getting in people's way and demanding attention, that would have been rude, but she wasn't, so... Sometimes awkward things just happen.

Totally different, but I once had someone arrive 30min early and I was rather annoyed with him. It was just the two of us and he had driven in from another city, and wasn't sure if he'd be able to find my place in time so he'd left extra early. So, points for that. But then 30min before he was due to arrive, he called and said he was in my parking lot. There was a definite expectation that since he was here now, I ought to come down and meet him now. Fortunately I was ready, but I think it would have been better if he'd occupied himself for 20min or so and then called. I had never experienced "being early" as rude before, so that was an eye-opener.
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: Luci on March 18, 2013, 04:11:34 PM
Lowspark, you said in the update that there were multiple shopping oportunities around the area. Well, I hate to shop, and far before people knew how bad my back was, I couldn't stand on my feet and move slowly for a shopping situation for 1/2 hour, although I could walk at a brisk pace for 2 miles or just sit for 3 hours.

Most places with lots of shopping also have Starbucks (or similar) too.


For me, the smell of coffee makes me violently ill, so no coffee shops. Most tea shops require one to order something and get rather aggressive if you don't finish and get out in 15 minutes, and often I don't want anything.

I stand by the guest did fine.
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: Margo on March 18, 2013, 04:35:13 PM
It strikes me as rude to show up so early. It does sound as though she did what she could to stay out of the way once she got there, and I think it would be much ruder if the party had been at a private home, but I do think it's rude to show up half an hour early.
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: Danika on March 18, 2013, 06:55:27 PM
Personally, I think it's rude to show up early if you don't know the hosts extremely well. Five minutes early, ok, no big deal because everyone's watches could be off. More than that, I think is rude. She could have waited in her car and read a book. If she took a bus, she could have walked around or stood outside near the venue entrance. I think the only time I would walk into a venue more than 5 minutes before a party would be if it were in a really dangerous part of town and I didn't want to wait outside because I feared for my safety. I realize this was at a venue, but still, I think it's rude whether it's at a home or a private venue.

When I have parties at my home, I prepare the food and clean the house. The very last thing I do is hop in the shower and change clothes before people arrive. If I've been cooking, I do it in ratty clothes with my hair up. I want to shower and change into clean dress clothes after I've done everything else so I don't smell like the cooking. If someone rings my doorbell 15 minutes before the party is to start, I won't answer it because I'll be in the shower. I don't have to worry about asking them to come back at the appropriate time because I'll be too busy prepping for the party to even open the door to tell them.
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: sammycat on March 18, 2013, 08:05:45 PM
Personally, I think it's rude to show up early if you don't know the hosts extremely well. Five minutes early, ok, no big deal because everyone's watches could be off. More than that, I think is rude. She could have waited in her car and read a book. If she took a bus, she could have walked around or stood outside near the venue entrance. I think the only time I would walk into a venue more than 5 minutes before a party would be if it were in a really dangerous part of town and I didn't want to wait outside because I feared for my safety. I realize this was at a venue, but still, I think it's rude whether it's at a home or a private venue.

When I have parties at my home, I prepare the food and clean the house. The very last thing I do is hop in the shower and change clothes before people arrive. If I've been cooking, I do it in ratty clothes with my hair up. I want to shower and change into clean dress clothes after I've done everything else so I don't smell like the cooking. If someone rings my doorbell 15 minutes before the party is to start, I won't answer it because I'll be in the shower. I don't have to worry about asking them to come back at the appropriate time because I'll be too busy prepping for the party to even open the door to tell them.

I tend to think she was rude. There is a reason for a start time on an invitation. If it says 7 pm, then showing up at 6:30 is an inconvenience. She should have found some way to occupy herself elsewhere until it was time to actually show up for the event. The last thing harried hosts need while they are doing their last minute preps is someone showing up too early and throwing them off their game! Granted, in this particular case the early guest quietly sat out of the way, but that doesn't make it less rude.

I agree with both these posts.

I tend to think arriving earlier than about 10 minutes before the start time is rude, or at the very least, inconsiderate towards the hosts/s.
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: Surianne on March 18, 2013, 08:38:54 PM
Since this wasn't a home, I'm sure she thought she could sit out of the way somewhere (as she did) without bothering anyone, and that it was better to overestimate the travel time and be early than underestimate it and be late.  I don't think she was rude; she did the best she could once she got there.
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: LifeOnPluto on March 18, 2013, 09:26:27 PM
Personally, I think it's rude to show up early if you don't know the hosts extremely well. Five minutes early, ok, no big deal because everyone's watches could be off. More than that, I think is rude. She could have waited in her car and read a book. If she took a bus, she could have walked around or stood outside near the venue entrance. I think the only time I would walk into a venue more than 5 minutes before a party would be if it were in a really dangerous part of town and I didn't want to wait outside because I feared for my safety. I realize this was at a venue, but still, I think it's rude whether it's at a home or a private venue.

When I have parties at my home, I prepare the food and clean the house. The very last thing I do is hop in the shower and change clothes before people arrive. If I've been cooking, I do it in ratty clothes with my hair up. I want to shower and change into clean dress clothes after I've done everything else so I don't smell like the cooking. If someone rings my doorbell 15 minutes before the party is to start, I won't answer it because I'll be in the shower. I don't have to worry about asking them to come back at the appropriate time because I'll be too busy prepping for the party to even open the door to tell them.

I tend to think she was rude. There is a reason for a start time on an invitation. If it says 7 pm, then showing up at 6:30 is an inconvenience. She should have found some way to occupy herself elsewhere until it was time to actually show up for the event. The last thing harried hosts need while they are doing their last minute preps is someone showing up too early and throwing them off their game! Granted, in this particular case the early guest quietly sat out of the way, but that doesn't make it less rude.

I agree with both these posts.

I tend to think arriving earlier than about 10 minutes before the start time is rude, or at the very least, inconsiderate towards the hosts/s.

I also agree. As a host, I would feel stressed, and obliged to accommodate them (ie offer them a drink, make small talk, etc) which would detract from my setting-up responsibilities.

It sounds like this woman had plenty of options (wait in the car, visit the shops, have a coffee, go for a walk, etc). I find it hard to swallow that not one of those options was feasible.
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: Library Dragon on March 18, 2013, 10:21:15 PM
This past Saturday I was attending an association brunch in a members home.  I drove around the block an extra time so I would not be more than 3 minutes early.  So....you can guess where I fall on his issue. At east she stayed out of the way.

I hate to have friends come early to parties "to help" without asking first.  I usually get them a drink and park them in a room.  We time things so that DH walks in the door 5 minutes before the party, coming from work or church, so he's not there.  The last 30 minutes is my time to shower, dress, etc. In essence my personal prep time has been intruded upon. 

Please don't arrive more than 5 minutes early.  :-*
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: camlan on March 19, 2013, 05:54:05 AM
I think it's rude to show up more than 5 minutes early, whether it's a private home or a rented venue. To me, a rented venue is, for the duration of the event, an extension of the host's private home. They would have had the event at home, except that their home wasn't big enough, or didn't have a sound stage or pool or something else needed for that event.

No one has made as many wrong turns following a set of directions as I have, or noticed a street sign just in time to realize there's no way I can make the turn and I'll have to drive another mile or two to find a place to turn around. That's just the nature of me driving by myself in the car. So I always build in 30 minutes to my travel time when I'm driving somewhere I've never been before. If I know the route, I allow 15 extra minutes in case of a flat tire, or traffic jam or whathaveyou.

I know I'm going to be early, so I plan for it. There's always a book or a crocheting project to do. If I know the area, I'll plan to stop at a certain shop, or get coffee. I've even just driven around the town a little bit to kill time. But I'm not going to burst in early on my hosts because I'm bad at following directions.

Now, in a large venue, there's no reason someone can't enter the building and find a place to hang out that isn't the party room. Many hotels and function halls have restrooms you can use and a lobby to wait in. So you aren't restricted to waiting in your car until the appointed hour of the party.
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: Sharnita on March 19, 2013, 06:44:36 AM
As far as waiting in the car, everybody must be attending events in temperate climates and safe neighborhoods. That is great and in those cases I can and will wait in the car if I am early but the conditions really don't allow for waiting in the car all of the time. 
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: Roe on March 19, 2013, 08:10:34 AM
IMO, she was rude.  She could'v easily fiddled with her phone at a Starbucks, in her car, on a bench, inside a mall...the list of options can go on and on.  She could've also driven around the block a few times as I've had to do.  If she were dropped off, she could've done any of the things I mentioned anyway.  Heck, taking a walk is an option too!  Indoor, outdoor walk...yep. 
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: Danika on March 19, 2013, 02:57:48 PM
I know I'm going to be early, so I plan for it. There's always a book or a crocheting project to do. If I know the area, I'll plan to stop at a certain shop, or get coffee. I've even just driven around the town a little bit to kill time. But I'm not going to burst in early on my hosts because I'm bad at following directions.

I agree. That's why I think the early guest should have considered other options.

For about 5 years, DH and I lived 60-120 miles from most of our friends. We always built in extra time for arriving at events because we never knew how the roads would be. We live in a place that's freezing cold in the winter and super hot in the summer. We always made sure we had a full tank of gasoline in case the drive took longer than usual, or we had to wait in the car for a few minutes with the heat or air-conditioning running. With good friends, we'd ask what they suggested we do if we did arrive early. But generally, we would slow the pace of our driving toward the end of the journey if we arrived in the destination city faster than anticipated. We knew in general that we'd arrive places from on time to 40 minutes early, and we always planned for that so that we didn't inconvenience our hosts.
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: kudeebee on March 19, 2013, 04:04:26 PM
Many venues have a lobby where someone who is early can sit and wait until the appointed time of the event.  Perhaps the early guest thought this venue would have such a place and upon arrival found out there was no place to sit and wait.  She did stay out of the way and didn't expect you to provide her with anything. While there were shops nearby, maybe there was not seating available for her to use (maybe being on her feet for that long is not feasible for her to do without tiring her out).  Maybe it was too cold or too hot to just sit in the car and wait. Maybe she didn't want to have to buy a drink so she could sit down in a coffee shop.  Who knows what the reason was.

OP==did you ever talk to other hostess and find out why she was early?

Arriving early--more than 5 minutes--at a private home is a no-no to me.  I know I always use that last 30 minutes for getting dressed and for last minute details and I am sure others do as well.  Arriving early, unless invited to do so, would only put a guest in the way.  I, too, always have a book to read if I arrive early or will drive around the block/neighborhood or if not too hot or cold, just sit in the car and wait.
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: MrsJWine on March 19, 2013, 04:15:38 PM
At a venue, I think it's a bit different. So long as she didn't get in the way, I don't think it's outright rude. Someone's house is completely different, though. Some acquaintances showed up an hour early to my house for lunch once. It completely threw me. I didn't stay mad about it or anything, but I didn't invite them over again, either. It would have been bad enough under ideal circumstances, but my husband was away, I had a new baby (my first, so not much experience), and had planned to nurse her shortly before they were due to arrive. It was a very awkward situation.

Now, if one of my best friends showed up early, I probably wouldn't care, even if it were in my own house. That's because I don't care if they see my house messy, or see me in my housework clothes, or sit in the living room alone while I finish doing my hair.

So in my own rambly way I guess I'm saying that circumstances and the nature of the relationships play a big role in whether or not this is rude. I would say the situation in the OP was probably not, since it was a venue, and the woman knew one of the organizers well.
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: lowspark on March 20, 2013, 08:59:17 AM
I haven't talked to the other hostess about it. I will probably ask her next time I see her, although that might not be all that soon.

Again, the early guest did not know the other hostess well. Just as an acquaintance. She is a friend of the GOH and therefore someone the other hostess had just met in passing. Remember, the three hostesses are all friends with the mother of the guest of honor.
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: Sharnita on March 20, 2013, 09:24:06 PM
As far as fashionably late, to me that conveys the message "the party doesn't start until I arrive anyway".  It seems abit arrogant to me and I find it rude.  Too early is a problem but prompt is polite, IMO. Fashionably late makes it about you.
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: sammycat on March 20, 2013, 10:19:39 PM
As far as fashionably late, to me that conveys the message "the party doesn't start until I arrive anyway".  It seems abit arrogant to me and I find it rude.  Too early is a problem but prompt is polite, IMO. Fashionably late makes it about you.

Definitely!
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: KenveeB on March 20, 2013, 10:40:39 PM
More than 5-10 minutes early is rude. (I think more than 5 minutes is a bad idea, but I add in a bit for the margin of error for clocks running faster or slower.) You shouldn't put your hosts on the spot with trying to figure out what to do with you. I'm habitually early (very early) virtually everywhere because I'm completely paranoid about being late. But if I'm more than 5 minutes early, I do some window shopping or sit in the car/lobby/bathroom and check email on my phone. It's not hard to kill a little time, and unless there's no place else to wait in the middle of a blizzard or something, I don't really see a reason not to.
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: MrsJWine on March 20, 2013, 11:11:02 PM
As far as fashionably late, to me that conveys the message "the party doesn't start until I arrive anyway".  It seems abit arrogant to me and I find it rude.  Too early is a problem but prompt is polite, IMO. Fashionably late makes it about you.

Definitely!

I always think "five minutes past the given time" when I hear "fashionably late." Not, "look at me!!" Maybe that's where the phrase comes from, but that's not how I hear it used, ever.

I much prefer someone err on the side of caution and show up at 6:10 by their clock than show up exactly on time and be ten minutes early by my clock.
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: LadyR on March 20, 2013, 11:13:29 PM
This happened at my wedding.

My cocktail hour began at 5:30, with dinner at 6. We arranged for the bridal party to arrive at 5 so that the receiving line could be all ready when the guests arrive. Our decorator as always busy putting hte final touches up, the bar was being set up, etc. It was a small venue, so there wasn't a lot of room to maneuver.

The bridal party arrived early and as we were rushing to set up, at about 5 minutes after 5, we had some guests arrive. Everyone was still rushing around and it was tight and they definitely would have gotten in the way, so the co-oridator at the venue actually asked them to wait outside or leave and come back at 5:30 and they were definitely a little put out about it, but another 5 or 6 people milling about would have been in the way.

I try not to be more than 5 minutes early.
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: lady_disdain on March 20, 2013, 11:46:27 PM
I find arriving too early (aka, more than a couple minutes) as rude as showing up uninvited. The invitation states what time the guests are welcome and anything beyond that is inconsiderate of the host, who is busy setting up. I can't imagine a place that has absolutely no alternative to spend ten or fifteen minutes, even if it is sitting in the car or driving around the block. And I live in an unsafe city!

I love some descriptions of old card parties, where the guests would arrive 5 minutes early, congregate outside for a few minutes until the hostess opened the door at 5 clock sharp.
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: Sharnita on March 21, 2013, 06:09:28 AM
As far as fashionably late, to me that conveys the message "the party doesn't start until I arrive anyway".  It seems abit arrogant to me and I find it rude.  Too early is a problem but prompt is polite, IMO. Fashionably late makes it about you.

Definitely!

I always think "five minutes past the given time" when I hear "fashionably late." Not, "look at me!!" Maybe that's where the phrase comes from, but that's not how I hear it used, ever.

I much prefer someone err on the side of caution and show up at 6:10 by their clock than show up exactly on time and be ten minutes early by my clock.

The problem with that is that people say "Nobody will be there until 5 minutes after, and I don't want to be the first person..." so then they come 10 minutes late.  Then it morphs into 12, 15 ...
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: lowspark on March 21, 2013, 08:12:51 AM
Yeah, I guess what I mean by "fashionbly late" is anywhere up to 15 minutes late. Certainly I do not mean arrive an hour late and make a grand entrance! I know what you mean, Sharnita, about the progressiveness of being late so as not to be the first one there. On the other hand, if everyone arrived at exactly the start time - on the dot, it might be a bit chaotic depending on the size of the party. Of course, the chances of everyone arriving at the exact same time are pretty slim if it's more than just a few people.

Once the party got going, I honestly didn't notice what time everyone was arriving as there were a good many who were there within that bracket of 10 minutes before to 20 minutes after. I do know there were several who arrived after that. It was a fairly large room and there were many people invited whom I'd never met before so I wasn't keeping track.
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: mrs_deb on March 21, 2013, 10:40:31 AM
I don't think it's rude to show up a very few minutes early, but if the person must come inside,  they should at least stay quietly out of the way.

We had the exact same issue last January at the surprise 50th Anniversary Party we were throwing for my in-laws at our club.  The invitations specified a 6:30pm arrival time for guests with a 7:00pm arrival time for the guests of honour - we had people show up 45 MINUTES EARLY.  5:45pm people come trooping up the stairs after being asked specifically to stay downstairs in the lounge until 6:30.  We're all sweaty in jeans and t-shirts, setting up tables, cooking, etc., and here they come.  Where should we sit?  Isn't the bar open yet?  What's for dinner?  Is there going to be champagne?  Where did you get the centerpieces?  When are your parents coming?  I need a drink!  When will you put the appetizers out?

Yes, I'm still irked  :P.
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: Danika on March 21, 2013, 12:56:52 PM
I don't think it's rude to show up a very few minutes early, but if the person must come inside,  they should at least stay quietly out of the way.

We had the exact same issue last January at the surprise 50th Anniversary Party we were throwing for my in-laws at our club.  The invitations specified a 6:30pm arrival time for guests with a 7:00pm arrival time for the guests of honour - we had people show up 45 MINUTES EARLY.  5:45pm people come trooping up the stairs after being asked specifically to stay downstairs in the lounge until 6:30.  We're all sweaty in jeans and t-shirts, setting up tables, cooking, etc., and here they come.  Where should we sit?  Isn't the bar open yet?  What's for dinner?  Is there going to be champagne?  Where did you get the centerpieces?  When are your parents coming?  I need a drink!  When will you put the appetizers out?

Yes, I'm still irked  :P.

Bolding is mine.

Aaaaak, I'm irked on your behalf!
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: gellchom on March 26, 2013, 10:28:29 PM
I don't get it.  Why would you come early at all, even 5 minutes early?  The hosts might still be getting ready.  I know I do not appreciate it if my guests are early at all (although I certainly agree that 5 minutes early is not a big deal, and certainly not at all the same thing as half an hour early).

We try to arrive about 5 minutes late to give our hosts a little leeway.  It has nothing to do with not wanting to be the first; we don't care about that.  In our community, it's just considered to be the considerate thing to do.

I hasten to add that this is for parties -- NOT weddings, meetings, lectures, classes, presentations, or other events that start ON TIME.  In our community, weddings especially start on the dot.  So you need to be there a few minutes early to be seated in time.
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: bloo on March 27, 2013, 01:03:34 PM
I have to admit, I don't like early as I'm usually working til launchtime but it bothers me less than being ridiculously late, I guess. For a smaller gathering I might not be dressed or even showered until 45 minutes before. I would be a little peeved to get out of the shower and my guests already be there.

When I have a big get-together (like a hundred people on my lawn) it is typical in our social circle that our closest friends will volunteer to come early and help with set-up. Either there's a pre-party the night before if that involves cooking, or they show up a couple hours early with more people than necessary and more beer than necessary   ;D to help set-up. It's stress-free because there are so many hands to help out and there's a lot of laughter and fun. Often those same ones can kind of stand-in as de facto hosts since they're intimately aware of the setup of everything and also will help with the bulk of the clean up that night or the next day. We all do it the same for each other.
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: gellchom on March 27, 2013, 02:37:12 PM
I have to admit, I don't like early as I'm usually working til launchtime but it bothers me less than being ridiculously late, I guess. For a smaller gathering I might not be dressed or even showered until 45 minutes before. I would be a little peeved to get out of the shower and my guests already be there.

When I have a big get-together (like a hundred people on my lawn) it is typical in our social circle that our closest friends will volunteer to come early and help with set-up. Either there's a pre-party the night before if that involves cooking, or they show up a couple hours early with more people than necessary and more beer than necessary   ;D to help set-up. It's stress-free because there are so many hands to help out and there's a lot of laughter and fun. Often those same ones can kind of stand-in as de facto hosts since they're intimately aware of the setup of everything and also will help with the bulk of the clean up that night or the next day. We all do it the same for each other.

We do that, too, but, bloo, this is a different situation, isn't it?  You said that your closest friends volunteer, presumably in advance, to come early.  That's not what we're discussing here -- it's guests simply showing up early for the party.
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: lowspark on March 27, 2013, 02:45:55 PM
Exactly. There are some situations where early guests are welcome. For example, my sister is not only welcome to come early when she's invited to my house for a party, she's expected to. She's my sister (and my best friend) so she can hang out in my room as I'm getting dressed, she can help me with last minute stuff, or, if I'm actually ready before the start time, she can keep me company till the first guests arrive.

In this kind of situation, or in the situation of the friends arriving early to help set up, it's actually not really arriving early. It's arriving at the expected time, even if that expected time is different for some people than for others.

In this case, the guest's arrival a full half-hour before the party really threw me. Especially considering that as one of the hosts, I didn't know her, and that she arrived well before the guest of honor who arrived about 10 minutes before the party start time, as was expected.
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: mom22militarymen on March 28, 2013, 09:55:46 AM
This reminds me of a funny story where my husband and I were the "early" guests. We had been invited to a child's birthday party of a co-worker of my husband's. The family is from Nepal and invited lots of guests and had wonderful foods. The party invitation said 2pm. So we arrived around 2:10. There were no cars outside the house and it looked really quiet there. I went back to the car to look at the invitation to make sure I had the time and day right. I did. A moment later the host roars up in is car with the cake and balloons gets out and just looks at us.
I asked him if I had the right day and time and he says oh yes come in the house. Well it was very obvious that they were not ready for the party at all and there were no other guests. We stood there for a minute and then I asked him if we had messed up some how. He assured me that the party was on but people from Nepal don't show up until an hour or hours later and that was expected. He suggested we come back in an hour or more.
So we went and wandered around the Home Depot and took a longer route back about an hour and 15 minutes later. And the party was in full swing!! A couple of people even gave us the "you're late!" ??? look.
Some of the other American guests seem to know to come late or were just less punctual anyway.
We still laugh about it and learned some new customs that day.
Title: Re: Too early to the party
Post by: White Lotus on March 28, 2013, 09:06:35 PM
I like to be ready about half an hour early, and save small, un-messy tasks to do from about half an hour before until the big push of arrivals about ten minutes late.  The Prof does the same.  When people arrive early, and some always do, "to help" is what they usually say, we have chores for them to help with, and can get an active and convivial atmosphere going so it doesn't feel like we are waiting for something, because it has already started.  I'd be terrified to wait until the last minute to dress.  However, as guests we tend to arrive about five to ten minutes after "start" time, except for specific timed events like weddings, when we arrive so as to be seated before the ceremony.
Title: Re: Too early to the party/ update
Post by: lowspark on April 01, 2013, 08:50:14 AM
OP here. I got a chance to chat with my co-host who knew the early bird this weekend. I'm gong to give additional (previously not important) background then tell you what she said.

[bg]The venue we were using is a large meeting room in a somewhat prestigious and well known office building where the GOH works. She specifically wanted to use that building for the party. She had shown us around a few months before the party to give us a feel for what we were working with. We did contact her with a few questions about specific things about the room and kitchen as the party approached and as our own plans firmed up.[/bg]

My co-host, told me that the early arriver told her that the GOH had requested she get there early to sort of make sure we had everything under control. Now, I'm not exactly sure how to take this. I admit that it sounded a little bit off when my friend said it. I was thinking, ok, three adult women who are her mother's age and pretty darn experienced in giving parties (between the three of us, we've hosted tons over the years and GOH definitely knows that) and she thinks that she needs to send one of her friends to check up on us?

In the light of day, as I type this out, it could have been pretty innocent and of course I'll give her the benefit of the doubt, but it really struck me the wrong way. Turns out, it also struck my co-host the wrong way. We both felt a little bit like, I don't know, GOH didn't trust us to get things right. Again, who knows. She just might have been nervous/excited/whatever. And the party went beautifully and she thanked us profusely so it's really a non-issue at this point. But I did want to post the update.
Title: Re: Too early to the party/ update
Post by: Danika on April 01, 2013, 03:06:04 PM
the GOH had requested she get there early to sort of make sure we had everything under control.

Thanks for the update. It put EarlyGuest in an awkward position, though, because she appeared to just be milling about. And I do question what the GOH intended. Did EarlyGuest know more about that particular location than you hostesses, like where all the power outlets are, where to get ice if there's an ice maker on that floor, etc? It still seems odd that the GOH would have told her to do that. At least, the party went well. I still think the GOH should have told you hostesses "I've requested that EarlyGuest come early to help you as well, for reasons X, Y, Z."
Title: Re: Too early to the party/update #53
Post by: lowspark on April 01, 2013, 03:21:43 PM
Good questions. I don't know if she knew anything about the place. But by the time she arrived, we'd already been there an hour and a half (and GOH knew that, as we told her we'd be arriving 2 hours before the party began to set up, and she had to let building security know to expect us). So we pretty much already had time to find all the electrical outlets, etc.

According to my friend, that was the entire conversation between her and EarlyGuest. A quick hug hello, EarlyFriend says she's there at GOH's request, My friend says, thanks but we're ok, EarlyFrend goes off in a corner and fiddles with cell phone.

And yeah good point. If GOH had told us EarlyFriend was coming early to help, or ask us if we needed someone maybe, at that point, I'm sure we would have said no. With all three of us setting up, plus peripheral help from our husbands, anyone additional would just be in the way.
Title: Re: Too early to the party/ update
Post by: Surianne on April 01, 2013, 05:18:14 PM
My co-host, told me that the early arriver told her that the GOH had requested she get there early to sort of make sure we had everything under control. Now, I'm not exactly sure how to take this.

Why would you read anything negative into this?  To me it just sounds like the guest of honour suggested she showed up early in case you needed extra help.  Nothing nefarious about that -- they were both probably trying to be helpful.
Title: Re: Too early to the party/update #53
Post by: lowspark on April 02, 2013, 08:11:41 AM
I tried to explain it above but maybe I just can't explain it. Maybe you'd just have to be in my (our) position to understand. And the fact that my co-host also felt that way sort of validates it.

If you take out the factor of the venue for a minute, and imagine that we were giving the party in one of our homes, can you imagine the guest of honor sending a forward scout like that? It would be rather awkward. Well, in this case, although the venue really was her stomping ground, it was still, at least for the evening, our place. We had spent a lot of time, money and effort putting the party together over the last few months, and then spent two hours carting stuff in from our cars, getting tables set up, coordinating everything the three of us had put together in order to make it look nice in what started out as a big empty room with some tables & chairs. By the time EarlyGuest arrived, we were in the final moments, doing the last minute stuff.

So, in other words, at the culmination of hours of planning and doing, the idea that we'd need someone to swoop in and sort of make it all happen for us, was a bit off-putting. I'm sure you're right that they were both just trying to be helpful, but from our point of view, it didn't quite come off that way.

Again, I'm going to emphasize that neither of us would say anything at all to the GOH or to anyone else, that we both just discussed it between ourselves and then brushed it off, that I'm only posting it here as an update and that it is now a non-issue.
Title: Re: Too early to the party/ update
Post by: artk2002 on April 02, 2013, 04:32:24 PM
My co-host, told me that the early arriver told her that the GOH had requested she get there early to sort of make sure we had everything under control. Now, I'm not exactly sure how to take this.

Why would you read anything negative into this?  To me it just sounds like the guest of honour suggested she showed up early in case you needed extra help.  Nothing nefarious about that -- they were both probably trying to be helpful.

Because it's an insult to imply that the OP, a clearly experienced host, needs someone to make sure that everything is under control. I would be highly put out if someone did something like that to me. I wouldn't mind if they asked if I needed help, but just showing up like that is insulting. The GOH is not in control and would be very much out of line to add someone to the hosting mix at the last minute.
Title: Re: Too early to the party/ update
Post by: Danika on April 02, 2013, 05:12:25 PM
My co-host, told me that the early arriver told her that the GOH had requested she get there early to sort of make sure we had everything under control. Now, I'm not exactly sure how to take this.

Why would you read anything negative into this?  To me it just sounds like the guest of honour suggested she showed up early in case you needed extra help.  Nothing nefarious about that -- they were both probably trying to be helpful.

Because it's an insult to imply that the OP, a clearly experienced host, needs someone to make sure that everything is under control. I would be highly put out if someone did something like that to me. I wouldn't mind if they asked if I needed help, but just showing up like that is insulting. The GOH is not in control and would be very much out of line to add someone to the hosting mix at the last minute.

Well articulated.
Title: Re: Too early to the party/ update
Post by: sammycat on April 02, 2013, 07:59:16 PM
My co-host, told me that the early arriver told her that the GOH had requested she get there early to sort of make sure we had everything under control. Now, I'm not exactly sure how to take this.

Why would you read anything negative into this?  To me it just sounds like the guest of honour suggested she showed up early in case you needed extra help.  Nothing nefarious about that -- they were both probably trying to be helpful.

Because it's an insult to imply that the OP, a clearly experienced host, needs someone to make sure that everything is under control. I would be highly put out if someone did something like that to me. I wouldn't mind if they asked if I needed help, but just showing up like that is insulting. The GOH is not in control and would be very much out of line to add someone to the hosting mix at the last minute.

I agree with artk2002. I"d be very insulted and annoyed by this.
Title: Re: Too early to the party/update #53
Post by: WillyNilly on April 02, 2013, 08:09:35 PM
I absolutely understand the insult.

But perhaps think of it in this way - often we treat people the way we would like to be treated ourselves. The (GOH) might not have been implying so much OP was a lacking hostess, as subtly admitting she (the GOH) is lacking herself. The GOH might have thought "oh my gosh, I know I always forget something or mis-time my planning, I always wish I had that last minute set of extra hands... Jill do me a solid would you?  Check in on the lades half an hour earlier, and make sure they are ok, please? I don't want them stressing like I always do."

Its that classic thing about how sometimes your actions speak more loudly about your self then about the subject you are addressing.
Title: Re: Too early to the party/update #53
Post by: Surianne on April 02, 2013, 09:36:08 PM
Yes, I think WillyNilly has a good point, and I'm also thinking if the GOH is close enough to you that you're throwing her a party, wouldn't it make sense to think the best of her, rather than assume she's being deliberately insulting?  It seems more likely that she asked someone to help you out because she was trying to be kind. 
Title: Re: Too early to the party/ update
Post by: lowspark on April 03, 2013, 07:19:15 AM
...wouldn't it make sense to think the best of her, rather than assume she's being deliberately insulting? 

Surianne,
that's why I said:

In the light of day, as I type this out, it could have been pretty innocent and of course I'll give her the benefit of the doubt

I never said or even thought that she was being deliberately insulting. I have no idea where you got that idea.

Thanks artk2002 & others who understood where I was coming from. You got it exactly right.
Title: Re: Too early to the party/update #53
Post by: bopper on April 04, 2013, 09:20:36 AM
I don't know if it is rude, per se, but the early guest can't get mad if you still have stuff to do.
They can either help, sit in the kitchen while you finish up or sit in the living room by themselves until you are ready.
Title: Re: Too early to the party/ update
Post by: Surianne on April 04, 2013, 02:38:36 PM
...wouldn't it make sense to think the best of her, rather than assume she's being deliberately insulting? 

Surianne,
that's why I said:

In the light of day, as I type this out, it could have been pretty innocent and of course I'll give her the benefit of the doubt

I never said or even thought that she was being deliberately insulting. I have no idea where you got that idea.

Thanks artk2002 & others who understood where I was coming from. You got it exactly right.

Thanks for clarifying, Lowspark.  I was getting a very hurt/angry tone from your posts and those agreeing with you about the insult, so I'm glad to hear that's not the case.  Hard to read tone on the internet sometimes. 
Title: Re: Too early to the party/update #53
Post by: EllenS on April 04, 2013, 02:53:36 PM
I have a funny story about early guests.  When DH and I were newlyweds, we were hosting a small get-together at our tiny city apartment, and the guests included the new pastor of our church (an older man/experienced pastor, but new to our church), and his wife.

Due to the long trip required on public transportation, they arrived about 15 minutes early.  Now, about 20 minutes before the start time, DH and I realized we had been so busy getting the apartment/food ready, neither of us had showered or dressed. We decided to double-up and "save time and water".

About 5 minutes later we realize the doorbell is ringing and someone is knocking.  While I go to peer around the door in my towel, sopping wet, DH is scooting through the bedroom/sitting room in his towel, grabbing clothes.  Pastor took one look and said, "We'll come back later."  I wanted to shout, "no, really!  cleanliness, that's it!" But of course, that would have just made it worse.
Title: Re: Too early to the party/ update
Post by: TootsNYC on April 07, 2013, 04:26:47 PM
My co-host, told me that the early arriver told her that the GOH had requested she get there early to sort of make sure we had everything under control. Now, I'm not exactly sure how to take this.

Why would you read anything negative into this?  To me it just sounds like the guest of honour suggested she showed up early in case you needed extra help.  Nothing nefarious about that -- they were both probably trying to be helpful.

Early Bird may have also asked to arrive early, or asked if there was anything she could do to help. And GoH may have said, "well, they have it under control, but if you want to arrive early, they maybe could use an extra set of hands," and it came out of Early Bird's mouth differently.