Etiquette Hell

Hostesses With The Mostest => Entertaining and Hospitality => Topic started by: Arila on November 16, 2013, 10:15:28 AM

Title: Borrow dishes from guests? Update reply 29
Post by: Arila on November 16, 2013, 10:15:28 AM
Hi all,
I am very excited about hosting Thanksgiving this year!  We are inviting all my family,  plus some friends who don't have family close by.  We have done up paper invitations, but invited more people than we have plates for.  Now, I had planned on using this as an excuse to buy more, but then I realized one couple on our list has the exact same plates!

Is it rude to even ask if we can borrow them?  Do I have to wait for them to rsvp  affirmative? What if they aren't coming?
Title: Re: Borrow dishes from guests?
Post by: NyaChan on November 16, 2013, 10:23:20 AM
Well if they are close enough friends to invite over for Thanksgiving, they might be close enough to ask to borrow plates However, I'd be a bit careful about borrowing plates from the people who have your same pattern - how will you tell whose plates are whose at the end of the night?  I know it sounds silly, but I would want at least slightly different ones if only to prevent that day after "Hmm was this chip always there…or did mine get switched?" wondering. 
Title: Re: Borrow dishes from guests?
Post by: TootsNYC on November 16, 2013, 10:35:59 AM
You don't borrow plates from your guests, of course not.

You borrow plates from your good friend.
And then you serve food to your guest on those plates.

It just *happens* to be that this is the same person.
But she has multiple roles in your life.

Of course, it would be hurtful to ask a good friend if you could borrow something for a dinner party that she's being excluded from if she would have a reason to think she -should- be there (OK to borrow for a family dinner, or for dinner for the boss; not OK to ask if you're having a bunch of friend--but not her?--over). But in your case, she isn't being excluded, so you don't have to worry about hurting her feelings.

Yes, ask her--pick them up ahead of time, and put a stick on the underside, or use a china marker (hey, it's a CHINA marker!!!) to mark them on the underside.
   A china marker will stay put even through the dishwasher, mostly. And it will rub off.

(for those who might not recognize the term, a china marker is a wax pencil, the kind w/ the peel-off paper coating.)
Title: Re: Borrow dishes from guests?
Post by: Luci on November 16, 2013, 10:58:17 AM
I wouldn't, and I won't loan mine out. I am very particular about how mine are treated, particularly washing. (Even Corelle gets old looking if granular dishwashing detergent is used in the dishwasher. There was a vast difference between the Correlle I gave my daughter when we closed out the summer place and her dishes.)  Also, I would worry endlessly about my ruining someone else's dishes. If you do it, however, I love the marking ideas given above!

When we host 35 people, I only make sure that each table has matching dishware, flatware, and water glasses. Guests choose their seats, take that plate, go through the buffet, and return to that seat. Rolls, butter, salt, pepper and cranberry sauce are already on each table. If all are sitting at the same table, you might as well go ahead and expand your own set if it isn't a burden right now. As excited as you sound, you'll probably need them many times in the future.

Enjoy, whatever you do.

Title: Re: Borrow dishes from guests?
Post by: #borecore on November 16, 2013, 11:03:37 AM
My mom and her friends each bought a set of 10 or 20 (cheap but decent looking) plates, salad plates and bowls for just this reason. Everyone had their own dishes for smaller gatherings, and could borrow the others' as long as everyone went home with the same number at the end of the day.

I say go for it, and do consider marking them if either of you is worried about getting your own plates back in the end (or just don't worry if she's not bothered).


Slightly O/T: One member of the original group has taken to collecting single place settings of cute/elegant/unusual Christmas dishes that she uses for an annual party -- getting around the idea of having to have a full matching set by having dinnerware so interesting people make a point look for their favorites each year. It's taken her years, but she has something like 35 unique sets now! (Just an idea for a long-range plan.)
Title: Re: Borrow dishes from guests?
Post by: sparksals on November 16, 2013, 12:07:58 PM
I wouldn't loan out my good dishes, even to a good friend. Just too much room for an accident and harmed relations.


You can rent dishes very inexpensively. 
Title: Re: Borrow dishes from guests?
Post by: cicero on November 16, 2013, 12:34:57 PM
I wouldn't loan out my good dishes, even to a good friend. Just too much room for an accident and harmed relations.

I wouldn't either. I wouldn't borrow dishes either. Either buy new plates or use nice disposables.

ETA : I don't think it's rude to ask if you can borrow the dishes, as long as *you* are the ones doing any of the shlepping/washing etc (IOW - don't make your guests have any additional work). But personally i wouldn't do it.
Title: Re: Borrow dishes from guests?
Post by: sparksals on November 16, 2013, 01:04:41 PM
I think it is a bit rude to ask.  I know many think asking isn't rude, but I am in the camp that it puts the askee into a very awkward position and feeling uncomfortable if she has to say no. 
Title: Re: Borrow dishes from guests?
Post by: gramma dishes on November 16, 2013, 01:30:05 PM
I don't think asking to borrow dishes is a bad thing.  I'd personally happily loan you some of mine. 

But I do think it's probably unwise to borrow someone else's "best" dishes -- especially if they exactly match yours.  Too much opportunity for mishap or mixup!

How about matching dishes for each individual table?
Title: Re: Borrow dishes from guests?
Post by: TootsNYC on November 16, 2013, 01:33:43 PM
I'd loan them!

Especially if there's still a possibility of being able to replace a plate if it's chipped or ruined.

But I'll also say, I have two separate sets, and I use them on different tables.

If you think you might seriously have these many people, and had thought of buying, then maybe go look for a set that will *coordinate* nicely with the set you have, and then you can mix and match!
Title: Re: Borrow dishes from guests?
Post by: Arila on November 16, 2013, 05:17:54 PM
ETA : I don't think it's rude to ask if you can borrow the dishes, as long as *you* are the ones doing any of the shlepping/washing etc (IOW - don't make your guests have any additional work). But personally i wouldn't do it.

Oh, of course we would do the schlepping and washing.  I guess I'm not so worried about breakage,  the exact type is still available new. Both of us use them as every-day dishes (they are sort of like dressy jeans... could be casual or nice), I'm not talking about grandma's antiques.

So,  feel like there are more people who think it's okay to ask at least, I guess I will ask with a "totally understand if you don't feel comfortable" caveat. She has a strong personality, I know she won't do something she doesn't want to.

The ideas about different sets for different tables is nice,  but I only have one set of dishes, so...
Title: Re: Borrow dishes from guests?
Post by: Deetee on November 19, 2013, 01:34:32 PM
Judging by the responses above, this seems to vary widely. I would cheerfully loan you my dishes without a second thought. It would give me a warm fuzzy feeling to help you out.

I think the best thing is to ask in such a fashion that you make it very, very easy for them to say no if they are uncomfortable.
Title: Re: Borrow dishes from guests?
Post by: DavidH on November 19, 2013, 04:08:52 PM
I can think of reasons why someone wouldn't agree, but if you ask with an out and don't press the point, I don't see the harm in it.  It would be a good idea to ask if she only hand washes them or anything like that before hand.

As an aside, many large stores dealing with say sleep, bathing, and more, sell inexpensive sets of dishes this time of year.  My parents found that they could get nice if not over the top dishes for large parties for not much more than the cost of one rental. 
Title: Re: Borrow dishes from guests?
Post by: VorFemme on November 19, 2013, 07:03:43 PM
I bought extra plates at a "garage sale" that match mine (stoneware - no metal trim) - not a complete set of all the pieces, but lots of spares to keep a complete set for the ten places I have at two tables.

I also have 24 clear glass luncheon plates (dishwasher & microwave safe) that I can use for some gatherings.

All will go in the dishwasher.  If I need more place settings than 24 - it's time for good paper plates!
Title: Re: Borrow dishes from guests?
Post by: English1 on November 20, 2013, 03:34:14 AM
I don't see why not. We are a big family and if we all get together I usually chuck some of my big serving platters in the car just in case, and I wouldn't mind if someone rang me and asked me to bring a few plates as well. Sometimes we get asked to bring folding chairs as well. People understand. These are not strangers - they are your friends and family. I'm sure they are looking forward to the day and will be happy to help out in such a small way.
Title: Re: Borrow dishes from guests?
Post by: Arila on November 20, 2013, 03:02:06 PM
I'm sure they are looking forward to the day and will be happy to help out in such a small way.

That's such a good point. People keep asking me what they can bring, and I'm like...*I* am making dinner! *you* are the guest! But what I really say is "Please don't feel obligated to bring anything but yourself!" If they insist, I have said "Well, you really don't have to bring ANYTHING, because I'm going to be doing all of the standard stuff, but if there's some special dish and thanksgiving wouldn't be complete without it, you could bring that."

If this friend asks me if she can bring anything, I might (keeping the "out" in mind) ask if she could bring some plates...
Title: Re: Borrow dishes from guests?
Post by: peaches on November 20, 2013, 03:18:03 PM
I'm sure they are looking forward to the day and will be happy to help out in such a small way.

I wouldn't assume this. I think it's presumptuous to do so. I wouldn't call it "a small way" to help someone. It might be small to some and big to others.

I wouldn't even ask. I'd buy more plates, or I'd rent them. Another option is to use sturdy plastic plates (perhaps on the children's table?).

My feeling is that I'm responsible for the people I invite. I imagine you have a backup plan, in case your friend says no. I'd go with the backup plan.

Title: Re: Borrow dishes from guests?
Post by: wolfie on November 20, 2013, 03:44:50 PM
I'm sure they are looking forward to the day and will be happy to help out in such a small way.

That's such a good point. People keep asking me what they can bring, and I'm like...*I* am making dinner! *you* are the guest! But what I really say is "Please don't feel obligated to bring anything but yourself!" If they insist, I have said "Well, you really don't have to bring ANYTHING, because I'm going to be doing all of the standard stuff, but if there's some special dish and thanksgiving wouldn't be complete without it, you could bring that."

If this friend asks me if she can bring anything, I might (keeping the "out" in mind) ask if she could bring some plates...

If you ask me to bring plates I will bring paper/plastic disposable plates. It wouldn't occur to me that you meant my actual dinner plates. And my answer to that would be no - too much risk of something breaking and then the logistics of getting it home again. Do you clean before I leave? If not should I bring them home dirty? If I wait for you to clean them then what will I eat off of until you get them back to me? What happens if one breaks?
Title: Re: Borrow dishes from guests?
Post by: GlitterIsMyDrug on November 20, 2013, 04:03:54 PM
My dishes are made up of garage sale/thrift store finds, and a set Partner bought at Ikea, we call it "eclectic" and "boho-chic" that nothing matches (someday we'll be grown ups and own a matching set). So I'd loan you my dishes. If you're very good friends I think it's ok. But I'd phrase it in a way that gave them out, something casual like "So I'm looking at our guest list for thanksgiving, I'm so excited it's going to be so big! I am worried about having enough place settings though, is there any chance you'd be willing to loan me some for the day? I understand if you can't", and I would wait until they yes to coming.

I do agree though if you plan on hosting large get togethers in the future buying a few more settings might be in your best interest.
Title: Re: Borrow dishes from guests?
Post by: Lady Snowdon on November 20, 2013, 04:05:17 PM
I will happily bring over folding chairs, food (in serving dishes), beverages, etc, but I wouldn't feel comfortable bringing dishes over.  Wouldn't matter that much if they were my everyday dishes or my really nice ones.  I would be afraid I'd break them in transportation (therefore causing problems for me and for the person who's relying on having them) or that I wouldn't get them back, etc. 

My mom doesn't have enough matching dishes for my entire family, but she has a lot of similarly themed ones (white and gold, some with stars, some with abstract patterns, some all white, one all gold, etc) that look good enough together.  I would look around and see if you could do something like that, or if you could get some matching dishes cheap somewhere, rather than request someone bring them.
Title: Re: Borrow dishes from guests?
Post by: Arila on November 20, 2013, 04:45:58 PM
Do you clean before I leave? If not should I bring them home dirty? If I wait for you to clean them then what will I eat off of until you get them back to me? What happens if one breaks?

I appreciate all of this, because it reminds me of what the plan should include.

Yes, I would clean them before she leaves. Most of the dishes will be done after guests go home, but I can disappear to the kitchen for the 5 minutes it would take to hand wash/dry 5 plates.

If one breaks, there are two options. Either it was "mine" anyway, since we have identical sets, or, if mine for some odd reason look more worn than hers (I don't see any difference between the pieces we hardly ever use vs. the always-used pieces), I will naturally show up with/have shipped to her a brand-new-from-the-original-supplier-who-still-sells-the-exact-same-pattern dish. I might employ the china pen if that's a concern -- I will mark my dishes so there's no question about whether or not it will come off.


Regarding breakage while transporting, I will get some of those felt dish protectors and some packing paper and carefully put them in a box. They survived shipping with this much care, so they should survive a car-ride that way.


I think the really important thing here, and what I will keep in mind is that I will accept any hesitation or negative response immediately. Even if we were to work out concerns amongst us, she/I might no longer feel comfortable. The question must be asked in such a way that if it is refused, it's never thought of/mentioned again.
Title: Re: Borrow dishes from guests?
Post by: TootsNYC on November 20, 2013, 05:30:50 PM
I'm sure they are looking forward to the day and will be happy to help out in such a small way.

That's such a good point. People keep asking me what they can bring, and I'm like...*I* am making dinner! *you* are the guest! But what I really say is "Please don't feel obligated to bring anything but yourself!" If they insist, I have said "Well, you really don't have to bring ANYTHING, because I'm going to be doing all of the standard stuff, but if there's some special dish and thanksgiving wouldn't be complete without it, you could bring that."

If this friend asks me if she can bring anything, I might (keeping the "out" in mind) ask if she could bring some plates...

One other thought--I've been researching how to organize the hosting of T'giving, and I ran across a food guy's post in which he said, "accept help," and suggested steering people to those things that don't need the stove. And which might be annoying/stressful for you to fit in.

Like, salad. Or dessert.
Or appetizers.


Re: loaning plates. I'd absolutely ask and loan.

BUT...I would be borrowing plates a few days before, and I'd be returning them a few days after.

I would never schedule the borrowing/returning of dinnerware during the dinner itself. That's just too disruptive. And if you're hurrying, that's when things get broken. So don't tell her you'll absolutely clean them and replace before she leaves. Wash them, and pack them up for transport, later. If I were *loaning* you the plates, I'd be annoyed at having to deal with them on the day. It's not like I don't know where you live, and you might keep my plates forever if I don't get them back right away!!

Since you say these dishes aren't the "fine china" category, and that replacements can easily be purchased, if it were me, I'd ask to borrow.

I'd arrange the borrow/return in advance, but I probably wouldn't say, "what if one breaks?" because I'd assume that of course I'd replace it! Either with a good-condition plate from my own stash, or with a new one from the store.


Re: marking dishes.
Try out a china marker, and see if it stays on through the dishwasher or handwashing. If that doesn't, try out a drop of nail polish on the underside, beneath the maker's name. And that's smart--marking yours, not her.
Title: Re: Borrow dishes from guests?
Post by: MariaE on November 21, 2013, 02:50:11 AM
It's completely normal in my family and my circle of friends to borrow dishes for large events. I wouldn't even think twice about it.

In fact, I'm hosting Christmas Dinner at my place this year (for the first time ever - weee!!!). We'll be 21 people. I have 18 plates myself, and that would leave nothing left for plating stuff to go on the table, so I'll be asking my Mum to borrow a bunch of hers.

We'll eat, I put the dishwasher on while we exchange gifts and eat dessert, cookies and whatnot, and by the time Mum and Dad are ready to go home, the plates will be clean, dry and waiting for them. :)
Title: Re: Borrow dishes from guests?
Post by: English1 on November 21, 2013, 05:51:54 AM
I had no idea some people would be so protective of plates. Each to their own.

But really, how often have you ever been at a family meal and a plate gets broken? Me? Never. And we are a whole bunch of klutzes.

OP - I guess you know your own family and friends and whether they'd be ok with this or not.
Title: Re: Borrow dishes from guests?
Post by: Lady Snowdon on November 21, 2013, 08:06:46 AM
I had no idea some people would be so protective of plates. Each to their own.

But really, how often have you ever been at a family meal and a plate gets broken? Me? Never. And we are a whole bunch of klutzes.

OP - I guess you know your own family and friends and whether they'd be ok with this or not.

At least three times that I remember growing up, at a holiday dinner someone dropped a plate and shattered it.  And I've shattered my own plates a few times too, in the normal course of washing, drying, and putting away.  Maybe that's why I'm more cautious!  ;) 
Title: Re: Borrow dishes from guests?
Post by: wolfie on November 21, 2013, 08:20:57 AM
I had no idea some people would be so protective of plates. Each to their own.

But really, how often have you ever been at a family meal and a plate gets broken? Me? Never. And we are a whole bunch of klutzes.

OP - I guess you know your own family and friends and whether they'd be ok with this or not.

I have broken a lot of bowls. But I would be more worried about them breaking during transportation then at the actual dinner. And well... most things we worry about have a low chance of happening - doesn't mean we can stop worrying about it.
Title: Re: Borrow dishes from guests?
Post by: TootsNYC on November 29, 2013, 11:45:53 AM
It's completely normal in my family and my circle of friends to borrow dishes for large events. I wouldn't even think twice about it.


In my DH's family, they make deliberate purchasing choices based on this. Everybody lives in apartments or not-too-large homes, so they say, "I don't need to purchase a huge suitcase--I'll borrow Anne's" or "Since you're hosting T'giving instead of me, would you like to borrow my turkey roasting pan? They're so huge, it would be silly to buy one. I'll bring it over the weekend before if you want."

My in-laws have the most space, so they have the folding chairs, the folding tables, the huge platters, the oversize suitcases.

If they end up all going on the same "needs a big suitcase" trip together, -then- they go buy stuff.

It was a problem for me and DH--I grew up w/ no extended family within 100 miles or more, so we didn't do this. Plus suitcases were a sign of maturity. So when DH planned to borrow a suitcase to go on our -honeymoon-, I reacted as if I'd just found out I was going to be marrying a child (bcs in my world, grownups own their -own- suitcases).
Title: Re: Borrow dishes from guests?
Post by: VorFemme on November 29, 2013, 09:09:34 PM
I remember buying a suitcase for myself (a set that was on sale) for my high school graduation present - using cash some dear friends and church members (Dad was the preacher for their church for three years and Mom & Dad their bridge partners for close to twenty years, until the couple passed away). 

Growing up - Mom & Dad had a set of suitcases that Mom (I think it was Mom - it had a makeup case as part of the set) had gotten either for her high school graduation or as a present when she went off to college - or possibly when she got married...when you're eight when you get the explanation of HOW Mom & Dad got something, the explanation doesn't always get remembered clearly over forty years later....

They still have the makeup case - but the rest of that set finally wore out about the time I turned thirty....
Title: Re: Borrow dishes from guests?
Post by: TootsNYC on November 30, 2013, 01:55:48 PM
My mother gave us all a full set of luggage for our 18th b'day or high school graduation. "Because now you can come and go anywhere and anytime you like, without having to ask to borrow luggage." It was intended as a gesture that they considered us to be adults who traveled under their own steam.

Add to that the idea that the baby's clothes when in w/ Mom's; when you got a little older, you shared a small suitcase with a sibling, and it was remarked upon when you got old enough (large enough, really) that you got a small suitcase all to yourself. Then a medium one.

So it was really symbolic for me--but for my DH, it was kinda stupid to junk up your home with a suitcase when you had six or seven aunts/uncles/cousins who would gladly loan you theirs (bcs then they didn't feel stupid having a whole suitcase taking up room for the one trip a year that -they- would use it).
Title: Re: Borrow dishes from guests?
Post by: Arila on December 01, 2013, 10:37:56 PM
OK Update:

When the Husband and I were speaking on the phone and he said they were coming, it went like this:
H: Can we bring anything?
A: Actually, I have a kind of strange request, so don't feel at all obligated...
H: (a bit warily) OK....
A: Since we have matchy-matchy plates...
H: (laughing!)
A: Can you bring 5 dinner and salad plates?
H: Sure thing -- see you there!

At dinner, I did thank them again and again, and mentioned that I had thought about buying extras, but I was glad they were willing to share, and she laughed at the idea and said of course they were happy to do the favor because who really needs 12 dishes in households of two people?

Also, lots of compliments on dinner, and the turkey came out beautifully!
Title: Re: Borrow dishes from guests? Update reply 29
Post by: gramma dishes on December 02, 2013, 09:30:38 AM
Glad it worked out!  Sounds like she was the 'right' person to ask!   :)
Title: Re: Borrow dishes from guests? Update reply 29
Post by: TootsNYC on December 14, 2013, 02:04:40 PM
And now she knows that if -she- needs 16 plates for something, she can borrow yours, right?

A good friendship all around. I'm glad it worked out (I had a firm conviction that it would).

And, my MIL just called today to say, "Please can I borrow 12 placesettings of flatware for Christmas dinner?" We'll send them over sometime beforehand.