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Author Topic: Dinner Invitation Dilemma  (Read 7208 times)

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Dinner Invitation Dilemma
« on: February 09, 2012, 01:59:22 PM »
The King and I are taking another couple to dinner next weekend. In an effort to make it more fun (under the 'more the merrier' theory), we invited my sister and BIL to join us.

Some key points:

1. Dinner is our treat.
2. Our reservation is at 7:00
3. Dinner is one hour away from our house (and our friends' house) in my sister's home town. For unimportant reasons, the venue will not be changed.

Sister accepted our invitation. She also said that her DH would be at her son's hockey game (1.5 hour drive from the restaurant) and probably couldn't get there until 8:00 or so, which, in her words, "is fine, because we can all just hang at the bar until he shows up".

Now, I'm not moving the res. We have a long drive back and our friends are paying for a babysitter. Additionally, our son (16) will be home alone - or at a friend's house - and we don't want to be away for too long. Nor do I want to cocktail for an hour, knowing that the King or I will be driving back. The King says I should simply uninvite them, which I am loathe to do - I think it's rude. Instead, I've told her we'll start, and he can join us when he can - which may also be rude.

Other possibly important info - my sister and I (and BIL and the King) are all very close - so there's no family drama there. Also, my BIL rarely goes out; he's a recovered alcoholic and finds life simpler and more fun if he stays home - so my sister gets mildly freaked with joy when he agrees to a dinner and she gets to go out.

Opinions? I'm not going to cancel or uninvite - but is it rude to start the meal without him?


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Re: Dinner Invitation Dilemma
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2012, 02:03:25 PM »
Not rude. Dinner invite was extended for 7PM. He can't make it at that time.

He's not coming for dinner. He's coming for dessert. :-D


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Re: Dinner Invitation Dilemma
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2012, 02:05:28 PM »
Opinions? I'm not going to cancel or uninvite - but is it rude to start the meal without him?

I'd say that allowing his late arrival was an accommodation you were making for an intimate friend. I do think you should tell them you're not going to wait. I'd expect to be served my main course an hour after my reservation started, unless of course there were more than three courses. He could skip the starter and you could order a main for him. Don't make unnecessary accommodations that spoil your event though.


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Re: Dinner Invitation Dilemma
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2012, 02:05:48 PM »
I think you are in the clear - if this was a dinner party at your house you certainly wouldn't be expected to keep all your guests waiting for an hour right?  BIL comes when he comes, you guys should start when you planned to.


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Re: Dinner Invitation Dilemma
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2012, 02:11:52 PM »
Please start without him. And please let the waitperson know another diner will be joining you at 8.

It might not be the most convenient thing for your sister, but it won't be a problem in the larger scheme of things.


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Re: Dinner Invitation Dilemma
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2012, 02:20:30 PM »
Since he is going to be late, and you know well in advance, I think it's rude not to make any effort to accommodate them. Starting at the usual time, likely means that you will be on to dessert by the time they arrive, so you will either have to pause for them to catch up or finish dessert and then wait until they finish their dinner.  I don't think it will solve the problem of not being there too long since you can't really say right, we're finished and leaving now, finish your main and dessert without us.

It seems better to suggest meeting another time since the timing here just doesn't work.

Alternatively, if you could consider other options, why not move the reservation to 7:30, and then if they skip an appetizer the timing for the main course will likely work out.


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Re: Dinner Invitation Dilemma
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2012, 02:25:25 PM »
It seems to me that they uninvited themselves.  They are not free for dinner that night, so they shouldn't have even accepted your invitation.  I think it's fine to say, "Oh, it's too bad you aren't available for dinner with us, we'll get together some other time when are free"
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Re: Dinner Invitation Dilemma
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2012, 02:32:02 PM »
Additional info - my sister will be there at 7:00 w/out her husband. He is the only one joining us late.


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Re: Dinner Invitation Dilemma
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2012, 02:33:23 PM »
"Sorry, sis.  Changing the time and hanging out at the bar for an hour doesn't work for us.  Maybe next time."
The days are long but the years are short.


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Re: Dinner Invitation Dilemma
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2012, 02:33:50 PM »
I think I'd be clear with sis that your reservation is for 7 and you plan to be seated at 7 and start with apps because you don't want to stay at the restaurant that long or that late.  You bil can join you guys when he can for dessert or you sis can join you guys for an evening out without her spouse.


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Re: Dinner Invitation Dilemma
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2012, 02:39:35 PM »
Pame makes a good point, make sure sis and BIL know the plan clearly.  If the idea is for him to join when he can and just start the next course it works, but for him to start apps when you are on dessert will be awkward.  Alternatively, why not suggest sis join you and then BIL and sis join you for dinner another time when he is free?


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Re: Dinner Invitation Dilemma
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2012, 02:49:51 PM »
It sounds like the friend portion of this was set up prior to adding sis and BIL, and to me this makes a difference.  You don't say how clear you made this to your sis when you called, but since everyone is close-knit, that shouldn't be a biggie.

I'd tell her the exact timing and why it was arranged like this (with apologies if this wasn't clear when they were invited) and then leave it in her court.  She can decline the invite altogether,  she can come by herself, or BIL can arrive in time for dessert. 


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Re: Dinner Invitation Dilemma
« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2012, 03:35:43 PM »
I don't think it's ideal to start without him but I think that as long as you explain the circumstances (babysitter, long drive, etc) to them and make it clear that you're sticking to your 7 pm reservations, then it's up to them if they are ok with that or not.

Ideally the original conversation would have included that info so that when sis said that bil couldn't make it till 8 and that y'all could just hang at the bar till then, you might have replied with those answers on the spot.

Since you and she are close, though, she should understand, once you explain your reasons, and then either (as PPs said) just decline the invitation or agree to your timing. I also agree with PPs that once BIL does arrive, it's going to defeat the purpose if he then begins his evening at 8, beginning at the exact same spot you three began at 7. So, ordering apps, then main dish, then dessert, while the three of you sit waiting... well, you may as well have waited for him in the first place.

Maybe he can check the online menu in advance and pick what he wants and call ahead when he's on the way, and sis can order his dish so it is served just as he arrives? It would still cause some delay but not as much as him arriving, perusing the menu, etc. We have done this before when someone was running late. Usually the server can let you know how much lead time you need to give the kitchen, and bil can call when he's that much time away from arriving.


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Re: Dinner Invitation Dilemma
« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2012, 04:06:57 PM »
I would stick with the original time as you are driving an hour, the other couple is paying a sitter, etc.  You inivited sis and bil to join the four of you, at 7 p.m.  They need to make their decision based on that time.  BIL had another commitment, so he either declines the meal entirely, joins you for dessert, or both sis and bil decline.  BIL may not even make it to the restaurant at 8 p.m.--all will depend on how long the hockey game lasts, traffic, weather, etc.  To hold up the eating time until he arrives, could end up up with a very late dining time.

I would call sis and tell her what is going on "Sis, we had invited couple x to dinner with the reservation at 7.  We will be keeping that reservation time.  You are welcome to join us for the meal and bil can join us later if he wishes.  If you would rather not come, we understand." 


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Re: Dinner Invitation Dilemma
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2012, 10:59:46 AM »
I think it's better to start without him than to have a group of potentially hangry people waiting for him.
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