Author Topic: What can I bring?  (Read 11046 times)

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BC12

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Re: What can I bring?
« Reply #15 on: August 08, 2012, 03:23:12 AM »
OP, glad things went well. Sounds like a good time!

it is insulting to not take no for an answer bc it implies I cannot adequately provide for my guests.

I think that's taking things a bit too personally, and assuming the worst of your chosen guest's intentions.

But, I suppose I can appreciate your firm stance on nobody bringing anything to your parties. How do you respond when they ask, "What can I bring?" What if they insist? How do you politely decline when they don't take no for an answer?

Danika

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Re: What can I bring?
« Reply #16 on: August 08, 2012, 04:39:34 AM »
I think the culture and mentality differs depending on where you grew up, or your social circle. Where we live, my husband and I are the only natives who were born in this state. All of our neighbors are from all over the U.S. so some don't even ask "what can I bring" others do but drop the subject if you say "nothing" and we have one neighbor (originally from Indiana, FWIW) who always insists on bringing something because it makes her feel really rude and thankless if she shows up empty handed.

I don't like to ask people to bring food to something I'm hosting. I feel like I don't want to make my guests have to work in order to attend a fun evening. I also have a lot of food allergies and want to be able to eat everything, not look around the spread and keep reminding myself "those brownies look good, but they have nuts. No mindlessly grabbing a brownie and putting it in my mouth while chatting. I have to avoid the whole table because the chocolate is calling to me and I need to remember that there are nuts in them."

So for the neighbor who always wants to bring something or people like her, I usually say "well, we'll have wine and dark beer, but if you prefer light beer, please, bring it." But this specific neighbor really likes to bring something edible, so I have found that with her, I have to say "I have nut and soy allergies. Could you please tell me which dishes you're considering bringing so that I can let you know if I can eat them or not? I don't like not being able to eat something at my own party."

WillyNilly

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Re: What can I bring?
« Reply #17 on: August 08, 2012, 10:50:15 AM »
As a guest, if I ask what I can bring and am told nothing, I bring something as a hostess gift.  A small vase of flowers (always in a vase so my host doesn't have to scramble to find one), a box of chocolates - can be put out for the party or kept for later, a bottle of wine - again can easily be put away for later, a fancy soap or candle, etc.  Basically an under $10 item that can be used immediately or not, re-gifted or kept, small and non-intrusive, etc.

For a pool party, I might add sunblock to that list.  It never hurts to bring sunblock which you are happy to put out and share, and I figure people with a pool will probably find use for it later (for themselves or to offer to guests).

lowspark

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Re: What can I bring?
« Reply #18 on: August 08, 2012, 11:10:22 AM »
Offering to bring something is not rude.  It is actually the polite thing to do.  What is rude is to insist and not take no for an answer. 

I agree with this. Sometimes I want people to bring things - sometimes it's a pot luck or it's a large party and a couple extra dishes will be welcome, etc. But sometimes, I want to serve exactly what I want to serve.

I've had people insist before and I've learned to answer "wine" when they do. Then I can open the wine they bring, or not. But at least that allows me to keep my menu to just what I've planned.

In the case of the pool party, I think you're good with ice, towels, etc. In other words, the peripheral stuff that will come in handy if needed, but that no one can be upset about if it ends up not getting used.

sparksals

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Re: What can I bring?
« Reply #19 on: August 08, 2012, 12:22:33 PM »
OP, glad things went well. Sounds like a good time!

it is insulting to not take no for an answer bc it implies I cannot adequately provide for my guests.

I think that's taking things a bit too personally, and assuming the worst of your chosen guest's intentions.

But, I suppose I can appreciate your firm stance on nobody bringing anything to your parties. How do you respond when they ask, "What can I bring?" What if they insist? How do you politely decline when they don't take no for an answer?

Perhaps that is a bit out of context.  I don't take it personally, but it is extremely frustrating when I invite people over, answer 'just yourselves' and the insistence starts.  It puts the hostess in an awkward position.  I don't want anyone's help.  If I wanted help, I would ask for it or have a potluck.   

Just as it is rude to bring an uninvited guest, it is also rude to put the hostess on the spot with desires to help or contribute to a party for which she already has a vision.   To me, it is turning my fully hosted party into a form of potluck and then other guests would be embarrassed they didn't bring something.

If they insist, I say, "really, I have it covered.  If you absolutely must bring something, then a bottle of wine".   Those people who continually insist, won't take no for an answer or worse, bring something when told not to, usually are off my invite list.   It never fails, as people are arriving, I already have my table set just so and then people show up with food that forces me to realign my already done table.   

I am known as a very good cook.  People like coming to our house.   When I entertain, I invite them to provide the food, booze, beverages and entertainment.  They don't need to contribute to my party.  Their presence does.

When I am invited to someone's home, I always ask if I can bring something.  If told no, I don't insist, I respect the hostess and then bring a hostess gift that doesn't infiltrate her party. 

 

sparksals

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Re: What can I bring?
« Reply #20 on: August 08, 2012, 12:22:57 PM »
As a guest, if I ask what I can bring and am told nothing, I bring something as a hostess gift.  A small vase of flowers (always in a vase so my host doesn't have to scramble to find one), a box of chocolates - can be put out for the party or kept for later, a bottle of wine - again can easily be put away for later, a fancy soap or candle, etc.  Basically an under $10 item that can be used immediately or not, re-gifted or kept, small and non-intrusive, etc.

For a pool party, I might add sunblock to that list.  It never hurts to bring sunblock which you are happy to put out and share, and I figure people with a pool will probably find use for it later (for themselves or to offer to guests).

THIS!

sparksals

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Re: What can I bring?
« Reply #21 on: August 08, 2012, 12:23:46 PM »
Offering to bring something is not rude.  It is actually the polite thing to do.  What is rude is to insist and not take no for an answer. 
I agree with this. Sometimes I want people to bring things - sometimes it's a pot luck or it's a large party and a couple extra dishes will be welcome, etc. But sometimes, I want to serve exactly what I want to serve. I've had people insist before and I've learned to answer "wine" when they do. Then I can open the wine they bring, or not. But at least that allows me to keep my menu to just what I've planned.

In the case of the pool party, I think you're good with ice, towels, etc. In other words, the peripheral stuff that will come in handy if needed, but that no one can be upset about if it ends up not getting used.


Wow.. you said far more succinctly what I have tried to in several posts! lol

Outdoor Girl

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Re: What can I bring?
« Reply #22 on: August 08, 2012, 12:28:32 PM »
It never fails, as people are arriving, I already have my table set just so and then people show up with food that forces me to realign my already done table.

You know, I think I'd take the dish, thank them and put it in the fridge.  'This is great!  With your dish and the leftovers, I won't have to cook tomorrow.'  Is that too PA?  But really, why should you have to change everything for something you never wanted, and told them not to bring, in the first place?
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Figgie

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Re: What can I bring?
« Reply #23 on: August 08, 2012, 12:50:12 PM »
Like sparksals, I prefer to host and not have my guests bring anything to contribute.  I have found that the people who refuse to take no for an answer are often (but not always) :) the same people who never fully host anything.  My guess is that they might see invitations to any kind of social event in someone's home as always being the equivalent of a potluck because that is the kind of hosting they are most familiar with.

SoCalVal

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Re: What can I bring?
« Reply #24 on: August 08, 2012, 02:15:52 PM »
A lot of people, including me, feel very self-conscious if I don't have a thing.  If it's something casual like your party, I'd bring a couple of 2-liters or a bag of chips.   That seems OK to ask, if someone offers; it doesn't "intrude" on the food.

I had a dinner guest do this.  He asked if he could bring anything, and I told him no (in fact, I think I did tell him what was on the menu -- which was MyBrandOfAsian food).  Despite that, he showed up about 45-60 minutes late and brought a dish that was his take on a Mexican recipe (meaning it was missing ingredients so it was pretty much one color).  It also didn't go with my menu items AND duplicated one of the sides.  DF and I politely took a little bit, but I noticed that our other guests didn't touch it (it didn't look gross, just unappetizing -- I think it was supposed to be some sort of rice casserole but, with the missing ingredient or two, it was just plain rice with melted mozzarella cheese on top in a glass baking pan).  I would've preferred he showed up on time for once in his life (he's chronically tardy) and brought nothing than showed up way late with a dish that clashed.



NyaChan

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Re: What can I bring?
« Reply #25 on: August 08, 2012, 02:23:54 PM »
Anyone used to hang around CHOW and remember the ribs story?

Personally, I tell people no and when they insist will try to ask for a periphery item.  Only problem is that I then worry that if they forget, I won't have that periphery item.  Once for example, I gave in and said I could use ice - I don't have an ice maker and would have had to pick up a bag anyways.  But then it occurred to me that if they didn't come on time or forgot, I'd have no ice for the guests who showed up before them.  So I ended up buying ice anyways at the very very last minute (which it turned out I needed as they were a little late).  Then that couple was miffed because they arrived and found that there was ice there already (they also brought some unsolicited soda) and I felt bad for imposing on them.

So now I just do a firm, "I'll be honest with you, I've already planned out and purchased everything and don't need anything more, but I really appreciate the offer!"   

anniehawks

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Re: What can I bring?
« Reply #26 on: August 08, 2012, 04:27:30 PM »
I once hosted a dinner party and had various people offer to bring something.  I told everyone that I didn't need anything, please just come and enjoy the evening.  Everyone listened except one guest.  When she showed up, she had made a pineapple upside-down cake.  I thanked her, and said that she shouldn't have gone to so much trouble.  She said, in front of all my other guests, that she could never go to anyone's home without bringing something.  Of course nobody else had brought anything, at my request.  Some of my guests were rather put out with her.  While her cake was delicious, it didn't go with my Italian menu and not many people ate it.   

sparksals

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Re: What can I bring?
« Reply #27 on: August 08, 2012, 04:38:26 PM »
I have to admit that sometimes I suspect many people who chronically offer and don't take no for an answer may want to show off, just as like pineapple upside down cake lady.   There is nothing wrong with showing up with something.  It is what one shows up with that matters.  Never is it polite to try to show up the hostess by bringing food like this.  It doesn't take into consideration the work and effort the hostess has done for a specific menu... which may very well have a theme.



doodlemor

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Re: What can I bring?
« Reply #28 on: August 08, 2012, 04:48:52 PM »
It never fails, as people are arriving, I already have my table set just so and then people show up with food that forces me to realign my already done table.

You know, I think I'd take the dish, thank them and put it in the fridge.  'This is great!  With your dish and the leftovers, I won't have to cook tomorrow.'  Is that too PA?  But really, why should you have to change everything for something you never wanted, and told them not to bring, in the first place?

This.  Any etiquette books that I've ever read say that one is not required to serve unsolicited items that guests bring with them. 

NyaChan, please tell us the ribs story.

SoCalVal

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Re: What can I bring?
« Reply #29 on: August 08, 2012, 08:30:00 PM »
Oddly, I think I might remember that ribs story a little bit (or it was repeated here).  Did a guest invited to a BBQ where the host was supplying ribs decide to bring his version of cooked ribs to the party?