Chiming in late, here. I haven't thoroughly read all of the responses, pretty much skimmed.
When DDs were toddlers I always brought snack food, if not an entire meal for them, to gatherings. Just in case. Not saying that OP should do this, but it worked for me. When they got older I stopped bringing food for them, thinking that they should just eat off of whatever is served.
I'm reminded of a time when the DDs were maybe 5&7. SIL invited us over for dinner. (Guest list was just LDH, DDs and I along with her SO.) She said "Show up any time after 3:00" I did not ask when dinner would be served and I didn't bring snacks for the kids. I figured dinner would be around 6:00. SIL served appetizers, but they were more adult tastes (buffalo wings, spicy mexican roll-ups, etc.) Getting to be around 6:00 I asked if I could order a pizza or something for the DDs. SIL said "No, no, no. We'll start dinner soon. They can eat whatever we're serving!" 7:00 and still no signs of any dinner prep. I ran out to McDonald's for food for the DDs, much to SIL's chagrin. It was after 8:00 when SIL and her SO started the grill . . .
That being said, I do believe that a polite hostess should take any invited kid's needs into consideration.
You can be damned sure that if CakeBeret had been at one of OUR houses, she wouldn't be posting at Etiquette Hell about this--because not a ONE of us would have let her leave our house without an apology for our bad timing. She'd have left KNOWING that the friendship hadn't been damaged and that she hadn't been rude.
LOL! I agree whole-heartedly.
5 replies while I was posting . . .