Hostesses With The Mostest > Entertaining and Hospitality

Too early to the party/update #53

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lowspark:
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.

TurtleDove:
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. 

cicero:
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.

LazyDaisy:
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.  ;)

Hmmmmm:
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.

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