A couple of weeks ago two of my friends and I were hosting a party in honor of another friend's daughter and her fiancé. 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.