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Author Topic: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?  (Read 7832 times)

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rose red

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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #30 on: June 10, 2017, 04:47:09 PM »
I think it's normal, and even nice, to have potluck for pool parties, game nights, and other "just hang out" type parties.

I've never been asked to bring a dish to a housewarming or shower though. But I wouldn't mind depending on the circumstances.


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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #31 on: June 10, 2017, 10:52:38 PM »
I'm a person who supplies all the food when I host. (Partly I like the control.)

But I have a ton of sympathy for the "let's all hve a party at my place; everybody pitch in."

I think if it's clear upfront, the everybody knows, and they can decide not to contribute.

And I also wonder, for our OP, do -you- host parties in which you supply everything? I think that it's very common for one person/couple to start saying, "ooh, let's have a party!" and then somehow only they ever have parties. And then they're forking out a lot of money to provide other people's social life.

If you get invited to a party, the etiquette rule is that you're supposed to come up with a way to host one yourself in return. That's how a social circle can end up with lots of social events to keep the lubrication going.

OK, sure, sometimes you can't entertain on the same scale, so you figure something out.


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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #32 on: June 10, 2017, 11:27:16 PM »
Personally, I enjoy potlucks. However, if it's a gift-giving occasion, asking your guests to supply the food feels not quite right.
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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #33 on: June 10, 2017, 11:33:02 PM »
I do fully host when I host a party except if it's a group activity that rotates houses and is always potluck. We throw about 2 big parties per year and we go all out. We usually have it catered, servers, bartender, etc. (this is why we only have 2 parties per year, lol). But even when we invite people to a dinner party or a small gathering, I always provide food and drink and anything anyone else brings is extra. I guess I'm just old school. My mom raised me with super strict etiquette. My husband's culture is HUGE on hospitality and they would be absolutely mortified to do pot luck anything. When they host, they HOST. I think I was born in the wrong place and time sometimes.


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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #34 on: June 11, 2017, 06:42:14 AM »
It's not rude if clear upfront
That said I agree I like hosted events. I also understand the expense and hassle and appreciate all party invites.


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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #35 on: June 11, 2017, 04:26:00 PM »
When it comes to hosting I am a harsh judge on myself. I want to host everything but I gracefully accept contributions if people bring them. In my friends circle for the most part people do potlucks or ask people to bring a dish to share. I don't normally* judge them for it and I just count my blessings that I am lucky to be able to host fully.

There are other situations where I would judge myself harshly but not others. I wouldn't do a money dance but I witnessed a friend's money dance and didn't think anything of it.

If an invitation doesn't work for you - don't accept it. If you sense a larger pattern of being taken advantage of, evaluate your friendships and go from there.

*I did post here when a friend hosted an organic/healthy potluck and I bristled at the request. But I don't have a problem with potlucks in general.


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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #36 on: June 11, 2017, 06:03:48 PM »
We've let the conversation devolve into "are potlucks rude?" or "Do you like potlucks?"  The answer to the first is obvious, and the answer to the second is completely subjective.

But that's not what the OP posted about, and she isn't saying she disapproves of or dislikes potlucks.

The complaint is that it seems like all the parties and events in her community have become potlucks.  I can see how that would be annoying, and I can see it being a legitimate topic for an entertainment discussion.

I don't think anyone, at least no US etiquette authority, would declare all potlucks, irrespective of circumstances, categorically rude or unacceptable.  And I don't think that the posters who say they prefer to provide all the food when they entertain would say so, either.

I don't blame the OP for finding the ubiquity of potluck invitations to be irritating.  I, too, would be longing for some other kind of entertaining in the mix, even though I don't mind potlucks in general.  I agree that they are better for, say, an office monthly birthday lunch or a football tailgate party than for a wedding or other gift-giving occasion, and, in my experience, they are a disaster for very large groups -- they work best when the number of people is not greater than the number of portions in each contributed dish. 

Harriet Jones

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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #37 on: June 11, 2017, 06:44:06 PM »
I can see where the OP might find it tiresome to have to bring something to every party, but if these are all casual, non-gift-giving occasions, I wouldn't be finding fault with the nominal hosts, especially if the only other option is no party at all.


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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #38 on: June 11, 2017, 07:30:27 PM »
I love pot lucks, but asking for food contributions to an event where you are also expected to bring a gift is not ok in my opinion.  A friend of mine has a huge annual party and I love the way she puts it "please bring a dish to share if you care to - but don't feel that you have to!  We always have plenty".  Some years I took food and some I didn't.  She made a few hearty appetizers and had plenty of cheese, crackers, and a sandwich platter.


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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #39 on: June 11, 2017, 11:10:26 PM »
I personally think pot-lucks are rude if:

- it's not made upfront that the event is pot-luck (in other words, you accept the invitation, only for the host to then tell you that you need to bring a dish); and

- it's for an event where you'd normally give a gift (eg wedding, birthday, engagement party (in Australia), shower, house-warming etc).


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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #40 on: June 12, 2017, 09:37:24 AM »
OP, I agree with you.  I'm totally fine with potlucks and agree that in some situations, it's the best way to go.  But as a person who's fully hosted many gatherings - some in honor of a special occasion, some "just because" - it is extremely nice to attend something once in awhile where I'm told "Nope, you don't have to bring anything, we're providing dinner/drinks."  I do enjoy making appetizers and don't mind contributing to a party, but it does add an extra element to attending the party.  You have to shop for the ingredients, cook/assemble the dish, keep it cool/warm (difficult if you've got multiple destinations that day), make sure it's something that's easily served & doesn't require extra prep at the host's home, worry about getting your dish back (or provide a disposable one), etc etc.

And, sometimes, all of the above is *totally* fine.  But I completely understand why the OP finds it tiresome if *every* party is this way.  Especially if OP often hosts people herself.

 I also think there's a distinction based on who's throwing the party.  For example, if my sister (who is also my BFF) is throwing virtually any event, even a gift giving occasion, I'm going to offer to bring something to help, and she's probably going to take me up on it.  And, she would do the same for me.  But I wouldn't expect an old friend I see a couple times a year to show up with a side dish at a BBQ I'm hosting. 


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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #41 on: June 12, 2017, 10:02:09 AM »
My experience is quite like the OP's. In the past few years, nearly every event I've been invited to has been some sort of potluck, where all the guests are asked to bring food or drink.

And, like the OP, it's getting tiresome. For a Memorial Day party a few weekends ago, I had to make three trips from my car to the host's house, because of all the stuff I was asked to bring--soda, pasta salad, extra lawn chairs, my big cooler. It's been a long time since I just hopped out of the car and walked up to the door--I'm always having to get food or drink out of the trunk to lug up to the house.

I can see why the hosts asked me to bring those things--and I agreed to their requests. But it got me thinking about how every single event I've been to in the past year or so has been potluck.

If every event is potluck, no one is saving any money. You'd spend just as much if you completely hosted your own event, and went as an empty-handed guest to all other events.

There's a time and place for potlucks, and a time and a place for hosting your own party. But we, as a society, seem to be moving away from hosting and towards potlucks. (Hosting as in providing everything for the party, not just the venue.)
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #42 on: June 30, 2017, 08:16:01 AM »
I think it very much depends on the nature of the event.

If I am hosting a shower, birthday party etc, I fully host, period.  No one brings any food.  If I invite a couple over for dinner, I don't ask them to bring anything and I plan a full meal.  Although they will often show up with wine anyway, which is happily accepted. :D

If I host a giant pool party at my house, I provide meat and drinks, including alcohol, and suggest people bring sides or dessert, although it is optional.  Most people bring something, because I think most people realize that I am already spending quite a lot of money in that case.  Which I'm happy to do (or I wouldn't be having a large pool party), but I hardly think that someone bringing deviled eggs and eating my grilled chicken and drinking beer I purchased is subsidizing my food budget.  Usually even for a pot luck, the host provides more than just the one dish that everyone else is bringing.  At least, that has been my experience.

If everything you are invited to is a potluck, I can see how that would get annoying.  However, I think the nature of the event matters.  I don't think a pool party or backyard BBQ has to be fully hosted.  There is no guest of honor and no one is bringing gifts or anything.  It is simply a group gathering that no one is pressured into attending.  It is a chance to hang out.  I don't have a problem bringing a dish to those types of events.


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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #43 on: June 30, 2017, 03:13:43 PM »
 I thought of this string last weekend when we went to a potluck party that our friends give every year. Somehow it is a hugely successful event; maybe because they have so many friends who are really good cooks!  It's mostly an older crowd at this point, so I guess people just have enough experience to know what items well for a potluck.

Except one young guy that came in with a whole watermelon. No knife, no nothing else, just a great big watermelon. It was still there when we left at the end of the evening. :)


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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #44 on: July 21, 2017, 08:02:02 AM »
I think it is becoming the norm, at least in my area, when having a gathering at your home, people will bring something to add to the mix.  Say, game night or a pool gathering or just getting together.   With costs the way they are, and for people who like to socialize, it is just becoming too expensive to "host" it all.  That does not mean you are not a gracious host.   We are all in the same boat.  In our groups, whoever is having the gathering, they provide the main courses, meal.   Will usually provide some drinks and water.  We usually all provide our own drinks because everyone's tastes are so varied.  There is no way we could please everyone by providing drinks to everyone's tastes.  For me, this is where the main cost comes in.  I have bought a variety of two liter sodas only to have to pour them down the drain a few days later.  My husband and I are not big drinkers.  We don't mind getting a case of beer here or there, or wine coolers for an event we host, but usually, what is leftover sits there until next year. 

Most times, people will ask what they can bring.  I usually don't even have to request or ask about anything.  I call the person up, invite them and get, "Sure!  Would you like me to bring my famous (pie/appetizer/whatever?).   I live in Berks County, PA, (aka Dutch Country) and we are all about food.  And vice versa.  I will get invited and will ask, what can I bring or do you want me to make my famous peach jello shots or cupcakes?

Now, for any event that requires a gift, (Wedding, baby shower, bridal shower, birthday party, graduation, Eagle Scout ceremony), the host does all.   For these types of situations, whoever is hosting the event, provides everything required.  (Although, some people will still bring their favorite beverage of choice).