Hostesses With The Mostest > Entertaining and Hospitality

Late Guests

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The "Helping Out" thread about early guests made me think of what we normally deal with -- very late guests. I'm talking at least an hour or more. For example, earlier this year, DH threw me a wonderful party after I received my graduate degree. The party started at 1 p.m. and we figured it would go to about 4 or 5, although we didn't set a specific end time. Around 3:30 p.m. (yes, that's 2.5. hours late) two sets of guests showed up (6 people total). By they time they arrived, we had gone through a lot of the food and several other people were beginning to leave. Because of their lateness, the party lasted until 8:30 p.m. Although I had a great time, I was exhausted, having had a very emotional day that started very early. And DH felt like he had hosted two parties, not one. For both of us, it was a very, very long day.

So here's my question: When late guests arrive, what do you do? Do you adjust the end-time of the event? Or do you make it clear that the party still will be ending at the previously discussed time? In this case, we hadn't defined a specific end time but I've had other situations when these same guests have arrived hours late to parties with more of a set end time.

End it at the planned time. It's not fair for you to have to play host to people who don't care enough to show up on time. All that holding the party longer will do is teach them that "Oh, it's okay to be late because X will hold the party out longer for us!" and the behavior will continue.

Definitely end at the correct time. And if the food has run out, don't make any more food for them. Let them pick over the chips and whatever is left of the fruit plate. Coffee is cold? The microwave is over there. Hey, look, it's time for you guys to be going. Great seeing you. Too bad it's so brief, but I'm sure you had an emergency that kept you from coming on time. Maybe next time we can catch up more. Bye.

Yes, you certainly end it at the time you intended. Although if you do have an end time in mind, it can be helpful to indicate this on the invitation: e.g. 1 pm to 4 pm.

I wouldn't mind having the party go later, but the later end of the party would be more "low-key," as in, if the latecomers had missed out on dinner or whatever, they'd just get dessert and coffee, and if it was a party where there were to be certain activities that required a certain number of people (for example, let's say there was a standing tradition of a holiday Pictionary tournament that everyone looked forward to), then I wouldn't hold it up for the benefit of people who were that late, because then I'd assume that they might not be coming at all.  Basically, I wouldn't do anything that might take away from the event for the people who *were* there, for the benefit of the people who weren't.


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