POD. In GENERAL be flexible. yes it's your house, your rules. but sometimes a little bit of flexibility (assuming that your guest is not purposely being toxic) will go a loooong way. For example, when I plan a meal, I plan all aspects of the meal so that they go together. and sometimes a guest will show up with bread, or cake, or dessert or something - and i would be well within my rights to say "lovely! we'll enjoy this on tuesday" and put it away (and i have done that on ocassion), but often it wouldn't kill me to just serve 'their' dessert alongside or instead of mine. (again, not saying you have to, but if your dear old aunt brings her signature jelly roll, then why not?)
15. Be psychologically prepared for adapting. Guest accidentally turns the oven on "self clean" while your beef wellington is cooking? Well, pizza on fancy plates can be nice too.
Oh my. This hits a button for me. I can relate to the 'toxic' reference. When we had casual summer cookouts, my SIL used to 1) change my menu by going through my husband to do it instead of me (Joe doesn't want such-and-such; can we do x instead?); 2) bring around 15 Wal-Mart bags of food to my home, including items (ice cream) that we asked her to not bring. This is the same SIL that I saw snoop through her nephew's wallet while he was in the shower, deny her sister stomach pain medicine & tell her son that she deserved to suffer, asked me if my back hurt because my boobs were big, sift through the trash in the emergency room while her sister lay in the bed (trying to figure out what meds they were giving her sister), picked up a piece of sausage that fell on the floor, washed it off & put it back in to cook some more in front of her guests, oh my, I should stop, I could go on and on.
I dread inviting her to my home due to her controlling nature. Although, she has backed off since I confronted her about taking over my home when she visits. She is much more respectful now. Although she did complain that I spent too much time with my grandkids and not enough time with her at the last family get together at our home.
Bottom line: when invited to a dinner (casual or formal) be respectful of the hostess's wishes (menu, space, timeline, choices in general and anything else). Be very careful when making suggestions, weighing the pro's and con's. Don't assume anything. There may be a valid reason why the hostess chose what she or he chose.