Hostesses With The Mostest > Entertaining and Hospitality

Are Potlucks Rude?

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hot_shaker:
After reading many posts, I have gleaned that inviting people over to your house for a dinner or party but requesting that they bring a dish to share is rude (the exception seeming to be picnics).  Am I wrong in my perception?  If this practice is indeed rude, then why?

Here are my arguments

1) I am not particularly young, I am still living the "broke student" lifestyle.  Many times I would love to have friends over but there is a distinct lack of furniture and space for people in my apartment.  This goes for a lot of my friends as well.  Basically, space is a commodity.  Therefore, if someone is willing to host a party/dinner/get together (i.e., they actually have the room to do so) but not the funds to feed a group of people, I don't see a problem in them asking the guests to bring a dish. 

Here's one scenario as an example: A student, Haley, was hosting a going away party for Christian.  In the invitation (an Evite that did not require an RSVP), she requested that people bring any food or alcohol that they would want.  She was providing some stuff, but obviously would not be able to afford to feed or provide alcohol for the number of people invited (she did not say this but it is to be inferred).  Christian is well-known in our department and was deserving of a farewell party.  I think it was generous of Haley to offer up her apartment for this purpose but is requiring the guests to bring their own provisions rude?

2) In my circle, most of our get-togethers are rather casual (like a BBQ or just a regular party).  Does this make a difference in the rudeness factor?  I mean if I were to host an honest-to-goodness dinner party (dishes, linens, actually sitting at a table) then yes, I would prepare all of the food.  If I were hosting a party (as in "I have room in my house, we can have the party here!"), then I would ask folks to bring food.

I'm not clear on why essentially hosting a potluck is rude.  In what ways do age, financial status, and event formality factor into this, if at all?

Ferrets:
I'm with you, to be honest. So long as you're clear from the word go about it, I don't consider it rude at all. As you said, a "dinner party" is different, but a "Party for X round mine, bring a bottle and some food" isn't.

I would say the the host is obliged to provide a few basics, though, such as crisps, bread, some non-alcoholic drinks and tea and coffee.

jais:
I don't find potlucks to be rude.  I rather enjoy them.
In what I've gathered from this site, it's when you invite someone for dinner or lunch and tell them AFTER they've accepted that it's potluck.  I think that's where the rudeness comes from. 

So, I'm with WolfieSara, if you're up front, it's not rude.

sparksals:
No, potlucks aren't rude at all - as long as it's specified right from the start. 

It is rude to expect people from out of town to bring a main dish.  It's difficult for people to bring something if they're in a hotel. 

Lisbeth:
Potlucks in and of themselves aren't rude, but they can be abused.

I personally think that they are not appropriate for formal events and agree with sparksals that they are especially rude if guests are coming from out of town.

I also think they are abused when the host doesn't announce in advance that the occasion is a potluck but tells guests to bring provisions, especially if s/he doesn't contribute anything or demands specific items as an "entrance fee" to the event.

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