The Rudest 11 Things to Ask Guests to Bring: Etiquette Experts Speak Out

Imagine this scenario: You’ve just received an invitation to a friend’s dinner party.

As you read through the details, you stumble upon a request that leaves you perplexed.

“Please bring a dish to share and your preferred brand of wine.” Wait, what?

While it’s common for hosts to delegate certain items to guests,

there’s a line that, if crossed, can turn an otherwise enjoyable event into a cringe-worthy experience.

The Etiquette of Asking Guests to Bring: A Balancing Act

Hosting is an art that involves striking a delicate balance between ensuring everyone feels comfortable

and contributing to the event. Experts emphasize that while asking guests to bring something is acceptable,

certain requests should be avoided.

1. The Main Course or Expensive Dishes

Etiquette experts unanimously agree that requesting the main course

or expensive dishes crosses a major line.

It places an undue burden on your guests and implies that you’re unwilling to invest in hosting.

Remember, your event is an extension of your hospitality.

2. Specific Brands or Expensive Beverages

Asking for a particular brand of beverage,

especially if it’s on the pricier side, can make guests feel uncomfortable.

It’s best to let your guests choose what they’re comfortable bringing,

whether it’s a six-pack of craft beer or a bottle of wine.

3. Decorations That Suit Your Taste

Your party’s theme might be important to you,

but imposing specific decorations on your guests hampers their creative expression.

Instead, create a general theme and allow your guests to contribute in their own way.

4. Complex Dishes That Require Cooking on-site

While potlucks are a fantastic way to share culinary skills,

requesting dishes that require on-site cooking can be awkward.

Guests might not be comfortable using your kitchen, and it disrupts the flow of your event.

5. Multiple Unrelated Items

It’s tempting to ask guests to bring a combination of items to ease your workload,

but this can backfire. It places an undue burden on them to shop for and transport multiple unrelated things.

6. Items That Might Make Guests Uncomfortable

Asking guests to bring items that don’t align with their preferences

or dietary restrictions can be insensitive. It’s crucial to respect their comfort and choices.

7. Contributions for a Lavish Gift

If you’re planning to gift yourself something extravagant using contributions from guests,

think again. It comes across as self-centered and ungrateful for their presence.

8. Cash or Financial Contributions

Directly asking for money can make guests feel like they’re attending

a fundraiser rather than a social gathering. Focus on the joy of their company instead.

9. Personal Care or Intimate Items

Avoid requesting personal care or intimate items.

It invades your guests’ privacy and can lead to uncomfortable conversations.

10. Items That Could Offend

Be cautious not to request items that might offend cultural,

religious, or personal sensibilities. Foster an inclusive environment where everyone feels welcome.

11. Last-Minute Requests

Springing last-minute requests on your guests is discourteous.

Plan ahead and communicate your expectations clearly in advance.


Asking guests to contribute to an event is a common practice,

but it’s essential to approach this with sensitivity and respect.

Strive to make your guests feel valued and comfortable,

ensuring that your event is remembered for all the right reasons.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Is it acceptable to ask guests to bring a dessert?

Absolutely! Desserts are a delightful addition to any gathering and are generally well-received by guests.

2. Can I request guests to bring their own beverages?

While it’s acceptable to suggest that guests bring their preferred drinks,

avoid specifying expensive brands to make everyone feel at ease.

3. Is it rude to ask for homemade dishes?

Asking for homemade dishes is fine, but avoid demanding complex recipes that might be challenging

for your guests to prepare.

4. Can I ask guests to contribute to a group gift?

It’s best to avoid asking guests for contributions to a lavish gift for yourself.

Instead, focus on their presence as the ultimate gift.

5. How do I communicate my requests without sounding rude?

Use polite language and make it clear that their presence is what truly matters.

Express gratitude for their willingness to contribute, whatever it may be.

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