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When should dinner be served after guests arrive?

Posted by kiwichase (My Page) on
Wed, Dec 27, 06 at 15:12

What is the proper timing of serving dinner after family guests arrive? I usually tell people to come at 5:00 p.m., we will be eating at 6:00 p.m. or something like that. My in-laws tell us to come at 3:00 p.m. and then do not serve dinner till 6:00 or 7:00 p.m. When we ask them when dinner will be served they say just to come down - they never answer us. Is there a general rule of etiquette for when dinner is to be served?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: When should dinner be served after guests arrive?

It all depends on how much socializing and how formal a dinner is.

At my house, we have very informal gatherings. I host a "desperate housewives" party every second Sunday. My sister in law hosts on the other Sundays. We usually show up when we show up... and eat when dinner is ready anytime after 5.

For our Christmas dinner... we had to wait for the darned potatoes! We wanted to serve at around 5:30, but the potatoes seemed to be stubborn. Due to the potatoes, we had to wait for the gravy (we add potato water to add flavor and help thicken as well). So, we eventually ate at 6:15! It's a good thing that it was only well loved family, and everyone had a great time socializing as we cooked.

But, like I said, it all depends. I THINK that you have it about right though according to "set rules". Dinner at about 1 hour after arrival. In our family, rules seem to be made to be broken LOL!

RE: When should dinner be served after guests arrive?

OMG, kiwichase, our in-laws must be related. The SIL always says to come "around noon". I have always asked what I could bring and she has always insisted "nothing". There have been times she hasn't served food until after 7pm!!! and she NEVER offers a drink, and never serves appetizers or munchies. These are usually get-togethers for 10-12 people, most of them driving one hour or more to get there (including us). Once I realized this was her usual 'MO', I tried to bring plenty to drink and munch on -- and she would get MAD at me because everyone would eat what I brought. Of course they would! they were HUNGRY! ugh!

This is the first year I ever declined their holiday get-together invitation. lol!

I always plan to serve dinner one hour after the time I tell people to arrive. [BTW: SIL always shows up TWO HOURS or more late... once with a bag of sweetcorn that needed to be shucked and cooked. I just stuck it in the fridge. lol!]


RE: When should dinner be served after guests arrive?

When we are having people in for dinner, we usually invite them to arrive at 6:00-6:30. We generally visit and we offer a variety of drinks, wine, tea, water, and have some lite snacks. We plan to eat no later than 45 minutes after folks arrive. Food is planned to be ready about 10-15 minutes before we are ready to eat. Obviously, we are not early diners as no children are involved. This is mainly for more formal dinners and we live in an area where later dining is more the norm.

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