Lv 4
Moneek asked in Food & DrinkEntertaining · 4 weeks ago

How long after guests arrive at a dinner party should you serve the food.?

I like to invite guests two hours before the actual meal.

I always serve drinks and snacks and like people to mingle and enjoy.

The problem I have is....there is always one person who does not want a drink and feels I should serve dinner right away. That makes me feel uncomfortable.

16 Answers

    Lv 7
    3 weeks ago

    I think an hour and 15 minutes is about right, 90 minutes tops

  • 3 weeks ago

    I think 2 hours is a bit long.

    Satisfy all and when you invite say you will serve appetizers and cocktails from 4 pm to 6 pm and dinner will be served at 6. This way anyone that does not want to have a full 2 hours of drinking and appetizers can arrive anytime before 6. They should not arrive after 6 though. Do not hold dinner for any latecomers.

    • Jerry
      Lv 6
      3 weeks agoReport

      I predict that an invitation worded in that way would result in "minute men" arriving 5 minutes before dinner is served.

  • 4 weeks ago

    Not everyone drinks, and snacks should be available as well as nonalcoholic beverages upon their arrival. Then there’s no rush for the food.

  • 4 weeks ago

    2 hours is way too long. I can understand some drinking and appetizers before but 2 hours?!? After an hour I'd be wondering of you were ever serving anything. Serve dinner earlier so your guests can have time to enjoy the rest of the evening over coffee and dessert. Maybe games after dinner?

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  • denise
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    Your house your rules, A dinner party is a social occasion, not just a 'diner' where you eat and leave!

  • Anonymous
    4 weeks ago

    You should not feel uncomfortable about a guest declining a drink as long as you have water/non-alcoholic option as well as adult drinks.   If someone doesn't want a beverage, that's their choice and it's fine.

    That being said, I think two hours is too long to wait to serve dinner.   I prefer not to be hungry for two hours or to fill up on hors d'oeuvres only to have to stare a full dinner in the face afterwards.   Plus, I really don't need a dinner party to last 4-5 hours by the time dessert is served.  

    But if you and your guests all seem happy with the way it's been going, there are no dinner party police.   Party on.   And don't worry about someone who doesn't want a drink.   It's there if they want it. 

  • 4 weeks ago

    You can serve it any time you like, but let your guests know what your proposed time is. That's so they don't arrive hungry and have nothing but drinks and snacks for two hours. Speaking for myself, if I arrived expecting dinner within a half hour and it wasn't served for two hours, by the time dinner came around I'd be too drunk and or too full of snacks to care much about dinner. Or have a headache by then from a combination of alcohol and not enough food. There are those, such as diabetics, who need to know when they'll eat.

    So say when you invite people: Come any time after seven. We'll be serving drinks and snacks starting then, and dinner will be at nine.

    Those who don't care to stand around mingling for two hours can come later than seven.

    For those who don't want to drink alcohol, you will of course provide other beverages. Coffee, tea, soft drinks, juices.

  • 4 weeks ago

    maybe you shouldnt invite that person since theyre trying to tell you what to do

  • 4 weeks ago

    If you serve dinner right away--like you invite people for 7:00 and dinner hits the table at 7:15, then anyone who's late is a problem.  You have people coming in and sitting down during the meal, which is awkward.  And a lot of people are never on time for a party--they want to arrive 'fashionably late' or they have problems getting out of the house (especially if they have kids).

    But you can't just serve dinner whenever most of the guests are there.  Dinner has to be planned for a certain time.  So it's a good time to serve drinks and snacks and give people 'mingle time'.  Put on the invitation 'Party starts at 6, dinner is served at 7 ', something like that.  Then people who don't want to drink and mingle can come closer to 7.  If someone arrives earlier and complains, you can tell them what I told you, that guests arriving after dinner is served causes a problem.

    • Moneek
      Lv 4
      4 weeks agoReport

      That was a perfect response....thank-you very much.

  • 4 weeks ago

    If dinner is the key ingredient, I'd say as soon as they've all arrived. Unless some will be super late, just eat

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