Should I make my dinner guests wait to eat if I am still waiting on one more guest?

  1. When you issue dinner invitations, you are not likely to run into that situation if you give a time to arrive; but, eat 1.5 hours later. You don’t have to tell your guests that. However, if you hold frequent dinner parties, they will come to realize that. After all, it is not very enjoyable if the guest walks in the door and just pull up a seat to put on the feed bag. There should be drinks, talking and maybe some appetizers. Then, whoever comes even an hour later than normal can still have a drink before dinner.

As a host, you know your guests. If you know anyone who is tardy, just don’t let them know how long till dinner. As far as they are concerned, they need to be on time. Then, if they arrive late, they will look foolish just coming to the table when everyone else is either finished or half done. Then, you never invite them again.

  1. Common etiquette says that dinner should be served on time. So if dinner was scheduled for 7pm that is when it will be served. However keep in mind that when you invite people for dinner you cannot expect them to run out of their car and straight to the table – so you invite would have asked them to come at 6pm, while dinner will be served at 7, The reason is apparent, some people might have traffic delays or scheduling delays, you there for gave them 1 hour to take care of the issue whatever it was. Plus it also gives people the chance to mingle socially, get something to drink, freshen up etc before coming to the table.

Your question was however should you make the guests wait if you are waiting on one person.
The answer to this is NO, you would announce to the guests that dinner is served, when that couple gets there you can seat them. UNLESS OF COURSE its the guest of honor who is late, then you would be obligated to delay dinner till they arrived.
To answer your question – never make the other guests wait. Otherwise, you are catering to those with bad behavior and failing to treat those who arrived on time as the courteous guests they are. Otherwise, they would have been better off being fashionably late like the others. Who will come to your dinner parties in future? Only the one who arrives late.

3. No, your guests were all aware of the time of the invitation. A 10–15 minute grace period is fine over pre-dinner drinks and appetizers if you are serving them, but one should never ignore the present guests’ expectations of being hosted and fed in a timely manner, over a late arrival. Yes life happens, sometimes making one late, but the world does not need to stop revolving because of that and the other guests should not be starved while waiting on one person. Some guests may need to take medication with dinner at a certain time, or have to return to their homes at a certain time to relieve care-givers, or they may have to leave earlier than others due to a long drive home, so it is not fair to ask them rearrange their schedules for one person.

4. I think 15 minutes of holding dinner is more than enough time to make on time guests wait. After that I think dinner should be served and the one that is arriving late will just have to eat when they get there. I think if you hold dinner longer than 15 minutes it would be rude on your part to all the guests who made it on time. Think of it this way is it fair or right to the ones that made it there on time and probably are hungry to have to wait on someone because they didn’t make it their priority to get there on time. Yes things happen like traffic jams or whatever but you should leave early enough to allow time for those things.

  1. A polite guest/guests will notify the host that they are running late with an estimate of by how much. If it is more than 15 minutes, the considerate guest will suggest going ahead with eating.
    If guests have not notified the host, a call to them (guests) are in order to make sure all is well with them.
    Waiting about 15, maybe even 20 minutes could be acceptable, especially if drinks and appetizers are being served. After that, no, do not make guests who have gotten themselves there in a timely manner should not have to accommodate ill-mannered late comers

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