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5 Things You Should Never Ask Guests to Bring to Your House, Experts Say

Asking for these items is not only rude but can also be a huge burden.

"What can I bring?" is usually the response you get from a guest after inviting them to your home. You might be tempted to respond with, "Nothing just yourself!" But what if you actually need something? "Most people do not turn up empty-handed when they arrive at someone's home," says Lisa Mirza Grotts, a San Francisco-based etiquette expert. "But when a host begins offloading her responsibility to her guests, it becomes burdensome." So how should you handle the inevitable question? Keep reading to hear from Grotts and other experts about the things you should never ask guests to bring to your house when you're entertaining.

READ THIS NEXT: 6 Things You Should Put Away When Guests Come Over, Experts Say.


charcuterie board with sesame seed breadsticks
Shutterstock / Elena.Katkova

It might seem like a small ask to have your guest bring over some chips and dip or a fresh plate of crudités. But this seemingly tiny favor could be a bigger request than you realize."

"Beware of asking your guests to bring any appetizers, cheese boards, or their award-winning salsa, as all of these items are starters, and if your guest is running late, then your guests who have arrived have nothing to nibble on," warns Jules Hirst, etiquette expert and founder of Etiquette Consulting.

She recommends asking for something less timely like wine or dessert.

The Main Course

Friends having pot-luck dinner

If you are hosting guests for dinner, then you should be providing the meal.

"It's not appropriate to ask a guest to lug large dishes they baked for hours," points out Chantelle Hartman Malarkey, a hosting aesthetic expert and interior designer. "For instance, if you're hosting Thanksgiving, do the turkey! No one wants to risk baking a turkey for hours for it to be ruined on the way over."

However, Meredith Corning executive event planner at Meredith Events, notes that it is acceptable to ask guests to bring a main dish if you're hosting a potluck dinner. But, in these cases, you should always clarify that you're hosting a potluck and not a dinner party when inviting people over to avoid any confusion, explains Grotts.

READ THIS NEXT: 5 Things You Should Never Do When Hosting People in Your Living Room.


birthday cake on a platter

As the host, it's your responsibility to provide all the serving ware and utensils you'll need to entertain your guests.

"It might be tempting to ask a friend to bring over their Victorian-era cupcake stand for your tea party spread, but it places too much pressure on the guest to provide something vital for the food service," advises Corning. "Your guests should feel relaxed about their attendance and not worried about forgetting an instrumental piece to your occasion."

Last-Minute Items

The Ice Cream section of the frozen foods aisle of a Publix grocery store where all sorts of tasty baked goods are displayed.

If a guest calls you on their way over and asks if they can grab something for you, then you can ask them to bring a last-minute item. But if you call a guest asking them to bring something the day of your event, that is very inconsiderate.

"It can be stressful for the guest who is trying to get ready and be on time to then have to factor in bringing an item to your home at the eleventh hour," says Corning.

"Never call one of your guests and ask them to stop and pick something up on their way, as you do not know their plans prior to your event," adds Hirst.

And yes, this includes a bag of ice and even ice cream. "Many people think ice isn't a big deal, but it could be a big hassle depending on where they are coming from," says Malarkey. "No one wants a puddle of water in the back of the trunk. That also means ice cream. It's stressful hoping it'll make it there without melting."

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Hands of unrecognizable young business woman counts dollars near atm with empty screen, cropped. Online payment, money transfers, financial transactions and digital financial services

It might seem silly to even say this, but since guests are being asked to pay for their meals at weddings, it's important to note that they should never be asked to reimburse you in any way for the meal you invited them over to enjoy.

"I cannot imagine ever asking a guest in any situation to bring monetary compensation for the dinner you invited them to, whether it is an event outside or inside your home. If you are the host, you are responsible for providing everyone with what is needed for your vision," explains Corning.

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