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The 5 Rudest Things to Ask Guests to Bring, Etiquette Experts Say

According to hosting pros, certain requests can make guests uncomfortable.

One of the top tenets of good etiquette is that you should always bring a gift when visiting someone's home. In many cases, a guest will just pick something up, like a bottle of wine, a yummy dessert, or a bouquet of flowers. But sometimes, they'll ask if there's anything they can bring. And when you get this question, you'll want to ensure you aren't breaking any unspoken rules. That's why we consulted etiquette experts to find out the rudest things you can ask guests to bring to your home. Read on for their hosting advice.

READ THIS NEXT: The 6 Best Things to Ask Guests to Bring—If They Offer.

An essential party element

A person placing a Thanksgiving turkey down on the table in front of their family

Because you're the host, you should provide every item that's essential to your event. Etiquette experts say that includes everything from the main course of a dinner party to a bottle of champagne at a New Year's Eve event.

"If asked, a host should only request that a party guest bring accompaniments," says Sharon-Frances Moore, owner of the social etiquette company Shances. "For example, a side dish or a backup dessert or a party complement like flowers."

The one exception is if you're super close with the guest you're asking. "I would not usually ask a guest to bring a fully cooked turkey to Thanksgiving at my home," says Jodi Smith, an etiquette consultant and owner of Mannersmith. "But if it is my sister, that would be totally fine."

If you do outsource a key party component, you'll want to ensure it goes to someone who's responsible and on time—you don't want the main course to hit the table two hours late because a guest was tardy.

Anything uncooked

raw chicken being cut with a knife, second uses for cleaning products
Shutterstock/Slawomir Fajer

On a similar note, you should never ask a guest to bring a food item that still needs to be cooked.

"Having your guests have to hurry to get your party is rude, and to ask them to bring uncooked meat, chicken, or fish forces them to arrive first," says Max Tucci, entertaining expert and author of The Delmonico Way.

There are also health risks involved. "The USDA states that if raw meats have been mishandled or left in the 'Danger Zone' for too long, bacteria may grow and produce toxins which can cause foodborne illness," explains Tucci.

Said "Danger Zone" is anywhere between 40 and 140 degrees or anywhere unrefrigerated for more than two hours, which sounds a lot like many guests' commutes.

READ THIS NEXT: 6 Items You Should Always Have in Your Living Room When Guests Come Over.

A specific type of alcohol

Woman Shopping at Liquor Store

When you ask a guest to bring an item to your home, you don't get to nitpick which type they buy.

"While it's perfectly fine to suggest that guests bring a bottle of wine or a six-pack of beer to share, asking for a specific brand or type is crossing the line," says Suman Kumar Sahni, certified relationship expert and co-founder of Mood Fresher. "It can make guests feel like their contribution isn't good enough and can create an awkward situation if they're unable to find the requested item."

However, he notes that you can ask for a specific genre of drink, like red wine or tequila. But if you want something specific, get it yourself.

Something that makes them uncomfortable

Woman in a liquor store looking at a shelf with bottles of whiskey.

Avoid any requests that could make your guests uncomfortable. For instance, not all guests should be tasked with the liquor store run.

"It would be highly inappropriate and disrespectful to ask a guest to bring…alcohol if they are in recovery from alcohol addiction," says Adina Mahalli, MSW, family therapist for Maple Holistics. "Such a request could undermine their progress, create feelings of exclusion or embarrassment, and strain the trust within the relationship." Ensure they feel included and supported by asking for a non-alcohol-related item.

You should also avoid asking for items that could be an inconvenience to your guests. For example, suggesting a special loaf of bread from a bakery halfway across town or asking for a carton of ice cream when a guest lives far away, says Tucci.

"To make a guest have to hurry to get the party so the ice cream doesn't melt is simply rude and inconsiderate," Tucci adds. Other melt-prone items such as ice also fall into that category.

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Fifty dollar bill in white male hand closeup

Finally, you'll want to avoid asking for cash—there are more tactful ways to obtain contributions from guests.

"It puts your guests in an uncomfortable position and can make them feel like they're not valued as individuals but rather just a source of income to fund your party," says Kumar Sahni.

Instead, ask guests to contribute to a shared expense, such as lodging or drinks, or ask each guest to bring an item, like cups or napkins. Or, lower the costs of hosting entirely by hosting a potluck party where everyone brings a dish. Problem solved!

Juliana LaBianca
Juliana is an experienced features editor and writer. Read more
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