14 Comments

  1. Julie

    Do people really don’t expect you to be on time?! I don’t think so. I am always 5 minutes early regardless the occasion. It’s just me, it’s the matter of principle, which I do not just for meetings, dinner dates, but for showing up in class and turning in the assignments. I mean, that’s also how I will teach my kids too.

  2. Ms. C

    As a young hostess I’m always happy when people show up a little bit late. I’m just getting the hang of entertaining and always seem to be running a little behind, and those few extra minutes are often when I need to get the appetizers plated and out on the table before everyone arrives. But I would much rather all my guests be 10 minutes early than even one be a half hour late. Throwing serving plans into chaos is not a good way to thank your host or hostess.

  3. Susan

    Yes, I feel that’s a good compromise for the tardy people,and then not too early for the hosts. I am a punctual person too,however, my husband is not. But, I do feel that for a dinner party, dinner club,etc, I think you should be no more than 15 minutes late. But anything beyond that, you should call and let the host know. Honestly, if it’s a formal dinner, it does probably put things behind for the host. I know, it’s happened to me. However, on that same note, you should not arrive early either. That makes the host feel uncomfortable, if you arrive early and they are putting the finishing touches on their party/entertainment, food,etc. However, if it’s a cocktail or any other type of party,etc, you can be more flexible on the time.
    Unfortunately, I think society has become to relaxed on their manners.
    I remember someone telling me, that if someone is always late for a date, dinner,etc; it just shows they are not respectful of your time and effort.

  4. Barry Houle

    I respectfully disagree. If the invitation says “dinner at 8″, arrive at 755. And offer to help! If the host wanted you there at 815 or 830, the inviation would have read 815 or 830.

  5. Susanne

    Sorry, but I believe that being tardy is rude. You are making people wait for you and the message you send is “my time is more important than your time.” It’s selfish.

  6. Mary

    We have a Christmas party each year and half the guests arrive promptly and the other half arrive 45 min. or so late. I realize it is difficult to juggle activities during the holiday season, but it doesn’t seem fair to the guests who arrive on time. Had they known dinner would be delayed they probably would have liked to take the extra time at home too.
    My solution is to have the first course “cocktail style” before we sit at the table. It shouldn’t be as obvious as a salad, but a pasta or other appetizer does work. If some guests miss this course or arrive half way through they won’t be embarrassed, but the other guests won’t feel like they are standing around waiting for the party to begin. Also, the main course, while delayed, won’t be completely over cooked or cold.

  7. Alisa

    I am surprised to see so many opinions advocating being prompt or even early. Like the original post mentioned, perhaps locale has quite a bit to do with this. I live in NYC – a very polychronic city – and I would never consider showing up on time. Not because it’s “fashionable” to be late, but because it’s rude to be on time. I agree with the original post that 15-30 min. is the right amount of time. Plus, it’s often hard to get a taxi here so no one is expected at a specific time anyway.

    Additionally, in many other cultures, being late is expected and it’s considered offensive for guests to put hosts on the spot by showing up at the very moment the invitation reads.

    • Indira

      I agree. Being a few minutes late just allows the host a bit of additional time to tie up loose ends and get the event ready. I always appreciate it when guests show up 15 – 30 min late. Now excessively late is rude in my book, anything over an hour does interrupt the flow of the event.

  8. Chloe

    I am part of a monthly dinner club. Each month, a different person hosts at a new restaurant, and sets up a nearby location for drinks prior to dinner. I feel this allows everyone to show up for the dinner on time, even if they choose to skip the pre-dinner cocktail hour.

    However, one person is late more often than not, and because she has neglected to obtain the phone numbers of nearly everyone in the group, I am often the recipient of her calls. This presents a problem for two reasons. One, I do not always attend dinner club. Two, even if I am there, I don’t think it’s appropriate that she ask me to relay the message to the host every time.

    (I used to ride with her to the dinners, but because of my own belief that promptness is mandatory, I chose to decline her offers of a ride and instead take public transportation.)

    One of the reasons she is often late is because she ALWAYS drives. Public transportation isn’t as accessible to her as it is to me, but it is still an option.

    However, as long as I’ve known her, she’s been late to most everything. I almost regret inviting her to join, but made the mistake of assuming that when she was part of an organized event such as this, she would have better manners.

    I have made my ire well known to the others in the dinner club, but everyone else seems to be okay with her tardiness. I have made it clear that as the person who submitted her name to join, I would be the person in charge of asking her to leave, if the need arose.

    Although I am obviously still disappointed, as evidenced by this post, I no longer comment on her tardiness. The only reason I can see bringing it up again would be if the restaurants were to once again begin the practice of not seating anyone until everyone arrives.

  9. Nicole

    As a hostess, I find it very ill-mannered when a guest shows up earlier than the designated time. If I had wanted my guests to arrive at 7:55 instead of 8:oo I would have noted that in the invitation. I am polite to those who arrive earlier, but, again, I do not appreciate it. As a guest, I do not entertain the right to desire the host/hostess to operate on my time schedule. It is also rather distressing when people arrive for a dinner more than 30 min after we have begun to eat and still expect everyone to be waiting for them. To help with this problem over the years I have developed a system that works quite well for me. If the party begins around 7:00 I note the time as “7:00″ in the invitation; people generally realizing that to mean somewhere between 7:00 and 7:30. If I want to serve the meal promptly at say, 7:00 or 7:10 (or what have you) I note that the meal will be served “promptly at…”. This system has served me well these last few years, as I was sick of wondering such things as “should I start without them?… my other guests are waiting” and having to decide who to be rude to! I also appreciate this as a guest because it helps me to understand what the host/hostess desires concerning my arrival.

  10. Lauren

    I have been to several 18th parties and most people turn up about and hour to 2 hours late because they drink before arriving. I usually turn up on time or not depending on how well i know the host. If i am a close friend, i will be one of the first to arrive but if i am more of an aqaintance i will turn up late, letting the host’s friends arrive first.
    But being on time for parties isn’t much of a big deal with people my age – i mean, imagine 300 guests all arriving on the dot – it would take about an hour or two just to get them through the door anyway.

  11. Elle

    I grew up in New York City, in Manhattan. From the time we were little children etiquette was always a normal part of life. We were taught that one always arrives 10 minutes late as a favor to the hostess, who may be doing last minute things. Arriving on time, or worse, arriving early was simply not done. If you had to drive around the block a few times or just find a place to wait, then that is what you did. Arriving early is considered the height of bad form. The only exceptions were a special event, like a wedding, or when the invitation said “promptly at 8:00″

  12. I am surprised at how many people say to arrive early or on time! The hostess is usually working to the last minute and being caught without completing the last minute additions is embarrassing. Dinner parties at a restaurant are different. There, guests should arrive on time or even a little early.

  13. Rhonda

    All I can say is that while all of the comments are nice, this question was already answered by EMILY POST at the top of the page ….done….. no matter what others do and say, I think that the way it is answered originally is how it should be done. :) period!

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