The Rudest 11 Things to Ask Guests to Bring Etiquette Experts Say

In the realm of hosting gatherings, be it parties, dinners, or any social event, the act of requesting guests to bring items can be a delicate matter. When done gracefully and tactfully, it can be a convenience for both the host and the guests. However, it is essential to approach this with utmost etiquette to ensure the event’s success and to respect your guests’ comfort. In this article, we, as experienced hosts and etiquette experts, present the most refined and thoughtful ways to make such requests.

1. Choosing the Right Occasion

Before considering asking guests to bring items, it is crucial to determine the appropriateness of the occasion. Casual gatherings like potlucks or themed parties often embrace the notion of shared contributions. On the other hand, formal events, such as weddings or elegant dinner parties, generally follow traditional etiquette rules and may not warrant such requests. Understanding the nature of the event will help strike the right tone in your request.

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2. Communicating with Politeness and Clarity

When making the request, choose your words carefully to express politeness and clarity. Instead of sounding demanding, frame the message as an optional contribution. For example:

“Dear guests, if you would like to contribute to our gathering, we welcome your offerings. However, your presence is the most cherished gift.”

3. Tailoring Requests to Guests

Consider your guests’ preferences, dietary restrictions, and convenience when making requests. Avoid asking for specific and costly items, as this may make some guests uncomfortable. Instead, opt for general categories like appetizers, desserts, or beverages, allowing them to choose according to their convenience and budget.

4. Providing Guidelines

To ensure a harmonious selection of items, consider providing guidelines or themes for the contributions. For instance:

“We are planning a delightful potluck! Please bring your favorite family recipe to share with everyone.”

5. Graciously Accepting Refusals

Some guests might not be able to bring items due to various reasons. Respect their decision without making them feel obligated or uncomfortable. Respond with understanding and appreciation:

“No worries if you can’t bring anything. Your presence is what matters the most.”

6. Organizing Contributions

As a thoughtful host, make arrangements to ensure the contributions are well-managed. Keep a record of what guests have agreed to bring to avoid duplications and ensure a diverse spread. Having a simple spreadsheet or checklist can be immensely helpful.

7. Showcasing Appreciation

Always express gratitude for the guests’ contributions, regardless of their size or significance. A sincere thank-you note or a verbal expression of appreciation during the event can go a long way in making guests feel valued.


Hosting a gathering and requesting guests to bring items can be a harmonious experience when approached with grace and consideration. The key lies in communicating politely, offering flexibility, and expressing sincere appreciation. By following these essential etiquette guidelines, you can create an inviting atmosphere that fosters a sense of community and connection among your guests.

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