By our late 20s, most of us have mastered the art of getting to the right place at the right time. But there are still of few of us and (ahem) our friends, who have a hard time arriving promptly to dinner. Here are a few tricks we sometimes employ to get our parties started before it's time to go to bed.
- Make the Time Clear: Tell your guests what time to arrive, what time dinner will be served, and what time dinner will be cold! We have a few friends who assume that they can just simply make an appearance within two hours of the start time of the party. This may be fine for a potluck, but at a sit-down dinner? That's tough. Those folks have obviously never tried to make a meal come together at the same time for a crowd, so a little gentle education is in order before your more formal or scheduled dinner parties.
- Tell a White Lie: Tell them the party starts 30 minutes before it really does. Yes, it's lame. Yes it's slightly evil, but if you continually have issues, it's a little white lie that helps everyone out.
- Communicate the Nature of the Occasion: You can't fault folks who are used to you throwing a drinks-and-appetizers get-together, and then show up late the first time you throw a real sit-down dinner. Talk it up, invite them, send an email reminder, let them know you're cooking real food with actual food groups and that you're excited to use them as guinea pigs for your latest cullinary experiments. Make some hype and watch them show up with a napkin already in their lap!
There's no such thing as over-communication when it comes to a party. Folks need to know what they're in for so they can plan accordingly. If they still can't handle getting there on time, you can always try the straight-talk approach, letting them know that it sucks and that you were sad they couldn't make it earlier... or don't invite them again!
How do you handle latecomers? Does your group of friends suffer the same problems or do they do a decent job of watching the clock? Let us know in the comments below!