Thursday, January 29, 2009
You're throwing a dinner party, and one of your guests has unexpectedly brought their other half, or a coworker misunderstood and is now at your door. What to do?
Be polite - As the perfect host, your first priority is to accommodate the surprise arrival. They probably didn't know they weren't invited, and when they realise the inconvenience of their presence they will probably feel very embarrassed. Put them at their ease, welcome them into your home and offer them a drink.
Squeeze them in - When they're busy talking to the other guests, disappear into the dining room and squeeze another place into the table set up. It might disrupt your otherwise perfect arrangements, but at this point you don't have many alternative options, short of kicking them out. And that would be like shooting a puppy.
Split the portions - If dinner is a serve yourself affair, then the extra guest is easy to accommodate - simply adjust the portions accordingly. However, if you have prepared six portions of chicken - not SEVEN - then you have no alternative than to split cousin Martin's portion with his surprise partner. Politely excuse this when serving up by saying something like, "I'm terribly sorry, I'd only cooked for six, but I know Tara won't mind sharing."
Speak to offender afterwards - When dealt with in a polite and dignified manner, your surprise guest should pose little problem once dinner is under way. Relax and enjoy the evening. Either in private or after the event you are entitled to make your delightful niece understand that her actions were completely unacceptable.