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How do I (politely) shut down a dinner party at my house?

We had some (old and new) friends over for dinner on the weekend. Since some people showed up late and we were all having a great time, we ended up serving dessert at around midnight, thinking that people would leave around 1 or 2am. My husband waved the white flag and went to bed around 1:30.

The wine was flowing, we were all chatting and having a great time and the next thing I knew it was 4am! By that time I had cleaned up the entire kitchen and put away dishes from the dishwasher.

Since some of the friends were new friends, I did not feel right about asking them to leave.

What's the polite way of asking people to leave your house?

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  1. "I hate to cut the good time short but I'm exhausted. Let's do this again sometime."

    1. I don't know if you saw this thread. Old, but the advice is still good.

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/581334

      Here are some suggestions for next time:
      1) Dessert didn't have to be served late. Don't let late guests dictate the flow of the evening.
      How to handle late guests : http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/820935
      2) Husband went to bed @ 1:30. Could have just said, "Guess it's bedtime. Thanks for coming over"
      3) Stop w/the wine and move on to coffee
      4) Start cleaning up.

      But you know what? You were chatting, having a great time, and didn't realize it was getting late. Sounds like a success! I would have just put off the cleaning.

      1. As I stated in the other thread, I have put my jammies on at times to get people to leave. :-)

        1. As LeoLioness said, politely but directly is always best. Perhaps something like, "Hey gang, you know we all have to work tomorrow; I'm beat. This has been such fun but now we need to close it up and everybody head home." When I throw I dinner party or a musical party, I always put a time range, like from 7pm - 9pm. That way people know in advance that there is a definite end time.

          1. I am not quite sure there is a problem stated in the OP.

            "We were all chatting and having a great time"

            Sounds wonderful to me.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Steve

              I agree Steve; I was having a great time but also wished that I could have gone to bed a couple of hours earlier! Part of the conversation was planning our next outing/dinner together so I know we will be partying with this group again. I was also a little concerned that our neighbours would squawk about the noise and send condo security to our suite.

              Also since our guests parked on the street they all got parking tickets since they were parked past 2am. I'll use that as ammunition for next time!

              I have hosted dinners where I just get so tired that I do change into pyjamas and slink downstairs, only to have guests comment on how cute my PJs are. :)

              Maybe next time I'll make hot toddies for everyone to help them realize how sleepy they are!!

              1. re: ladooShoppe

                No! No hot toddies. They'll stay until the sun comes up. The food and drink must stop coming out if you want them to go home.

              2. re: Steve

                I'm with Steve! To have a group of friends that just enjoy themselves (and their drinkies) so much they lose track of time is a WONDERFUL thing.

                L'chaim!