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Restaurant Dinner Party - Uninvited Guest

I am hosting a birthday dinner party for my SO at a restaurant for 20 close friends and family. I have reserved a private room, arranged for open bar and am covering the entire cost of the event, which is running about $110/pp.

Most guests have dutifully RSVP'ed, but I received a separate response from a friend's girlfriend asking if she could bring her cousin (who will be in town that weekend visiting friends). I asked whether this would be a "stop by" or whether she's asking if the cousin can join for dinner. She asked if she could come for dinner.

Now, I know this person is aware that this is a somewhat intimate event and I assume that she is aware I'm hosting (because of how I roll generally).

I haven't responded yet - how should I handle? At the end of the day, it's not going to break the bank given the already significant cost, but do people truly have no manners?

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  1. I think you can simply apologise and say that given the arrangements that have been made, this additional guest won't be possible. She asked if it were possible and from what you have told us, it is not possible.

    I appreciate your frustration, but this doesn't seem like an absence of manners: an absence of manners would involve fighting against the 'no' (meaning she had not been asking, but demanding) or bringing someone without any kind of notice.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Lizard

      I'd say it's completely rude. The cousin wasn't invited and the question puts the host in an awkward situation.

    2. "I'm sorry, we can't. (if you prefer the passive voice, which can be such a useful tool in cases like this, substitute 'It's just not possible.') And if you can't make it, I understand...we can get together with you some other time." This sends the clear message that your preference is that the invited guest not attend rather than bring an uninvited guest.

      Even if cost is not the point, it's really about control of your dinner party. You do not want to lose that control, or it could change how you 'roll' in the future....your other guests will see that you tolerate uninvited guests, and at future parties, you'll be inundated with uninvited friends, cousins, mothers, kids, fraternity brothers, etc.

      1. I don't think it's "no manners." You were asked a question and it is your option to say yes or no. I would have said, right then, something akin to what ricepad said. "Oh, gee, that really wouldn't be possible. I'm so sorry." and leave it at that. The hard part about going away and thinking aobut it leaves the door open to might be possible. This is one case when the answer is "Just say no."

        2 Replies
        1. re: escondido123

          I agree - I don't see it as a rude question. What would of been rude is the friend bringing her cousin without asking. or lied about it being a "stop by". She was upfront with her question. You can be upfront with your answer.

          1. re: lbs

            And sometimes, "upfront" means "awfully tactless/clueless".

        2. I don't see it as rude, either, since it was a question, not a statement. If the cousin is visiting friends, he/she can spend that evening with them and your friend can come to your event, right?

          1. Just say no. I wouldn't want to be a stranger or uninvited guest at a small birthday party, let alone a very nice hosted dinner party. In fact assuming I didn't realize beforehand, I'd be rather humiliated to discover what I'd gotten myself into (strangers paying my bill at their intimate event? Can you say awkward?). So really you are doing the cousin a favour. Even if the friend's gf and cousin don't realize it ;)

            7 Replies
            1. re: julesrules

              Sorry - I realized I should have provided more info. The GF initially said "mind if she stops by?" to which I said of course - it sounded like the cousin would be in town and just would be swinging by for a drink to see GF. She then wrote that actually the cousin would be staying for dinner; hope that's ok.

              I totally agree that the kneejerk reaction should be "just say no" - but the GF is the GF of a very, very close friend and I wouldn't want to upset the relationship in any way. I also respectfully disagree with the above responses that it's not rude to ask - you don't ask to invite someone that the host has never met, unsolicited (particularly when you yourself are the +1).

              I guess what I was hoping for is some guidance on how to handle given that I don't want to create any problems. But I totally agree that if I were the cousin, I would feel COMPLETELY awkward.

              1. re: ellamac79

                I think the +1 knows she is pushing the line, by even asking: "hope that's ok". Because of that - I see NO reason why you can't say no!

                Since she's the +1 of the friend - you know that the actual guest and the +1 have had the conversation (do you think it's ok if I bring cousin?)! If I were the actual guest and my date did that, I would be ticked!

                Stop feeling awkward and bite the bullet! (See my response below for a verbatim response, which I think is still appropriate).... actually - I'm editing the beginning, with your updated info: "Sorry, I didn't understand what you meant at first. Unfortunately, I would ask that your cousin not attend. I am intentionally keeping the guest list small. I hope you understand and are still able to join us."

                  1. re: ellamac79

                    Yup, the added explanation does change it for me, and I agree with The Oracle...it's NOT ok even to ask since it's putting a burden on the OP to give in & say yes.

                1. re: ellamac79

                  The relationships here--GF of GF of very, very close friend really muddies the waters for me. I guess given the tangled relationships the answer would depend on who you wanted to, or felt you needed to make happy. Not sure the rest of us can sort that out.

                  1. re: ellamac79

                    I agree ellamac, it was Definately Rude to ask, only an idiot would not know that it is fairly expensive PP, I mean it's not like you were hosting the party at Burger King.

                    1. re: ellamac79

                      i think you're totally set, but wanted to echo ricepad and The Oracle in suggested response...

                      as a side note, if it were not clear the type of event (intimate, private room, dinner (not hors d'oeuvres or passed apps or cocktails), then *maybe* just *maybe* i would be okay with an *invited* guest asking for clarification on the evening's rundown. once i noted the type of event, as you do above, then i would never think it appropriate for my invitee to ask to bring an extra guest / extra mouth to feed. If I were the plus one, I'd never in a million years ask. But think of it this way -- I bet your friend said no, and she put up a stink and said just ask. And he said - YOU ask. And so she did.

                      my suggested response:
                      "I'm sorry if I may have given the wrong impression about the type of evening we're planning... It's actually a small, intimate sit-down plated dinner in a private room. Unfortunately space is limited, and we are doing seating arrangements. I would also not want your cousin to feel awkwardly. I completely understand if you (and INVITED FRIEND) would rather spend the evening with your out-of-towner. You will be missed at the party, but we will definitely schedule a make-up dinner when you guys are free. Thank you for asking (and not just showing up with an extra guest ;) )"

                      (I added the last bit for humor and sort of just to point out the wrong)