Dealing with Late Guests


Even the perfectly planned party can’t protect you from having to deal with guests who show up late.  There are many reasons why a guest might be late, ranging from emergencies to calendar carelessness.  

To help prevent a no-show or someone being late, ask for acknowledgement of attendance and include a time reminder on your reply to each person.  

The Host's Main Responsibilities

Knowing the reason for the gathering and keeping the evening moving as planned are what the host hopes for.  Regardless of circumstances, the host is responsible for the tone of the occasion.  

The dinner guests should appreciate being invited and should arrive punctually and in a friendly state of mind.

When Late Guests Arrive

If guests communicate that they will be late

·      Given the particular circumstances, you will need to let person(s) know that upon arrival, it will be fine if they come right in and proceed to the table where the other diners will be seated.

·      Assure the persons that you are looking forward to seeing them.  And not to worry, drive carefully!

The importance of standing firm with dinner timing

·      Other guests should not be put in a lesser position and your holding dinner up for a late guest can be off-putting.

·      Whether the food is catered or if you are in charge of preparation, if dinner is delayed due to a late guest’s arrival, not only have others' time been disregarded, but the food will be cold or have lost flavor. 

·      If a guest of honor is late, you may need to adjust your boundaries.

Encourage Timely Arrival

For many guests, knowing the reason for the event ahead of time is enough to encourage a timely arrival.  A surprise party is the perfect example of this.  Knowing there is sense of timeliness – and secrecy – provides a built-in “don’t be late.” 

At a dinner party, guests who are late don’t realize that they have put a damper on the event. But your kindness in inviting them to come directly to the table, while you gracefully orchestrate the table conversation that has just been interrupted, will serve everyone well.

Most of all, have fun and enjoy the evening that you have planned with all of your guests. As a good host, you are happy and everyone knows it.

You may also enjoy reading . . .