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How to Party Without Asking Your Guests for Too Much

Although it may go without saying, April Masini, founder of Ask April and author of Date Out of Your League, says that it's a big no-no to ask for drinks or nibbles at a wedding or shower.

"Do not ask guests to bring pot luck or BYOB to a wedding reception or any type of bridal shower. The same goes for baby showers. Doing so exhibits a lack of grace," Masini says.Not all family functions are off limits, though.

"It's normal to ask family and friends who are regulars at your Thanksgiving table to bring a dish," Masini says. "The Thanksgiving meal is a huge undertaking, and it helps to dole out an assignment to guests, whether it's a pie or the sweet potatoes -- or to guests who don't cook, a bottle of wine."

If you do ask guests for help with a few party items, you should never look to "profit" off of potluck or BYOB, Masini says.

"If you hoard your guest's BYOB and potluck offerings, you'll look cheap and stingy."

Try to open and serve everything you're given, but if you can't, there's a graceful way to get rid of leftovers: You can always send guests home with leftovers bags and plates wrapped in tin foil.

"If you know who brought what, send your guests home with their offerings that were unopened," she explains. "Be generous. Pull out a bag of plastic baggies so they can take home some leftover cookies and brownies for the drive."

No matter the type of party you're hosting, Mary Kelly, founder of the Productive Leaders business development consultancy in Denver, Colo., says there are some people who should never be asked to contribute: people you don't know very well and people you work with.

"Requesting food and drink is not the right way to get closer to people or to impress people," Kelly says.

In the event you are providing the venue for a work function and everyone is expected to bring a dish, Kelly advises turning the food coordination over to another co-worker so you don't appear too demanding.
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