Etiquette question

I’ve been invited to a small wine-and-cheese soiree that I want to attend. However, I don’t drink. When I call to RSVP, should I:

a. accept the invitation and assume the hostess will provide non-alcoholic drinks?

b. accept the invitation and then bring a regular bottle of wine and a nonalcoholic beverage with me to the party?

c. accept the invitation, tell the hostess I don’t drink and offer to bring a nonalcoholic beverage?

I’m leaning towards c, because it seems to me that it would be somewhat rude to accept and then bring my own drink to the party, but I don’t want to offend by assuming she won’t provide non-alcoholic drinks unless I tell her I don’t drink wine. If she hadn’t said it was a wine-and-cheese party, I would just accept and not say anything, and would assume she’d provide non-alcoholic drinks.

So, etiquette mavens, what should I do?

I like choice c. If I were the hostess, that would be the action that I’d prefer a guest to take.

Ditto on c. You’ve identified an issue in advance, permitting your hostess to take care of it and be the good hostess, and you’re also willing to take responsibility for yourself by bringing a non-alcoholic drink. Likely, your hostess will tell you that you don’t need to bring anything, and then it’s up to you whether you want to bring a bottle of something anyway as a “hostess gift.”

I’d go with a. Any decent host/ess will automatically provide some non-alcoholic drinks.

I wouldn’t assume that. I’ve been to parties where the only non-alcoholic beverage available was water.

How odd. I’ve **never ** been to a party where there haven’t been non-alcoholic drinks on offer.

So you got a problem with water?

I once hosted a party where people were bringing young’uns, and the only nonalcoholic things I had (besides water) were milk, OJ, and Hawaiian punch-flavored Kool Aid.

And this was what I had to offer the guest who didn’t drink because she’d had a head injury and the one who thought she might be pregnant.

Most people are smarter than I am and do have nonalcoholic yet adult beverages.

However, I like option ©, sorta. When you call to RSVP and ask what you can bring, this sounds like a good choice.

It’s bad form to throw a party and not have some non-alcoholic beverages available, not just for people like you who don’t drink but for people who are driving. I’d like to think that anyone who is throwing something on the level of a “wine and cheese soiree” would understand this.

I think you’re good with a or c.

I don’t drink either, KSO.

When I’m in your shoes, I usually go with C unless I know the person well enough that they know I don’t drink.

Etiquette Guy checking in:

I would opt for C, myself. Several reasons:

  1. you always want to make an effort to avoid complications at the event itself. Even if it’s no big deal to you, to show up and refuse one of the most significant parts of the evening will cause a break in the atmosphere. Hosts generally like to have as few surprises as possible at an event.

  2. All matters of etiquette in situations like this are a matter of compromise between the host and guest. You want to have options that you can enjoy, and the host wants to have them available for you. To that end, if you have any sort of ‘special needs’ (and I think non-drinking at a drinking event qualifies), it is your responsibility to let the host know so that they don’t lose face for failing to accommodate you.

I often use the situation of salting one’s food for this point. You want to have food salted to your taste, while your host wants you to accept and appreciate their efforts. The middle ground? Make sure you taste your food first, compliment the cook (when possible) and then salt to taste in as inconspicuous manner as possible. In this situation, everyone ends up happy.

I’ll bet the host, when presented with C, will tell you not to worry about it, and that they had planned on having a non-alcoholic option available (whether they had planned to or not) It’s possible they had not thought about it beforehand, and now you’ve contributed to making them a better host, as well as increasing the number of options you have at the event. Everyone is happy. After all, the food is just an excuse to enjoy each other’s company- you do everything in your power to make that part of the evening invisible.

Analogous situations: a vegetarian attending a barbecue, etc.

Hope this helps.


Extranneous wordage supplied because messages must be at least 2 characters.

My husband doesn’t drink wine or eat cheese, so he would really be SOL, wouldn’t he? Luckily, eveyone who might invite us would know, since we kid him about his food preferences all the time. :slight_smile:

Anyway, on to your problem, gotta go with C. I would probably go for a friendly, but slightly apologetic/trifle embarassed tone–“Don’t know if you know, but I don’t drink wine. Can I bring something?”

Is this party basically a wine and cheese tasting get together? :confused: :confused: :confused:

Another vote for C.

Wine and cheese party. Pretty much sums it up.
If I were throwing the party, I would shockingly provide wine and cheese.
So unless you tell the hostess, she will assume you are there for, ta da, wine and cheese.

By telling her in advance, she can graciously offer you juice in a wine glass or something else, without making a big deal of it.

I used to be invited to parties in Germany with Spargel und Schinken (white asparagus and Prosciutto) - a special seasonal treat, quite expensive and thus the entire meal. As I hated both and could not force myself to eat either, I would always let the host/hostess know and they always had something else for me - even though the rest of the party thought I was out of my mind for not wanting any.


Those who are voting A should note that this is not an ordinary party but a wine and cheese party. As such the host may well be providing special wines to taste with the cheese and non alcoholic drink may be limited to water. Some non-alcoholic drinks do not go with cheese at all and the host may not have grape juice or apple juice which are about the only non-alcohol drinks that would compliment good cheese.

So for a normal party A would be fine, but for a Wine and Cheese party C is probably more appropriate so long as you bring a drink that will likely compliment good cheese.

Thanks for all the responses. It is going to be a very small affair–probably fewer than 10 people and the hostess doesn’t know I don’t drink. So, I’m glad to know I won’t offend by telling her in advance and I will, of course, bring a bottle of “real” wine as a hostess gift.

I figured that if I were hosting a party, I’d want a guest to tell me of any special needs.

Thanks, Dopers.

You know, I don’t drink alcohol, and I find that there are some decent “de-alcoholized wines” available for people like me. I always take a bottle when I go to my dad’s at Christmas time, so my hubby and I can also enjoy a glass of wine with dinner.