Oh, boy. This weekend some relatives are hosting a big family get together/cookout/potluck all day type thing, the first such occasion we’ve had since 2019. The idea is everyone come, hang out, eat, play games, swim, whatever – just a casual all-ages whole family type thing.
This was announced back around the end of May, in the ‘notice on the family page’ sense, with word osmosising around to everyone casually. No written invitations or RSVPing or anything like that. Basically, here’s when and where, bring your favorite share-able dish, and come or don’t as you please.
But yesterday the hosts sent out mass email to the whole family “reminding” everyone that this was a ‘no alcohol’ gathering and no one should bring any booze or dishes that include alcohol when they’re consumed. (Like it’s okay if something is cooked with wine, so long as the wine is boiled off in the process of cooking, but no booze soaked fruit cakes or such.)
Yeah. This hasn’t been well received. First of all, there’s no ‘reminder’ here, nothing like this has been mentioned before, and there’s plenty of people who feel this sort of day-long hang out just screams for a cooler of beer and pitchers of something with a bit of a kick to help pass the hours pleasantly.
And there’s no explanation for why the ban. We’re not Baptists or anything like that. So far as I know, nobody in the family is ‘formally’ an alcoholic or recovering, and there’s never been any big drink-fueled bust ups at past occasions – though a fair number of cases of ‘he drives there, she drives home because…you know.’ So why??
OTOH, from some of the screeching, you’d think some of the people consider having to spend some hours socializing without a drink is just short of torture. And many of these are claiming it’s an infringement of etiquette for the hosts to ban alcohol, when in a sense, everyone at a potluck is partially playing host. “Why shouldn’t my contribution include a 12 pack of Miller as well as potato salad and a blueberry pie?” A couple went so far as to call it a form of ‘bait and switch.’ Get people to make plans, get their children all excited about the party, and t hen change the rules to something the parents would have refused outright if they’d known.
Like one woman told how she and her husband had gone to a wedding reception and then walked right out before the meal started when they found out there’d be no bar or even wine at the meal. She was apparently so indignant over this that she’d fumed over being ‘suckered’ into giving the couple a nice wedding present!
So, what do you say? Is the presumption that large get togethers will be at least accepting of alcohol drinks? Should the invitations include some sort of ‘warning’ if otherwise?
Personally we’ll still go, but I expect my husband will want us to arrive ‘late’ and depart rather soon after the meal, versus hanging about and schmoozing for hours the way he would normally.