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How to respond to - What can I bring?

I'm revving up for our big pizza party the day after Thanksgiving. We've got a couple of dozen people coming - we've got our menu set and it's a stretch but doable while maintaining a shred of our sanity.

As expected, everyone is asking what they can bring and I have no idea what to tell them.

If I assign anything important and they end up cancelling, then we're in a tight spot. Plus we've got about 15 individuals or couples coming. That's a lot of assignments. If I go the easy route and tell everyone to bring booze, then we're going to be overflowing with it (and will have lost the opportunity to drink down our backlog of wines and spirits). I am tempted to assign jobs to a couple of them (e.g., helping to greet everyone with a cocktail), but that's limited too.

I also don't want to be ungracious - I know people genuinely want to contribute/participate.

Any advice?



P.s. If anyone we've invited is a participant in this area of the website, I'm talking about our other guests - not you. Your offer to bring something is greatly appreciated and hasn't caused me any stress at all. ;-)


  • Hi Mitch - Depending on how many people ask, I would assign a few each to appetizers or snacks, salads, and dessert. I often do this for parties so all I have to deal with is the main course. If I’m worried about not having enough in the event someone doesn’t show, I’ll order a cheese plate from the local cheese shop, make a simple salad, and make a couple batches of cookies. That way I know I’m covered but with minimal effort. And if everyone comes through on party night I can always enjoy a meal of cheese, salad, and cookies the following night!

    As someone who likes control of the kitchen, I can appreciate the stress of not knowing what people will bring or even if there will be enough of everything. But I‘ve learned to let go of a little of the control and find I can enjoy the party myself a whole lot more. :-) Hope this helps. Good luck with the party! Best, Lynn C.

  • Lynn is too gracious to say what I am about to say but I never ask folks to bring something other than alcohol of their choice. I think that although folks offer to bring something but they vastly prefer to let you do the work. When my wife and I entertain, we never let guests help and that includes clearing the table, doing dishes, making drinks, etc. I want them to fully relax and, to be sure, I want the same when they invite me over (rarely!). One other thought - when folks bring dishes to a party they get very nervous if folks don't eat much of it and they always compare notes. Better to leave that stress at home!

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