Etiquette Questions, Answered: Entertaining and Guests
Can We Invite Another Couple to Dinner?
Q. We have dinner plans with a couple. My wife talked to another couple and asked them to join us. Is that appropriate? Or
should she have listened to me and checked with our original dinner partners first?
Name withheld by request
A. As much as I hate to get involved in a marital dispute, I have to side with you on this one. Even if your wife is quite sure that both couples like each other and would love to spend a night out together, it’s nicer, as a courtesy, to check first with the original couple before expanding the plan. A double date is a very different experience from a triple date, and your friends might have had that kind of more intimate evening in mind when they agreed to go out. Also, there’s no way of knowing how each couple feels about the other (even if you think you know, you might not really know). Before the dinner happens, do some damage control. I would suggest running the idea by the original couple, as in “If it’s OK with you, we were thinking of inviting Joe and Kathy to join us.” Odds are, they’ll say, “Sure, great―the more the merrier,” and you’re off the hook. If, however, they give you a chillier response or express a preference to keep it a foursome, then you need to call the second couple and explain that you screwed up, so that night is not going to work out. The upside to such an awkward conversation (if it comes to that) is that this should guarantee your wife never gets caught in this spot again.
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