Is it ok to ask people to bring a plate/cup to a party? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 33 Old 04-17-2011, 03:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am starting to planing ds's 1st birthday party. I am trying to do it as "green" as possible and was thinking of asking people to bring a plate and cup of their own so that we dont need to buy paper/ plastic.

 

My other thought was to buy a bunch of plastic plates and cups to use year after year.

 

I dont know how people will react and how washing them would work? I party will be at our house in the yard so they could maybe just rinse them off? I don't know?

 

Most people coming are pretty mainstream and have probably not thought about the waste that can be created, or care to be honest.

 

I am planning on sewing a birthday banner and some party hats, making somewhat healthy local foods, maybe no pop (people will expect it)

I am also asking people to bring donations of diapers/ baby food for the food bank instead of gifts. He will get gifts from aunts, uncles and grandparents so that is enough

 

If anyone else has any ideas I'd love to hear them!!!!!

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#2 of 33 Old 04-17-2011, 03:19 PM
 
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We bought a bunch of "picnic" dishes (cups, plates, utensils), and just bring them out for parties and picnics.     Also, for one birthday that we had at the beach I bought recyclable dishes and cups and a big recycle bin and put a sign on it explaining what went in there vs the trash.  Everyone followed along.  

 

 

I think "bring your own dish" would be weird, and my friends are all "crunchy people".   But I do agree with you on not using disposables! 

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#3 of 33 Old 04-17-2011, 03:26 PM
 
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Honestly I wouldn't ask that. I mean your already dictating what they bring then asking them to supply their own utensils. Just seems tacky to me. 

I would either buy reusable plates and cups that won't break and just wash them later. 

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#4 of 33 Old 04-17-2011, 03:33 PM
 
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Why not just use your regular every day dishes and cups?  If you dont have enough then get a set of 'party' plates to use for occassions like this.  TBH if I was invited to a kids 1st bday and the invite said to bring diapers/wipes for the foodbank I would probably ignore the request and get the b'day kiddo a present anyway.  I may or may not bring a pack of wipes for the 'donation pile' but honestly you can not dictate what folks bring to a party.


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#5 of 33 Old 04-17-2011, 03:47 PM
 
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Nah, I wouldn't ask that.  If people asked me, I'd have to bring our regular, everyday ceramic dishes b/c we don't use "kid" plastic dishes, so I think it would be a PITA to have to pack them.  I would either buy recycled paper plates or just use your own dishes and wash them.  I wouldn't buy new plastic dishes, but that's just me - and again, we don't use them, anyway, so it seems like a silly expense.  I wouldn't have enough regular dishes for a decent sized party, so it's not something I would consider.

 

if guests bring their own, wouldn't they have to wash them there at your house?  And would they use the same plate for food and cake? 

 

 

That all said, I buy themed disposable party plates, b/c that's what my kids like (though, obviously it doesn't matter much to a 1 yr old). 

 

Also, I wouldn't request diapers/baby food to donate b/c it's not proper etiquette to insist on what your guests bring in lieu of a gift (and gifts, of course, are not something one should expect). 


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#6 of 33 Old 04-17-2011, 04:16 PM
 
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Bah, I would just ask people to bring their own if you don't enough regular dishes. I have asked people to bring their own when we hosted Thanksgiving for a bazillion people and I just didn't have enough dishes to go around, and it was totally fine! I would have no problem bringing a plate and fork, and a cup to a party. At all. I didn't realize this was a minority position!

The food bank thing is a good idea, but I wouldn't get too worked up about it. Buying gifts for kids is just so much FUN, I don't think many people are going to respect your wishes on that one! ;) You could always donate the toys themselves to a women's shelter or something, if they're absolutely not something you want/need. 


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#7 of 33 Old 04-17-2011, 04:18 PM
 
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I'd have to agree with other. It is really weird to ask people to bring there own dishes, especialy when its at your house! Why don't you just use your regular dishes? if you are worried about breakage outdoors, then buy some plastic dishes that you can use them for birthday parties and BBQ's for years to come. It sis also a bit of a contradiction to ask for people to bring their own dishes, for environmental reasons, and then also ask them to bring disposable diapers. For the gifts just say nothing, or say no gifts . I would bring a gift anyways.

 

On the other hand, I really don't think you have to worry about not serving pop, juice would be fine. No one will likely even notice or care if there is no pop.

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#8 of 33 Old 04-17-2011, 04:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all your responses. I didnt expect everyone to think it was such a bad idea, but I get it. When I was in collage we would have potluck type lunches and everyone would bring their own dishes to that we didnt waste paper ones and it worked really well. I guess that birthday parties are different. I think I was more worried about my dishes getting broken by the kids but now that I think of it most of the guests will be adults and I can by some reusable plastic ones for the kids.

 

As for the gifts I am very surprised. It is actually not a to uncommon around here for birthday parties... I know that some people would rather bring a gift for ds and that is fine too. I just feel that he has so much stuff he never looks at, enough clothes to last until next winter and there are babies in our community that don't have enough food...it just seems wrong to me.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by babymommy2 View Post

It sis also a bit of a contradiction to ask for people to bring their own dishes, for environmental reasons, and then also ask them to bring disposable diapers.


I completly agree with this!!!! We use cloth diapers, have never given him formula and made his food. But unfortunatly I can not convince everyone to do what I do and if a baby needs diapers I would rather them have clean ones than none, even if it means disposables. I would love to take to the food bank about encouraging cloth though!!!

 

 

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#9 of 33 Old 04-17-2011, 08:24 PM
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i totally get not wanting to use paper but i think the jump to "bring your own plate" is a little strange. i'm with just using your own dishes or getting plastics/picnic stuff to reuse (or you could always donate it.) i think if i got an invite to bring my own plate i'd just show up and not eat.

no pop....not weird at all.

and i think asking for donations is a great idea...you might get some gifts too but you could always donate them later as well. or donate some old toys and let the birthday boy keep some new ones. 


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#10 of 33 Old 04-17-2011, 08:59 PM
 
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I think it would be a great idea, but what I would do is make the theme of the party caring for the environment and with the invites include facts like how many plastic cups and plates go in the garbage and talk about how many families depend on the food bank or any other elements of the party. Environmentalism is in even for people who just do it for the hip thing to do and not for any altruistic concern.

Eta: a basin of warm soapy water would work well with cloth bags to hang the dishes around the yard as part of the party favors - if you use the net bags people can take them home to use as laundry bags.
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#11 of 33 Old 04-18-2011, 06:05 AM
 
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Yeah I would never ask people to bring their own plates, and my group of friends is really 'crunchy' and I still think it would be weird & rude (especially for a bday party -- but we have had other group events where we asked everyone to bring their own dishes, but TBH everyone forgets or just doesn't want to or who knows... so we end up having to grab whatever is handy (including paper towels from the public bathroom) and it just doesn't work out all that well.

For DS's party, I kind of did a compromise -- we used our own glass cups and silverware, our own cloth napkins, but we did put out paper plates, because I didn't think we'd have enough plates for everyone and washing plates seemed overwhelming to me and a waste of water, and I didn't want our plates breaking, they just aren't good 'party' plates... so it doesn't have to be all or nothing, every little bit will help, you could do your glass plates for the adults and paper for kids, or paper cups but glass for everything else... I did think about buying plastic plates etc. but we wouldn't use them for ANYTHING except parties (and I feel weird asking guests to eat off of plates I wouldn't eat off of myself....)

As far as gifts... I don't find it rude to ask for 'no gifts' (though people probably won't listen to you, they didn't listen to me & I won't use that expression again since it DOES seem rude if no one will do it anyway!) However I do think it's rude to ask for donations in lieu of gifts, because that assumes people will bring a gift & sends the message that they're REQUIRED to... But it's all in how you word it -- you might be able to say something like, "We are collecting donations of A, B, and C for XYZ if anyone wants to participate!" with no mention of gifts or maybe with "Please, no other gifts" in small print below it... I'm all for donation but honestly, I prefer to pick my own charities and I would be really uncomfortable going to a bday party where it seemed like I HAD to bring something for a charity I may or may not support (or may or may not be able to afford to give to...)

As far as soda -- a compromise there might be to have some kind of 'sparkling beverage' (Trader Joes has a sparkling juice, for ex.) or seltzer and juice with perhaps some lime wedges...

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#12 of 33 Old 04-18-2011, 06:32 AM
 
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I don't think I would do this myself, but I don't personally think there is anything wrong with specifying gifts are not necessary, but if someone would like to bring a gift, to please consider donating to the local food bank. That way you're not telling them they HAVE to donate OR bring a gift. I would bring a donation to a birthday party if it was requested/suggested and not think twice about it.

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#13 of 33 Old 04-18-2011, 06:53 AM
 
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Bring-your-own-plate is standard at big community potlucks here, but it took me a while to catch on, and remember to bring ours. I think it's an OK idea, but that you should have some plastic-ware on hand for people who forget theirs, if you don't have enough regular plates and silverware for spares.

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#14 of 33 Old 04-18-2011, 06:58 AM
 
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Here's the thing, I can pretty much promise you that if you ask people to bring their own plates and cups  they are going to bring plastic disposable ones anyway.  Bring a kid and your donation/gift and breakable plates and cups?  Most people are going to jump immediately to, "I'll just pick up a pack of plastic plates and cups" so you'll probably end up with more waste, not less.

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#15 of 33 Old 04-18-2011, 07:08 AM
 
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 What about buying compostable disposable plates? it gives people the convenience they are used to and they can just go into your compost bin at the end of your party.

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#16 of 33 Old 04-18-2011, 07:26 AM
 
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Never did the bring-your-own-plates for a bday party but I've tried the no disposables route.  I'd say consider getting some plastic plates and cups (stainless steel would be better if you can find them) - I have very few plastic anything but this was a good enough reason to do it for me.  Get a bunch of sturdy ones that can last for many bday parties in the future.

 

It's true that the grown ups can use the ceramic/glass ones and kids can use the plastic ones ... but accidents happen.  You don't want to worry about someone stepping on broken glass/ceramic during a bday party, or some kid picking up a piece of broken glass, etc.

 

During the party, fill up a sink with some soapy water so you can leave any dirty ones soaking there till it's time to wash them.  And get 2x if not 3x plates/cups as the number of guests.  People will just get new one when they're not sure where they leave theirs - you'll run out of clean stuff soon unless you have enough.

 

With the gifts - it won't work for me as a guest.  Timewise, attending any bday party is hard enough as it is, if on top of that I have to look for some very specific gifts ... nah, not happening, not practical ... My suggestion would be to tell people what you prefer - IF they ask.  Otherwise, it's really up to the guests.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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#17 of 33 Old 04-18-2011, 10:12 AM
 
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For my little brother's wedding, they got a ton of mugs from Goodwill and other thrifstores before the party and then had the compostable recycled plastic utensils and recycled paper paper plates. The table cloths and napkins were made from unbleached muslin torn up to the right sizes.

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#18 of 33 Old 04-18-2011, 11:54 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NiteNicole View Post

Here's the thing, I can pretty much promise you that if you ask people to bring their own plates and cups  they are going to bring plastic disposable ones anyway.  Bring a kid and your donation/gift and breakable plates and cups?  Most people are going to jump immediately to, "I'll just pick up a pack of plastic plates and cups" so you'll probably end up with more waste, not less.



Totally agree with ya



Quote:
Originally Posted by Shantimama View Post

 What about buying compostable disposable plates? it gives people the convenience they are used to and they can just go into your compost bin at the end of your party.



This is a great idea. thumb.gif


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#19 of 33 Old 04-18-2011, 03:09 PM
 
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I've bought a whole bunch of "patio" plates and cups, and a bunch of Ikea kids' cutlery and plastic cups and we keep them in the basement for parties. They're dishwasher safe and work extremely well.

 

We don't provide pop either, but we do provide sparkling juices, and they go down very well.


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#20 of 33 Old 04-18-2011, 05:04 PM
 
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You could probably pick up a dozen plates at the the thrift that you could keep for parties going forward.  You don't have to spend a lot of money on it--but now that you're an adult with a child you'll probably have regular occasions where you want to have family or friends over to eat.  Bring your own plate as a "one off" is kind of funny and I don't think so bad...but why not just buy some plates for the long haul?  You don't want to worry about this every birthday or holiday.

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#21 of 33 Old 04-18-2011, 05:57 PM
 
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As a guest I would think it was weird and a hassle to bring my own plate. Especially because if you are talking about a toddler party it would be a full table setting for me and my child and possibly my spouse, plus diaper bag, and gift (or donation). That's a LOT to haul to a party. I agree with the suggestions to invest in some non breakable dishes for parties and stuff. You can get metal dishes from a camping supply store if you don't want plastic...

 

As for the instead of gifts please bring dipes to donate to the local shelter, I've got no problem with that. In fact we just went to a party where that's what they asked for and everyone happily complied.

 

ETA: I don't think people will care about no pop. Juice and sparkling water are the norm around here.

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#22 of 33 Old 04-18-2011, 05:58 PM
 
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when we have get-togethers, we often make iced tea. It seems to go over well as a soda substitute.

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#23 of 33 Old 04-18-2011, 06:39 PM
 
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I'm fairly crunchy and would probably bring paper plates.

Ikea has some cute plastic kid dishes that comes in a 6 pack

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#24 of 33 Old 04-18-2011, 08:35 PM
 
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THRIFT STORE.


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#25 of 33 Old 04-19-2011, 06:32 AM
 
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We also have a box of inexpensive plates and stuff that we keep in the basement.  Now that we have kids, we host parties and family get-togethers a lot more often, so we get lots of use out of them.  In addition to using them at parties, your kids and their friends can use them as preschoolers and you won't have to worry about them breaking your regular stuff.  I actually built my collection over the course of a couple of parties, buying the big plates one time, dessert plates another time, etc.

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#26 of 33 Old 04-19-2011, 08:59 AM
 
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We've done this for our beach wedding picknick. We just wrote, that we are young and don't have a large household (nor want to store tons of cheap party plates), and want to have a green simple get together with our best friends and family. Noone was offended, and actually some people copied the idea, also now the host has to do less dishes.


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#27 of 33 Old 04-19-2011, 11:16 AM
 
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I don't think it would be a strange request if it were a potluck or even a picnic in a location other than your home, but since you're hosting you should probably provide plates, cups, and utensils. To echo many PP, I would either use my everyday stuff or have a special stash of cheap plates just for parties/bbqs. 

 

You can make juice fizzies instead of soda- just combine fruit juice with sparkling water. Fruit juice is still sugary, but it's a better alternative to soda, and it's really diluted this way. 

 

Also, if you have to buy temporary, check out this website, many of their products are fully compostable! http://www.biodegradablestore.com/index.html


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#28 of 33 Old 04-19-2011, 11:45 AM
 
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I think there are better green options than asking all of your guests to remember a cup and plate. Sounds kind  of annoying/bulky/one more thing to forget and for a mainstream crowd might seem like the hippy version of ostentatious. “Look at me…I am not wasteful like you” Also, I really think providing dishware is part of your role as a host just like providing food and beverages and activities.

 

Considering buying or thrifting an expensive set of dishes for parties, using some of the more expensive but reusable green plastic plates, or borrowing dishes from someone. If your party is very large you could also rent them.

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#29 of 33 Old 04-19-2011, 11:51 AM
 
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I just read the rest of the request.

 

I'd consider the plate/cup request combined with the food bank request really over the top. They are your guests and should be treated as such.

 

I don't think it is okay to request specific gifts, even if it is for charity. Gifts shouldn't come into play at all in an invitiaton. If you don't want gifts, I think that is okay to state but you shouldn't be redirecting the gift-giving dollars as if you own them. Also, stating that they are already getting fits from other people (you know, the important people) really makes the partygoer feel second class.

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#30 of 33 Old 04-19-2011, 12:46 PM
 
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Regarding the gifts - why not ask for secondhand things or hand-me-downs?

 

I guess, what I am taking from the responses here, is that you can very well ask people to bring plates and cups, but that some people will find it strange and some might even be offended. It is up to you, if you can live with that, or if you could for instance just ask relatives to bring some cups and plates over, so you have enough to serve everyone. Maybe you could even ask a friend to help with the cleanup instead of bringing a gift.


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