Have you ever wondered what is an acceptable time to arrive to an event? People typically don’t want to be the first ones to arrive, but showing up too late can delay the event plans and be rude to the host. This does vary depending on the type of the event. Here is our general rule of thumb:
Formal Social Parties; Cocktail, Holiday and Intimate Dinner Parties
Most of these parties involve a mailed invitation and have a timeline of events with a scheduled meal service. You should arrive close to the invitation time. Fashionably Late is 0 – 15 minutes after invitation time. Too late is when you get beyond 30 minutes, when the mingling is winding down and meal service begins. The exception to the rule would be if you let the host know that you’d like to come, but would not be able to make it until a certain time. They can let you know if that would be acceptable and plan accordingly. If the formality and timeline is unclear on the invitation, it is best to ask.
Less Formal Parties; Networking Events, Open Houses and BBQs
Most often these events involve an email invitation, are a shorter time frame and have open food stations for people to come and go as they please. In this case, arriving an hour or so late is acceptable, but you don’t want to show up right before the end. You want to be able to enjoy the event and let the host know you appreciated the invitation and experience.
Guess what? Weddings do actually start on time! It is very important to be on time or early. Being late could mean walking in during the processional, which can be disruptive and awkward!