DEAR MISS MANNERS: Because some of our friends are moving to another state, we thought a small/medium-sized going-away gathering would be nice. We offered, and they accepted. We then offered for our friends to invite a few more people from their careers whom we don’t know.
We got a list of 18 additional people they would like to invite! We were expecting to host about 12 to 14 people, total. Their request adds significant effort and cost, as well as not fitting in the venue (our house).
How do we let them know this wasn’t our intention and ask them to scale back? We thought maybe they could contribute to the cost, but really, there isn’t space. Help!
GENTLE READER: There is no polite way to walk back your offer without taking partial blame for its misinterpretation. “Oh dear, I am afraid that I didn’t think it through, and that our party might be uncomfortable and overcrowded with so many people. Would it be possible to trim the list a bit? Maybe just good friends from work that you also see outside of it?”
If this is met with resistance, Miss Manners suggests that you pray for good weather -- or sturdy tents.