Guest Requested Brunch with Guests at My House - How To Respond?

I have guests coming in July that are in town for a wedding. I just received a text from the bride asking me if her family can have guests and family over for brunch on the Sunday following the wedding. I have a strict “No Parties” rule due to the size of my home and the wear and tear of having more people is also a consideration. My dining table only holds 6 people and I only have place settings for 8.

The tricky thing is that these guests are friends of a good friend of mine. If I tell them that I only have room for 6 at the dining table and settings for only 8, they may mention they are fine sitting in the living room and eating of paper plates, etc.

How would you gently let them down without offending them? Here is what I am considering replying:

"Thanks for the request but I have a strict No Parties policy. Out of fear for being fined and also out of respect for my neighbors, I don’t want to overstep the boundaries of the limit I am allowed on the number of guests I have at the house. When I set up the airbnb, I was required by the city to notify the neighbors of my plans and also how many would be in the house at a time. Although this may not happen, if the neighbors notified the city that I had a larger group of people in my house than I stated I would have, I could be fined or even lose my license.

That being said, I could suggest that you do a very “Portland” thing and reserve a nice picnic spot in one of our beautiful parks, the nearest one being just minutes away at Mt Tabor! Let me know if I can help with the planning for reserving you an area and also how many people you would be planning for."

How does that sound? At this point I texted her back and just said that I would email her later tonight.

Thanks for helping this new host out!


To be honest I would lose the whole first paragraph it sounds defensive and a little long.

Just say something like…

Unfortunately I am not set up to cater for guests who haven’t booked,. or licensed to have them on my property…

That being said, I could suggest that you do a very “Portland” thing and reserve a nice picnic spot in one of our beautiful parks, the nearest one being just minutes away at Mt Tabor!

Let me know if you would like me to pass you over details if you would like to find out more or reserve an area. I also know some lovely local delis that could make you up some lovely hampers.

(don’t offer to get involved in her event planning for the brunch )


And never give just one suggestion for food. Always give at least three so that THEY have decided where the food comes from. You never want to be personally responsible for the guest being happy with a restaurant, bar, deli, take-out, gym, etc. If they don’t like it, they will remember that they chose after reviewing the options.


Your response sounds fine to me, except for the “Thanks for the request”…sounds a little out of place. Maybe someone can come up with another introductory sentence.

If I were the bride, I would be totally satisfied with your response because you gave logical reasons why you cannot accommodate such a gathering and that it is completely out of your hands.

Also, for you to offer a possible solution to her plight by suggesting the park to hold her brunch, it shows your concern and desire to help. You can’t be faulted!

On the flip side, cross your fingers that she doesn’t find an alternative rental between now and then!

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Yes, instead of the entire first paragraph I would say something short and sweet such as, " I am so sorry, but unfortunately my business license only allows for six people to occupy the house at any given time."


How about making a little extra on the booking by offering the space for up to 6 guests at $10 per person, or something like that? (I’m not suggesting you cook for them.)

You could say: “We can accommodate your request if the number of guests is 6 or less at a cost of $10 per person. If your party is larger than 6 I would suggest you reserve a nice picnic spot… (what you said so nicely) or a couple of restaurant suggestions are… (pick a couple that serve breakfast).”

If they have to pay AND provide their own breakfast they’ll likely decide to eat out. And if their group is larger than 6 (probably is) you’ve shown that you’re willing to work with her, but it just didn’t work out. If she accepts you get some extra cash.

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Thanks for the tips! I will piece together my response from all of your helpful hints!

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Canadian, I think that sounds like you are saying you’d be willing to host a party like that for only $60??? Eeegad. Clearly, the OP doesn’t want to host the party for any amount of money. I wouldn’t! Because they are friends, I bet the OP would also be expected to be part of all the details too and I am sure that is not,what she wants!

Best to do as Helsi suggests, shorter and quicker… you could also mention insurance doesn’t allow it as well. …and yes, a few different alternative food options or restaurant options. Don’t go into what the neighbors might do, which sounds a bit protesteth too much.

I think i’m the only dissenting view here but a sunday brunch is hardly a party is it? I have a no parties policy as it’s at night time when people want to sleep and who knows what time it finishes/ how loud the music would be but I would have no issues with a brunch. How many people do they want to attend?

In what way isn’t it a party?

You must lead a sheltered life @jodes :slight_smile:

I know lots of brunch parties that rock on until the evening, with copious amounts of alcohol

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Jodes, you haven’t been to brunch with me!!

The setting you can choose for this is No Events or Parties. Yes, I consider a party anything greater than the number of people who are supposed to occupy a rental. There are already going to be 6 people there and the email from the bride asked if her relatives could have more family members and friends over for a brunch. This doesn’t sound like 2-3 more people. It sounds like MANY more people. As I mentioned, my dining table holds only 6 people.

As a new host and also new home owner in this urban neighborhood, I don’t want to start up off by having a bunch of people at my house using all the available street parking. I want to ease my neighbors into this gently and abide by the occupancy maximum that my city has set. I DO risk losing my license if I do not abide by the city imposed regulations.



I received this very nice reply from the bride - "Hi Tamara,

Makes complete sense and thank you for the explanation!

Yes if you could forward along the contact info for those suggestions, I would appreciate it."

She was very gracious! Yay!


I’ve found that most guests are very gracious when you politely refuse a request. They have no idea what’s it’s like to be a host, so don’t be afraid to tell them something would be an inconvenience.


its up to you - if you dont do parties and it says so then recommend places they can book - I would have a think about venues they can go to - make calls to them to check dates - then send them a message saying - sorry I have a party policy but have contacted these venues and these places are happy to take your booking
that way your rules apply and the guest’s guests cant refuse

Antonia - look at the update @pdxwindjammer provided - she has already provided alternatives and the guests are happy.

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It is a good thing I turned them down! When I asked how many people she wanted to book a place for, she told me between 25-50 people! Not sure how she thought my 1400 square ft home would accommodate that many for brunch. My bedrooms are huge but my living and dining rooms are small. Whew! Dodged a bullet on that one!


Ridiculous! What is she thinking?? Are you sure she is really a friend? Hardly sounds like it.

Maybe she thought she could have so many friends over to your house since hosting that many at a restaurant would be crazy expensive. Now that she has to have it at a restaurant, guaranteed it’s going to be a LOT fewer guests!~

kona, I didn’t say she was my friend. She is a friend of a friend. She is still planning on 25-50 people. It is family and friends of the bride for a brunch the day after the wedding.

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