Q: Our evening reception is scheduled for 6:30. Is it OK to have a dessert-only celebration?

A: Any time you invite people to be with you during a customary mealtime, you've got to feed them something substantial. A dessert-only reception should be held only in the late afternoon (before 4:00) or in the late evening (after 9:00). If you want to have a dessert party to save money, adjust your timing. If you want to have one because you love sweets, think about serving a three-course (instead of five-course) meal, and have a tempting dessert buffet. You could also have a sundae bar or a crème brûlée station with fruit and other toppings.

See all questions about food and drink etiquette

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