There seems to be an ingrained idea in my circle of friends (who are mostly 30 or older and financially well-to-do) that throwing a party means providing nothing more than a space for gathering, perhaps some music. It is becoming a bore! Party invites frequently say things like "bring something for the grill, a beverage to share, and a lawn chair or two", or "we will provide a deep-fried turkey, you bring the chips and the beer and booze".
To me, it seems like asking a lot of your guests to routinely tell them they should bring food and beverage to share. Why have a party involving food if you can't be bothered to provide it? I would never expect the Superbowl to be a balanced dinner, or anything resembling, but the above-mentioned four hour party with the "fried turkey" was terrible! There was a table with chips and dip of every description, and a plate of hotdogs in a blanket, and lots of cookies. The turkey, being the only substantial food in a room of forty people, lasted ten minutes. We brought, as requested, chips and dip, thinking maybe "we'll provide the turkey" meant something more generous than it did.
At other times, I find my husband and I bringing a large box to hold a side and a six pack, and something for the grill. Now that we're parents, we bring our LO and snacks and diaper bag, etc... by the time that's all done, I'm thinking, "well, I made dinner, all I have to do is light the grill, and we could stay home and relax!".
We haven't thrown any parties in a while, between parenthood and buying a house, but even for casual late-night parties, I always felt it was my responsibility to provide at least a keg, if not a cocktail or two, and enough snacks so that nobody got plastered on an empty stomach. I have done potlucks before, but I would clearly say that it was a "potluck" and ask people to bring varied foods. If a dinner party is what I want, I cook!
Do your friends send out invites like this? Do you? What do you think?