This should be fun. Etiquette & sustainability all wrapped into one juicy package....
For the last two major parties (20+ people) we have hosted -- one of which was a potluck, another one we catered -- I asked people to bring their own plates & silverware. Two reasons, really -- bear with me.
a) we don't own plates/silverware for that amount of people
b) using paper plates & plastic utensils doesn't strike me as particularly 'green'
The reactions I got were mixed, but not unexpected. Some folks thought it was the best idea ever (the more, um, environmentally conscious perhaps?), others thought it was tacky and ridiculous (one of our best friends - that's why we love him). Or maybe some were just more honest than others, who knows.
There are logistic issues, of course. As we also don't own a Camelot-sized table that can seat more than 8 people, our guests generally disburse throughout the two living rooms and the tiny kitchen (of course) and find a place to sit down. The food 'served' is set up on the dining room table we do own.
So there isn't really any place to put your plates & silverware until the eatings begin. Some folks solved this by keeping their plates & silverware (maybe I'll abbreviate that as p&s from now on) in a bag which they placed under said table. Others put them on smaller tables we have around.
In the end, all plates and most of the silverware were taken back home, with some people rinsing their stuff off and putting it back in bags. We still have a few homeless serving bowls (from the potluck) and some silverware we'll be able to return to the rightful owners eventually.
How would you feel about this request? Do you think it's ridiculous? Tacky? Awesome? What about using paper plates & people just bringing silverware? I REALLY dislike the idea of having to use disposable plastic forks, knives & spoons.
I suppose another option would be to buy cheap-ass stuff @Goodwill and just have enough to go around... matching or not.
So -- let 'em rip. This is the NAF board, after all. Just make sure you don't get deleted, because I actually am interested in what you have to say :-)