(Closed) Is it rude to plan a Surprise 30th Birthday Dinner and have guests pay for their

posted 6 years ago in Holidays
Post # 3
11351 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

If you send out formal invitations to a birthday celebration for your Boyfriend or Best Friend and then expect guests to pay for their own meals, I think that would be problemmatic.  However, if you call your BF’s friends and say, “Some of us are planning to get together to take BF out to dinner in honor of his birthday.  Would you be interested in joining us to do this?”  I don’t think it’s a problem.

Post # 4
3625 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

In my circle, typically the host/hostess does not end up paying for the entire bill themselves, although it does vary somewhat depending on the age and the financial situation of the host/hostess. I’ve been to birthday dinners where a guest, as a surprise, will cover the very pricey bill and I’ve been to birthday dinners where it was split amongst the guests. I always walk in with enough money to do a split/cover my plate and usually don’t expect the guest to cover, unless it is a birthday party with a formal invitation versus “dinner with friends”.

The only thing that can be a problem with splitting the bill is when it is very very uneven with one guest having a salad and water and someone else having 6 cocktails and three pricey meaty courses and everyone pays an even amount. Having been the salad person occasionally, I can say that is really annoying. If you know some of your guests are big drinkers and some are not, I would consider the prixe fixe option. Some guests are gracious enough to throw in extra money for their extra drinks, but some are not.

ETA: I think a FB invitation can fall into the “dinner with friends” category as that’s fairly informal.

Post # 5
552 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

My advice would be to just invite people to join your for drinks at the restaurant. Maybe you could swing enough money to pay for a few appetizers to have out while people are drinking. When going to parties, people expect to pay for their drinks (unless its a big occasion) but usually expect to be provided with some sort of food. 

Post # 6
11752 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I always expect to pay when invited for someone’s bday, unless the host has arranged for a special, catered meal ahead of time.  Don’t approach others with it as a bday party, as them if they’d like to get together and join you guys for dinner to celebrate his bday. It’s all in how you word it.

Post # 7
2009 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

I always expect to pay when going out, but I would ever expect others to pay.  I think n fb or evite would keep everyone in the loop.

Post # 8
341 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

I totally don’t think it’s rude!  One of my friends had the same kind of thing…her invites just went out as like, “please join X to share in the celebration of her birthday at such and such restaurant on whatever day/time” and we all totally thought it was fine to pay for our own meals!  When I invite a bunch of friends out for dinner it’s not like they think I’m paying for everyone…we’re just all getting together for dinner.

Post # 9
3583 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

I just went to something just like this. It was an evite that basically said ‘to celebrate Xs birthday’. They provided pre-ordered apps and desert but everyone ordered meals a la carte and paid for them individually. It was great. 

Post # 10
2638 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2006

I’d expect to pay my own way and chip in for the guest of honor’s meal! Agree that it’s all in how you word it.

Post # 11
9955 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

Agree with Brielle:, the biggest issue is going to be how you set the tone.

Lol over 20 Years ago, I did exactly the same thing when my then Hubby turned 30.

To set the correct tone, it was very casual… I didn’t send out written Invites… (sending anything in writing traditionally IMPLIES that you will be Hosting & therefore Paying the FULL FREIGHT). 

I just called everyone up on the phone… which is also a lot more personal… and you’ll get a better idea of WHO is going to come vs putting up a random OPEN INVITE up on FaceBook (that also tends to IMPLY that you are “young” and therefore not knowledgeable on how to throw a proper Adult Party… OPEN INVITES are fine for a Frat Party, not for somone turning 30… just saying)

The phonecall Invites were easy, and a nice way to connect with Hubby’s and my mutal friends as well as “reach out” to his Guy and Work Friends… I just said…

“Hey planning a Get-Together for Drinks & Dinner for ___’s 30th Birthday on ___ at ___ PM.  I have made arrangements to get the Private Dining Room at the ___ Restaurant, and we’ll be ordering from the ___ (regular) Menu where prices range from $ ___ to $ ___ for Appys, and $ ___ to $ ___ for Mains.  The Restaurant knows we’ll be having seperate Bills, but they’ve told me that because we are a large group that an 18% Gratuity will be charged”

“Of course it is a SURPRISE, so I’d appreciate it if you kept it under wraps… and planned to arrive early so you can be parked and in the Restaurant BEFORE I plan to arrive with Hubby at ___ PM”

The party idea was well received, and most people made it.  And NO ONE complained that they were paying.  And most folks brought a gift or at least a card (I never made any mention of that… cause to do so would have been tacky).

Hubby was properly surprised, and it was a great way to mark the milestone Birthday.

Hope this helps,

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