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Surely we shouldn't be expected to pay everyone's bill at Xmas meal?

(650 Posts)
MeetMyCat Mon 22-Dec-14 17:32:53

On Boxing Day, DH and I are going out for a meal with DSS, my Dad, Dad's partner, and my brother. So six of us in total. When this was arranged earlier in the year, I (obviously) invited everyone, checked they were all happy with the venue, timings etc etc. I didn't mention who would pick up the tab, it never entered my head to be honest, and I certainly didn't give anyone the impression it was "our treat."

The background to this, is that no one on the guest list (with the exception of DSS (student) and obviously we'll pay for him) is particularly hard up, but there is history of reluctance to share the bill at social events. My brother is 41, single with no kids, works as an architect, but will never buy anyone a drink. My dad is retired, but very comfortable, enjoys lots of holidays, but tends to assume DH will pay for everything if there's a family gathering. Dad's partner (they don't live together, but have been together for over 10 years) was recently made redundant, so I'm not sure about her current financial situation. But however tight they are, they're my family, so I like to see them at Christmas.

Last night, DH commented "what on earth do we do if no one offers to contribute towards the bill on Boxing Day - do I say anything?" Now whilst we can afford to pay for ourselves and DSS, the thought of picking up the whole tab is rather scary - set menu at £65 per head, plus drinks, for six people. Ok, so we'd still be able to eat (but it would be beans on toast!) and pay the bills in January, but it's a lot of money, not to mention the principle.

As I said earlier, we asked everyone if they wanted to go out for a meal, they all said yes, and we never suggested we'd pay for everyone. But as we made the arrangements, does etiquette dictate we should pay? And as dad's partner has now lost her job, is her share of the bill our responsibility as 'organisers'?

Looking back, I can't remember a single time when anyone wanted to split a bill/buy a drink etc for DH and I, and I wish I'd remembered this when I made the Boxing Day booking.

So do I say something upfront, or do I assume (and hope and pray) that normal social etiquette will prevail, and wait for everyone to contribute when the bill arrives? Surely we shouldn't be expected to foot the whole bill?

Letthemtalk Mon 22-Dec-14 17:35:01

Just send a text saying, really looking forward to boxing day, it will be £65 each, see you there x

AskMeAnother Mon 22-Dec-14 17:35:52

Speak now, for goodness sake!
I'd have assumed, as you invited, that you were paying.

Frogme Mon 22-Dec-14 17:36:29

Can't you send a text saying how you are looking forward to the meal but that because of the redundancy are they sure they are still up for it as it's a lot of money for them if they are stretched - thus making it clear they are expected to pay for themselves?

19lottie82 Mon 22-Dec-14 17:36:46

Just say something casual beforehand like just to confirm you hits know the price is £65 each, right? Then on the day when the bill comes just put down enough for your share. I Doubt they will have come out without a card between them.

overmydeadbody Mon 22-Dec-14 17:36:51

Just call or email them all now to confirm, and reiterate that it is £65 per head and are they OK with this?

Of course you don't pay. Make it clear from the start.

arethereanyleftatall Mon 22-Dec-14 17:37:15

But when you organised dos you not check £65 per head was ok?

NorwaySpruce Mon 22-Dec-14 17:37:30

You will have to mention it I think, given their form. fgrin

Just ring round and say 'about this meal, how shall we split the costs? Do you all want to bring cash and I'll pay the total with my card? You know how cash machines always run dry over Chriastmas! <cheery laugh>

Otherwise I think you should prepare yourself for a very large bill.

londonrach Mon 22-Dec-14 17:37:36

Might be an idea to contact them in the next time reminding people you time you meeting and it might be easier if everyone bought the right amount in cash with them with a bit extra for drinks and tip. Just say it easier when bills comes rather than x number credit cards.....

SauvignonBlanche Mon 22-Dec-14 17:37:41

Surely you can't book a meal at £65/head without agreeing that sum with the attendees in advance?

Littlef00t Mon 22-Dec-14 17:37:41

Please say now, I presume you've not paid in advance so if they want to back out they can.

lemisscared Mon 22-Dec-14 17:37:53

speak now because you wont be able to relax otherwise.

arethereanyleftatall Mon 22-Dec-14 17:37:59

Did not dos

Fabulassie Mon 22-Dec-14 17:38:17

When the bill arrives, act as if of course you expect everyone to pay their share. You Dad can cover his GF if he wants but I would say that everyone should pay their own way.

Just start tallying up who owes what and talk about what you owe and look at everyone else expectantly.

The worst that will happen is someone will say that they have no money and expected you to pay. In which case you can raise your eyebrows and say "Well, I guess we can do that this one time" or even talk about it in terms of "a loan" until they can pay you back. Not that you can expect them to pay you back but it will signal to the others that they are expected to pay and should lessen the impact a bit.

You can also call the restaurant ahead and ask them if they are OK with doing separate checks for each person in the party. That ought to make it clear who owes what.

lemisscared Mon 22-Dec-14 17:39:12

although to be fair there is no way i could afford £65 a head.

Hoppinggreen Mon 22-Dec-14 17:39:22

It would have been better if you had made sure that the price was ok before booking but I would text now and ask if they ate ok with it

MeetMyCat Mon 22-Dec-14 17:39:29

askmeanother we frequently make arrangements with friends and other relatives', and no one seems to operate the 'he who initiates the arrangements pays the whole bill' train of thought (thank god') but is that normal etiquette? Not trying to be facetious, just genuinely unsure.

Fabulassie Mon 22-Dec-14 17:39:39

While I was typing that you got much better advice - call them now and ask them if they'd like to pay cash and you put it on your card.

tumbletumble Mon 22-Dec-14 17:39:57

I would expect to pay for myself in this situation. However I think you should communicate in advance that it will be £65 per head, as that may be more than they're expecting even if they do realise they'll need to pay for themselves.

MissMalteser Mon 22-Dec-14 17:40:09

Just send a text saying, really looking forward to boxing day, it will be £65 each, see you there x


Better getting it out of the way now, I would be choking the whole way through my meal if I didn't have it settled beforehand, and avoids any awkward moments come the end of the evening.

Mitzi50 Mon 22-Dec-14 17:40:25

I would definitely say something up front along the lines of "just double checking that you know the set menu is £65 pp. Obviously DH will pay for the 3 of us. Are you happy if we split the drinks bill 6 ways as well?"

jimmycrackcornbutidontcare Mon 22-Dec-14 17:40:33

I would just get the bill and say 'so that's £80 (or whatever amount is) per person plus whatever tip you want to leave' and then put your money in for yourself, OH and SS. If you end up paying I just would not invite them again. Sounds like you may end up paying. If your father is comfortable he should pay for his partner if she can't afford it. It sounds like your brother has lots of spare money. Why do they always expect you to pay?

MrsCampbellBlack Mon 22-Dec-14 17:40:53

I would never assume that people were paying for me unless they explicitly said it was their treat.

But I would confirm the costs now to people so they know and can back out if they need to.

simontowers2 Mon 22-Dec-14 17:40:55

If somebody invited me to a 65 quid meal without first informing me of the cost i would expectthem to pay.

Purplepoodle Mon 22-Dec-14 17:41:27

You invited everyone out for a meal. I can see how they might be expecting you to pay. You need to clear this up now and tell people they are paying their own bill

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