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Is this rude?

(41 Posts)
Minnie16 Sat 06-Aug-16 11:04:48

I want to organise a special birthday meal at a restaurant for a family member but would I be unreasonable to expect people to pay for their own meal? It would be quite a lot of people so definitely wouldn't be able to afford the whole thing.
I was thinking of putting a menu in with invites and asking people to decide/pay for their meal beforehand to save the awkward splitting of the bill at the end. We would probably be able to pay the drinks tab if everyone paid their own meal but not sure if this is a rude thing to do?

Chocoholicmonster Sat 06-Aug-16 11:06:46

I think is perfectly reasonable to expect people to pay for their own food. Every surprise meal or meal out for occasions I've been to, I've never expected it to be paid for

sooperdooper Sat 06-Aug-16 11:08:04

I think that's fine, if I was invited to a restaurant for a birthday meal I'd always expect to pay for my meal (although someone will be along soon to contradict that smile )

Sending the menu is a good idea so people can decide what to budget smile

BuggerLumpsAnnoyed Sat 06-Aug-16 11:09:06

Mumsnet is the only place I've ever seen the expectation that when you arrange to go out for dinner, the one doing the arranging/inviting has to pay

PaperdollCartoon Sat 06-Aug-16 11:09:10

I would never go to a birthday meal like this expecting to be paid for. Of course it's not rude, it's normal. Might be tricky to get people to pay before though, they might not know what they want. Unless it's a set menu situation?

HunterHearstHelmsley Sat 06-Aug-16 11:10:26

As long as people are aware prior I think it's fine.

I once went to a wedding meal at a pub and everyone had to pay their own way but the couple didn't tell anyone beforehand. That went down like a lead balloon!

Discobabe Sat 06-Aug-16 11:11:02

Yanbu at all. I think that's totally normal! I wouldn't expect my drinks to be paid for either.

Euphemia Sat 06-Aug-16 11:11:35

Only acceptable if you tell them in advance!

Minnie16 Sat 06-Aug-16 11:18:52

Thanks for replies. I'm glad it doesn't come across rude.
The only reason I thought it would be easier to get payment before is that it might be difficult on the night to work out what everyone was due. It would be a condensed menu of about 3 options for each course I think.
Thanks again for your input smile

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Sat 06-Aug-16 11:29:42

I'm going against the grain but sounds like I'm in the minority. To me this is like the kids' invitations you get where little Tommy wants to go Go Karting for his birthday and your share will be £30. But I was brought up outside the UK where having a paying bar at a wedding wouldn't happen so any party where the guest has to pay is a big no no.

How will you invite people and make them aware they need to pay?

Iliveinalighthousewiththeghost Sat 06-Aug-16 11:31:51

Sorry to sound contrary but if I were invited for a birthday celebration meal. I would not expect to pay a penny. I mean you wouldn't expect pay for party food, would you.

Pardonwhat Sat 06-Aug-16 11:39:53

How bizarre and entitled that anyone who expect it to be paid for confused

Zippidydoodah Sat 06-Aug-16 11:42:46

Nope, definitely would not expect to be paid for! Each immediate family group usually sets up at tab at the bar when we all go out with extended family.

Zippidydoodah Sat 06-Aug-16 11:43:40

Minnie, I wouldn't condense the menu though, if you want people to choose and pay upfront just give them the whole menu to choose from!

microferret Sat 06-Aug-16 11:43:43

That's fine. Letting people know in advance is the most important thing - that way they can decide beforehand if they want to go or not. And I think paying the drinks tab would be a nice gesture, although not strictly necessary.

I've been to a lot of birthday meals and never expected my food to be free. It's a very odd idea that someone would expect that. If they don't want to pay, they don't have to come!

microferret Sat 06-Aug-16 11:47:13

Iliveinalighthousewiththeghost but party food / booze is much cheaper, because you buy it at the supermarket. Restaurant food is much more expensive, because a restaurant has a lot of overheads to pay and still needs to make a profit. The two aren't really comparable at all.

m0therofdragons Sat 06-Aug-16 11:50:10

Depends on the family. We recently went to my cousin's 18th and at the end of the meal dh asked me whether he should go up and pay for our family when he nipped to the loo. He was totally baffled when I said my uncle was paying. Dh's family are rather frugal tight and never buy for others.
I think how you word it matters but after we had a big celebration party for friends and family with "afternoon tea" provided we invited our closest family and friends to join us in the pub for dinner after and made it clear they would pay for themselves. So long as everyone knows I think either way is fine - good communication / setting expectations is essential.

Angelto5 Sat 06-Aug-16 11:51:01


Its our ds 18th birthday in November & I will just say to people we will be at such & such a pub/restaurant,at such & such a time and anyone is welcome to come and join in the celebration.
Which also implies they don't have to have a meal they could just have a drink.
If you don't do invites and just make it casual it should be self explanatory that your not paying for everyone.

dodobookends Sat 06-Aug-16 11:55:16

We went to a massive family meal the day after a wedding recently, 30+ of us, and we all paid our own.

SealSong Sat 06-Aug-16 11:56:30

I would never expect to have a restaurant meal paid for if it's a birthday celebration. Private party yes, you'd expect food to be laid on, but not in a restaurant. I've been to many large group celebration meals in restaurants and it's always been the norm that people pay for themselves.

OP, perhaps a polite way to indicate that people are paying for themselves would be to email out the menus and say that you have chosen the restaurant as 'it caters for a range of tastes and budgets so there should be something there for everyone' or something similar.

DistanceCall Sat 06-Aug-16 12:03:12

living, there's a difference between being invited to a party (and even then people are often asked to bring wine or dessert or something) and being invited to a celebratory meal, where the idea is that the person who is being treated is the only one who doesn't have to pay for it.

DragonsEggsAreAllMine Sat 06-Aug-16 12:07:13

If hosting or planning, then you should pay. You can't organise a special event and expect others to pay for it, that's rude. It's like saying your invited to celebrate this event and here's the entry fee for the pleasure.

DistanceCall Sat 06-Aug-16 12:31:26

Oh, FFS. Of course you can organise a special event and expect others to pay for it. Haven't you ever teamed up with a group of friends to treat someone to lunch/dinner for their birthday? Really?

pillowaddict Sat 06-Aug-16 12:34:10

No problem at all with expecting to pay but I would choose somewhere with a set menu so everyone knows exactly what they are paying, and do drinks separately so they can keep track. Let them know menu in advance so if not happy they can contact restaurant directly for suitable option/replacement.

pillowaddict Sat 06-Aug-16 12:36:24

Dragons eggs- not like that at all! More like if you fancy coming to celebrate x event the menu is x and we'd love to see you there. People can say no if they don't want to go or pay!

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