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to want to cancel my 40th because hardly anyone is going to come?

(28 Posts)
friendlessandforty Thu 02-Oct-08 20:46:57

OK, have namechanged for this because I feel such a no-mates loser grin
My 40th is coming up, dh and I thought we'd have a party, anticipated about 50 or 60 guests. As far as I can see about 25 are turning up and I know people can be incredibly flaky about cancelling at the last minute because they can't be arsed or the babysitter blew them out, so we may well end up with even fewer.
I just feel embarrassed, we sent out nice invitations, gave people plenty of warning etc. But loads of people couldn't make it - they're away, will have just had a baby, all good reasons and so I'm not blaming anyone else, just feel dumb for having assumed they'd come.
It's also made me analyse my life - I had a big party when I was 34 just before I got pregnant with dd1 to celebrate a work success. It was heaving and a great night and I thought how lucky am I to have so many fantastic mates.
But in the intervening years loads have moved abroad/away or don't want to know me because I have dcs (mainly the gay ones). I'm self employed so don't have work friends but because I work don't have many mummy friends either as I don't do the playgroup circuit; certainly none I'd want to invite to a party without it being obvious I was desperately making up numbers grin.
In other words, I've lost a dozen or so old friends and not replaced them. Occasionally this bothers me but most of the time I'm quite philosophical about it. There is still a handful of hardcore friends and I think this is the unavoidable reality of working for yourself and having young dcs which with luck will change a bit when they go to school.
But anyway, what to do? I feel we've advertised a huge shindig and instead people will be attending a very intimate soiree. This would be fine if only close chums were coming, but in the mix will be a few oddities like various colleagues of dh who I invited because we owed them and our neighborus who might wonder why they were present at such a small and personal event.
So iw it too late and rude to cancel (is in a fortnight) and reorganise another smaller bash for a weekend when more people are around or do I just have to go ahead and not enjoy what should be a lovely occasion? Thanks for reading this long post.

Katisha Thu 02-Oct-08 20:49:03

Gosh tricky one.My gut reaction would be to come up with an excuse and "postpone" but others may disagree. But then I hate big bashes anyway.

TheInvisibleManDidIt Thu 02-Oct-08 20:53:00

I don't think it's rude to cancel your OWN birthday party.

It's your birthday, so do whatever you feel happiest with.

Katisha Thu 02-Oct-08 20:58:05

But if you are going to cancel do it sooner rather than later!

mamadiva Thu 02-Oct-08 20:58:07

Where do you live we MNers will show up and liven it up with talk of fruitshoots and sausageroll debates LOL.

IfYouDidntLaughYoudCry Thu 02-Oct-08 20:59:27

I would tell them you've decided to change the mood of the night and go for a night out or a meal, whatever you'd like. I find that friendships can dwindle a bit and then there are people who just can't make it for whatever reason.

If you've a mixture of close friends and more random people, would it be a problem to cancel it with the randomers and then be honest with the close friends about why? Or have people gone to trouble to make it?

DiscoDizzy Thu 02-Oct-08 21:00:42

Where's your party at, a venue? If so couldn't you just say you'd heard poor reports about that venue and you've decided to relocate to a sit down meal somewhere. Would there be a massive cost disadvantage in doing that?

Bedbug Thu 02-Oct-08 21:00:55

Ooh I'd go ahead or downscale. I bet the 50 or 60 weren't all bezzzy friends. Think a celebration with even ten or a dozen people that you really care about is better than a big bash full of people that you're not really tight with . Keep it small and close. Will be a lovely thing! turning forty is about celebrating with people that are part of your history. No need to impress anyone...... so says the woman who had an afternoon picnic for her'll feel so much worse if you cancel. IMHO

DonutMum Thu 02-Oct-08 21:01:12

Oh, what a rotten one. Don't cancel, why not make it an intimate soiree - book a restaurant or maybe a private chef to come and cook/do a buffet for the smaller group in your own home and get blinding drunk. I reckon I'll be in the same situation when I turn 40 - have just moved abroad - and reckoning on my two best mates being here for a piss up but that's it. You're not friendless, things just change through life and by this age, you certainly know who they are.

DiscoDizzy Thu 02-Oct-08 21:01:38

oops cross post.

noonki Thu 02-Oct-08 21:11:24

25 people is loads

my mum always said you never have more real friends than you have fingers on a hand

and I hold to that

don't worry about what people think they will be pleased to be invited

one year at my DH birthday me and 3 friends went out (he is on a bank holiday, everyone is always away,) one of them we hardly knew but we had the best night, end up dancing round our living room til dawn, unforgettable smile

samsonara Thu 02-Oct-08 21:48:27

No you cant be friendless and forty because I already am !I didnt invite any friends to my 40th, just had family around for lunch and then they sent me out shopping and when I got back there was a lovely table laid out with cakes, flowers pressies and cards. It was brilliant, I really enjoyed it, and didnt have to worry about babysitting my two little ones,at all. Truth is I only wanted to spend it with people I felt really cared about me and who contacted me regularly to see how I was etc, and sadly I couldnt think of anyone other than family..anyway in your situation, I would carry on and provide and enjoy as wonderful an event as possible for those who do attend so at least when the word gets out the others will wish they'd made more effort.

OLIVIASMAMA Thu 02-Oct-08 22:16:28

The one's that you're least looking forward to can be the best - don't cancel.

The oddities that you've invited might just turn out to be the greatest party animals on the face of the earth!

Thankyouandgoodnight Thu 02-Oct-08 22:25:33

25 is loads!! We had 40 to our wedding and that was too many people in that we still didn't get to talk to everyone. 25 or less I would say would be much more fun because you won't have that duty thing where you feel you have to chat to everyone but don't have the time to do it. It will just be a great laugh with everyone! Go full steam ahead I say!!

Thankyouandgoodnight Thu 02-Oct-08 22:27:03

Oh and from a guests point of view - it is MUCH better and more fun being with a group of up to 25 than up to 60 people!! Everyone makes and effort to pitch in because it's noticed if they don't - and reaps the rewards.

rubyloopy Fri 03-Oct-08 10:34:41

Message withdrawn

stickybun Sat 04-Oct-08 01:03:56

Don't get hung up on what you think a 40th should be like. Imagine if the boot were on the other foot - cancelling could be a bit hurtful to the people who care loads about you and who are most likely to make your birthday lots of fun. I was ambivalent about being 40 but had a week with different small (sometimes v. small groups of people). It was lovely echo what rubyloopy says. Remember some people (probably quite a lot) are too shy to do anything. In a weird way people cancelling could be a tribute to your perceived popularity i.e. they probably think they won't be missed because so any people like you. Don't worry too much about it being an odd mix - if it's a small do this can be better because they all make the effort. When small I was always drilled by my mother on how to be a 'good' guest - i.e. if you accept an invitation you join in as much as you can and think about your host(ess) rather than self etc. Modern update is that they're your mates and will just want you to have fun - if they aren't or don't then knickers to them Good luck smile

VictorianSqualor Sat 04-Oct-08 01:10:57

We only had 25ish peopel at DS2's christening, but this was good, it meant we go to spend time chatting to all our close friends/family, and everyone there was important. Someone we wanted to share the day with. Those who couldn't make it (two of my closest mates sadly) were missed but not hugely so.
I had a great day.
Intimate and friendly is better than huge imo.

zazen Sat 04-Oct-08 01:22:00

Hey join the 40s club grin it's an odd birthday and I understand completely why you are having cold feet! I also work for myself now, and have few worky friends. my other (old) friends haven't had kids and I've made new mummy friends, so it's all change from a few years ago for me also.

But time marches on though and thinking back to old parties when you were in your 30s without kids when everyone had time to meet up regularly etc etc actually doesn't do you any good! And I speak from experience as I used to have humdingers of parties every birthday and totally didn't have one on my 40th this year.
My excuse? I had pneumonia, and felt like freezing cold and badly warmed up shite. And also I was taking stock as well and had a bit of a wobbler: what is a friend? existential stuff (yawn).

So my advice is, don't cancel - but try and get a smaller venue in the place you've already booked - try to get it in a room that holds 20 so your 25 guests are a bit squashed: this is a recipe for a great party.
Also people don't have to change their arrangements if it's in the same place, so you won't lose anyone.
Have a lovely time with your friends who are in your life now.

you'll not regret having your party, but you actually will regret canceling.

Happy Birthday!

wehaveallbeenthere Sat 04-Oct-08 01:25:22

I don't know what is proper or practical in the UK. I know that you planned on having a fun, beautifully planned party for your 40th and you should do just that! So what if you only have a few good friends show up? and maybe a few not so goes on and you will never, and I mean NEVER get over this if you don't just throw caution to the wind and enjoy yourself.
Life is a journey, some travel with you a part of the way and some just pass through on their own road. I'm glad you had such good friends at the last party (34th) but if things always were the same life would just be so stale.
You sound like you can really throw a good I will have a toast to you and hope you don't disappoint.
ahem...clinking glass Attention all MNters. I would like to toast friendlessandforty on her 40th birthday. I bet you have some wonderful stories to tell of the past 40 years and here's to making wonderful stories in the next 40! Happy Birthday (and I hope you see fit to change that name as well) friendlessandforty. Cheers!!!

zazen Sat 04-Oct-08 01:28:54

Hear hear - Down the hatch, and last one's a rotten tomato! grin

BitOfFun Sat 04-Oct-08 01:58:29

it's a tricky one, but I agree with other posters and think that you should go ahead but tweak the venue if you are worried. With some thought for activities (a quiz or games) you can break the ice between odd groups and still have a great night. Good luck, and happy birthday you gorgeousness! X x x

chipmonkey Sat 04-Oct-08 02:04:11

"In other words, I've lost a dozen or so old friends and not replaced them."
Sorry but grin You make it sound like friends are items of crockery!
Have to say, I agree with noonki's Mum! Don't cancel, have a lovely intimate party with the people who wouldn't have missed it for the world and don't worry about the others.

potatofactory Sat 04-Oct-08 06:36:55

i agree with the fact that 25 people is loads. i do understand about people cancelling. but new babies (or whatever) seems a good enough reason to me.

Unless the venue is huge, don't cancel. 25 guests is not a 'no-mates' situation my book! Bloody hell, if I succumbed to HAVING to have as many mates as was deemed appropriate I'd get the booby prize. (but then I just don't like that many people...)


FuriousGeorge Sat 04-Oct-08 09:16:52

No suggestions,but sympathy.I'm 40 soon and I'm self employed like you,so don't have work mate,don't do playgroups,so no friends there either.If I had a party,I'd struggle to invite more than 20 people I think.So actually being able to invite so many is impressive!

I hope you have a lovely time,whatever you decide.

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