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Inviting guests to DH birthday and asking them to pay

418 replies

KQuest · 03/05/2021 22:33

My DH is coming up to a special birthday. He has asked me to plan something as a surprise. I have some ideas for activities, but the cost is roughly £35 per person. Is it OK to invite people and tell them they have to pay for themselves or should I pay for everyone?
I want to invite 10 people.

OP posts:
MintLampShade · 03/05/2021 22:46

It really depends...if you want people to pay their way, I think you need to be very clear about that and give them the option to decline the invite. I mean it would go along the lines of "hey friends, I'm planning to surprise DH with XYZ activity for his 40th on such and such date. It would cost £35 per person and it includes xyz things. Are you available / in a position to attend?" I mean you can surely word it better than I have but you get my point :)

Nohomemadecandles · 03/05/2021 22:48

Make it clear. Does anyone fancy doing X with us? It's £30 each and needs paying by xdate.
Wouldn't upset me in the slightest

PegasusReturns · 03/05/2021 22:49

This really depends on the norm in your circle: in mine, the host pays. Of course I wouldn’t object to paying, so generally speaking as long as you are transparent about your intentions I’m sure it’s fine.

NameChangedForThisFeb21 · 03/05/2021 22:53

I always think things like this are a bit cheeky really, sorry.

Pay for an activity chosen by you and then a birthday present as well? Will they be getting any food and drink for £35 or is that yet more money? I just couldn’t see myself charging people I’d invited to a party. It’s too demanding/entitled. In my family we also pay for invited guests meals on birthdays. I understand that’s unusual in England but I feels it’s rude to say “please will you come to my meal at x restaurant? You’ll have to pay for yourself.”

GenuineViolet · 03/05/2021 22:54

At £70 per couple, it would have to be a very special friend to budget that amount of money. It's a lot to spend for someone else's birthday.

Minikievs · 03/05/2021 22:57


This always divides opinion on MN but in my circle of friends it would be absolutely normal for everyone to pay for themselves- just let people know how much beforehand.

I totally agree with this.

Particularly having read your update that it's an activity rather than a meal.
If you invited me, made it clear I was paying for myself, and it is an activity I'd like to do, I would have no problem with it.
FelicityBeedle · 03/05/2021 22:58

Perfectly normal thing to do

ImInStealthMode · 03/05/2021 23:05

For an activity or a dinner it wouldn't bother me at all to pay my own way; I'd expect to. Often for a birthday meal in fact we'll split the bill with the exception of whoever's birthday it is.

We have almost the exact scenario for my DP's birthday in the summer. He wants to do something that is £350 for 10 people and I'm weighing up whether I/We should pay it all and invite guests to join us, or split it up and ask people to contribute. The very second we mentioned it to his Sister (whose family would be 4 of the 10) she enthusiastically agreed and told me just to let her know how much their share would be.

Maggiesfarm · 03/05/2021 23:08

SleepingStandingUp Mon 03-May-21 22:46:11

It's quite normal for the guests to split the bill at a birthday dinner in a restaurant. Your husband shouldn't be paying and, personally, I think it would be nice if the guests paid for you too but that's not up to me.

Not on MN. You shouldn't ever invite anyone to do anything for your birthday unless you're covering the whole cost of everyone on MN.

I didn't know that! I would have thought it was quite normal for people to take someone out and treat them for a significant birthday.

If you host a party at home, you don't charge of course but that's different.

Oh well, I have learned something.

It was an activity the op was thinking of, not a meal, but I would have thought the same applied. £35 each is not a great deal for most people, it's not an every day occurrence.

NoIDontWatchLoveIsland · 03/05/2021 23:13

Among my circle of (all reasonably well paid) friends it would be a given that you paid for yourself for a dinner or activity or ticket.

But would never expect anyone to contribute to a single sunk cost like a venue charge or boat hire or hot tub rental or something.

Gullible2021 · 03/05/2021 23:17

£35 each is not a great deal for most people, it's not an every day occurrence.

£35 is my weekly food shopping budget. I’m a single teacher and not on the breadline or anything but £35 is a decent chunk to me. Then I’d feel obliged to give a gift of at least £20. Plus drinks (food also if not provided). It might not be an everyday occurrence but if everyone starts doing this kind of thing, it could easily get really unmanageable and unaffordable as it would be likely to happen every month/six weeks based on family and friends birthdays, plus children in the family to buy for etc.

Definately · 03/05/2021 23:17

Oh god is this the next thing. Not content with massive hen and stag weekends that cost a fortune, we're now going to be asked to pay for activities that we don't want to go to for adult birthdays?

EmeraldShamrock · 03/05/2021 23:18

If you offered a snack and a drink after the activity it would be fine.
I wouldn't mind for an activity though in saying that I only do it for the DC's birthday and I pay.

Gullible2021 · 03/05/2021 23:18


Oh god is this the next thing. Not content with massive hen and stag weekends that cost a fortune, we're now going to be asked to pay for activities that we don't want to go to for adult birthdays?

I take it you’ve not seen the 40th Birthday in Dubai thread? Wink
Definately · 03/05/2021 23:20

@Gullible2021 I haven't, but I'm off to find it Grin

NoIDontWatchLoveIsland · 03/05/2021 23:20

Among my friends if you really didnt want to pay you can choose not to go.... these sorts of things are always
presented as very non-obligatory, sort of "it's Tommy's birthday on the 17th, we thought we'd go to that american restaurant, the one with the spicy wings. Any one fancy it? Let me know who's up for it and we'll book."

Nohomemadecandles · 03/05/2021 23:20


If you offered a snack and a drink after the activity it would be fine.
I wouldn't mind for an activity though in saying that I only do it for the DC's birthday and I pay.

A snack & drink? Fruit shoot & a Brioche?
KihoBebiluPute · 03/05/2021 23:21

In this situation I would have a 2-phase party with a properly-hosted (but cheap) bit and a Dutch-treat beforehand.

E.g. please come for DH's birthday drinks at the village hall. "We will have 3 kegs of the local beer to get through and as much doritos as you can shake a stick at" (you pay out £100 or whatever for beer and crisps, guests not expected to pay) Then "before that in the afternoon we plan to book up some go-karting - group rate is £35 per head if you fancy joining in with that bit. To join in please PayPal to (address) by (deadline date) but no worries if it doesn't appeal, we will look forward to seeing you later on at the shindig.

AnUnoriginalUsername · 03/05/2021 23:21

The onlymtime I'd think it rude for the host not to cover all costs is if they were hosting in their own home or providing food themselves. Like if you hired a townhall and put on a buffet and some games it would be rude to charge people.
But if you're going to a place that charges for admission then I think it's perfectly acceptable to pay for yourselves. If someone invited me paintballing for their birthday, I'd expect to cover it myself.

AnneLovesGilbert · 03/05/2021 23:21

Can you friends afford it? Are you happy to exclude anyone who can’t?

We were invited to something in a few weeks at a bloody zoo type place and it would have been £60 and I don’t really like animals. I declined. Then several others declined and the plan has now changed to something free.

Why does your husband have more money than you when you’re married...?

NoIDontWatchLoveIsland · 03/05/2021 23:22

Oh and we wouldnt take birthday gifts. There's always a slight uncertainty over whether to bother with a card but getting less likely now as seen as a waste in terms of the environment

Skysblue · 03/05/2021 23:22

It depends what you’re doing, how rich/broke your friends are etc.

“Guys I’d love to do go-karting and paintballing for DH’s birthday but it’s £35 a ticket, would you fancy it if we all bought our own tickets do you think?”

Activities at your house = you pay.

£350 is a lot of money, but I spent £500 on my son’s sixth party 🤷‍♀️ Depends what your situation is.

EmmaGrundyForPM · 03/05/2021 23:22

I had five people over for my birthday last year - I paid for them but I minised the costs by having pizza and hosting it in my back garden and that cost me about £300 all in.

How on earth did 6 pizzas cost £300?

BackforGood · 03/05/2021 23:32

I think what makes it a thin line here is the fact you say "invite them to". I know it is semantics, but, as many others have said it is very different to say
"I'd like to invite you to Dave's birthday celebration. It is a X venue and it will cost you all £35 each"

sounds very different from

"Dave doesn't really want a party for his birthday, but he fancies going to X activity. It is £35 each if any of you fancy it, and we are going on the 15th. If you want to come can you let me know by the 10th as we have to let them know how many are coming"

I also think it depends a bit on if the people you are inviting would generally want to do the activity. If it is a friends group, or a family who are keen on doing 'new experiences' each year, or if it is an activity that you know they would all be up for as it is related to a sport or hobby they do, then that is very different from asking people who hate been on a cold, noisy, smelly place to them spend potentially £70 a couple going to a speedway meeting.

AnneLovesGilbert · 03/05/2021 23:34

Is it paintball? You couldn’t pay me to do that.

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