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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:
SaturdayRocks · 04/05/2021 02:38


A few years ago, he planned an activity for his birthday and paid for everyone's ticket, but he has more money than me.
I'd expect to pay for my own ticket for an activity day in the same way I'd pay for my own dinner.
Thank you for your comments

Why does he want you to organise it, and why does it have to be a surprise...?

By requesting that, he conveniently gets out of paying for it!

And / or you’re limited to doing something on your much smaller budget.

Is he aware of this?? Sorry - that just feels really cheeky to me. My DH would never dream of doing something like that.
Maggiesfarm · 04/05/2021 02:38

I agree, caringcarer, but presume the op and her husband's friends are into the sport. It takes all sorts :-).

Maggiesfarm · 04/05/2021 02:41


£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).

If I were paying to go to something for their birthday, or we were meeting for a meal and each paying for ourselves, I wouldn't expect to take along a present too. You take a present for a friend who is hosting an event, not if you are just all using your birthdays as a 'hook' to arrange to meet up with mates.

I don't think they would feel obliged to buy him a gift, paying for his and the op's activity treat would be sufficient, plus a nice card. If they did want to buy him something they could have a whip round between the ten of them.

It's up to them really.

I get that £35 is a lot to some, I can remember years ago when a fiver was a lot to me! However I could afford it now, and presume the op knows what her friends can afford or she wouldn't be thinking of this. In any case, nobody has to do it, they can decline.
PerveenMistry · 04/05/2021 02:50


As far as I'm concerned, if you are inviting people to a party you're hosting, you pay. It's in very poor taste not to imo.


Soooo tacky to ask people to pay.
Ragwort · 04/05/2021 03:34

Agree that it's very tacky, but it does depend on your group of friends. I can't think of a single occasion where I've been expected to contribute towards the cost of an 'activity' to celebrate someone's birthday and for my own 'significant' birthdays I have always hosted a party and covered all the costs.

Also think about how your DH might feel if you expect his friends to pay,, I would be mortified if my DH arranged something and asked my friends to pay the cost.

OhSayWhat · 04/05/2021 05:10

It’s tacky. You invite, you pay. Why do people think everyone is happy to spend on other people’s birthday and bring a gift also? Just have a party you can afford and if that’s a day on a yacht with an open bar, or some beers and crisps at home, then fine.

takemetomiami · 04/05/2021 05:52

Staggered by all these "it's soooo tacky to invite someone to something and ask them to pay" comments. She's not asking them to chip in towards a party, she's asking if they'd like to join her and DH doing an activity. It's not the same thing at all.

OP, it's fine to ask people if they'd like to do an activity on your husband's birthday, as long as you don't mind them opting out. Just send a text as PP's have suggested, give plenty of notice and make it clear how much it costs and that it's optional.

LaBellina · 04/05/2021 06:04

I was once invited to a birthday party at a food festival and we got 2 drinks each paid for by the host and had to pay for any other drinks or a snack by ourselves. I thought that was pretty cheap and would never organize a birthday party like that, in my opinion if you invite people to celebrate your birthday, you pay for them. If the activity you want to do is too expensive for that, you organize a picknick or something else that is affordable.
But that’s how I was raised and what I’m used to.

MitheringSunday · 04/05/2021 06:14

Isn't the problem here that you don't share finances, yet he expects you to keep up with the kind of thing he has budget to organise for you? I think it's a little CF of him to ask for 'a surprise' (anyway, but particularly under these circs), tbh.

I'd prob be OK-ish with paying for an activity presuming yu were good friends and I could bear the activity Grin, and it's certainly more acceptable to ask for the cost of something like this than for a meal/conventional party, but if I were hosting myself I'd want to be able to pay for people or not do it.

MitheringSunday · 04/05/2021 06:16

Sorry, I misread that he had organised the previous activity for your birthday. Now I see it was for his. It's not making him look any better...

BlackCatShadow · 04/05/2021 06:21

I feel if the OP goes ahead and asks the guests to pay, her husband may feel embarrassed when he finds out. I think that he’s not a child. She needs to talk to him about the cost and expectations.

Peachesarepeach · 04/05/2021 06:41

It'd be perfectly normal in all my friendship groups to pay for ourselves, for a meal or an activity. I'd love to do a activity for a friends birthday- unless it involved heights and then I'd politely decline.

Honestly mumsnet always makes such a performance of these threads. Also so what if one of the people invited was a bit miffed - their your mates they'd get over it or wouldn't come.

Tulipomania · 04/05/2021 06:56

It depends a bit what the activity is, but yes it's absolutely fine to ask guests to pay for that - they can always opt out, as long as you make it clear in advance.

It's not OK to ask them to pay to consume food or drink in your home (although fine to ask people to bring a dish or a bottle)

nancywhitehead · 04/05/2021 06:57

I think it's absolutely fine if it's an activity out of the house. I wouldn't expect to be paid for if I went go karting or for someone's birthday meal or something.

Cattitudes · 04/05/2021 06:58

I would say to him that you are happy to organise it but you will need some money towards it otherwise you will have to charge his friends. Put the emphasis back onto him.

Goatinthegarden · 04/05/2021 07:04

There is nothing wrong with e petting guests to pay if that’s the norm in your friendship group. People can choose to opt in or out if they want. However, I think the issue here is your husband would normally pay if it were him organising so in this case, it might seem strange if you ask guests to pay.

I don’t think it’s unusual that he has more money than you; DH and I keep our finances separate (my choice and we have no dependents) and he earns far more than I do. We contribute equal percentages of our wage to the household expenses and the rest is ours to spend/save as we please.

However, DH is aware that I have less in the bank than him and he would happily pay for an expense that was out of my reach, but not a big deal for him. He wouldn’t expect me to stretch myself to pay for a party for him when he could easily afford it.

I suggest you talk to him about it and his expectations - maybe he hasn’t considered that the cost of a party would be unmanageable for you and he would be happy to pay for it himself.

ChristmasAlone · 04/05/2021 07:05

Wouldn't even cross my mind that bday people would pay for an activity or meal. I wouldn't get a gift for the person though.

Iceniii · 04/05/2021 07:07


Fur coat and no knickers

Cut your cloth to suit your means

It is rude and tacky,

Nothing like keeping those on a low income in there place.

If it's an activity or meal I'd pay. If it was st your house and I needed to bring a dish I would. Friends support each other.
Iceniii · 04/05/2021 07:07


stayathomer · 04/05/2021 07:07

I think if it was him organising it with his friends as in 'I was thinking we could all go to x' it would be different but the fact that you are organising it for him I don't know that I'd personally be thrilled to be asked to pay

Howshouldibehave · 04/05/2021 07:10


A few years ago, he planned an activity for his birthday and paid for everyone's ticket, but he has more money than me.
I'd expect to pay for my own ticket for an activity day in the same way I'd pay for my own dinner.
Thank you for your comments

I would have said YANBU until I read this post.

So your DH has done birthday things before and he paid for everyone? How will he feel that people will have had to pay to come to his birthday ‘do’?

Will he feel embarrassed they were charged?

Why does he have access to much more money than you?
KatherineJaneway · 04/05/2021 07:11

Depends what it is. I wouldn't spend £35 on an activity I don't want to do or would not enjoy.

GintyMcGinty · 04/05/2021 07:16

He's your husband but he has more money than you?

I don't get it.

HappydaysArehere · 04/05/2021 07:18

If you expect people to pay for themselves you can’t expect presents as well. I personally think it is a naff idea asking them to pay. I would plan what can be afforded. He is asking for a surprise o could it be something unusual. We enjoyed a balloon ride on a special birthday.

notacooldad · 04/05/2021 07:24

However if I received a text from a friend ‘it’s dh’s birthday I thought we could all go paintballing, it will be £35 each’
Word the message like this and it's ok.
My friend did this for a laddlebiard activity for her birthday and everyone who was asked came.

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