Restaurant Rules: Who Pays for Restaurant Bithday Parties?

Q: I would like invite my friends and family to celebrate my 40th birthday with me at a restaurant. The brunch will be at noon on a Sunday. The restaurant charges $17.00 per person. I would like to know if I am responsible for paying the restaurant charges or if it is appropriate to ask my guest to pay? Also, how should I word the invitation?

A: I’m sorry, but you can’t do that. If you are having a party for yourself, you are the host and are expected to pick up the tab for your guests. Just as you wouldn’t charge them to attend a party in your home, you wouldn’t charge them to attend a party out of your home. Simply say something to the effect of “Come Join Me in Celebration My 40th Birthday” at such and such a restaurant, together with other pertinent information such as date, etc.


  1. JP

    I’ve been asked to co-host a 40th birthday party along with 70 other co-hosts for 15 birthday girls (I am close friends with one of the 15). The birthday girls planned the party before asking co-hosts to foot the bill. It seems as though the number of co-hosts was determined based on the cost of the event and not based on depth of relationships. The party is slated to cost close to $15K. If I decline, I look bad. If I accept, I would not feel good about it. What are your thoughts?

    • Alicia

      Any friend that thinks you look bad for a polite decline is not a good friend. ” I’m not able to cohost this event for you. Let’s get together close to your birthday for a glass of wine and a slice if cake a different day.” anyone who won’t accept that is not a good friend they are a bill collection agency.
      This party sounds like a disaster.

    • Lori C

      It is unfathomable for a group of people to plan their own $15,000 40th birthday party and then ask others to foot the bill or “co-host”. These 15 women planned the party. These 15 women should be paying for their own birthday party.

      Please contact whoever approached you to open your wallet and let them know you are so sorry but you will be unable to contribute and are unable to attend. If asked why not, repeat I am unable to contribute. Or silence works. You are under no obligation to give an explanation. Anyone who gets upset with you is really not your friend.

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