Party Payout: Financial responsibilities of a Host at a restaurant

Q: I want to give my husband a surprise birthday party at a local restaurant; however, I can’t afford to pay for everyone’s meal. How do I word the invitation so that the guests understand that the party is dutch treat?

A: I’m sorry, but you can’t do that. If you are having a party for your husband, 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. If a group of friends were giving the party it would be acceptable for them to say “We’re all getting together to celebrate John’s birthday at Restaurant X – it will be about $50 per person – hope you can come,” with an R.S.V.P.  You can’t do this however when the party is for a family member. Since the cost would be too big, you might rethink your party and perhaps have it at home – brunch, lunch, a cocktail party, whatever, instead.

RSVP Version 2.0: RSVPing in the Digital age

Q: On RSVP’s. I was under the impression that when sending an invitation that requires an RSVP, you should enclose an envelope for that purpose. My daughter tells me I’m old fashioned, and that RSVP’s can be done by e-mail or by phone. I maintain that would be unacceptable.

A: Your daughter is correct, not that you are old fashioned, but that an RSVP can be requested by telephone, or email if a telephone number or email address is included on the invitation. If it is not, then a written response is required, following the form of the invitation. It is written on your own notepaper and mailed in your own envelope.  A reply envelope, however, is not required. Only when a response card is included in the envelope would the hosts also provide an envelope.

Who’s on the Guest List? Knowing when and when not to ask about Guest lists

Q: Is it polite to inquire on who is invited to a party or gathering not thrown by you, when the question is used to decide whether or not one would attend themselves?

A: You may not ask who else has been invited.  Your decision to attend should be based on wanting to be with the hosts and not on  the guest list.  The only exception would be if you had a serious falling out with an individual, you might tell your host that if that individual will be attending it might be awkward, that you regret that you would not be able to attend but that you would like to get together at another time.

Just the Pits: Proper Etiquette for Olive Pits

Q: What do you do with olive pits when eating olives at the dinner table?

A: Remove the pit from your mouth with your fingers, or push it with your tongue onto a spoon. If a bowl has been provided for the pits, place it in the bowl, otherwise, place the pits on the side of your plate.