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.

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Make it out to Cash: Is asking for cash as a gift rude?

Q: My granddaughter’s birthday is in December and she will be 12 years old. I casually asked her what are some of the things she would like as a gift for her birthday and Christmas. Her answer was ‘Cash’ or a ‘Gift Card’. I told her that I thought it really isn’t good manners to ask for money, that she could have suggested a gift that I could pick out for her. She said that if she gets ‘Cash’ she can then buy what she wants. Please tell me – is asking for money rude and did I give her the right answer?

A: In answer to your question, it is not incorrect, when ask, to tell someone, even your grandmother, that your most appreciated gift would be money because. . .. you are saving for. . . .whatever, when that is the case. However, many families are uncomfortable exchanging cash and prefer to be able to select a gift they know the recipient would enjoy. If you are more comfortable buying a present than sending a gift card or a check, it is fine for you to say so, and ask for a small list of some specific items she might enjoy opening.

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