Eunhae asked in Society & CultureEtiquette · 1 decade ago


Title: Does the host pay for everything at a surprise dinner party? bad/good etiquette?

My boyfriend will be turning 31 soon and I want to throw him a surprise birthday party.

I am thinking about inviting all of his friends(approximately 30 people) who are all around his age to the following restaurants:

Fogo de Chao, Perry's Steakhouse&grille, or Churrascos

They all have a nice little private rooms for no extra charge for reserving the place.

Private dining meals at these restaurants are ranging from 50-60 EXCLUDING drinks, tax, and tip.

I can afford to put everything on my tab, but who wants to pay for something that can be avoided?

I know for a fact that all the guests will order fine wine bottles which could add up to 1K. So If I am already paying approximately $2000(including tax&tip) I don't want to have to pay another one thousand just for drinks. Is it a bad gesture to make the guests pay for their own drinks since I am hosting the party?

I also want to get him a birthday present but if I am going to end up paying for everyone's drinks, I think I will have spent enough time and money to show that I care. agreed?

14 Answers

  • Jr
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I don't agree with some answers here about "proper etiquette". It is absolutely fine for you to have a party and to not Host alcohol. Plenty of people do non-host parties for various reasons not related to money. The host could be a nondrinker, or worried about certain people having too much and wanting to avoid confrontation, or be worried about drivers leaving the party. I recently hosted two such parties of 30 people each. The invites said "no host bar". The waiters/waitress staff asked each person if they would like a drink and said it was a no host bar. There was no problem or complaint that I heard from anyone. People were thankful for the meal and a good time. Most people had sodas and iced tea because they had to drive. You are being very generous. Times change and so do some rules regarding etiquette, and what is acceptable.

  • 1 decade ago

    Sounds like a great idea. I imagine everyone will be highly delighted to receive such an invitation to participate in a great celebration. All you need to do is to be clear on what you are providing and what you are not providing. I would just make sure on the invitation that you say that you will be covering the meal bill but that guests will need to pay for their own drinks. Tell them in advance that to help the restaurant manage the evening a separate drinks-only bill will be given to each table and it is for the tbale to sort out ( this puts the responsibility on them to split and pay the bill). I would alsp make clear to the restauran that this is how it is going to work and ensure they are crystal clear on this.

    There is no question that you are making a very generous gesture and no one should object to paying for their own drinks ( after all this is what happens at Wedding receptions)

    Hope you have a good time!

  • 1 decade ago

    I think if you are inviting 30 people to dine at a decent place, you should pay for everything.

    Have a selection of wine that won't be too costly but will accommodate with the dinner well.

    Perhaps you should try inviting less people?

    I understand it could be difficult, but hey, you're the on buying so why don't you limit yourself down to 20-25 people and provide the drinks? I think that would be a better choice to make.

  • Rayen
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    The party is your gift to him.

    Arrange to speak with or meet with the Maitre d' in advance. You can specify which cocktails to serve, which wines, or even the menu. S/he will not bring in more wines without your approval. You should not be charged for any unapproved expenses. Restaurants are accustomed to this protocol and even know how to handle guests that try to push the envelope.

    It is better to pay for everything. You could write "drinks not included" or "cash bar" on the invitation, but there is no truly graceful way to invite someone to a party and ask them to pay for their own drinks.

    Have a great time!

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    You are asking what is proper etiquette, not what you can get away with, I assume, right?

    The host pays. Period.

    You can set what the dinners are to choose from, and you can set what wines will be served, and whether there will be an open bar, or a cocktail hour (or 1/2 hour), but the host pays.

    In advance you can work out what the cost of this party will be. When the wine and booze runs out, and they want more, or something that hasn't been included in this party, they can pay for it. I think you'd be within the bounds of good taste and proper etiquette to plan the party this way.

    Edit: choice of soup or salad, choice of beef, chicken or fish, choice of two desserts, choice of red or white wine. And 1/2 hr open bar cocktail time before dinner.

  • JenV
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    If you are truly concerned about good etiquette, which it appears that you are, then order sufficient drinks for the party (for everyone to have a glass or two of a good wine, but it doesn't have to be the finest on the menu). That way, you have provided for your guests, but if they want something additional, it is at their own discretion.

  • There is another solution. You could have a small drinks tab. So you pay some and they pay the rest for themselves.

    But I think $2000 for a party and a present is good.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Maybe clearly list on the invite you are paying for food or the set 3 courses or something and drinks are not part of that package. People can not ***** as they are still getting a free meal.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Well, if you are the daughter of Leonore Annenberg or Edgar Bronfman, it would be nice to use some of your wealth to make your boyfriend happy and make sure that everyone that likes him attend without hesitation, but you don't really have to. All you have to do is a small note at the bottom of your invitation to tell everyone that drinks are not covered.

  • DRL
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    I agree with "Jr". Very sensible. Those claiming "host pays for all" are incorrect. There is no such current rule. Rules of etiquette always evolve with society.

    "The rules of etiquette are just as alterable today therefore, yesterday's rules could become today's bad manners."

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