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Help me to organise payment for celebration meal

(15 Posts)
Lookbusy Sun 13-Oct-13 08:46:28

I'm organising a meal at a restaurant to celebrate my father's upcoming milestone birthday. There will be a set price menu. Most of the attendees will be family (some close and co-operative, others less so!) with a few friends.

My original thought was that I would send a copy of the menu, with cost clearly shown, with the invitations. We're being asked to make menu choices in advance, and I thought that people could pay me for their meal at the time of accepting the invitation or on the day itself.

I want to avoid a situation where payments are a faff, but know from experience that to avoid this I'm likely to foot the entire bill myself! At a push I could afford to do this, and am certainly planning to pay for my father's meal as well as my own. However, all the guests are better off financially than I am.

Please, wise MNers, give me some suggestions about how to proceed without a Calculators in the Restaurant scenario, guests feeling aggrieved or me reduced to penury!

SoupDragon Sun 13-Oct-13 08:48:46

I would insist that the meals are paid for in advance and then pay on my card.

That just leaves the drinks to faff about with on the day.

TheDoctrineOfSpike Sun 13-Oct-13 08:58:37

Get them to write a check and return it with the menu choices.

Is any wine included in the set meal?

Lookbusy Sun 13-Oct-13 09:22:03

Soup - thanks for that. Knowing me, it's going to be much easier to send an invitation with request for upfront payment than to ask people face-to-face on the day.

Spike - good idea to include a glass of bubbly in the menu cost. A fair number of guests will be driving so they wouldn't want more alcohol than this anyway. I'll talk it through with the restaurant when I finalise the menu.

NotCitrus Sun 13-Oct-13 09:24:39

Send the menu out with your bank details so people can use online banking and pay you easily.

Add a tip and 2 drinks cost to the set menu, and ask the staff to ensure any extra drinks ordered are put on a separate bill.

Lookbusy Sun 13-Oct-13 09:32:03

Citrus - good point about the tip. I'll be sure to ask for a price that includes service. Not too sure about the cost of two drinks though - BIL would see it as an opportunity to hit the Chivas Regal whilst others are happy with a Diet Coke!

Lookbusy Sun 13-Oct-13 18:39:19

Any more suggestions?

Prepared to be shot down in flames here, but if I was organising a meal for a family member, I'd expect to pay for everyone. If I was invited, I wouldn't expect to pay.

Could you not arrange to split cost with your siblings, and not ask other guests to pay?

Lookbusy Sun 13-Oct-13 19:09:29

Point taken, AP. I had considered this and persuaded myself that it's similar to when a bunch of friends and I go out for a meal to celebrate one of our birthdays - we split the bill in the same way as we do when it's not a celebratory meal!

I've only one sibling and although she knows about the plans she's made no comment whatever about the cost!

Thanks for your view!

MissStrawberry Sun 13-Oct-13 19:14:26

There will always be people that choose to think that if they have been invited somewhere it means they don't have to pay. They choose to believe this as they like to try and get as many freebies as they can. I have a friend who I often have lunch out with or in the home and we both always bring something and pay for our own food. Irrelevant who did the inviting.

Make it clear on the invite that they are expected to pay for their own meal though not sure at the moment how to word it!

EachDay Sun 13-Oct-13 19:23:44

I agree, if it was "shall we go out tonight as it's my/your birthday" then you'd probably split the bill.

If formal invitations are sent out, I don't think the usual expectation would be that you're paying for yourself. You will need to make that clear in advance.

Whilst collecting money in advance will undoubtedly make things run more smoothly, I imagine you'll get a lot of people who delay replying until the last minute.

But inviting a friend is different. You'd say, "it's my birthday - will we go out for lunch?" (Or similar). But the OP is asking her father's friends out for a meal to celebrate a significant birthday. If I got an invitation that said " join us to celebrate Fred's 70th birthday..." I'd think she was paying.

RandomMess Sun 13-Oct-13 19:29:25

Just make it clear in on the ivites - we are going out to celebrate x y z if you would like to join us we'd be delighted cost is £vv per head to include one drink please let us know your menu choice blah de blah.

Could you stretch to pay for the rest of the drinks between you and your sister in leiu of birthday gifts?

Lookbusy Sun 13-Oct-13 20:03:04

I like that wording, Random - makes it entirely clear from the start.

Yes, I could manage to pay for the additional drinks.

RandomMess Sun 13-Oct-13 20:31:14

Jugs of water on the table will help keep the costs down wink

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