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We found a response to a somewhat similar question from Peggy Post, etiquette expert and author of the revised Emily Post's Etiquette, and have included the excerpt below:
"Question: My husband and I want to throw his mother a sixtieth-birthday party in a private room at her favorite restaurant. How do we word the invitations to make it clear that the guests will pay for their own meals? We don't want them to be surprised when the time comes to divvy up the bill.
Peggy's Response: I'm afraid you're the ones in for a surprise. When you host a party, you pay for your guests' food and drink. It's that simple. Now you have several options: You can cut back the guest list or change the party's locale to make it more affordable. Or, you can convert your hosted party into a night-on-the-town gathering of friends and family. When calling people to invite them, say, "We're meeting next Saturday at the such and such restaurant. It's a little Dutch-treat get-together for Mom's birthday." Just be crystal clear that you're not the hosts."
Therefore, you would call your guests and have them join you for the "Dutch-treat" party but you would not send out a printed invitation for a "Dutch-treat" party.
What about inviting them to "join us in hosting a celebration" and then mentioning the "dutch treat" and price on the RSVP / Menu card, or further down?
I think we will find the commonality of these events, with these economic times and the struggles of teenagers and twentysomethings to have a celebration for their elders, that the best honor and party is contributed to by all.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|