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Oh, no. No, no, no, no. You cannot invite guests to a party that you’re hosting and expect them to pay $150 (or more!) for their meal. This is the epitome of tacky. It would be especially out of line to ask each person to spend such a large amount when so many of you are young/in college/ not rolling in money. If you want to “throw your boyfriend a party,” that means you cover the whole cost. YOU pay for the entire dinner. That’s what it means to be a host. It’s like when someone throws, say, a baby shower. The host doesn’t require the guests to pay their way — even if it’s being held at a restaurant (and by the way, it’s customary for a restaurant to charge a minimum fee for a party of more than 12 or so people). Or, when a couple — or their parents — throw a wedding, they don’t ask the guests to cover their $100-$200 dinner plate. Can you even imagine?! Likewise, you cannot throw a birthday dinner for someone and require the guests to pay for their meal. It’s simply not done. At least, not among people who care to keep their friends.
So, if you can’t afford the steakhouse — which would be totally understandable considering how expensive it is — then either make it a dinner for two followed by drinks with friends at a nearby bar afterward, have a party at your home where you provide beverages and snacks, or invite people over for a potluck, which is the only appropriate way you can ask guests to contribute to their meals. Keep in mind, when you say you’re “throwing someone a party,” that means you’re assuming most of, if not all, the financial responsibility. Sometimes, party guests will offer the hosts money as a small contribution, but again, it is not to be expected, and when it happens, it should be with much gratitude that the offer is taken. If you’ve got your heart set on enjoying a dinner with many of your boyfriend’s friends and family that they pay for, choose a very affordable restaurant, and let people know when and where you’ll be meeting and that you’d love for them to stop by if they’re free. Generally, when you keep the invitation casual like that and avoid using the words “hosting,” or “throwing a party,” it’s understood that the cost of admission, so to speak, will not be covered.
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