Shortcuts: “Can I Ask Guests to Pay for My Anniversary Party?”

It’s time again for Shortcuts. For every question, I’ll give my advice in just a few sentences because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great that being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go.

My husband and I are celebrating our ten years of marriage by having a dinner party at a nice winery with close friends and family. The only thing is that we cannot afford to pay for everyone’s plate at $60 per plate. We never had a wedding; we got married at 18 and want to do something really nice now. Is it wrong to charge people $45 a plate for a 3-course gourmet meal? Keep in mind our location is central to everyone and no more than hour away as well as well as we’re not asking for any gifts, their presence is enough. — Party People

It doesn’t sound like their presence is enough though, is it? You’re also asking for them to spend $45 each (so $90 per couple — more if people are bringing children — plus tip, plus money for drinks) for their dinner. Oh, and some people may have to drive up to an hour each way to this “centrally-located” place. Are some people going to need babysitters, too? That’s not cheap either, especially if you’re paying for up to two hours of babysitting time just for your commute.

I understand that you didn’t have a wedding and so you want to do something “nice” now to celebrate ten years of marriage. Throwing a party at a fancy winery with a gourmet meal would be great… if you could afford it, but you can’t. You’re asking you guests to subsidize your party, which is not only bad etiquette, it could potentially threaten your relationships with your guests. I don’t see how it’s any different than throwing a wedding and asking people to pay for their plates. If you want to invite people to a dinner to celebrate with you, you either host at your place or you pay for the dinner at a restaurant yourself. You could also choose an inexpensive place with a varied menu — so people can choose a $6 soup as their entree if they want — and you at least pay for a bunch of appetizers (and/or pitchers of beer and soft drinks). But you definitely don’t pick a gourmet winery and stick the guests with 75% of the tab. I guess my response is longer than a typical shortcuts response, but girl, it needed to be said.

P.S. Happy anniversary (really)!

I have been with my boyfriend a few months. It was love at first sight. We moved in together and have talked about marriage. The issue I have three children and he told me he doesn’t want to be their dad (their dad is highly involved in their life, along with his new wife). How can a guy go from wanting marry you to saying something like that? I love him, but should we break up? —Thrown for a Loop

How do you move in with a guy you’ve known only a few months when you have three kids, especially when the dude in question hasn’t expressed any interest in being a parent figure to them?! Yes, break up, move out, and start focusing on your kids.

There’s a guy I used to like. We would text every night and I really, really liked him. But I wasn’t ready to make it serious. Then one day he started hugging me and getting into my comfort zone. I then realized he wasn’t the right one. But he doesn’t know that I don’t have feelings for him. Every night he texts me “love you,” but I only text back with a blush face. Now he’s telling me that he considers us as boyfriend and girlfriend and telling me he wants to be something. I don’t know what to say to him. — Not Interested

This probably won’t be the last time a guy tries to make a unilateral decision about and for you without asking for your input. Now is the time to practice saying no and to set a precedent for the rest of your life that you matter, your wants and needs matter, and that you are in control of your personal decisions. You can do this by telling him firmly: “You must be confused. I’m not interested in being your girlfriend and it makes me uncomfortable when you text me that you love me, so please stop.”


Follow along on Facebook and Instagram.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.


  1. RedRoverRedRover says:

    LW1 – no, you can’t throw a party and ask your guests to pay for it. Come on, you know this. If they were coming to your house would you give them a bill at the end? No? Then you can’t do it at a restaurant either. You’re still the host, regardless of the venue, and the host pays. It would be different if it was your friends all getting together to do this for you, but they’re not. When you’re planning a party to celebrate yourself, you don’t get to ask people for money to fund it.

    1. Wait… I’m not supposed to give my guests a bill if I host a party at my house?!

      1. RedRoverRedRover says:

        I read an advice column once where someone had done that! A sister-in-law or something. Dear Prudence, maybe?

      2. We have Sunday dinner at our house every week with my mom… I’m going to give her a bill this week. And backdate it for the last 2 years since that’s about when we started.

      3. RedRoverRedRover says:

        Lol, let us know how it goes. 🙂

    2. Hi thanks for the advice. Maybe I should have fully went into More detail, my apologies first time ever using this. I want to reply to the overall topic but I don’t know how. Decided to respond to you. So all my friends and family are asking us what were doing for our 10years most of them said a party would be nice. I have explained that yes it will be we can’t afford to pay for everyone’s meal. Most of them said well if the person loves you, they wouldn’t have an issue paying for a dinner just like if you were to have a destination wedding and people paying for their flight and hotel etc…..Also no kids allowed!!! Also, I am not the person to just stick a person with a bill at the end of the night, our guests will be fully aware of the price when they RSVP. All of our friends are people my husband and I grew up with since elementary and high school. All are well established in careers as well. Also I forgot to state that dinner does include drinks. My husband and I are actually paying the bill of $2000 for our meals, tax, room rental, etc… I honestly think that a normal night out at a typically nice restaurant for two people cost about 80 for dinner. $12 Appetizers, $20-25 for a meal each, $12 dessert not even including drinks yet that will probably cost about $10-12 each.

      1. Avatar photo Dear Wendy says:

        Is this typical in your social circle, then — paying for your plate at a formal party you’ve been invited to? If it is, I feel like you wouldn’t have asked for advice. If it isn’t typical — if most people you know don’t bill you for a party they host, then this is probably not something that would be socially acceptable in your social circle. If you have $2000 to spend on a party, why not invite people to your home and have catered cocktail party, with drinks and appetizers? With $2000, you could probably even afford to hire a bartender for the evening.

      2. RedRoverRedRover says:

        What’s your question then, if everyone’s fine with it?

      3. SpaceySteph says:

        I still think there’s a disconnect between what you say people have offered and what you are proposing. They probably mean “I’d buy my own dinner at a restaurant of your choosing” not “I’d pay a flat fee at a fancy venue an hour from here.”

        I agree with Wendy, if you’ve got $2000 to spend, then throw a $2000 party. It might not be the replacement wedding of your dreams, but it could still be a pretty great bash.

      4. I’m with Wendy on this too! It might not be the party you want… but you could easily throw I lovely party for 2k. If you don’t want it at your house, look into beautiful parks with shelter houses, etc. Get some bottles of wine and beer and have some apps or sandwhiches or bbq or something catered in.

        Another option would be to have a more intimate dinner at the winery and then a fun party with a bigger crowd!

        I do believe that when you throw a party, you should throw a party you can afford and expect nothing from your guests.

      5. ele4phant says:

        Yeah – I mean you know your friends and family better than us, but if it were me, I would have the kind of party I could afford, not the kind of party I wanted with the expectation I’d get help. If people end up giving you additional money that ends up helping offset the cost, that’s a nice surprise. But I’d want to have a party I could swing either way.

        I mean, that’s what we did for our actual wedding, we assumed we would pay 100% of everything, came up with a party that we could afford, and then when people gave us cash gifts, that was a lovely surprise.

      6. “Most of them said well if the person loves you, they wouldn’t have an issue paying for a dinner just like if you were to have a destination wedding and people paying for their flight and hotel etc”
        I mean I’m guessing it’s just people are being nice when they say this, because most people aren’t going to tell you the truth, people think they do, but they really don’t. I’m also guessing you asked your closest friends, which of course they are going to agree with you and say that.

        In reality, it’s very hard to find 60 of your closest friends that can all agree on a budget and are ok with spending that kind of money on a 10 year anniversary. Most likely a lot of them are going to talk behind your back. You have 2K to spend find someplace that can do everything for that price, or cater something at your home, or a family home that can fit the amount of people you want.

        Also do people usually make big deals out of 10 year anniversaries? I feel like they maybe were asking if you were doing something special for yourselves, not like “hey are you guys having a huge shindig we can all go too!”

      7. Northern Star says:

        Playing the “if people love you, they’ll do X for you” game is a losing strategy. You’ll just be disappointed at the number of people who “don’t love you” because they don’t want to travel an hour each way to pay 90 bucks a couple for dinner. Shoot, lots of people don’t spend that on their OWN wedding anniversary. Just reserve a big table or back room at a local (normal but not outrageously expensive) restaurant and pay for everyone’s dinner. You’ll be able to feed 60 people for 2000 to 2500—that’s about 30 bucks a head.

      8. If you’re planning to spend $2000 anyway, then throw a party for $2000. Appetizers and drinks or a brunch party could easily be within reach. There might even be other restaurants that aren’t going to charge a room fee, make it a cash bar, etc. That is a reasonable budget for a party for 60 people. If your family wants to take you out for a fancy dinner to celebrate, they can also do that.

      9. for_cutie says:

        I am with everyone here. Asking people to pay to attend a party in your honor is tacky. This is only ok if it is a fundraiser for a not for profit and clearly it is not. People ask about anniversaries because they are nice and care. They also like to go to parties (parties are free for them). Spend the $2K on a home party or appetizers and one drink ticket per guest in a private room at a restaurant. Stop trying to have a wedding substitute that your loved ones pay for. You’ll get stuck with rental bills and no guests.

      10. dinoceros says:

        I’d go to a restaurant with a couple and pay my own plate, assuming I knew other people there. I wouldn’t pay a fee to attend, and if it was just a mish-mash of people (like a wedding) and I was theoretically going to be hanging out with strangers, I wouldn’t want to pay for it (I know that’s a weird distinction, but to me, that’s part of what draws the line between party and dinner out).

        I’d only do this if it was a couple I knew really well, because I don’t personally feel like a couple’s anniversary really has anything to do with me. A birthday is one thing, but everyone I know just has anniversary dinner with their spouse and that’s it.

      11. I can’t reply directly, but I think that dinoceros’ latest reply is spot on. One of my husband’s friends has a birthday party for herself every year. We aren’t very close with her and it’s always a mish-mash of people we don’t know. Everyone pays for their own meal (which is fine, because it’s usually set up as “come to this restaurant with me”). We rarely go because I don’t want to pay for dinner and hang out with strangers for several hours.

      12. For my actual wedding we basically spent that on food and drinks. A lot of venues (that aren’t weddingy, think a small venue room at a pub or somewhere like that) won’t charge a hire fee if you spend a certain amount on food or drink through them. You could always find somewhere like that and have the whole room to yourselves and maybe even have a dance area if you were so inclined. For our money we got the room, waiter service and a dedicated bar and bartender but YMMV.

  2. RedRoverRedRover says:

    LW2 – your poor kids. Yes, break up. You need to put your kids first. You should never have moved them in with someone that you didn’t already have a commitment with, and who was committed to your children as well as to you. If you always put your kids first, you won’t run in to these kinds of situations.

  3. RedRoverRedRover says:

    LW3 – tell him you don’t want to be his girlfriend. Why are you sending him blush faces when he says he loves you? You’re making him think you’re ok with it when you’re not. He can’t read your mind, the poor guy probably thinks you’re as into him as he is into you. When you found out you didn’t have feelings for him, you should have told him immediately instead of leading him on. The kind thing is to let him know how you feel so he can go find someone who actually cares for him.

    1. Avatar photo Dear Wendy says:

      I agree that texting blushing faces is sending mixed messages. I get the feeling the LW is probably pretty young and doesn’t know how to — and/or doesn’t know she’s “allowed” to say no, I’m not interested. Many girls are raised to be nice — it’s what makes telling a boy you aren’t interested difficult, and what makes negotiating a salary so uncomfortable. We have to raise our daughters to feel empowered sending clear messages, and to stop feeling guilty or shy about it or to simply avoid it by being wishy-washing and unclear.

      1. RedRoverRedRover says:

        Agree with everything you said.

  4. I have a friend who reached a milestone in his life to feel good about – he became free of an addiction I don’t think most of us knew he had – and invited about 12 people to dinner at a steak restaurant. And then expected everyone to pay for themselves as well as him. People were PISSED. This was years ago, and people wouldn’t have chosen to go to such an expensive restaurant, let alone pay for HIS dinner and drinks. You just don’t throw a celebratory party and ask people to pay.

    1. I’m wondering if there is some sort of cultural difference at play between Canada and USA? Because… I’m kind of confused. My friends and I invite each other out to dinners and stuff all the time and it’s EXPECTED that you pay for yourself. Birthday, promotion, whatever. And yes, now that we’re all career ladies making money, we pick fancy restaurants.

      For example if it’s my friend’s birthday, she’ll pick a place and date/time, send us the details and say she’d love it if we can all come. If people can come, awesome. If not, that’s cool too. But it’s absolutely 100% expected that you pay for your own meal and whoever’s birthday it is, we all (the group of friends, whether we know each other or not) split the cost of the birthday girl’s meal and drinks evenly. Because she’s our friend and it’s the nice thing to do.

      If somebody can’t afford it, they say that. “Hey sorry, I’d love to come but it’s not in my budget right now. Hope you have a great time, tho!”

      Other than the one wedding I’ve been to (obviously with weddings you don’t ask your guests to pay), I have never ever been to any type of dinner party expecting the host to pay for the guests. So I don’t really understand why LW1 can’t just say “Husband and I are celebrating our anniversary at X restaurant, we’d love it if you could come out too!” In America, does that really imply that the guests meals have to be paid for?

      1. I don’t know, but you don’t throw a party for yourself and expect people to pay, no. Maybe your friend throws you a birthday party and explains to people what’s going on. But when I have a party for my birthday, I pay for it. On my 40th I got a hotel suite and provided drinks and snacks. Sure, people brought stuff, but there was no bill for them to pay.

      2. I think there’s a difference between saying “Hey, lets all go out to eat at the local pub for my birthday. Maybe we’ll barhop afterwards” and a proper sit-down, fancy, actual invitations anniversary party. I’d expect to pay my own way (and maybe buy the birthday girl a drink) in situation 1, but in situation 2, I would expect the host to pay.

      3. RedRoverRedRover says:

        Dre, I think it’s just the difference between a bunch of friends having an understanding that this is how you do things, vs 60 people being invited to an “anniversary party” with a 3-course gourmet meal. My friend group does the same for birthdays, we know we’re each paying for ourselves plus probably chipping in to cover the birthday-haver. But if one of my friends invited me to their wedding anniversary, I would not assume I’m paying. Especially if it was a fairly big, formal event as described here.

      4. I dunno, maybe things are just different here. But inviting your friend’s to dinner at a restaurant to celebrate something with you isn’t “throwing yourself a party” … it’s just “going out with your friends” and paying your own way is 100% expected. Maybe it’s just in the phrasing.

      5. I really disagree in this situation. Unless she puts “$45 per person” on the invitation, which, no, people are totally going to assume she and her husband are paying.

      6. @Kate I guess if she’s throwing a formal event for 60 people and sending out formal invitations, you’re right. I’m just not sure why it has to be that way.

      7. I don’t really think it’s the same situation at all. My friends and I do the same exact thing for birthdays and things like that. We go out to dinner and pay our own way, but that is usually a smaller group, and for your average birthdeay. For milestone things like this I don’t think that’s really what should be done. I mean how often to you get asked out to people’s anniversary’s? I’m guessing not a lot, but when you do, it’s usually a bigger event where somebody is paying. This is just a sit down restaurant, this is a place where she probably had reserve a certain amount of space, and guarantee a certain number of people for dinner, because they would lose business other wise.

      8. When I my friends and I go out for birthday dinners, we all pay for our own food plus we split the tab for the birthday person. But, we’ve been doing this for years and it’s understood among us that that’s what’s happening. If I were invited to an anniversary party at a fancy restaurant, I would be pissed if I had to pay for my dinner, unless it had been expressed beforehand. It is just rude to stick people with a bill without telling them first.

      9. SpaceySteph says:

        I do think this is somewhat regional and probably depends both on norms in your friend group and how you pose the question. Like if I got invited by email to a casual restaurant to celebrate a friend’s bday, I would probably expect to pay my way. But I also wouldn’t bring a gift.
        If I got invited to a birthday party in a private room with a set menu at a fancy restaurant, I would expect that was more of a hosted thing paid by the host… but then I would bring a gift.
        Any event that came with a real, paper invite, I would definitely assume is paid by the host, due to the level of formality.

      10. Telegrammar says:

        I’m in America and a young adult, and we pay for ourselves. I haven’t been to a blow-out where the invitee pays for everyone, but again, this could be because I’m young and people aren’t exactly high rollers yet. Weddings are different story though. Even my friends getting married don’t expect anyone to pay their own way. These other outings with my friends are usually casual brunches/happy hour celebrations.

      11. Ele4phant says:

        I mean…for birthdays I do think for birthdays it has been customary for the group to pick up the birthday girl or boy’s meal.

        But it’s generally also planned out by someone that is not the person of honor (like their partner or one of their closest friends) – and it’s generally just dinner, not anything super formal.

        And at least in my friend group, if you are the birthday person you still make the pretense of trying to pay for yourself even if you know your friends won’t allow it.

      12. Ditto to what othy and Spacey Steph said. When we go out for birthdays, we all pay our own way. A more formal event with official invitations is different. Just like you don’t pay for a bridal shower, an engagement party, someone’s communion dinner, etc. you shouldn’t pay as a guest for an anniversary party with invitations.

      13. Exactly what Kate B. said!

        A casual birthday dinner with friends, even at a nice restaurant, we all pay our own way and perhaps pick up the tab for the birthday person.

        A more formal event where a room is rented and you have to meet a minimum and food is picked, etc., or the food is being catered, or something the host should 100% pay.

      14. Skyblossom says:

        I think the set menu and high price is the difference. It’s one thing to go out casually with friends and order what you want from the menu. We never buy appetizers or dessert. We can’t eat that much and the dessert runs up our blood sugar. A huge meal doesn’t fit our lifestyle. I’d go out with a couple and pay for my own dinner if I got to choose my own dinner and if it wasn’t going to cost a fortune. I’d be mad if I found out I was being billed for a meal that had too much food and a dessert I couldn’t eat. I think I’d be done with the couple. Your nice meal might be something someone else hates.

        If you are hosting a party that has invitations rather than a casual friend get together you pay. You must know that because if your friends did this kind of thing you wouldn’t be asking. The people telling you that no one will mind are giving bad advice because they will mind. They have their own ideas about how they want to spend their money and suddenly you would be imposing your anniversary on them. You wouldn’t have made your guests pay for your wedding so don’t try to make them pay for your anniversary either. It isn’t their problem that you didn’t have a wedding celebration and it isn’t their problem that you now want to host a party that you can’t afford.

      15. Here you can certainly have a birthday shindig where everyone pays for themselves but expecting everyone to pay for your dinner as well would be a bridge too far.

    2. Avatar photo Cleopatra Jones says:

      Yeah, that happened to me as well.
      A friend of ours invited us to a birthday celebration for his girlfriend (whom we’d never met), at a fancy restaurant. He reserved the wine cellar restaurant, and picked the entire menu.
      Then we found out after ordering that we were responsible for our own bill. It cost us about $80. I was not happy because if I had known that we were paying…1)probably wouldn’t have went to the ‘party’ 2) would have ordered something different instead of the $20-30 plates that we were forced to choose from. Also, we were NOT expecting that expense, it turned out to be huge chunk of our grocery budget for the week.

      1. SpaceySteph says:

        Yeah, definitely, you can’t have a special menu with limited choices if you want people to pay their own way. That’s just ridiculous.

    3. TYPICAL of this “friend” though…haha

  5. LW1- just know that if you do decide to charge, you may only have like 5 people at your wedding. It’s one thing to decide to treat your self to a gourmet meal….it’s quite another to be forced to have a gourmet meal. But look at it this way, you have 5 WHOLE YEARS to save for your 15th anniversary and have the party you want.

    1. Sorry anniversary party*

  6. dinoceros says:

    LW1: So, I see it a little differently because I have friends who have celebratory dinners out and invite people, and everyone pays for their own meal. If it’s at a fancy restaurant and I felt like I couldn’t or wouldn’t want to pay if needed, then I wouldn’t go. They don’t expect people to pay for their own meal, though. They just want to have a fancy meal and want company (and often these are single folks, so it’s not like they can just make their partner go with them). So, I don’t think it’s inherently bad. But since it sounds like a lot of folks would expect to not pay, then it’s probably best not to do this. Have a fancy dinner together and then have a party with others (typically, when you throw a party, you don’t expect others to pay for it).

    That said, I have never celebrated someone else’s anniveRsary with them, except for relatives having a 50th — which was thrown by their family, not them. Maybe just celebrate between the two of you, since it’s not super interesting to other people how long you’ve been married?

    LW2: This is what happens when you move in with someone you barely know. As a mom, you need to not invite strangers into your life that quickly. And not be so gullible.

    LW3: Yes, this guy should not just assume you two are dating, but sending an emoji (one that’s not really clear — why not an angry face?) is not the same as using words.

    1. I just said something similar above re: LW 1.

      1. dinoceros says:

        We’re thinking alike! Maybe I’m secretly Canadian. 🙂

        I definitely don’t mind going to a dinner for a friend and paying for my own food. I just like eating out, so it gives me an excuse to try a new place.

      2. @dinoceros – I assumed it was a Canadian thing because it’s not just with my group of friends… when groups of people I don’t know come together, no matter the reason (formal wedding excepted), I have never experienced in my entire life any kind of situation where there was a misunderstanding over who was paying the bill. I’ve been invited to a dinner thing, I bring my wallet. That’s how it goes.

        But yeah, obviously I would not send out formal invitations to 60 people saying “MissDre humbly requests the gift of your presence at her Birthday Celebration on X day. Please RSVP by…” I’d send a group text or Facebook message. “Hey Ladies, it’s my birthday! I want to check out this new restaurant, hope you can come celebrate with me!”

    2. again, that is a different scenario. For your every day birthday this is normal, but if it were like a 40th birthday with all friends and family, it’s usually a place that has to be a prepicked menu, plate price and big enough to fit everyone. That is something that is usually paid for by the host. The situation you are talking about usually doesn’t have 20-40 people, probably just the closest friends and their significant others.

      1. dinoceros says:

        Not really. I’m including milestone birthdays and birthdays that involve more than just close friends. I think it’s just differences regionally and culturally, though. I haven’t known anyone personally to invite people out to a pre-picked menu and plate price for anything other than a wedding.

    3. ele4phant says:

      I do think there’s a difference between inviting someone to a restaurant, where they can pick what they want (and therefore forgo the certain costs), than inviting someone to a catered event where they have no choice in what they can get or how much they can spend.

      Also I do think that culturally there is an expectation in getting invited to a restaurant I know that means I pay for myself (and for a birthday or congratulatory event maybe I chip in for person of honor) vs an event that is planned out is generally something that I am a guest for and therefore not required to pay anything.

      Is there a legit distinction? I don’t know, but I think in many peoples minds there is, so if you try to get people to pay for the latter, it’s going to be a surprise to people where the former will be expected.

  7. “It was love at first sight.”

    Not a real thing.

  8. artsygirl says:

    LW1- Agree with Wendy. Either find a cheaper venue or reduce the guest list to the number of people you can afford to invite. Also, justifying charging your guests because you are not asking for presents is a bit strange. If I were invited to an anniversary party, I might give the host a bottle of wine or sometime similar, but would not expect to give an expensive present in line with wedding gift.

    LW2 – What is with the numerous letters from step parents not wanting to take part in their stepchildren’s lives? As pointed out, you moved in way too quickly considering that you have three children. Has your boyfriend explained what he means by the fact that he does not want to parent your children? Does that mean he does not want to attend sports events, or help with homework, or financially support them, or make decisions? I would ask him to explicitly what he is willing to do and not do with regards to your children. If he is willing to be a supportive figure in their lives and engage with them but defer to your ex that is absolutely fine – anything less, I would say break up and move on.

    1. I agree 100%. I think the LW needs to clarify what the boyfriend meant when he said he doesn’t want to parent. Because perhaps she is misunderstanding his intent and what he meant was “I don’t want to take the role as father because they have a father.” Which is the right approach to have. That doesn’t necessarily mean he doesn’t want them in their lives. There are too many couples out there who are not communicating and are rushing into serious relationships before they actually know/understand each other and their wants & needs in a relationship.

    2. Telegrammar says:

      I hate when people say they aren’t asking for gifts. It was be an honest intention, but I always end up bringing something and usually most people do anyway.

  9. Genuine question: How do you create an invitation for an anniversary party and also nicely inform people that they have to pay for their own meals at the same time? Not that I would ever do do that, but I can’t imagine not getting an icky feeling from an invite like that.

    1. RedRoverRedRover says:

      That’s why she’s writing in. It’s not possible. She’s looking for a way to do it, but there isn’t one. Either you throw a party and pay for it, or you send out a group email or something saying “we’re going to xyz restaurant on our anniversary! Anyone want to join along?” And then you assume that you’ll pay for your own meal and everyone else will assume they’re paying for theirs. And you don’t send it to 60 people, and you don’t do it at a winery an hour out of town. But LW doesn’t want to do it that way, so here she is, looking for a way to get the party she wants and have other people pay for it.

      1. Yes, RedRover, this is what I think she should do. “Send out a group email or something saying “we’re going to xyz restaurant on our anniversary! Anyone want to join along?” Maybe it won’t be the big fancy wedding she dreams of but she’ll have a nice celebration with perhaps those closest to her.

      2. RedRoverRedRover says:

        She doesn’t want that though, she wants an “event”. And if that’s what she wants, she has to pay for it. Sounds like she was willing to pay $15/guest, for 60 people, which is $900. You can definitely do something for 60 people with that. Do a BBQ, for example. If their yard isn’t big enough, maybe their parents or a friend would let them use theirs. If it’s during the day they just need beer and wine, so the booze bill is cheap. Then buy the food, or she could even probably have a local restaurant cater it. Even a high-end grocery store. Done. With the added bonus that her friends and family won’t all be pissed at her.

      3. RedRoverRedRover says:

        Or if she wants something “classier”, do an afternoon party with finger sandwiches, pastries, tea and champagne/mimosas.

    2. Kitnkabutle says:

      Sell tickets to your party!

    3. Stillrunning says:

      I’m bumping my reply below- how about the hosts saying the first round is on us? That’s pretty clear.

      1. Stillrunning says:

        Also, it gives the guests the opportunity to decide if they want to spend the money to cover their own meal.

      2. Stillrunning says:

        Still seems tacky to me, though. A casual event at a bar, sure, I’ll cover my meal, a formal event at an expensive restaurant, no. I”d be pissed to get a bill after.

  10. I get kind of annoyed when people say that they deserve a wedding. You decided to get married at 18 and decided not to have a wedding. That was your choice. Sure, if you wanted to do an anniversary party, that’s perfectly fine, but it doesn’t come with the standard of “give us a wedding!” like you decided against at 18. If you can’t afford to throw the party, you can’t have a party. No matter what the occasion.

    1. Yeah that comes 20 years down the line when your kids can afford to throw you a dope anniversary/wedding party!

      1. I’m sure that at 28, it’s hard to go to wedding after wedding and start thinking “wouldn’t it be nice if we had that?” with the big party and fancy dinners and gifts. But, still, they decided 10 years ago to not have that. Sorry!

      2. SpaceySteph says:

        I think this is a good point, va. It’s hard to spend every other weekend going to a friend’s fancy wedding with a $50 fondue pot under your arm and think about how you missed out on all that.
        After our wedding my grandmother even asked me for the list of what her friends gave us as wedding presents so she could reciprocate in kind. I thought that was a bit too personal and conveniently kept “forgetting” until she actually forgot, but there’s definitely this (imo incorrect) idea around weddings that there should be some kind of “fairness” or reciprocity where you invite people who invited you and give them a gift of similar value.

      3. dinoceros says:

        Yeah. And a lot of my friends (who are already married) complain a lot about going to weddings and being bridesmaids and stuff, and how they’re going to stop doing it, and I’m like, well, I guess if I wanted a wedding, I shouldn’t have had the nerve to stay single into my 30s.

    2. I don’t get the expectation of reciprocal gifts. I had a wedding, but I was 21 so my friends simply couldn’t afford a lot. Most were still in school. I spend what I feel is reasonable but it’s more than they spent then because I’m 29 now and DH and I both have good jobs so we were able to. Now that we have 3 kids we are starting to cut back some. It’s not an indication of how much I love or care for my friends; It’s just what I can afford.

      I think and anniversary party is not something you should have to pay to attend. A birthday or bachelorette with a small group, sure I pay for myself but weddings, showers, anniversaries and things like communions especially at a fancy place with a rented room and I expect the host to pay. I would certainly need to know before hand because and extra $80 is well out of our usual budget.

    3. Honestly, I understand that people don’t deserve a wedding but I get this feeling. Especially because i bet people thought this wouldn’t last as many people do with young marriages. There are certain life moments that we as a culture decide to celebrate like graduations, weddings, babies and if you don’t get your moment for these events when others do, it kinda sucks. I had the same thing with my son’s adoption. We had tried to have a baby for years and years. Then we finally adopted and it felt like this was our moment but there was no big shower or special moment for us and from time to time I do feel left out. No one promised me a baby shower and I am not owed one but it hurts that somehow I don’t qualify.

  11. LW2’s are the worst type of people. Fuck love at first sight, and learn something about somebody before you move in with them, especially when there are kids involved.

    1. anonymousse says:


      Those poor kids.

    2. YES. Love at first sight is not a thing. Infatuation? Lust? Sure but not love since that is built on trust and mutual respect (plus often lust lol) and it simply takes time.

  12. LW2 I’m always shocked when people describe their kids as “the issue”. In a few years, your kids will say that about you.
    LW3 He’s mistaken your kindness and interest for love, and that’s NOT your fault. He doesn’t get to decide you’re together. Set him straight. Good luck!

  13. LW1: Sure you can, if you want your friends to think you’re horrible and cheap.
    LW2: Please move out and get your head on straight.
    LW3: Be kind to this man and tell him straight up you’re not interested. I sympathize to a point. I took me almost 50 years to learn to say no, and sometimes I still feel bad about it. But you what? Life is so much easier now.

  14. My assumption has always been that enduring my company for several hours was a high enough price to ask any friend to pay on behalf of my celebration.

    1. RedRoverRedRover says:

      Oh as if you’re not a blast at parties. 🙂

  15. There are SOME occasions when friends will foot their own bill even invited. LW1: This is when this is a common dinner type thing and each couple does this so you can get together as a group. A party you invite someone to is not this time.

    Why not just invite fewer people so you can afford it? 60 people is a lot for an anniversary party in fairness. My grandparents had a whole wedding reception type event for their 50th and there weren’t this many people. As long as the key family and friends you are closest to are there it’ll be plenty fun.

  16. oh and LW2: I just can’t. Your kid shouldn’t even have met this man yet, you shouldn’t have even moved in for like, ohh I dunno a year or two. Most relationships feel like love at first site, then a few months in the reality sets in and you start to really know the person, then over even MORE time you work out the life aspects. No on all levels. This is flat out dumb parenting and now you are forced to uproot your children yet again. Put your children first not your libido.

  17. SpaceySteph says:

    Probably the Manners folks would consider this to be a huge breach, but I did go to a party kinda like LW1’s once.
    A couple we’re close to threw a joint 30th bday party for themselves. They rented the private party room of a local bar/restaurant we all like to hang out at. There was an open bar and appetizers.
    On the invite they put “If you’d like to bring a gift, please consider contributing to our party fund.” So we brought a card with some cash. I do think I would have balked at being asked for a specific dollar amount, but because it was phrased more related to gifts, it didn’t really bother me. On the other hand, I don’t know how close they came to breaking even, so that’s a risk they took.

    I think it *is* friend group specific. Our friend group does more casual stuff, mostly house parties, where people all pitch by bringing snacks or drinks. Last time we threw a party, we ended up with more beer left over than we bought to begin with.

    1. RedRoverRedRover says:

      You’re right that Miss Manners probably wouldn’t like it, because it implies that you’re asking for gifts, but I think most people our age would be fine with it, even if not entirely enthused. Two big reasons why, though: 1) it wasn’t mandatory to give anything at all, let alone a set amount, and 2) the bill wasn’t a surprise.

  18. Stillrunning says:

    Re: LW1- I’ve been to many events where the hosts say first round is on us, which clearly indicates I’ll be paying for the rest.

    1. RedRoverRedRover says:

      See, to me that would imply that the host is paying for dinner plus one drink, and I’m paying for any booze I want beyond that.

  19. Avatar photo meadowphoenix says:

    I actually think it’s kinda crappy you have friends/family pressuring you into a host fauxpas when you already said you can’t afford a party, without offering to EXPLICITLY share the costs with you themselves or plan it themselves.

    Anyway, the lesson here is that just because you have some people telling you it’s okay to do something you know not everyone is going to like, doesn’t mean you have to try to arrange the thing or believe that magically everyone will be fine with it based on a few comments. If people are ragging you about not having a party, they are perfectly capable of throwing you one.

  20. Skyblossom says:

    If there had been a wedding and reception ten years ago you wouldn’t have expected your friends to pay for it. The same still holds today. Not having a wedding ten years ago gives you no claim on an expensive dinner now that you would expect your friends to fund. Your formal celebration is yours and you plan for a cost that you can afford. You either pick a cheaper place, a smaller guest list or host a different type of party in your home or at a park. Dumping the price of your party on your guests just because you didn’t get one ten years ago is rude. It’s not their fault you didn’t have one then and it isn’t their fault you can’t afford the party that you want now.

  21. SpaceySteph says:

    As for LW2, I think DW needs a specific category for “Terrible Parents and the Assholes Who Love Them.”

    1. RedRoverRedRover says:

      When’s your due date again Steph? Really soon, right?

    2. Hey maybe our kids will be birthday buddies my wife is due on the 23rd!

    3. Wait are you my wife, just picked a different name to stalk me on DW?

      1. SpaceySteph says:

        Hah my due date is today (Sunday). Dr won’t let me go any longer than next weekend, then i get induced.
        It would be kinda funny if we were spouses and didn’t know it, but I’m pretty sure my husband isn’t on DW. He’s over there watching wood working videos on you tube.

      2. RedRoverRedRover says:

        Exciting!!! Try to put off the induction if you can and if you want to. I had one baby induced and one not, and it was much better without the induction. You can put them off by asking questions about why/whether it’s necessary for safety. If it’s only week 39, it probably isn’t unless there are actual reasons (my reason was being over 40 increases risk, for example). They wanted to induce my first baby too, but they had no real reason, so I said no. I don’t know why they’re all so induction-crazy.

      3. Avatar photo Dear Wendy says:

        I was induced with Joanie (I had sustained high blood pressure) and it wasn’t a big deal at all. But I also was able to get an epidural, and my only experience to compare it to was my natural labor with Jackson (no induction, no epidural). Now I’m kind of curious what a labor with an epidural but not induction is like. Not curious enough to try to find out though!

      4. Skyblossom says:

        I think the statistics show that half of the women who are induced end up having a c-section. The reason is that the cervix isn’t ready to go and won’t dilate. If you are in the half of women whose cervix won’t dilate then labor is long and hard because the uterine muscles keep shoving the baby against the cervix but the cervix has no give.

        My obstetrician would prevent that from happening by coating the cervix with a hormone the afternoon before he induced and then labor would progress normally even if it was induced. He was the main obstetrician delivering at our hospital and our hospital had the lowest c-section rate in the state.

    4. RedRoverRedRover says:

      April 23rd? Oh wow, that’s coming fast! First kid, right?

  22. Northern Star says:

    After thinking about it, I’d take that 2000 and spend it on a nice vacation to an all-inclusive in Mexico. Second honeymoon or second wedding? Hmmmmm…

  23. Oh my gosh my pain meds just kicked in and I remember this happening to me. Worst part is I was about 18 and in college and dead broke. My fathers family (I don’t have a relationship with him) invited me to my grandparents anniversary dinner/party/pictures just when I had moved back to the state. I still lived with my mother and we shopped for a gift and card. She gave me a token amount of cash.

    When the check came they had every single person pony up, like split the check per person. I was in shock. Even if this was done one would think it would be discreet. I don’t know. It just was weird. I ended up having to take my aunt aside and tell her I only had so much (I do recall just ordering some pasta dish, I’d never order anything insane if someone else was paying). I have never been so embarrassed and it was so odd to me to invite someone to a party then do that. They even made their grandchildren (younger than me!) pay. 15 year old’s ponying up money. So awkward.

    1. That must have been awful!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *