What is the best way to let my daughter's friends know that I am not paying for their meal at her birthday in a restaurant?

What is the best way to let my daughter's friends know that I am not paying for their meal at her birthday in a restaurant?

by Meredith

My daughter is having her 40th birthday next week. We decided to celebrate it at a local restaurant with our small family. Unless we have a party in our home, where we buy everything, when we go to restaurants, we all order separately and pay our own check. I intend to pay for my daughter's and son's meal, as well as mine.
I am a widowed senior on a fixed income.
Here's the problem:
I thought it would make it more special, if I invited a few of my daughter's friends to join us at the restaurant, so I sent out emails with that message. To my surprise a few friends turned into about 10 -12 when they included their husbands, wives etc.
This is not a party in a hall or a rented room of a restaurant and although I would like to, I cannot afford to pay for all of these friends meals which could run into hundreds of dollars + drinks! Also, as I mentioned, my immediate family members are not expecting that I pay for them.
How do I tactfully let the friends know that they will be paying for their own meals? It may not be proper etiquette, but I am embarrassed and in a bind here.
Someone suggested I email them a menu and mention that I chose the restaurant because it offered nice affordable prices for all!
Please help! Thanks!

Jul 27, 2011
Birthday Costs
by: Wendy (Modern Manners and Etiquette)

Thank you for your question!

You are wonderful to want to include the people that are special to your daughter in celebrating her birthday. It is easy to see how a guest list can multiply.

It is fortunate that you invited them via email. The reason for that being, you can now send out a quick email to follow up and let them know that they will need to cover their own costs.

An example for this would be:

We are so excited that you are planning to join us for the birthday dinner on (date, time) at (location)!
*Please note that you will need to cover the cost of your meal and drinks*

This way you have let them know that they are more than welcome, in fact you are excited to have them there. Most people understand the fact that they will need to cover their costs, especially when there is a larger party being held at a restaurant.

I hope your evening turns out to be a wonderful time with your daughter. Best wishes!

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