Dear Celebration Advisor: I am wanting to give my sister, who is fighting cancer, a surprise birthday dinner party. My husband and I cannot afford to pay for all the guests. On the invitation how would you word it so the guests know that the cost is $15.00 per person to attend. It is a rather awkward thing to ask so I do want to do it in a non-offensive way. Can you help me??? Thanks for your help! Anita
This can be a tricky situation. According to Emily Post, you can't ask guest to essentially pay to attend. It is suggested that you cut the guests list down or find a less expensive venue. However, I don't necessarily agree that a party can't be "dutch treat".
This is how I usually handle those "dutch treat" parties. I don't send formal invitations. Instead I do my invites by phone or even email. When I send the invitation by email it goes something like this:
Sally's birthday is Friday May 8th. I am taking her to Godsey's restaurant for dinner at 7pm. I thought it would be a nice surprise if some of her friends were there to surprise her. I thought you might want to join us. The restaurant is going to reserve an area for our "dutch-treat" get-together. The entrees run anywhere from $15.00-$30.00. Please let me know if you will be joining us.
The most important thing is to keep the tone informal and not to declare host status. If you must send a printed invitation, keep in mind it must still reflect an informal party tone. My suggest is to word the invitation something like this:
will gather on Saturday May, 10th
at 7pm at Godsey's Restaurant
to celebrate her birthday.
This gathering is a surprise!
To RSVP call
Jane Baker at 870-555-5555
This party invitation wording keeps the occasion tone informal. Notice the status of host is not declared in this invitation. When a party is "Dutch treat", it does not have a host per say. If you feel the need to include the term "dutch treat" on invitation do it at the bottom of the invitation like this
call Jane For restaurant information
I hope this information will help you plan a wonderful party for your sister. Please keep me posted.