What Is The Proper Wording For A Dinner Invitation Where The Guests Pay For Their Own Meal?


2 Answers

Daniel Blazer Profile
Daniel Blazer answered
Trying to word a dinner invitation to guests who are expected to pay for their own meal can be slightly awkward. Many people who receive invitations will expect that it is for something that is being paid for. Not everybody thinks this way though, and you might be surprised that your guests are not as bothered about paying as you may think. If you can afford it, try and suggest some kind of compromise. Say you’ll pay for starters if they all pay for their main meals, or suggest that they can visit your house afterwards for complimentary drinks.

Rather than making fancy invitations and a big fuss, it may be easier to talk about the dinner as if you are arranging a get together. If it does not appear as if you are inviting people, rather that you are just suggesting you all meet up, then the situation becomes a little less difficult. Open the invitation with something like "let’s do lunch”. If it is friends you are trying to get together who you haven’t seen for a while, mention that you think it’s about time you all met up for a catch-up. Say things like "why don’t we all get together at this restaurant, on this date?”

This way, it sounds like the dinner is a joint effort and it is not all being organised and paid for by you. Avoid mentioning that you are hosting or inviting, these both suggest that you will foot the bill. You can use the phrase "Dutch treat” in an invitation to let guests know that they are expected to pay for their own food. This isn’t exactly the most well-known phrase though, so could cause further confusion.

It is best to be honest and up-front about the situation. If it isn’t made clear to guests that you aren’t paying for dinner, then it will be very awkward on the night if they are not expecting to pay.
Will Martin Profile
Will Martin answered
Many people feel that asking guests to pay for their own meal isn't really right, and that you should invite fewer people or try a cheaper venue such as  a church hall (where you can supply refreshments  and ask people to bring drinks) - this  forum is  rather typical. However, it can work out OK if you suggest to your friends that you get together for  a meal (rather than you hosting a party) find out in advance the cost per head and put that on the invitation.

Answer Question