If you’ve ever hosted a party, you’ll know that it can be quite a pricey affair. The food, decor, entertainment – it all adds up and when the guests leave, you’re left with an almighty mess and a massive bill.

So I don’t exactly blame this mum for considering passing the buck, quite literally, when planning a party for her hubby.

The woman shared her dilemma on Mumsnet, hoping to get some support for her idea. She explained that her husband would soon be celebrating a milestone birthday.

Passing On The Cost

“He has asked me to plan something as a surprise. I have some ideas for activities, but the cost is roughly $60 per person,” she said.

She was wondering whether it would be reasonable to ask the guests to pay $60 each to join in the birthday fun.

“Is it OK to invite people and tell them they have to pay for themselves or should I pay for everyone?” she asked.

“I want to invite 10 people,” she added.

Yes Or No?

The clearly controversial post sparked a huge debate, with readers expressing their differing views.

Some were in full support of the pay-your-own-way proposal.

“I think it’s fine. Just make sure you tell people so they can budget,” one suggested.

“I think it’s completely fine to ask people to pay if it’s an activity etc, I’d be happy with that for a friends birthday, I wouldn’t expect to have a ticket paid for me,” added another.

It Depends….

Others said that it very much depends on the situation.

“I think it depends. If it’s a party and you want them to cover food and drink that’s a bit off. However, if I received a text from a friend ‘it’s DH’s birthday I thought we could all go paintballing, it will be $60 each’ I wouldn’t think twice about paying.”

Another contributed: “Generally speaking I think it’s better to do what you can afford than asking people to pay (aside from pay bar at a party or something) but only you know your friends.”


Many thought that it was downright “rude” to put guests in this awkward situation and expect them to pay for a birthday party they may not want to even attend.

“You can’t invite people and ask them to pay!!!” one said.

The poster later added that she was definitely looking at planning an activity for the birthday celebration. She wrote: “I should have been clearer in my title. It is an activity. I’m not thinking of charging entry into my house for a party.”

Have you charged guests to attend a birthday party you have planned Would you? Could you? Tell us in the comments below.

  • Oh wow, that is a bit rude.


  • I believe that it is up to the host to pay. If the party/activity is an unaffordable cost for the host, it probably would be for others too. Stick to something within a sensible budget so everyone can enjoy it.


  • No way. I think the only way you should be paying is if you are going out to dinner at a restaurant. Then you just pay your own meal and deinks


  • I don’t think I could do it as some people might be excluded due to cost.


  • I would not not do that. Some people may take it normally but majority will not be okay with it. So its better to go for party plan that is affordable for the host so that they dont need to ask people to pay for participating.


  • I think also if its for an activity let them know and you don’t expect a gift but you should cover food and drink.


  • If it’s for an activity then you should put that in the invitation explaining what it is. Let them know it’s instead of gifts and would make the day more memorable for your husband and everyone you invite. As long as they know what the activity is going to be they will be able to say yay or nay to the invite but give them plenty of notice.


  • I would say no presents but pay for meal. Or else we would pay everyones meal and they can get their own drinks.


  • It’s okay to charge as long as you don’t also expect a gift.


  • If it’s a party she’s hosting at home with catering or something it’s very wrong. You wouldn’t ask people to pay to attend your wedding. If you’re just going to a restaurant it’s fine for everyone to pay for their own meal but in that scenario they’d need to be ordering from the menu- not a set menu.


  • Wrong!!! Unless she is going to donate the money to some worthwhile charity, I say her actions are unconscionable. I would certainly decline her invitation for my child. How rude.


  • Personally, I would pay. And by limiting the number to 10 guests, it’s hopefully something within your range and not too extravagant a cost for a milestone birthday.


  • No I believe if you cant afford to give a party dont give one


  • It’s all down to the details and the delivery I think. If it’s an activity, I would do a group message and just say ‘hey it’s so and so birthday I’m organising x activity as a surprise. Would love it if you could make it, it is a cost of $60pp though. Get back to me by x date so I can book it in’


  • I’ve been to some birthday dinners out where you basically pay your own way.. and think it might be reasonable to expect something like this for an activity or meal out… however I think it is MUCH MUCH better to do something free where people can get together at little or no cost… it should be about people getting together, fullstop.


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