Birthday dinners should be a fun way to gather with family and friends, share some good food and drinks, and simply enjoy each other's company.

But behind the scenes, it is a day which requires immense planning - with decisions needed on the food, colour scheme, guest list, and much more.

And it seems one birthday celebrant is certainly feeling the pressure, as she took to Mumsnet to get advice on her big dilemma.

The woman asked readers a social etiquette question, on her post titled: 'To not pay for their dinners... or should I?', as she wrote that she would be celebrating her landmark birthday next year.

She continued: "I'd like to celebrate it by having a dinner at a restaurant with a bunch of friends - I'm thinking about 25 people and booking a private room at somewhere really nice".

The woman is worried the 25 guests could rack up a heft bill at her birthday dinner. (


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As the woman continued, she questioned whether she would be required to pay for all guests or split the cost between all guests.

She wrote: "If I do this, though, does that mean that me and [my husband] would be expected to pay for everyone's food? Or would we just make a contribution and split the rest between the guests at the end of the night?

"We're probably the least well off of our friends, a lot of them are a bit posher than us in terms of background, so I'm not sure what will be expected/assumed by an invitation like this?"

But the woman realised, if she was required to pay for all meals, she simply would not be able to fork out enough money.

She stated: "If this is the expectation that it's paid for (kind of like a wedding I guess) then we probably can't afford it and I'll have to do something different.

"Which is a shame. But I also don't want to put my foot in it and leave an awkward situation when the bill comes."

The woman is unsure what her 'posher' guests may expect. (


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The dilemma divided readers, as many were left torn on the decision the woman should take.

One user replied: "Yes, I would pay for my guests. I would only invite the number I could afford".

While another sided with the guests, stating: "You are inviting guests to come and celebrate with you, it's up to you to pay I'm afraid."

However, others seemed to side with the woman, understanding her dilemma.

One user was seemingly shocked at the thought of the guests not contributing, saying: "I have NEVER not paid when going out for someone's birthday. Decades of birthday meals out and never had the "inviter" pay".

Her question left many people divided, as some sided with the guests, while others sided with the woman. (


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While another said: "As a guest, I would automatically expect to pay for my own meal and a contribution towards yours.

"But you would need to make it clear on the invitations, maybe by adding an approx price per head."

Another seemed to agree, stating: "I hate the idea of you have to pay for everyone you invite, basically poor people cant have fun.

"Just invite people but make it clear that its pay for your own (I'd never expect my meal paid for to celebrate a friends bday, if anything I'd expect the guests to split the birthday persons meal cost)."

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