Is this rude or inappropriate? (Party question) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 42 Old 11-19-2009, 05:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We have had almost no adult parties (just parties for ds)--the kind where we open up the house, invite 20-30 people, grill, provide drinks, let people stay as long as they want etc. We moved around every few years and just didn't know THAT many people, kwim?

Now we are back near old friends, and in a few weeks is dh's 40th birthday.

We are both in school right now and on a serious budget. I really want to have a party for him, and invite about 20 people (of course, knowing some won't be able to come, maybe 12-15 people total in reality).

The only way I can see affording this is to make it a side dish potluck, with us providing drinks and grilling free range hot dogs/burgers, but asking people to bring a side dish/snack/drink to fill out the table. Would it be rude to make a birthday party potluck? Is that a social no-no? We just can't afford to feed that many people. I don't know how else to afford it.

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#2 of 42 Old 11-19-2009, 05:55 PM
 
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completely acceptable in my social circle. could you run the idea past a couple of the people you plan to invite, to see how they think the rest of the group would react?
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#3 of 42 Old 11-19-2009, 05:58 PM
 
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I think that's totally acceptable. When inviting people I might say "instead of a gift, please bring a dish to share" or somthing like that, but I don't think that's even really necessary.

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#4 of 42 Old 11-19-2009, 06:05 PM
 
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I think it is totally acceptable.

I really love potlucks.

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#5 of 42 Old 11-19-2009, 06:07 PM
 
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Everyone I know, when asked to a party, asks "What should I bring?" Perfectly acceptable.
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#6 of 42 Old 11-19-2009, 06:08 PM
 
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In my circle of friends it is expected! As soon as we get an invite we all ask what can we bring. It is a lot of fun for us all to share our favorite sides and we like to help take the pressure off our friends.

Jenese Mama to Elliot 8/05 and Millie Jane 7/07 and Cecilia Kate 1/11
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#7 of 42 Old 11-19-2009, 06:08 PM
 
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I think it's fine, especially if it's clear you aren't expecting gifts. It's not as clear cut with a kid's party, because generally people are already giving gifts. For an adult birthday party, it's totally fine.
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#8 of 42 Old 11-19-2009, 06:12 PM
 
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I can't tell you how many different types of parties ive been to, birthday included, where I was told to bring a dish to pass. I never thought twice about it.
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#9 of 42 Old 11-19-2009, 06:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Gifts...interesting point.

I don't want to say "NO gifts"...what if someone was going to give him a gift, and then thought "Oh, they don't want gifts, nevermind".

On the other hand, we aren't into 'stuff' so whether people bring a gift is totally up to them. We don't care either way.

Should I just not mention gifts at all on the invite, and leave up to people?

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#10 of 42 Old 11-19-2009, 06:16 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vancouver Mommy View Post
I think that's totally acceptable. When inviting people I might say "instead of a gift, please bring a dish to share" or somthing like that, but I don't think that's even really necessary.
Among close friends, I think it is totally acceptable and I like the above idea.

Like someone else said, the "what can I bring?" question is automatic in my circle though there are some host(ess) that will say straight out NOTHING and mean it. (I sometimes fall into this group)

Among casual or work acquaintences? I don't know, I think it depends on the group.

We had a debate about this one day at work and it was evenly divided. One camp thought it was totally normal to ask people to bring a dish.

The other camp thought it was very strange. In fact, some claimed to never have been asked to do such a thing. Don't know what type of parties they are going to.

Mom to DS, born fall 05 after ,,, wife/best friend to DH We have
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#11 of 42 Old 11-19-2009, 06:19 PM
 
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Totally acceptable. Have fun!

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#12 of 42 Old 11-19-2009, 06:28 PM
 
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Yup, totally acceptable. At my parties I like to cook all the "interesting" stuff, so I usually fob the boring stuff like drinks (for those who don't cook), salads or chips on guests. They always ask, I tell 'em, it works fine. Have fun!

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#13 of 42 Old 11-19-2009, 06:51 PM
 
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Yeah I think it depends on your friends. That's almost the only way we do parties in our group.
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#14 of 42 Old 11-19-2009, 07:03 PM
 
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I did my housewarming (45 people! eech!) that way--we made a few apps and had standard stuff for grilling.

I did not do my wedding (90 people and a rented tent in my backyard) that way--we had catered apps, a hired crepe cart, and homemade desserts. A few people still brought food.

Totally, perfectly acceptable in my circle.

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#15 of 42 Old 11-19-2009, 07:08 PM
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Hmmm... for me, not so much. If it was just a get-together I think it would be fine, but to invite someone to a birthday party and ask them to bring a dish feels wrong to me. I guess I think throwing the party means that you provide the food, unless someone specifically asks if she can bring something.

Just MHO...

 
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#16 of 42 Old 11-19-2009, 07:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Dar View Post
Hmmm... for me, not so much. If it was just a get-together I think it would be fine, but to invite someone to a birthday party and ask them to bring a dish feels wrong to me. I guess I think throwing the party means that you provide the food, unless someone specifically asks if she can bring something.

Just MHO...
that's me, too. If people ask themselves, then fine, but I would have a problem with asking people.
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#17 of 42 Old 11-19-2009, 07:50 PM
 
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I think its totally fine! Like PPs mentioned, in our circle the first question is always, "What should we bring?"

Kath contented vegan mama to my trio of free-range boys
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#18 of 42 Old 11-19-2009, 08:51 PM
 
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Yup, this is pretty much the expected and accepted norm in my circle of friends... and my parents' circle of friends.

I honestly like it better because everyone has their own cooking style... I get to sample a lot of different stuff.

Me+DH+DS1+DS2+Dog=me and a house full of guys, which is really just peachy, thanks.
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#19 of 42 Old 11-19-2009, 08:57 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar View Post
Hmmm... for me, not so much. If it was just a get-together I think it would be fine, but to invite someone to a birthday party and ask them to bring a dish feels wrong to me. I guess I think throwing the party means that you provide the food, unless someone specifically asks if she can bring something.

Just MHO...
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#20 of 42 Old 11-19-2009, 09:05 PM
 
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I am of the opinion that if you are throwing a party you don't ask the guests to supply the food. I've even backed out of an RSVP b/c I was later asked to bring something. If the host specifically says let's have a get together and have a potluck at my house, that's one thing. But if you are throwing a party for your DH, that's different.

Oh, and don't mention gifts if you really don't have a prefernce one way or the other.

BTW, my DH threw me a "surprise" party and made it a potluck. I was so embarrassed that he asked everyone to bring food.
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#21 of 42 Old 11-19-2009, 09:18 PM
 
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I might put on the invite something like, "in lieu of gifts, please bring something for the table."

Otherwise I wouldn't do it. Just me. One way to make this more affordable is to have heavy apps or an open-house style gathering. We do this for our extended families for Winter Solstice. We can't really afford to feed everyone a full on dinner (& that just sounds so stressful to me anyway in our tiny apt).. so we have an open-house and I keep heavy hors d'voures on the bar and make a big pot of hot cider.

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#22 of 42 Old 11-19-2009, 09:25 PM
 
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I would just say it is a birthday potluck gathering, instead of a birthday party. You do what you have to do, ya' know?
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#23 of 42 Old 11-19-2009, 09:38 PM
 
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I'm in the boat that gets offended if asked to supply food to certain gatherings. Your husbands birthday would be an example of that. Or once I was asked to bring food to someones wedding reception (obviously this was not a fancy reception). I just think if you are truly going to throw the party, you should be supplying the food. However, for some reason (dont know why), I do find it socially acceptable to do a BYOB. I'm not entirely sure what the difference is for me. I guess I see booze as not a given at a party. I also know it's expensive and most ppl I know are cash poor so I don't expect them to supply me with alchoholic beverages (soda, water yes). But I do expect food.
However, let me say that you can prob. gauge your friends and know if they would be offended or not. According to this thread, I would think most would not be.

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#24 of 42 Old 11-19-2009, 09:49 PM
 
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Can you do a big pot of chili and bread? That's relatively cheap.
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#25 of 42 Old 11-19-2009, 09:56 PM
 
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Well, we do this all the time. Sunday is DH's surprise bday party and everyone is going to bring something. We took a hit financially and while I have meat & a few sides, beer is no longer in my budget. So, BYOB. And dips.

If you've used evite (which almost everyone has) you can add an option to ask guests to bring something. As someone who's thrown this kind of party a hundred times, for the love of all things holy and good, please assign things! Otherwise, you'll end up with 15 bags of chips and 8 pasta salads. At evite, you can create a list and the thing removes itself from the list when people choose to bring it. It's extremely easy & convenient. Great way to manage things. It even sends out reminders for you.

I don't think it's at all tacky. There have been times when I've provided EVERYTHING anyone could want plus more. And there are other times it's not financially feesible. If they're your friends, they'll understand.
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#26 of 42 Old 11-19-2009, 10:20 PM
 
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while i think it is probably fine, like a previous poster, i prefer to do byob.
for my dh's bday i made (more than) plenty of food for everyone but told everyone to byob. i got one case of beer, really as a gift for dh, but in case someone didnt bring any there would be at least something to offer. but there is NO WAY i could afford to buy alcohol for dh's family and friends, lol- those folks can drink! we have done several parties this way and it seems like other folks around here tend to do their parties the same way. BTW, for the bday party i was particularly poor that month but managed to do the whole dinner fairly inexpensively, and it went over quite well. it was in the afternoon (with football), so not fancy: i bought a lot of chicken legs and some awesome wing sauce- i roasted the legs plain in the oven and then poured on the bottled wing sauce. and then i made coleslaw, potato salad, and barbq beans in the crock pot (just dried navy beans with onions and peppers from the garden and then i actually used some random pork and beef pieces i already had in the freezer, and bbq sauce. i did 2 crock pots of these, one without hot peppers and one pretty fiery). i think this was like the smallest bill for feeding so many folks ever, and like i said, everyone raved about the food. His mama offered to bring the cake as her present, which saved a lot of money, and then, even tho i told everyone just byob, nothing else, 3 different folks brought a dish- so we had way more than plenty of food. oh yeah- i also made chili cheese fries as an appetizer. i just fried the fries early that day and then spread them in a pan and covered with canned hot dog chili and shredded cheese. this was a big hit.
long story short- feeding everyone was infinitely less expensive than providing alcohol for everyone.
whatever you decide to do, ya'll have fun and happy bday to your dh!

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#27 of 42 Old 11-19-2009, 10:36 PM
 
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I love the idea of the big pot of chili, and BYOB, putting out some chips and veggies and making some iced tea and putting out pitchers of water, then a big $15 birthday cake from Costco (or bake something).

I think the birthday party potluck is a little off, though just a regular party being potluck, that is completely normal in our circle and we love it. You never know though, you might have friends who RSVP yes and then ask if they can bring something, to which you can reply, "sure, if you'd like to, thank you, but it's not a requirement".

Another option is to start the party at 7pm or 7:30pm and just put out chips, beer, iced tea and have a cake.
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#28 of 42 Old 11-20-2009, 12:57 AM
 
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Maybe invite it as a birthday get together and see if people ask what they can bring. If no one volunteers then do snacky stuff. It doesn't have to be a full meal. Like salsa and chips, veggies, fruit n dip, cheese slices. For 15 people Im thinking 50 dollars tops. The free range hot dogs, hamburgers, etc would run that much. If people ask what to bring just mark that off the list. Really people just wanna hang out and chat and nibble and drink.
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#29 of 42 Old 11-20-2009, 01:18 AM
 
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Add me to the "it's fine" club. It's friends for goodness sake! Friends understand being low on cash. Not that you have to say that of course but all of my friends know the basics of how well or poor we're all doing financially at any given time. We complain to each other!

I love potluck, and most people I know would never think twice about it. Now, if it was an acquaintance that I barely knew asking me, I might feel a little funny.

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#30 of 42 Old 11-20-2009, 03:33 AM
 
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Yep, totally fine. I've been to many BYOB and BYOM (meat for the grill). Actually it might work out to be a lot less expensive if you prepare sides and ask your friends to bring their own meat (or meat-alternative) for the grill.

I wouldn't mention "no gifts" or "instead of gifts bring..." It should always be up to the guest whether or not they chose to bring a gift.
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