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27 July 2014 @ 08:01 pm
It's my Birthday Party -Etiquette  
I'm turning 60 in September and want to throw myself a party. For good reasons, my siblings are unable to do this. They will be able to help.
What I'm concerned about is the etiquette. My thoughts are to provide a meal and a cash bar. The food would be prepared by my family and myself. The cash bar is due to the venue being our local community centre and rules relating to booze in our province.
Google hasn't been too helpful, but perhaps you may be able to provide links that might help me.
I'm experienced in event planning, so that's a doddle. Just want to do this without making blunders.
suzycatsuzycat on July 28th, 2014 12:37 am (UTC)
I'm not sure what you mean by etiquette, exactly. Why would there be a problem with a meal and a cash bar? It is what it is. If people have a problem with you not putting on free booze for them, that's their problem not yours.

Frankly I think that when you turn 60 you can have ANY KIND OF DAMN PARTY YOU WANT (I am turning 50 in September, oddly enough, so I understand teh value of this party). After all you're only five years away from your pension (LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL) at least where I come from. Goddamn, what a weird feeling that must be. Because as I now realise, most people don't exactly FEEL like an OAP or even look or act like one once they are officially an OAP. You are now officially old enough to do whatever the hell you like and to hell with whippersnappers.

jackieblue92jackieblue92 on July 28th, 2014 01:13 am (UTC)
Basically all of this. It's not a wedding. That's the only party I would go to that I'd bea nnoyed to find out that it's a cash bar.
suzycatsuzycat on July 28th, 2014 01:17 am (UTC)
And besides, you can make it really clear that it's a cash bar on the invitations, so nobody would be surprised. If people care more about paying for their own drinks than they do helping you celebrate, well... they have that choice.
tudorpottudorpot on July 28th, 2014 01:44 am (UTC)
thanks, nods re weddings with cash bars
tudorpottudorpot on July 28th, 2014 01:43 am (UTC)
great comment, thanks
piperki: Burningpiperki on July 28th, 2014 01:25 am (UTC)
As most (all?) of the guests are local, no doubt they're well aware of the alcohol rules in your province. They probably won't be surprised by the cash bar.
tudorpottudorpot on July 28th, 2014 01:45 am (UTC)
I was more interested in the response to throwing my own party. I read a Ms Manners post were the birthday girl wanted her best buds to pitch in for the price of a pizza - talk about tacky!

Edited at 2014-07-28 01:46 am (UTC)
piperkipiperki on July 28th, 2014 02:31 am (UTC)
I don't think it's so awful...it's not like you're throwing yourself a party in Aruba and asking everyone to fly to it, bring presents AND pay for your hotel and air.

When I was leaving my old job, I really wanted to have a pizza lunch with all of my favorite co-workers and I could not afford pizza for 70+ people (it was a very big company and I worked with many teams). I emailed everyone an invite to my pizza lunch and said I'd accept contributions to the party fund. Nobody batted an eyelash and I got enough cash to buy the pizzas. People were excited to have a legitimate reason for a festive lunch instead of "we're all stuck in this dull meeting so here's pizza." I think if everyone knows you and you're not typically the eye of the drama hurricane, nobody's going to question your invitation at all.
Kevin Richardthirteenrocks on July 28th, 2014 05:05 am (UTC)
I've learned over the years, if I want to have a birthday party, I need to throw it myself. You go girl. You throw that party! I would expect people to rsvp. Decide if you want to say, no gifts. Sounds like a fabulous party.
suzycatsuzycat on July 28th, 2014 05:13 am (UTC)
This! Where I come from people throw their own parties. It's just normal.
Jaelle n'ha Gillajaelle_n_gilla on July 28th, 2014 08:07 am (UTC)
I think if you tell people what to expect in the invitation, there can hardly be a breach of etiquette. It's your party, your rules, and you pay for the food and ask them to pay for their own alcoholic drinks. That's a nice invitation I should think. You can even explain why that is (the venue's rules). If people have a problem with it, they can politely decline.

Maybe you can provide water and soda in bottles on the table? Pre-buy it from said bar?

Also: Happy birthday :)
mirhanda: The Accolademirhanda on July 28th, 2014 06:45 pm (UTC)
Obviously you do what you want. But the etiquette rules are that you *can* throw yourself a party if you don't mention that it's a birthday party on the invitation. If you invite people to your "birthday party" it looks like a gift grab, which you don't want, I'm sure. If you just invite them to a party and spring it on them when they arrive (like a reverse surprise party) then it's just fine. Also, cash bars, while done by people, obviously, are of dubious manners because it's like charging people to come to your party. If you feel you just can't offer this sort of hospitality without making your guests pay for it, why not just have sodas and things?
(Deleted comment)
mirhandamirhanda on July 29th, 2014 05:07 pm (UTC)
Well, she did ask what was the correct etiquette and I'm just supplying that information. It's rude to charge your guests, it's rude to throw your own birthday party and it's even considered rude to put "no gifts" because that indicates you do expect gifts. She is bound to do whatever she wants anyway, but she did ask about what is considered *correct*.

The reason it's rude to announce it's your birthday, even IF you put "no gifts" is because some people will bring gifts anyway because they feel obligated on birthdays and then those who didn't will feel badly. And also what do you do with the gifts that some people DID bring? Do you expect adults to sit around watching the opening of the gifts like a pack of 6-year-olds? It's just a mess all around and best avoided.

The reason behind not having a cash bar is that it's rude to throw a party but not to actually offer hospitality to your guests. It's just "not done" to charge your guests as if you were a bar.

Obviously people do all of these things, but she asked what is correct.
tudorpottudorpot on July 29th, 2014 06:40 pm (UTC)
I'd be interested in where these "rules" are to be found. This is the first comment to mention that it's bad manners to hold your own birthday party. If you offer non-alchoholic beverages and food, that's hospitality. Re booze - it's expensive and there are significant liability issues if you hold an open bar and someone kills themselves after due to drunk driving. That's why our province has certain rules re bars in public places. I was planning to use our local community centre as my home is under renovations.
tudorpottudorpot on July 30th, 2014 04:06 am (UTC)
not much help
mmhmsupermelanie on July 30th, 2014 03:10 am (UTC)
I throw my own birthday party every year! It seems much ruder to me to expect someone else to do it for you. Plus I throw great parties. ;)

I've never said no gifts and this is the first year I ever got any--perhaps because it was a milestone year (dirty 30, wooo). If you don't want gifts, and don't want to just say "no gifts," you can always say "in lieu of gifts, please bring a (snack/drink/game) to share" or "please consider a donation to (your favorite worthy cause)." </p>

You can spell out on the invitation "per local statutes, the bar will be cash" or whatever if you think that will appease potential critics. But honestly unless I'm at a wedding, I never expect free booze.

Have fun and enjoy your party!! :)