Ramblings of a Ringless Wife

Ringless Wife, Messy House, Cluttered Brain. All in a standard day.

June 16: Is paying for your own meal too much to expect?

on June 17, 2012


When I had my 18th and 21st, I was pretty stingy. I had a dinner for my 18th, in lieu of a party, and a dinner AND a party for my 21st. My 21st dinner was more for family on the actual day (I turned 21 on the Monday, my party was the following weekend).

At both of the dinners, I asked specifically for no gifts, just pay for your own meals and drinks. Of course, at my 21st party (where there were no tables or allocated seating, etc) My family and I had supplied the finger foods.

This brings me to ask: is being asked  to pay for your own meal too much when you’re invited to a party?

Personally, I am all for “pay for your own meal” instead of presents. Why? Let me dot point it for you. I love me some dot points.

  • It removes the responsibility of getting a present. This way, you don’t have to worry if the receiver will like it or not.
  • It helps out the host
  • You may get a pick in what you eat (so no eating something that may be disgusting to you)
  • You don’t have to worry about scoffing something prior to the party if it is over a meal time
  • You don’t have to do dishes
  • You get to combine a night of celebrating with a meal

I have to admit, that Dan and I have disagreed on this one. I think, when we eventually  get married, it is perfectly acceptable to ask people to pay for their own meals at the reception. After all, Dan and I have been living together for nearly seven years, we have everything that is a normal wedding present, and it cheapens the cost for us.
Dan, however, thinks it is wrong and seems a bit off to have invited someone to a wedding and not have fed them. However, this being said, we have been to weddings where we have paid for our meals in lieu of presents and he admitted that it wasn’t as bad an idea as he had originally thought.

Some people, though, disagree. They believe that if you are invited to a shindig (I love that word!) that you should not have to pay for that privilege and it falls upon the hosts head. Some dot points I have noticed against the thought are:

  • You may have to eat something you dislike
  • You have been invited somewhere, and therefore shouldn’t be expected to pay
  • The meal cost may be significantly more than what is a reasonable amount for a present
  • A present is something to be looked on and remembered from, where a meal won’t be
  • If you have kids, you may have to pay more money than what the child will eat – eg, you pay for a full meal and your child eats only the chips
  • Other places have better meals at better prices.

I think that the paying of your own meal is not that big of a deal. There are plenty of reasons for it, but I will acknowledge that there are plenty against it.

What are your thoughts? Do you think it is acceptable or do you think that if you invite someone, you should pay?
Leave your answer in the comment box and let’s get a discussion flowing 🙂



7 responses to “June 16: Is paying for your own meal too much to expect?

  1. Briony says:

    21sts and things like that it’s totally acceptable too ask people to pay for their meal as long as you supply something eg drinks. I wouldn’t like it at a wedding though. I think if you want to get married on a budget, you should have a lunch or an afternoon tea wedding instead of a full, evening sit down dinner. For the people that have everything, a wishing well is a perfect idea.

    • Kloi-Jayd says:

      Hi B! Thanks for reading x
      This blog was more aimed towards birthdays and things, but I can see where by throwing in the wedding example it has become something different.

  2. i agree with briony, we are (despite the cost) having a sit down dinner for our wedding, for a couple of reasons, after a day on my feet and squeezing in something to eat where i can i would like to sit down to eat and rest my feet, we can go table to table to catch up with everyone so as to be sure we dont miss anyone, we can sit down and relax as im sure my feet and children will need it by then. we have 2 houses full of furniture etc to join into 1 so we too dont wish for presents but we are doing a wishing well to help us with our honeymoon, we have gone rather extravegant and still kept the cost of the ceremony and reception pretty low, if you are ultra concerned about costs then cull your guest list, we have, no children except our own, and only close family and friends, we have managed to keep the guest list to 50 adults, we budgeted $90 a head, but for $100 a head we got the entire ceremony, limo, nights stay in the honeymoon suite, breakfast with our staying guests the next morning and alcohol for our guest and selves in a gorgeous hotel. the way i see it is women generally and sometimes men dream of this day their whole lives and im am damn sure im only doing it once so why not go all out. also alot of hotels offer a huge dicount if you have the wedding on a friday instead of saturday and cut costs down if you dont want things like the limo or honeymoon suite. we took the higher of the packages but i think they started at like 50 bucks a head

    • Kloi-Jayd says:

      This blog was more aimed at birthdays, but I can see how I’ve confused everyone.
      For weddings, I think it’s something different and is based on what sort of relationship you have with your guests, what theme you’re going for, and if the majority of your guests can afford and if you can afford to pay for the guests who can’t.
      I have been to both kinds of weddings and I felt they both worked 🙂

  3. I agree with the above. Generally, I’m all for pay-for-your-food instead of bringing presents. I also did that for my 18th and 19th birthday and it worked just fine.
    However, with weddings, I don’t think that works that well, it’s a huge organization and people would appreciate it if they have something to eat when they finally sit down to rest and enjoy a conversation or two, rather than wait for to start ordering then. To save on budget and not have any issues, as said above, you can cut down the guest list to the closest people and maybe in the invitation ask them to let you know if they have any issues with certain food – you might be able to manage that for them if they call on time. If not, their fault, it’s not your place to feel bad about it. 🙂

    • Kloi-Jayd says:

      Hi mate, as I’ve said before, this was more aimed at birthdays than weddings but I can see where I have confused the issue for a lot of people.
      I think, if I were to have a “pay for your own” wedding, the menu would be well discussed to avoid having to stand in line and order 🙂

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