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The Cost of Hosting Friends For Dinner

I'm Asking: Would You Accept Cash From Friends For Hosting?

At the end of a barbecue a couple of weeks ago, my friends turned to me and asked, "How much do we owe?" It was one of the first big get-togethers of the Summer, and my boyfriend and I had taken on most of the duties, after all, we were hosting. It was our idea to have friends over, and cook up some dinner. A couple friends brought wine, which is always nice to see when you're hosting. But, other than the couple bottles of red and white, I was happy to shop and prepare the meal — I knew what I was getting myself into when I invited guests over. So, as friends were preparing to leave, and each offered to pay me their share of the costs, I just laughed politely and refused.

What surprised me was the following weekend when we headed to one of our good friend's for a similar Summer cookout. This time, on the way out, she politely asked each person to leave $10 to cover the cost of food. Of course, $10 isn't a lot to ask, but after the situation at my place, it was a little awkward. Still, everyone paid their share, and that was that. Obviously, if you're paying for groceries for a group of friends it's nice to be reimbursed, but then again, if you've invited friends doesn't covering those costs go hand in hand with hosting? What do you think?

Join The Conversation
Cindy-M Cindy-M 4 years
I recently asked my friends to pitch in, but they seriously inconvenienced me. We had originally planned a fondue for six to eight and then some friends cancelled. A few of us decided that we would do it without them and we would go shopping for food together. The weekend rolled around and there were still no confirmed plans to shop but the fondue was still on so I went alone, thinking that I was doing my friends a favour. The next day they confirmed, but they had assumed that since I shopped that they did not have to pay so I accepted that and moved on. I also got stuck with prepping all the food, as they were working all weekend. Then some friends (4 more!) opted back in the night before and talked to everyone but me. They called me on the day of the event to say it was now at their place, and they were going to buy food. I had prepared everything for four by then so I let them know not to bother doing groceries as I had already done everything and we agreed it would be easier to just for me add to what I already had. Nobody gave me dime for any of it, even though two weeks prior the plan was to split. They were angry with me for asking for $20 per person, even though that wouldn't have covered the total. I don't think it was unfair for me to ask.
Alicia-Wehner Alicia-Wehner 6 years
If you are having an event and you are expecting a payment you must state that in advance. After the fact is a very under handed way of doing things and people will most likely they will not return again (or invite you again).
Caitie64 Caitie64 6 years
That's just rude. If you all plan an event and agree to split costs that's one thing but you don't throw a party and then say ok pay up. Like the others said your hosting. It's simple etiquette.
JoneyStar JoneyStar 6 years
I don't think there is anything wrong with accepting donations from friends after an occasion because its a polite way of saying thanks for hosting and we want to help you for the cost. But I don't think you should ask for them to share the cost after the affair. If that is what you wanted them to do in the first place then it would have been polite to note it on the invite or what would have been better is to leave out a donation/contribution box out in plain view so that if anyone wanted to leave you something they could do it anonymously. You should never put your guest on the spot like that! Thats rude and embarrassing. What of the guest who didn't have $10 to contribute? Or those that don't carry cash? Or those who don't anticipate that last minute expense of maybe even dishing out $20 or more for their family of four? Really how rude it that?
lizkiernan lizkiernan 7 years
My Grandmother had a saying: "If you don't have enough money to feed them, entertain them, and fill them with booze, then you have no business throwing a party."
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 7 years
I sincerely hope this is a trend that is on the way out.
SpecialSmoothie SpecialSmoothie 7 years
I have never heard of this kind of behavior - outside of an etiquette book saying what not to do! Agree with all the comments above: in the invite, say it's potluck or it would be great for everyone to bring a side dish/wine - in-kind contributions. Asking for money is tacky. The only time I have been at a party where money has been asked for was for a second keg after the first went dry - and we are only recently out of college.
Happsmjc Happsmjc 7 years
Agreed with everything above! Again, we have a huge family that gets together a lot so we never make the hosting house cook and pay for everything. We make a menu and everyone brings different dishes and contribute that way (so I often do this with friends because of my family, always bringing food, drinks, desserts to their house, never showing up empty handed). But to ask for money, so ridiculous. Next time go out to eat--RUDE.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 7 years
In a word: No. I'm appalled by that social behavior. Incidentally, when I'm invited to someone's home, I always bring a hostess gift. I don't reimburse her, per se, but I bring a gift to show my appreciation for entertaining me at her home.
LilaD LilaD 7 years
Oh wow! I agree with those who said it's only acceptable (and only kind of) if people know beforehand that they are expected to contribute. Within a group of friends, I would think that everyone would play host at some point so it would even out. With one time events, though, I would probably bring something but the host should not expect people to pay.
amber512 amber512 7 years
That's why we always do potlucks. Everyone pitches in and no one worries about giving anyone else $$.
imLissy imLissy 7 years
wtf?? asking people to bring food is OK, but you don't ask people to give you money. wow!
weffie weffie 7 years
We all chip in if we're celebrating a birthday or something because we're all treating the guest of honour, but if it's a just-because gathering the host covers the food cost. However we do a lot of BYOB in my group since there are a few heavier drinkers... When I host I get a few bottles of wine, a case of beer and fixings for 1 or 2 types of cocktails, and I tell my friends ahead of time what will be available. That way people that will only have a drink or two don't have to bring their own, but the ones that will drink excessively know to come prepared.
chloe-bella chloe-bella 7 years
I think it's fine if you're a 21 year old college student who's renting a keg. As an adult, it's not acceptable. Either buy food that is in your price range, or don't host the party at all. I think traditional etiquette dictates bringing a bottle of wine if you're a guest (unless the host says beforehand that it's pot-luck), which more than satisfies any obligation on the guest's part.
sourcherries sourcherries 7 years
Ugh. Why are manners and common sense so MIA these days?? If you are hosting, you are h-o-s-t-i-n-g, i.e. bearing all costs (this includes physical labor to clean house, etc.). Guest should bring a nice hostess gift (which you will NOT be expecting but be properly gratified and gracious when receiving). If it is a potluck, then each guest's contribution is implied. Oh, and lastly, if you are hosting a potluck, putting out condiments and meal supplies (paper plates, plasticware, etc.) does NOT count as putting forth your "share"/dish.
isahrangme isahrangme 7 years
i don't think it's tacky to ask people to pitch in. but ONLY IF the guests know beforehand! it IS tacky to ask people to pitch in at the end, when they didn't expect to pitch in. sure it's not much, but yea that's just weird my friends will have bbq's and we'll either do it potluck style, or we know that we're pitching in and pay our part right away. but, i'm only 23 and a lot of my friends are either in school and/or working but not making too much. maybe it'd be different if we were all working full time?
GirlOverboard GirlOverboard 7 years
*You're (Man, I wish I could edit my posts!)
GirlOverboard GirlOverboard 7 years
I agree 100% with the both of you. I'm sorry but if you can't or don't want to pay for the cost of hosting, I think it's way less tacky to ask people to contribute beforehand, as long as you don't make it sound like an obligation. Or, collaborate beforehand and make it a potluck - let everyone know what dish your making and what things you hope to have people bring. You can use a site like to make sure everyone knows what everyone else is bringing, or get in touch with each attending person to ask what they're considering bringing to make sure you don't end up with half of your party bringing only beer or wine.
skigurl skigurl 7 years
Wow, your friend who asked for $10 a head is a real piece of work. I'd be disgusted. If you can't afford to have a party, then don't. And if you need "contributions" then accept them in-kind, ie: if someone asks what they can bring, tell them! People should always be asking what they can bring. I'm surprised you said people only brought wine to your house and no food contribution. I always bring a few little desserts or an appetizer or something to a BBQ (not a formal dinner party but a BBQ for sure).
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