Do you pay for everyone at your birthday dinner out?
Or does everyone split it? Or do they pay for you?
We've always split it or paid for the birthday girl/boy. But as I get older, I'm thinking it might be nice to pay for the whole thing. Wondering what others do.
It depends on how invitations are issued. I have invited people over to my home for takeout that I have paid for myself. I have been invited to birthday dinners by the honoree who has paid. In other words, the honoree has been the host, both doing the inviting and providing for the hospitality.
But, more typically, friends ask the honoree where he or she would like to be taken, an invitation is issued by them on behalf of the group that has a custom of observing each others birthdays in this manner, and people split the cost (including the honorees portion). In this context, there is no host as such.
I'm a traditionalist. I think the birthday celebrant ought to have his/her meal paid for by the rest.
Perhaps if the OP's been celebrating her birthday with the same general group of people for a few years, it's a lovely gesture of her to want to pay for the whole gang -- and she ought to if she can afford it and thinks that they're worth the gift.
From personal experience as you get older (maybe after college) throwing a birthday party for "yourself" seems self-serving and you could be expected to pay.
If others want to throw you a party then they can split the costs for you.
It really depends on your group of friends and and your history. Are there new people invited or is it a core group? In my group, the friends pay for the Birthday Boy or Girl....however, since you indicate you want to pay for the whole thing.....just do it and forget whatever anyone else tells you, like myself.
Whenever I want to pay for the group, upon entering the restaurant I give the owner my Credit Card and I tell him I'm paying......no arguments. When the others ask for the check, they are told it's already been paid for.
Recent thread (not entirely on this topic – but, partly so): http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/654575