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OK, this is awkward: a birthday dinner when all of the guests don't know its your birthday.....

One of my husband's sisters called tonight: she and her hubby got a great last-minute package deal and are coming out to Vegas from the east coast later this week. It was rather unexpected, and we already had plans to be away starting Saturday...and I work late on Thursday. DH will get more of a visit than I will due to my work schedule, but obviously I want to see them as well...we only see each other about once a year if that. So, it was agreed before I even got in on the conversation: we'd all go out Friday night. DH was reporting the phone call to me and then says: "oh, that's your birthday, isn't it?" Now, birthdays aren't THAT big of a deal to me, and we already celebrated two weeks ago when DH turned sixty...but still, I was looking forward to champagne and a nice dinner at home cooked by my favorite husband/cook. Instead I need someplace on or near the strip with a celebratory feel, plenty of vegetarian options, middle-of-the road in cost, NOT a steakhouse, and that won't embarrass me horribly if DH should let slip that its a special day (no waiters singing, in other words!). Ideas? And would you let them know it was your birthday ahead of time so you can celebrate or just avoid possible embarrassment and tell hubby to try and keep his mouth shut?

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  1. everybody keeps their mouth shut, if DH's sister knows and makes a fuss, great. otherwise nobody says nuthin'. dummy up. and then ya tell 'em what it all meant and make them feel like crap since they didn't know to guess. (sorry - I'm a descendant of bad P-A types)

    or on Friday quietly chuckle because they don't have a clue of why you're happy to be treated (even if it's "Dutch treat" - that part should be on DH) and on Saturday unplug the phones with a valid sounding excuse and hunker down in the kitchen - hey! a two-fer!.

    I barely remember my sisters b-days much less their husbands. and I think I'd freak them if I did. so I'd guess she doesn't remember yours.

    1. How about Vintner Grill? You might even ask for an outdoor table. I think it's pretty festive and they have a fair number of vegetarian options I believe.

      Vintner Grill
      10100 W. Charleston Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 89135

      1. Why not let the restaurant know? Lots of places will comp you a dessert.

        1. janetofreno, since it's your hubby's sister, I would defer to his capable sense of priority to handle the what ifs and his wish to make you happy. If it were me, my SIL would know (even if it meant a gentle reminder) that there visit coincides with my birthday and that would lead to a conversation as to where we would all enjoy a meal that would make everyone, including the birthday girl, happy.

          2 Replies
          1. re: HillJ

            lol....he was the one that asked me for suggestions...and I drew a blank. The one place I could think of was Charlie Palmer's for the cut of the week...but since his sister is vegan and her husband vegetarian that just didn't seem like such a good choice :-)

            1. re: janetofreno

              Then ask your inlaws to pick a place....one that would include choices for them and a nice birthday dinner for you and hubby. Ask them to do a bit of research :)

          2. I would feel terrible if I were a guest and did not know it was the host's birthday. By all means, tell her in a matter of fact way, something along the lines of "oh what a treat to see you guys on my birthday!" They may feel obligated to buy a gift, but this is far, far better than feeling awful because they didn't even know.

            7 Replies
              1. re: Isolda

                yep, also agree with this - they will feel AWFUL if they find out later. You can totally mention it by the by like Isolda said, and you should do.

                1. re: Isolda

                  well sure if you want to do the right thing, but where's the fun in that?

                  but the reaction of "what perfect timing and that's a place we've heard a lot of good things" is probably best in the long run.

                  1. re: hill food

                    I guess the first question we all should have asked is "Do you LIKE your sister in law, or do you want to make her feel guilty?" :-P I sort of get the impression that she's a nice person, though.

                    I had a secret birthday once. Everyone was snowed in, so birthday plans had to be canceled. I trudged to a bar in the neighborhood so I wouldn't be sitting in my house alone, but didn't tell anyone it was my birthday because I thought it would be obnoxious. It was all very depressing.

                    1. re: jvanderh

                      jvdh: oh I remember something much more pathetic, but this isn't a pissing contest. I'll make you cry some other day.

                      1. re: hill food

                        These threads aren't pissing contests?!?! Do people know about this?? :-P

                        No, but seriously, lay it on me. No one likes to be pathetic alone.

                        1. re: jvanderh

                          mine too is in winter, new town, no real friends there, broke with a new job that paid once a month and due to the pay cycle wasn't going to see anything for about 3 more weeks, and I had the flu.

                          ok I can imagine worse.

                2. Totally awkward! When I was invited to a relative's on my birthday last year (and felt I couldn't get out of it because we had turned them down a few times in a row), I didn't want anyone to make a big deal out of it, so I showed up with a cake and announced, "By the way, it's my birthday!" But I don't think you can get away with this unless it was already understood that your DH's sister will pay, because otherwise they may suddenly feel obligated to pay.

                  I do think you need to tell them either before or that night -- otherwise they'll feel terrible or at least awkward if they find out afterward. Whether you want to make it celebratory or low-key is up to you -- maybe you could have your husband call his sister a few days in advance and say, "I forgot to tell you, that night is Janet's birthday, so [let's go to X restaurant she loves] [come on over for some cake after dinner] [don't forget to wish her a happy birthday but she doesn't want anybody to make a fuss over it]" or whatever else it is you want.

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: Pia

                    Thanks for all the feedback folks. Actually, its kind of assumed that my BIL and SIL will pay; they invited us out and they are the type that like to treat. As far as places, my BIL sent me an email to the effect of "Firefly on Paradise sounds good" and I thought to myself: "Perfect!" So he did his research, obviously. And as far as letting them know ahead of time its my birthday, I'll let DH handle that one. Fortunately, his family has a tradition of usually only giving birthday gifts to children, so I don't have to worry about them feeling obligated to do that....

                    1. re: janetofreno

                      janetofreno, this sounds like it all worked out very well!

                      1. re: HillJ

                        PS: Saw SIL and BIL tonight and they said something like: "So, tomorrow's your birthday, huh?" So obviously someone clued them in. Either that or they just saw my facebook page:-) But the nice part is that she brought me a homemade food item that she knows I absolutely love, and a generous amount of it too, so I am a happy camper!

                        1. re: janetofreno

                          Yeah better thanb thought B-Day then! enjoy!!!

                          1. re: janetofreno

                            oh I'm so happy this is working out afterall. Maybe SIL/BIL are on CH? :)
                            care to share what this yummy food item was?

                            1. re: HillJ

                              lol: its hard to explain. My brother and his sister (and her husband) are all from the state of Gujarat, and she brought me two Gujarati treats. My favorite that I mentioned is something they call "biscuits". The closest thing to it I can think of are biscotti....only they are smaller (about 1 or 2 inch rounds) with caraway seeds baked in. And butter. Lots of butter. Its my other SIL's recipe. They are hard-baked and perfect for dunking in coffee or tea! They also bought me some chevro (no idea how to spell it; that's how it sounds) which is a Gujarati snack mix with cereal, peanuts, etc. Think Chex Mix on steroids. Yum.

                              BTW, dinner was lovely, and there was no singing or embarrassment. They did however, present me with a small (jewelry) gift. Of course, they shouldn't have:-)

                              1. re: janetofreno

                                Ah!!! I so understand!
                                I am American but my husband is from Goa and Mumbai. It is difficult to bring back homemade treats!

                                I am so very glad your birthday was lovely. Of course you deserved the gift!

                                1. re: janetofreno

                                  janetofreno, i'm so happy for you. Those treats sound especially delicious and dinner was a success!

                        2. I think I understand what you are asking. Not so much where to eat (this is on the Not About Food Board) but sorta having your Birthday as you had wished to spend it, preempted by the pretty much random chanced visit of seldom seen folks that, were it any other time this would be great.
                          And you do not wish to have them feel embarrassed, because they had no idea. So you want to have a good visit, a nice time and not have it messed up by an inadvertently DH whisper to the waiter.
                          I say, you do the research, you pick the place, make reservations and seriously speak to FOH Manager explaining that you will be there, and nothing your DH can say to anyone there, staff wise will make ANY sort of birthday celebration. I say explain it to FOH manager same as here, they got a deal, it's seldom we get to see them, they do not know and they would feel, as well as I would feel embarrassed if my DH (bless his heart) told the server to get a mention.

                          Good manners is the art of not making others feel uncomfortable. You really pretty much expect/know your DH in all his kindness and love, would whisper to server to get you the special attention he knows you deserve. Preempt, explain later and remember this Golden rule : It is MUCH easier to get forgiveness than permission.

                          1. Our concept is "Birthday Month". If something comes up on the actual day, then no biggie. I've worked many birthdays (scheduled to again this year). I'd personally just defer the b-day dinner for the two of you, to a slightly later day, and make no issue of the real date.

                            And a very happy birthday (month) to you!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: DuchessNukem

                              yeah! +1

                              And I know Duchess your birthday will be a great one, for you know it is a not the date but how and with whom you celebrate it, And there have been times when I just had the fantastic company of just me!

                            2. I don't understand what the big deal is..."perfect timing that we're going on on friday night! it's my/my wife's birthday, I'll/she'll be delighted to celebrate with you guys!"

                              1. That's when you say 'oh, it's my birthday that day, so it'll be a double delight to see you!' (that's if you really WANT to have dinner with the person. If not, you say 'oh, I'm so sorry, it's my birthday on Saturday and we already had plans to do X, we'll have to wait and spend time with you next time...') or 'It's my birthday. We're doing THIS to celebrate, would you like to join us?'

                                1. whats the big deal? tell them it's your birthday. everyone will say yay and toast you.