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Advice on how to word an invitation

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I'm hestitant to even ask this question after reading threads like this one: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/869326

but I really would like some advice. Here's the deal: I want to invite about a dozen people to celebrate my birthday in a few weeks with dinner at a popular local restaurant, and I want to make clear that they will be my guests, ie I intend to pick up the tab, without being crass about it. The reason I want to make this clear is I don't want anyone to be hesitant about attending because dinner at this place is out of his/her budget. Plus if everyone knows I'm paying for dinner I may get more presents. Yes, that's a joke, but I am seriously puzzling over how best to word the invitation. I should add that amongst my group of friends, the norm for birthday dinners at restaurants is everyone pays for themselves and maybe chips in for the birthday boy/girl, so if I don't make clear that I'm hosting that won't be people's expectation.

Part two of the question: because this is very popular restaurant and the dinner is on a weekend night, I need people to reply promptly so that I can confirm the headcount for the reservation. Suggestions on how to encourage this without resorting to "RSVP requested by [date]," which seems like overkill for a small group dinner?

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Well, do your friends you plan to invite know it is your birthday? If not, perhaps just an invite that says, "I am inviting you to a celebration I am hosting at XYZ restaurant on Sat 12/8/12. Will you celebrate with me as my guest?" Since it is such a small group, I would follow up with a call or personal email to get the head count.
    I think saying you are hosting and asking them to be your guest, gently states that you are footing the bill. And if you follow up with a call/personal email, if they have any specific inquiry, you can explain more as needed.
    They are your friends, you probably have a good grasp on how to approach this.

    1. You could make it a little light -hearted and say 'For my birthday, I've decided to treat myself and my favorite friends to a delicious dinner at XYZ Restaurant. Please say you'll join me to make it a special day!'
      As Quine suggested, follow up with a phone call to confirm. If you've asked very far in advance, a reminder phone call would be in order a day or two before the event. Several people missed a great party for my stepdaughter because they simply forgot, and my son -in-law hadn't thought of a reminder call. Everyone's so busy these days, the fun stuff sometimes gets forgotten!

      1. "To help celebrate my birthday, I would very much appreciate your company and invite you as my guest and treat you to dinner at ___. As this will be an intimate gathering, your prompt response by ___, 2012, is very much appreciated. Thank you."

        1 Reply
        1. re: ipsedixit

          nice one.

        2. Thanks everyone. I'm aware that I was probably overthinking this, but I was completely stuck when i sat down down yesterday to write the email invitation. Based upon your advice, I went with a bit of humor followed by the key phrase "please be my guest . . ." Should be a fun evening!

          1 Reply
          1. re: cookie monster

            I am glad you found a way that works for you! Now it is time for me to say....May your birthday be happy and surrounded by people who you love and care about!

          2. I'm having a party to celebrate my birthday,and I want very much to have you join me as my guest. Date,place ,time! Easy.

            1. How close are these friends? You can always go the very funny and very direct-to-the-point route with "Come to my birthday party! I'm buying!" And then laugh all about. :D

              1. Happy December birthday!

                Sure, since these are probably good friends/family, something light:

                My birthday wish this year is to treat you to dinner at Chez Popular, Saturday, Dec___ at 8PM. As you know, Chez is packed on the weekends, so please call or email me by Dec 8 so that I can get an accurate headcount. Thanks--can't wait to see you!