When is it ok for guests to pay for their food?

by Amanda

(West Coast, Florida)

So we all know that majority of the world is in a financial struggle right now so keeping that in mind, my question is when is it ok for guests to pay their own way and how would one go about informing the guests?

To give a run down, my best friend wants to throw a baby shower for me but I moved 2 hours away from my hometown where her and a good 90% of the guest list live. She has come to me many times to discuss my opinion of different options. It has already been agreed that myself and family would make the drive back to my hometown area. The option of having the shower at someones house is unavailable, the nearby community centers are asking for deposits and approximately $300 just too reserve the building or room. Our final thought is having it at a restaurant such as Olive Garden, I’ve been told we can request a group discounted menu with options for the guests to choose from individually. Again with this menu added up for 20-30 people were hitting the few hundred dollar range that I would never expect my friend or any single person to pay in full aside from a cake and supplies for games.

As I do know traditional etiquette would never allow this, we do live in modern days of bad economy and understanding, so please… No bad manner bashing or rude/offensive comments.

Thank you.
Amanda and soon to be, baby Ashton.

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