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Etiquette for a casual birthday get-together - paying, etc. ??

Hi all, I'm new here. I found a similar thread while doing a search for this - but it was directed more towards someone inviting people out for their own birthday. In this case, it's my husband's birthday, and I want to surprise him and have friends meet up around 7 or 8 p.m. for drinks. We have young kids and we don't usually go out that late (have sitter for kids for this), but I was thinking about it and probably a lot of people in this group are used to going out and eating dinner later on a Saturday night, so now I'm wondering if this will be expected to be a dinner thing. I'm trying to figure out if I should be planning to buy everyone's dinner, pay the entire tab, or just some appetizers and first round of drinks, etc.? We would probably stay at the same restaurant/brewery the whole time, so people would be hanging around drinking for a while, and I don't want it to be awkward as far as who's paying for what. ?? This will be like 12-15 people- siblings and close friends. I didn't send out invites or evites but just mentioned it to people casually, like oh for his birthday if you are free I'm trying to get some people together. No one asked if it would be dinner or just drinks or what, but I guess they probably don't know what to expect. What is the proper etiquette on something like this? Thanks!

Apr 08, 2011
mooma in Not About Food