Tips for Planning a Party at a Restaurant

Last Friday night proved to be very special for me as I celebrated my birthday with my sister Kiki and her fiancé Sander, my close friend Mike from college, and our dear friends Hélène and Thiago — oh and Marc!

New York City is expensive and yet New Yorkers tend to go out to eat. When you have a big group of people and are celebrating a birthday or other occasion, think ahead. Here at CloudMom, we like to think things through and be organized. Birthdays are no different from babies — you gotta have a plan!

How to Plan a Dinner Party at a Restaurant

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Having gotten stuck with some unnecessarily big bills in the past, Marc and I have learned. Don’t just sit down and let the dinner unwind organically. Choose your restaurant carefully, and control the budget.

Tips for Planning a Party at a Restaurant

So with all that being said, here are some tips on how to plan a birthday or other dinner at a restaurant.

  1. Call ahead and ask for a prix fixe. This can include wine, beer, sparkling and still water.
  2. Bring your own cake. If the restaurant charges a “plating fee,” negotiate to cut that out.
  3. Choose wisely. Find a place with family-style appetizers and entrees. People don’t mind — in fact, they usually love the choice!
  4. Don’t feel bad about asking your guests to split the bill. People are happy to be celebrating with you and to participate. If you can afford it, offer to pick up the wine or the tip.
  5. Only invite people you adore! Dining out is a special treat. If you need to entertain acquaintances, do that at home.

My birthday is officially over yet I’ll be warmed over by the memories of time spent with close family and friends. Do the same for yourself!


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Thanks for stopping by and make sure to check back for more! xo

  • Alina

    Happy Birthday! Love you tips and specially the last one – “Only invite people you adore! “

  • mami2jcn

    I like the tip about only inviting people you adore!

  • Justine

    Lovely pictures.

  • EBT

    I’ve never done this. Seems much easier though.

  • Calvin F.

    Awesome tips, thanks for sharing

  • Ashley Wilson

    I wish I would have seen this a month ago while planning my husbands party. Great tips!

  • Mathew Larsen

    good tips

  • bellagirl07

    subscribe on youtube as

  • Em Salonga


  • Cheryl Chervitz

    Great tips, thank you.

  • Katherine Gray

    Thanks for the tips!

  • CloudlessMe

    Thanks for the tips!

  • shannon fowler

    These are some great tips. I always feel like the birthday girl/boy shouldn’t pick up any of the bill. Its their day to be treated.

  • Lucas Baranov

    Awesome tips!

  • Hurdler4eva

    I love this idea and will probably have my next birthday party at a restaurant.

  • Natalie

    I hope you had a marvelous birthday! May you have many more wonderful birthdays to come.

  • cynthiac

    These tips make for a much more relaxed experience, knowing wheat the cost will be ahead of time. Very smart!

  • dglitter

    Planning a party at a restaurant would certainly take the pressure off me!

    • Right? One of the great things about a restaurant party = you don’t have to cook!!

  • MelanieBolin

    Cool post, cool sweeps 🙂

  • Seyma Shabbir

    Thanks for the tips! We usually celebrate bday parties at restaurants.

    • Sure! Thanks for reading, Seyma!

  • Linda G.

    Very good tips, happy belated birthday!

  • Marty C.

    Good tips, but I gotta disagree with the idea that “Only invite people you adore! Dining out is a special treat. If you need to entertain acquaintances, do that at home.”

    For me, restaurants are for acquaintances. Home is a treat for friends 🙂

    • I can’t disagree with you there, Marty! I think it depends on the situation and people. Thanks for reading! 🙂

  • Antoinette M

    Thanks for the tips. Seems like you had a great time.

  • evamack

    in for the fun

  • rosannepm

    The idea of bringing your own cake is a good one. Had not thought of that Rosanne

  • Sharon Braswell

    Love them all and I’ve done a few myself! #5 is my favorite though and that’s exactly what I did for one of my big birthday celebrations and we were all perfect and so much fun together!! Thank you and as always I so enjoy the pictures you post and your family!!

  • slehan

    I like this: Only invite people you adore! Dining out is a special treat. If you need to entertain acquaintances, do that at home.
    Thanks for the contest.
    slehan at juno dot com

  • Ed

    Split the bill? For a party I planned? What would Miss Manners say?

  • Laurie Nykaza

    Thanks for the party tips . I have my favorite bakery make a cake and bring it to the party and have not had to pay a fee but I had people say they did pay a plate fee too.

  • Zoey

    Very helpful tips, thanks for sharing!

  • kathypease

    My husband and I rarely eat out but we need to change that.

  • susan1215

    Great tips, When we are invited to celebrate a friend or relatives birthday we just assume we will be paying for our own dinner and that’s how it should be.

  • Jerry Marquardt

    Thank you for the tips and pointers. I would like to thank you so much for your involvement in this really great giveaway, and for giving a chance for us to win.

  • Jerry Marquardt

    I would like to honor your great and outstanding reviews. Keep up the great work in the future and thanks for the chance to win.