I'm inviting 8 friends to celebrate my 50th birthday party at a "girls' weekend" getaway. My BFF is hosting at her beach house. Here's the big picture... guests will stay 2 nights at my friend's beach house (free, obviously). I'm going to order sushi for the Friday night dinner, and pay for it myself. I set up a private beach yoga class and a wine tasting at a nearby vineyard... I'm paying for both, but neither are very expensive. I'll also stock the house with some groceries for breakfasts and lunches.
I'm not sure how to handle the big Saturday night dinner. We could:
1) Go to a pretty nice restaurant, not terribly upscale, and not on the beach, but maybe a nice family Italian- type place. I'd set up a family style menu ahead of the time and pay for everything myself. It would be nice enough, but not super nice. It would be affordable for me to treat everyone because I'd control the costs by ordering ahead.
2) Go to a more occasion-worthy restaurant and let everyone order off the menu. There are some really nice foodie-type places with ocean views, but they're pricier. If I did this, I don't think I could swing paying the bill for the whole group, especially if everyone goes hog-wild ordering wine, appetizers, and desserts.
Since I'm inviting everyone to celebrate my birthday with me, is it expected that I pay for everything? Is it tacky to ask my gals to go dutch for the big Saturday dinner?