This is on behalf of my friend "Zoe".
Zoe's birthday is coming up, and she is hosting her own birthday party (in our circle, this is not uncommon. No one has a problem with it, so that's not the issue here).
Zoe is planning on treating a group of girl friends (around 6-8 people) to afternoon tea at a nice cafe. The issue is that Zoe has a new-ish boyfriend (of around 5 months standing) and would like him to attend also. Several of the invitees have husbands or boyfriends, but Zoe can't afford to pay for them all (she is a grad student on a limited budget). Inviting the husbands/boyfriends would mean that several of Zoe's single friends would need to be cut from the guest list (so she could stay within her budget), and Zoe is reluctant to do that.
There is an option of going someplace cheaper, so that the SOs can attend, but Zoe has wanted to try this cafe for a long time, and has her heart set on it.
Is it rude of Zoe to invite her friends to a "Girl's Afternoon Tea" but also bring her boyfriend? Or is it ok, since Zoe is both the hostess and the GOH? Would it work if Zoe told her friends in advance that whilst their SOs were not invited, her boyfriend would be present?