I recently attended a small, impromptu wedding. The bride’s mother was visiting from overseas, so the couple decided to quickly plan a small wedding. The couple created a Facebook event and sent out invites through that. In the description, they started off saying it was a NO HOST dinner/reception. I didn’t know what that was, so I googled what a no host dinner was: essentially it’s every person paying for their own meals and drinks (going dutch). I’ve never encountered such a wedding, but okay, my SO and I would go anyways, celebrate, we’ll just stick to a budget.
A week later the bride announces, also on Facebook, that they’d like monetary gifts and will be setting up a money tree. I was shocked by that, since the guests essentially were paying for the reception. My SO and I already RSVP’d so it’d be rude not to show up. This made us discuss that we’ll order small and give a monetary gift. Note: in my culture monetary gifts are a norm, but we also never expect the guests to pay for their own meals. If the gifts help offset the costs paid, great, but we don’t expect others to pay for our weddings.
When we get to the restaurant, the tables are still being set up, and quite a few people are looking over the menu, and I could hear some discuss splitting meals as this was a steak restaurant.
Once the tables are set up, we all find out that each place setting has a prix fixe menu: each table gets a calamari and beef tenderloin over rice starters, then each person chooses a soup or salad, and one of four entrees. Soft drinks are included. I asked if the waitress can bring me and SO a separate check, and I was informed of the following: the set menu is about $40/ person, with all the guests being added to a main bill for the party, and every bottle of wine opened will also be added to the main bill. Then, it’d be split evenly by the number of guests. I was beyond shocked. My SO stepped outside to calm down.
I then see some of the family starting to order wine and talking about refills. I wasn’t about to subsidize their drinking. I asked the waitress to put $40 on the bill for me as my contribution and gift to this wedding, told my SO to stay outside, and once I signed my receipt I left.
The bride sent me a text about 10 minutes later asking if we left. I told her yes because I didn’t expect for this arrangement nor for a bill I had no control over. I congratulated them on their wedding and wished them the best. 0113-15