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Wedding Wednesday – Shared Bachelorette Party Expenses (The Dame sees red)

I’m going to do something I haven’t done in years and that is to respond to a submission story line by line. My comments in red.

I hope you can tell me what you think of this situation.

A friend is getting married soon and her best friend and her sister organized the bachelorette party, which consists of…
– afternoon at a spa, with a special treatment for the bride
– bowling
– dinner at one of her favorite restaurants.

Wow, most brides would (or should) be happy to be the recipient of just ONE of these events.  Let me clarify that what is being organized is not a single party but rather a series of events, each costing money.

Even though the bachelorette is planned for a Saturday, some of the guests couldn’t make it because of work or previous commitments. Others will skip one of the activities or join us only for dinner. (I am probably making it sound like a huge group, but the final count for dinner was 6 people including the bride. I am not entirely sure how many were invited in first place, but I think the original guest list had another 5 or 6 people).

And by “guests”, I’m assuming you mean bridesmaids and close family like mothers?  Had it occurred to any of the organizers that a 50% rsvp rate may be indicative of guests not wanting to be used to fund what may be considered a rather extravagant treat for the bride? 

Since there are a bit less active participants than expected, the two organizers asked if some of the other people invited wanted to contribute to the bride’s part for the day activities anyway. They sent one single message to the group chat and that was it: no further mentions or pressure or guilt trips.

So, a series of events are planned, as well as the purchase of “gadgets”( see below), with the expectation that these 10 or 11 guests would be sharing all expenses. Wasn’t that rather presumptuous to plan and execute an event that requires the shared financial burden of all the guests without those guests having any input into the plans?

They also said that we’d be splitting the dinner check between ourselves (excluding the Bride, obviously): we did not have time to plan a menu with the restaurant and, since there is also a special charity dinner that same evening, it’s unlikely we can get separate checks.

When you write, “…we did not have time to plan a menu…”, does that indicate you are one of the organizers?  It takes 15 minutes on the phone to arrange a specific menu for a special occasion.  

One of the guests, who honestly had been a pain (of the I-will-shoot-down-every-idea-but-offer-no-alternatives variety) throughout the whole planning, immediately said she was only going to pay for herself because she wouldn’t eat much. When the others pointed out that it wasn’t practical, she started throwing a fit: she has no money, the gadgets we got were too expensive (the “gadgets”?  What are those? In addition to spa treatment, bowling and dinner, the group is expected to help fund the purchase of these “gadgets” as well?), the whole thing was way too expensive, she has to pay for more for gas (because she lives in the middle of nowhere), she is tired of paying for other people’s food and so forth. She also complained about being asked to contribute to the day activities and being “forced” to air her financial situation.

Please let me clarify: the message wasn’t aimed at her. The message was aimed at the 5-6 people who rsvped in the negative. That’s a small pool of people. As I said, there are people who aren’t coming at all, people who are skipping one of the two activities and others who are only joining us for dinner. Speaking of dinner, the restaurant is nice, but it’s on the mid-level price range.  But add in spa treatments, bowling and “gadgets”, this day is getting quite expensive.

I get it: when going dutch, some people pay more and some people pay less. However, I am astonished about complaints about costs before we actually know what the cost will be!  I nearly spit my sweet tea all over the monitor reading that!   The organizers have no idea, due to a lack of planning, what the overall costs will be so to my thinking it is quite reasonable for guests to balk at agreeing to pay a portion of an undetermined amount of money.  Also, it’s not like everybody else has money to burn and will demand oysters, caviar and champagne.  There is always one mooch at these “dutch” events who exploits the situation to get more.

To be honest, I couldn’t help but think that, if her finances are in such a bad shape, she should have just declined the invitation in first place or bowed out later when she realized she couldn’t afford it.

Now you are sounding like the bride…or her sister.  You appear to have a perspective that the ability to afford everything the bride believes she is entitled to receive is the criteria for being a bridesmaid.   Poor, or at least fiscally challenged, people have a duty to decline the alleged honor of being a wedding attendant when that “honor” goes beyond buying a dress, wedding gift and travel expenses?   Had it occurred to you that 50% of the invited guests who declined to attend this bachelorette party were “bowing out” as well?

Am I being unreasonable in thinking that? Yep. Were the organizers out of line with their request? 0112-18

When planning an event that will require the shared financial resources of all the guests, the hosts/organizers have two options available to them. 

Option 1: Plan the event knowing what the cost per person will be,  invite guests with that information fully disclosed ahead of time and if the number of guests attending is less than what is needed to financially break even, the hosts/organizers have an obligation to eat the difference themselves.

Option 2:   “Hey fellow bridesmaids!   I think it would be great if we could plan a nice afternoon and evening of special bachelorette events for the bride such as spa treatments, bowling, dinner and ‘gadgets’.  Can everyone pitch in $20 to cover the bride’s expenses?”   Based on the input received from that discussion, the hosts/organizers plan what can be afforded.   Instead of an afternoon of spa treatments which can cost in the hundreds of dollars, maybe all that can be afforded is a mani/pedi.  


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Tan February 7, 2018, 6:36 am

    I agree with most of what is written but “There is always one mooch at these “dutch” events who exploits the situation to get more” I know a few people who don’t get out much and so when the go out they go “all out”. They are not trying to mooch off anyone and will try and pay extra when the bill comes, they just really want to “live it up” when they can.
    I’m used to these kinds of things involving an activity and a dinner but two activities, a dinner and gifts (aka gadgets)??? I’m not surprised half the guests dropped out it sounds very over the top.

  • Heather February 7, 2018, 7:25 am

    A few years ago I was invited to a friend’s birthday party. It was a milestone birthday and another friend was organizing it. We would be going to a nice restaurant and each person was responsible for themselves. We were asked to give a certain amount toward a specific gift (a fancy Nespresso coffeemaker). About a week later the friend called me to say that a few people would not be attending and she wondered if I would be OK with my contribution to the gift being slightly higher because fewer people would be contributing. It was said clearly that if I was uncomfortable giving more, this was fine; the organizers would absorb the extra. The extra amount was negligible (it was only one gift after all) and I was happy to oblige. The one thing that wasn’t mentioned was paying for the birthday girl’s dinner. I need not have worried. One of the organizers took care of paying this herself. A wonderful and stress free time was had by all.

  • kgg February 7, 2018, 7:47 am

    OP sounds like one of the planners of this “event” – if not one of the bride’s sisters, then the bride’s best friend. You all have your expectations of the day, and you want others to fund it. If ten people contribute $100 each, then you have $1,000 to plan your day. But if only five people agree to come, then what you guys are doing is asking them to contribute $200 each instead of coming up with a $500 day.

    Asking others who have already declined if they want to contribute towards the day is super tacky. If they offer money of their own volition, fine, but to ask – no. I don’t care if the planners only asked once and didn’t do “guilt trips.” The fact that the planners went begging is a sign that plans have to be adjusted.

    And it is TOTALLY REASONABLE for people to want a good idea of what they’re going to spend before they are asked to spend money, especially when the planners have already purchased “gadgets” that one deems pricey. I’m sure the planners excitedly bought these gadgets thinking the cost would be split 10 ways instead of coming up with a budget and waiting to see who agreed to contribute.

    Among my group of friends, bachelorette parties are small dinners. Among my sister’s group of friends (she is two years younger), bachelorette parties are weeklong vacations in exotic destinations (she just went to Cuba for one). I think the OP and her bride friend need to hang out with my sister.

    • ALM February 7, 2018, 5:18 pm

      Maybe I’m just old and crochety, but I cannot imagine spending $100 to go to a party for a friend who is already having a party (that whole wedding thing, remember that?) Mind you, that $100 is above and beyond what I am expected to spend on myself to attend this shindig.

      Am I the crazy one here? I’m already shelling out for a gift, something to wear, possibly travel, just to attend the WEDDING. And I may or may not be expected to also shell out for a shower gift (if that doesn’t count as a wedding gift) and to attend the shower, where I will also have to travel and dress nice, or just mail it.

      Stop the madness. You do not need to throw multiple parties to celebrate someone else throwing a party.

      • Dee February 8, 2018, 12:10 pm

        Nope, ALM, you’re not crazy. You’re the sane one, one of the few, in a world gone “mad”.

    • Last Dance February 9, 2018, 7:48 am

      Actually, everyone agreed to the gadgets beforehand (t-shirt for each particiapant plus one for the bride, a Best Bride diploma and a little tiara)
      Total gadge cost was 15 € each.

      The cost we didn’t – and couldn’t- know about was the dinner.

  • Wild Irish Rose February 7, 2018, 9:36 am

    The very idea of a bachelorette party being “necessary” just makes me laugh. I didn’t have one, and I’m still just as married nearly 32 years later as I was right after the groom kissed the bride. It might have been fun, but it wasn’t required and I cannot even begin to imagine myself demanding one. Also, where does OP get off picking at someone who balks at having to pay ridiculous amounts of money for ANYTHING?? Sorry, OP, but that’s just mean-spirited. The bottom line is this: Those who make arrangements for an event are responsible for paying for it. That’s just the way the world is supposed to work.

    • Pat February 13, 2018, 4:57 pm

      I agree – when did this whole bachelorette party thing get started?

  • Amanda February 7, 2018, 9:50 am

    I am 31 and about to be married. Having witnessed several other weddings, I am always in shock the amount of time and money people expect from their friends and families for pre-wedding events. I spent over $400 for a resort weekend for one bachelorette party. For another, there was over 12 hours of events planned, in two cities 90 minutes apart (I only attended the dinner in my town, as it was for a relative who’s friends I didn’t know and wouldn’t have felt comfortable spending a day with). My fiancee also had an all day bachelor party to attend, which included lots of bars and drinking, but no stops for food. I picked him up after 12 hours, but the rest of the men apparently stayed for 6 more (bar close time)-18 straight hours of drinking!

    My bachelorette party will include 3 events during the course of a day, which people can come and go from, as they want. The first event MOH and I will provide food and drink (it’s a home remodeling task that several enthusiastically said they wanted to help with). The middle event is a $40 glass-blowing class. The last event is movies and pizza, so other than throwing in a few bucks for pizza, it’ll hopefully be a fun and *cheap* day. Regardless, I am still trying to squash feelings of being a burden.

    • pennywit February 7, 2018, 2:44 pm

      This all sounds quite lovely.

    • staceyizme February 7, 2018, 4:39 pm

      I know that people love to help with projects for their friends sometimes. There are many talented people who like to put their own “touch” on a task. That said, I don’t think that doing anything approaching a remodel is a good way to stage a bachelorette. It’s free labor with a little food thrown in. Some people will be fine with it, but it’s a bad precedent.

      • Melissa February 8, 2018, 10:10 am

        She said that several of her friends enthusiastically offered their help, and it’s just the first part of the day. Anyone who isn’t enthusiastic about helping is obviously free to decline that portion of the day. If that was the entire bachelorette party, at the request of the bride, then maybe your criticism would be founded, but you are just raining on her parade for no reason.

        • Amanda February 9, 2018, 9:11 am

          I definitely see Stacey’s point. I think I mistakenly presented it as the home remodeling was an original part of the bachelorette party invite, which I would have never done and would have been presumptuous. For reference, the job is installing vinyl plank flooring, a relatively easy, mess-free task that I have done before, and was planning to do by myself before the wedding, regardless.

          How it actually transpired is that I made a joke to one of my friends “Can I just have my floors done for my bachelorette?” expecting a response of ‘Haha.’ Instead, she said she’d be happy to do that. I laughed it off, then shared the conversation with two coworkers (not attending) who also said they thought it’d be an awesome idea. So then I started to seriously consider it, and asked some other invitees what they thought of the idea, who said they’d love to.

          I do think the task itself is important. Most who are attending own homes or plan to, and I think see it as a learning experience rather than a chore. I doubt they would have been as excited about, say, installing drywall or painting.

        • staceyizme February 9, 2018, 5:07 pm

          I’m not sure that having a different opinion is raining on her parade for no reason…

  • Outdoor Girl February 7, 2018, 10:20 am

    I don’t see a problem with the proposed list of events; it sounds like a fun day! And it isn’t a weekend in Vegas…

    What I do see a problem with is the lack of planning and costing. It should have been included in the invitation so people could see what they were getting into. So a link to the spa, to the bowling alley, to the chosen restaurant, at the very least, so people could see the costs. And the other thing that bothers me is the expectation that the bride will be covered for all of the events. If they want to ask everyone to kick in $10 to cover whatever of the bride’s activities it will cover, that would be fine.

    I’m getting married in April; we already have a mani/pedi day planned, hair appointments planned, I’m sure there will be dinner in there, too. But I fully expect to pay my own way. If anything, I’ll be picking up the mani/pedis or the hair costs for my bridesmaids.

    • Kelly February 7, 2018, 5:56 pm

      If you are asking your bridesmaids to have their hair done and/or their nails done, you need to pay for it.

      • Outdoor Girl February 8, 2018, 8:32 am

        I didn’t ask them to do either of those things; they want to have some girlie time. They aren’t buying bridesmaids dresses, either. I bought each of them a shawl and told them to wear whatever they wanted as long as it coordinated with the shawl; that I was using that to pull them all together and I didn’t care what they wore. The groomsmen are being asked to wear black dress pants, white dress shirts and black footwear of any description and we’ve bought ties that coordinate with the shawl for all of them.

        • Jazzgirl205 February 16, 2018, 4:42 pm

          I didn’t expect my bridesmaids to pay for anything either. Back when I got married, over 30 yrs ago, BMs were expected to attend all bridal parties. Since my mother was a social maven, I was given several parties and luncheons by different clubs and groups. Since it was known that my BMs were expected at a lot of parties, no one expected them to bring gifts (most of the parties were not gift-giving occasions anyway). My family purchased their dresses and we even paid for their parking when they came to events at hotels.

      • staceyizme February 8, 2018, 11:59 am

        I wonder if the way it’s done in the UK isn’t better? If I have heard correctly, brides pay for dresses for their attendants. I’m guessing that would include any required makeup and hair “look” and accessories. It might ease the strain on attendants and give some happy couples pause before wedding visions that are too grandiose dance in their heads. There’s nothing quite like paying the full tab to bring a little measure of prudence to any activity. I also have to wonder about multiple events. Do brides really need a bridal shower and extended bachelorette festivities? Maybe choosing just one or the other would allow those planning the event to have one really special party instead of stressing over multiple events. There’s “event creep” everywhere. It used to be that a graduation, anniversary or birthday meant a party or a family dinner and a gift. Now some people speak of their “birthday week”, expect multiple events around their birthday and for other milestones. All that hoopla is fine once in a while, it adds some zest to life. But when it’s “de rigeur” to stage over the top events for everything from a one year old’s party all the way through one’s retirement, perhaps we have collectively become too self-focused and entitled.

        • Margo February 10, 2018, 4:44 am

          In the UK it’s tradtional for brides to pay for their bridesmaids dresses etc, but this is starting to change (possibly because is’, more common for people to marry later, and to have adult friends rather than children as their maids. However, I think the fact that the starting point is that the bride pays may make it easier to push back if the bride wants something very expensive and the maid or maids can’ afford it.
          We also don’t do ‘showers’. It’s normal to have Hen Night (bachelorette) and some people do extend these and have a hen weekend.
          Cost varies a lot, but every one I have been on has included discussions about with everyone’s budget is at an early stage, with the plans being adjusted to accommodate that.

  • eddie February 7, 2018, 10:29 am

    This sounds like a lovely girls day to me, and because invitees have the option to decline events that are not within their means, I don’t think it’s entitled.

    I have to agree, though, that splitting the check drives me crazy. I almost always order an inexpensive menu item and don’t generally drink, funding people who are eating lobster and ordering $10+ drinks all night is frustrating. These days I can suck it up as part of the cost of going out, but when I was younger and had to pinch every penny, this could definitely made me stressed and overall bitter about the event.

    A better way for guest to have handled this would be to privately tell the organizer that she is on a budget and that she would ask the waiter for a separate check, and throw in what she could towards the bride’s meal separately. Waiters can accommodate separate checks when asked.

    • Miss-E February 7, 2018, 10:28 pm

      I can’t really help with the expensive meal part but my friends and I generally tally the alcohol and food separately. Then the drinks bill is split between everyone who drank and the food between everyone. It gets a little tougher if you’re covering a birthday girl or something but for other occasions it helps since alcohol tends to really bring the bill up.

  • MelEtiquette February 7, 2018, 10:34 am

    I agree with everything admin said. Am I correct in my understanding of the letter that even guests who RSVP’d no to the events were still being asked to chip in money for the events? That’s absolutely crazy, and really should fall onto the organizers to cover the difference.

    I’m so glad to see Admin calling out bridal parties for planning these lavish multi-event bachelorette parties. My sister was the member of a bridal party in which the bride insisted on renting a beach house for her bachelorette party…FOR A WEEK. The bridal party was expected to not only pay for the rental of the house but also the food and drink that they would be consuming for the week, plus there were multiple nights out planned with cover charges and bar tabs that the bridal party was expected to pay. Not to mention all attendees were expected to take a week off from work and their own families to spend with the bride. If you couldn’t take off time for work, then you were expected to go to work during the day and come back to the beach house in the evenings to party with the bride (it was at least 30-60 minutes from where most people worked). No one in the bridal party was really on board with this plan, but the bride’s mother went ahead and rented the house anyways and expected everyone to chip in to pay them back. In the end, I think most of the bridal party (and other invitees) chipped in some money and stayed 1 or 2 nights over the weekend, but the rest of the week the bride had the house mostly to herself, and she and her fiance and their kids ended up with a nice week-long getaway at a beach house funded by her mom and her bridal party. And not without several passive-aggressive social media posts about how they were “making the best out of a bad situation” and how she now knows who “her real friends are”.

    It’s really a shame how over the top the events surrounding a wedding have become, and how the status of your relationship to the bride is now determined by how much time and money you are willing to sacrifice to feed their sense of entitlement.

    • Gena February 7, 2018, 3:27 pm

      I think that goes both ways. The bride wasn’t really being a good friend by expecting everyone to pay homage to her for an entire week!!

      The problem is that the brides have gotten the idea that their wedding is the most important day in the world to everyone, not just her.

      Being asked to be a bridesmaid is quickly becoming something young women would be wise to avoid.

    • Rebecca February 7, 2018, 11:22 pm

      Wowee, I for sure would not have stayed one of the “real” friends after that.

      That’s crazy. So you’re getting married. Congratulations. It does deserve a raising of glasses and a celebration. But you’re (general you) not doing anything so special that billions of people worldwide haven’t done before, that requires all your friends to give up their lives and their savings for.

    • Goldie February 8, 2018, 12:52 pm

      Wow! She twisted her friends’ arms and forced them to pay for her and her fiance’s and their kids’ week-long beach vacation, and she is the one making the best out of a bad situation? That’s a lot of nerve!

  • Aleko February 7, 2018, 10:40 am

    “I am astonished about complaints about costs before we actually know what the cost will be!”

    This submission *has* to be a spoof, or actually written by the guest in question. Surely nobody could seriously maintain that if the cost of a proposed event starts to spiral, you shouldn’t put up a flag as soon as you realise it’s going beyond what you can afford but stay shtum till the final insane bill is in?

    Seriously, though, I’m repeatedly amazed and appalled at what financial and other demands US bridesmaids are apparently expected to satisfy. I can’t imagine why anyone would accept an ‘honour’ like that. (Over here in the UK, bridesmaids don’t normally even pay for their own outfits – the thinking here is that if the bride wants a bevy of attendants in puce duchesse satin fishtail frocks, it’s up to her – or her Daddy – to pay for them. )

    • admin February 7, 2018, 1:13 pm

      The OP may be from the UK because I edited the story to change “organiser” to “organizer”. Typically when they use the “s” instead of the “z”, they are from the UK.

      • Coralreef February 7, 2018, 1:36 pm

        Canada uses British spelling, but we’re getting there with the US wedding hoopla.

      • Aleko February 8, 2018, 3:43 am

        Unless you also substituted some of the words, I don’t think she can possibly be from the UK. Over here restaurants have bills, not checks, and we put petrol in our cars, not gas. Also, ‘bachelorette ‘ just isn’t a word over here, and what we have is ‘stag parties’ for grooms and ‘hen parties’ for brides.

      • Last Dance February 8, 2018, 7:34 am

        Actually, I am from Italy and English is my second language.

        The costs I was referring to was only the one about the dinner: like I said, we didn’t ask for a special menu beforehand, so we didn’t know how much each would order.

      • Tan February 8, 2018, 8:02 am

        In general most English speaking countries (e.g. Australia, South Africa) follow British spelling so it’s hard to tell where someone is from just because of how they spell organise. Also you tend to find every country has it’s dialect (Australian English is it’s own thing really) with lots of spelling /word variations that may not be familiar to Americans / British people.

    • Tanya February 7, 2018, 7:21 pm

      Aleko, I was thinking the same thing; where I am from, the bridesmaids and groomsmen don’t pay for their own outfits or hair/makeup; that’s considered part of the wedding cost (and no-one would expect a guest to buy a new outfit either).

      The party sounds awesome, and the kind of thing I’d love to attend with friends (wedding or not). But who in their right minds would sign up to something like this without knowing the cost upfront? Even if it was “Hey guys, it’ll cost $X each for everything except the dinner; we’ll all split the dinner cost between us, here is a link to the menu so you can get an idea of how much that might be” that would be fine. But to give no idea? I can’t imagine someone being so obtuse that they don’t realise that not everyone has buckets of cash waiting about for ‘special occasions’ such as this.

      At the end of the day, no matter how important you think a wedding is/should be, if you expect other people to spend money on it you will lose attendees – the more you expect, the more you’ll lose.

    • Andrea February 8, 2018, 9:50 am

      Oh, I believe it. I was in a bridal party where the Maid of Honor (more like “Maid of Horror”) wanted the other members to help with the bridal shower. We kept asking her and asking her what was going on, what the menu was, etc., etc. Finally, I said that I would be bringing the cake, drinks, and a fruit platter. MOH said that that was fine. Then, a week before the shower, she emailed people saying that she was dividing up the bill, and we could cut her a check. I said absolutely not. This should have been done months before. No one had a say in the menu, and I wasn’t cutting her a check. MOH then privately emailed another BM, demanding money. BM said no. MOH ended up not bringing anything to the shower, claiming that no one wanted to help her with the bill. Yeah, not true. People volunteered to bring FOOD, but no one was cutting her a check.

      • NostalgicGal February 9, 2018, 12:31 pm

        Bravo. I’m not consulted about spending my money, I don’t have any input, I’m not blindly forking over a single cent.

  • E February 7, 2018, 10:49 am

    Wow! It was a little surreal reading this because I attended a similar bachelorette party (frankly, it was a bachelorette day). The schedule started in the early afternoon at one of those places where you can paint a canvas while drinking wine, there was an awkward break before the reservation at a restaurant with a dress code (necessitating a wardrobe change for the entire party from painting). After that, another awkward break before a show, and then finally ending the evening at a bar. It’s been a few years but if I recall correctly the entire affair lasted well over 12 hours!

  • staceyizme February 7, 2018, 10:50 am

    I don’t understand the whole idea of a cooperative event in the category of bridal festivities; it’s reminiscent of a potluck with the caveat that instead of the preparations (and cost) being shared, only the cost is shared and the attendees (one can hardly call them guests since they are paying for the privilege of attending) are told to surrender some unspecified amount of money to offset costs. It’s tacky and I don’t believe that people of any generation appreciate being “fleeced” in the name of celebrating any milestone event. OP, I’d advise you to pick a single event, pay for it with your fellow bridal attendants and “call it good”. Too much time, money and needless drama are likely to ensue otherwise. You might also ask yourself about the kind of precedent you are setting within your circle of friends. Do you want to pay a similar amount of financial “honor” to all of your other friends who are equally close? Modest, or at least manageable, expectations are called for. Otherwise, your golden goose (friendly goodwill) is likely to be cooked!

    • Last Dance February 8, 2018, 7:37 am

      Too late, I’ve been married for 4 years and these were the last in my circle of friends to get married. (Also, this bachelorette didn’t seem much different from the others I have attended/been invited to)

  • Michelle February 7, 2018, 11:01 am

    I completely agree with Admin. I would “bow out” as well because it sounds like this is going to EXPENSIVE and this is just the bachelorette party!

    I also think the OP is extremely rude to say the lady who refused to pay for all the activities (spa treatment/bowling/gadgets/dinners for others) that she wasn’t attending should not be allowed to attend the dinner and/or wedding. If you have to cough up all the cash for before the wedding, I can’t imagine what else you would be expected to help fund.

    I really feel bad for the attendants who not only have to pay for the bachelorette activities, but dress, gift, travel and anything else these organizers come up with that they expect others to fund.

    • Nialla February 8, 2018, 1:15 am

      They don’t *have* to pay. They are choosing to pay. A simple “No, I’m afraid that won’t be possible” is a perfectly acceptable response. If the bride or other organizers don’t like it, I’d bow out of being a bridesmaid, while sincerely wishing them a wonderful time. I would hope a bride would ask someone to stand up with her out of a desire to share their happy day, not bleed them dry financially.

      • Michelle February 8, 2018, 9:47 am

        I don’t think they should “have” to pay, but it sure seems like if you don’t, at least in this particular situation, you are expected to not attend anything, even the wedding.

    • Last Dance February 8, 2018, 7:40 am

      What?! Where did I say she shouldn’t attend the wedding? I meant that if everything was too expensive, she should have declined the invitation to the bachelorette, not to the wedding.

  • Lisa February 7, 2018, 11:10 am

    “To be honest, I couldn’t help but think that, if her finances are in such a bad shape, she should have just declined the invitation in first place or bowed out later when she realized she couldn’t afford it.”

    And then you STILL would have contacted her as one of the negative RSVPs to ask for money!

    I agree that the LW is one of the organizers looking for people to back her up on the expensive plan.

    • Abby February 8, 2018, 7:50 am

      “To be honest, I couldn’t help but think that, if her finances are in such a bad shape, she should have just declined the invitation in first place or bowed out later when she realized she couldn’t afford it.”

      Ooooor, OP, she could decide to come anyways and order a cup of soup and a diet coke, figuring the total bill, with tip and tax, would be less than $15, and that way she can still celebrate with her friend and not break her bank. But no, I guess that just makes her “difficult”.

  • NostalgicGal February 7, 2018, 11:16 am

    This is just wrong in so many ways and falls under ‘somebody appoints themselves to spend everyone’s money for them’ … under various parties (memorable was the grandmother’s birthday bash that was going to cost everyone $175 and nobody really got any input into it, just a ‘here’s your part of the bill, pay up’).

    I’d say no to the whole thing up front and if that is what it cost to be part of this bridal party, then the bride can find another person to fill the slot. As for the organizers, they have done this so wrong from one end to the other (I’m still shaking my head). I think if they do a rewrite and at least GET EVERYTHING SORTED FIRST and go hey, we want to do this day, this is what is proposed and this is what each piece will cost (which they didn’t do right away) then it’s reasonable for people to be able to decline.

    Mreep. Wrong. OP isn’t getting the clue either. Sigh…

  • Dee February 7, 2018, 12:16 pm

    OP – these aren’t “guests” and you didn’t “invite” them; an invitation to an event means there is a host, and those invited are being hosted. The people you are complaining about aren’t guests, they’re cash cows, and you’re just upset that they won’t herd together so you can milk them dry, and that the ones that declined possess more intelligence than you do.

    You’re greedy and entitled, OP. Get over it. Throw a party for the bride if that’s what you want to do, and pay for it all. That’s how it’s done. Or do what you’re currently doing and lose the respect of those who have any modicum of common sense.

    After the shenanigans/shake down is over and the wedding takes place don’t be surprised to find a lot of “no-shows”. These are the people who got wind of the attitude being displayed prior to the one and only point of all this, the wedding. Drop the drama, drop the attempts to suck people dry, and maybe some good spirit can still be salvaged before the wedding is permanently smeared by your behaviour. The wedding is the ONLY thing that needs to take place. ALL other events are gratuitous. If they mean so much to you then, by all means, cough up to host them. But don’t throw a party and then presume to spend other people’s money to pay for it. Or, even worse, belittle those who would DARE question the gall you have displayed so far.

    You have, so far, cultivated quite a reputation, I’m sure. Keep going on this path and wonder why people disappear whenever you’re around, and don’t return your calls and emails.

    • eddie February 7, 2018, 5:54 pm

      Wow, what an incredibly harsh and judgmental post. How is the OP entitled? She shows no judgement for the invitees who can’t or don’t wan to go for personal or financial reasons.

      Bachelorette parties are a fun excuse for a group of girlfriends to go out together, almost NEVER a hosted event (like a wedding shower or engagement party).

      At every bachelorette party I have attended, all attendees pay their own way plus pitch in for the bride. It is a girls night out, plain and simple. Presents, if any, are inexpensive and for fun.

      Same with most birthday parties as adults. You use the excuse to have some fun with your friends, and maybe buy the birthday girl some food/drinks to celebrate her.

      If you’re not a close enough friend with the guest of honor to want to celebrate together, decline the event plain and simple.

      • Aleko February 8, 2018, 3:20 am

        I think that, like OP, you are conflating ‘wanting to celebrate with the guest of honor’ with ‘being prepared to be told to take time off work to spend undefined-but-large-and-ever-increasing-sums on the burst of honor’.

        • staceyizme February 8, 2018, 12:05 pm

          Exactly, Dee’s commentary may have been blunt, but it was not off the mark. This whole bit about being “close enough to want to celebrate…” smacks of “if you loved me, then you would…”. It’s the gullible who are willing to succumb to emotional blackmail of this type, and while the language used to garner funds from prospective attendees is often gentler than “pay up” or “if you’re one of us, you’ll show it by forking over your time and your cash…”, it’s the same basic premise. Material goods or attendance at milestone events aren’t the sole or even the primary arbiters of the depth of someone’s regard. If anything, they are a “nice to do”, not a “need to do”.

      • Abby February 8, 2018, 7:42 am

        She’s showing plenty of judgment towards the friend who doesn’t want to be on the hook for 20% of a group dinner for which she can’t even begin to budget, by telling Ehell that she thinks this friend shouldn’t even come then.

        “If you’re not a close enough friend with the guest of honor to want to celebrate together, decline the event plain and simple”

        This is honestly a pretty offensive statement, in my opinion. The friend *does* want to come, she just wants to be able to control how much she has to spend. I dislike the sentiment that if you’re not willing to write a blank check for the evening, you’re not a close enough friend.

      • Lerah99 February 8, 2018, 12:02 pm

        “Let’s all go out to eat, pay our own ways, and all chip in for the birthday person” is NOT a party.
        It’s not.
        A party is hosted and the host takes care of the cost of refreshments.

        This “We’ll all pay our own way and chip in for the guest of honor” is a cheap, faux party that shifts the burden on the “guests” and allows people to throw themselves parties they can’t actually afford.

        I get that it’s become the norm. But that doesn’t make it any less rude or entitled than including registries on wedding invitations or dollar dances or “wishing wells” or passing the hat for the honeymoon fund.

        Don’t throw parties you can’t afford: birthday, bachelorette, or otherwise.

        • deddeddie February 9, 2018, 1:59 pm

          I have never seen a bachelorette be a hosted event. Maybe drinks and apps before a night on the town, but why would the bridal party pay for 10 girls to have a night on the town?

          And yes, there are people who I am close enough with to want to spend 12 hours and $100, and other people who I would not drive 1/2 hour to attend a shower. Why is that insulting?

      • Kate 2 February 8, 2018, 7:40 pm

        sarcasm/ Yes, how fun! We’ll celebrate the woman getting married by dropping 500$ or so dollars on her EACH. /sarcasm

        Are you serious? You think it is normal to expect your friends to blow hundreds of dollars on you/r friends and say they shouldn’t be in the wedding if they can’t/won’t?

    • Last Dance February 8, 2018, 7:42 am

      ….I am neither the bride nor an organizer.

  • JD February 7, 2018, 12:28 pm

    Wow, this one has red flags all over it! I agree with Admin, how can you blame anyone for balking at paying an undetermined amount for an elaborate, long, expensive day for the bride that one was not allowed to help plan?
    Who plans this much for “one” party? How on earth would it be “unlikely” to get separate checks at the restaurant? I’ve yet to see a restaurant server answer “We just can’t handle that tonight” when separate checks are requested at ordering. And as Admin says, and countless stories here confirm, there most likely will be one or a few that will split multiple bottles of wine, have dessert, after-dinner coffee, prime rib and appetizers, then declare smugly, “We split evenly, remember,” when that single check appears. And just how much is this spa and “special treatment” for the bride? Was that figured out in advance, or is that to be another surprise to the unlucky “guests” who are bankrolling this whole thing?
    It sounds like 50% of the party already declined. Time to rethink the bachelorette party, OP.

    • Shoegal February 7, 2018, 1:52 pm

      Yeah, I’m thinking – you just go bowling. Have dinner at the bowling alley. Skip the gadgets. That can be a lovely and fun time without breaking the bank.

    • Abby February 8, 2018, 7:45 am

      You know what? Even if the restaurant only brings one check, you can still say something like, “please put $20 on this Visa, and $25 on this mastercard, and here’s $40 in cash…” and so on. There really is no logistical reason that the final check “has” to be split evenly.

  • lakey February 7, 2018, 12:37 pm

    I agree with Adinistrater, but also want to add that, for people who are already juggling busy lives, giving up an entire weekend day can be just as much of a problem as the expense. Bachelorettes that I attended had consisted of going out clubbing or a restaurant dinner and some clubbing.

  • AMacQ February 7, 2018, 12:50 pm

    I cannot believe they reached out to the ones who declined and asked them to chip in for the activities anyway- did anyone else catch that.

    • Michelle February 7, 2018, 4:25 pm

      I did catch that! I think that is what the OP is really upset about- the lady who was only coming to dinner only wanted to pay for herself, no one else, refused to pitch in on the gadgets and refused to chip in on the spa & bowling.

      The wedding industry has really gone bonkers. There’s engagement parties, some people expect an engagement gift (I believe there was a submission here about that), often multiple bridal parties, bachelor/bachelorette parties (apparently week-long or 12+ hours is becoming common), rehearsal dinner, wedding gift, wedding clothes, travel, lodging…I don’t know how people are affording all this! And when you refuse to chip-in or help fund it, you get treated like YOU did something wrong!

      • ladyv21454 February 8, 2018, 9:29 am

        Not to mention the increasingly common attitude that the cost of the wedding gift should equal or exceed the cost of the dinner. Sorry, but if you choose to have a $100 per plate reception, don’t expect me to gift you accordingly – especially if I’ve had to shell out money for travel and hotel.

      • Dee February 8, 2018, 12:35 pm

        The wedding industry isn’t really bonkers, when you think about it. It proposes outrageous ideas in the hopes that it will generate more income for the service providers and outlying businesses. And it works. So, not bonkers at all. What is bonkers is the number of people willing to let the industry spend their money for them. Well, in this case (as in most?) they are telling OTHERS to spend THEIR money for them.

        Blame the industry, sure, but it couldn’t keep these ideas afloat if consumers didn’t agree. And not only have consumers agreed, they increased the sales and provided free advertising for the industry, every time they insist on these ideas for their wedding week/month/year.

        And thus the industry keeps upping the ante, almost as if it’s waiting to see who breaks first. Brilliant wedding industry strategists + embarrassingly stupid brides = a perfect match.

        Then the so-called “guests” feed into it by buying the sales pitch that if they really, really care about the bride and the other girls then they will be willing to spend big $$$ to show their love. Also, accepting the honour of being in the wedding party means you support the bride with your unlimited $$$. Otherwise, you disrespect everyone and are just a very bad person.

        So, yeah, the assenting “guests” have a hand in the whole schmozz, too. Don’t place the blame all on the industry. It can’t tango alone.

  • cleosia February 7, 2018, 1:24 pm

    The tacky is strong with this one!

    When my bridal shower was held, my MOH and bridesmaids were in college. Do you even THINK they could have gone in for something like this?

    We had a little get together for the close female guests at my mother’s and my apartment and my mother helped pay for the refreshments, which were the basics, i.e., soda, tea, food.

    It’s nice to have a spa day, but times are tough. Asking people to shell out a lot of money for things they can’t afford is arrogant, especially if the price tag is not mentioned upfront but left as a “oh, we’ll just tell you how much you owe later.”

    • Last Dance February 8, 2018, 3:15 pm

      I probably wasn’t clear, but the costs for gadgets, spa etc were already known. The only part we didn’t know was dinner because we didn’t know what everyone would order in advance.

      I still think it’s unreasonable to throw a tantrum (yes, I get it you don’t trust a word I say, but it was a tantrum) over a figure nobody does or can know in advance.

      • Abby February 9, 2018, 7:48 am

        That is probably *why* she threw a tantrum, because she’s supposed to commit to spending an unspecified amount of money. I see no reason why the organizers couldn’t have told her to bring enough cash to cover her portion and then just split the rest of the bill 4 ways.

      • Airelenaren February 9, 2018, 9:17 am

        I don’t see where the person “threw a tantrum”. She gave you her reasons and you decided they weren’t good enough for you. And to be quite honest with you, your tone (both in the OP and in the comments) does sound hostile and as if you consider yourself above those with a tighter budget.

      • Dee February 9, 2018, 12:28 pm

        Well, if she threw a tantrum because you actually said to her, as you say you did in the letter you submitted, that she should have just declined the invitation if her finances were so bad that she couldn’t afford to pony up all that money, then I rather think her tantrum was justified. You placed a high monetary requirement on her friendship and participation and refused to listen to the feedback (from her? the others?) about that attitude. Maybe that tantrum is the only thing you really heard? Why wasn’t the lack of enthusiasm enough to make you question the whole thing? If you won’t take a quiet hint, or even a very loud hint, then those who are trying to bust through to you will have to resort to loud displays of “no”.

        • Last Dance February 14, 2018, 6:25 am

          You want to know the feedback from Tantruming Friend? Okay.

          First, she kept pushing for a different spa, because the one Sister and Best Friend chose was “too small. The one she wanted would have cost 50 € per person – just the entrance.
          The bachelorette package at this spa? 68 € per person.

          When Sister and and Best Friend chose the other, Tantruming Friend told Sister she was cheap and didn’t want to spend on her Sister.

          As I mentioned in the letter, when we started discussing where to eat, Tantruming Friend shot down every suggestion. Her contibution were:
          – a vague “I know better pubs than that (didn’t name any)
          – pushing for a fish restaurant (MORE expensive than the restaurant I suggested. Also, Sister doesn’t eat fish)

          T-shirts: enthusiastically agreed to have them when first discussed, agreed to all costs presented. Once they were done, they were suddenly too expensive. The price hadn’t changed from the discussion, unless you count the extra 3 € for the bride’s shirt.

          As for telling her she should have refused the invitation to the bachelorette? How nice of you to assume I did.
          For the record: I didn’t, though I definitely thought so. Because that’s what I would have done.

          • Last Dance February 14, 2018, 6:28 am

            “This spa” being “the one Tantruming Friend wanted”

  • Shoegal February 7, 2018, 1:46 pm

    I don’t understand why all things wedding become huge overblown events. I am 100% against the idea of anything in the vacation area to be part of a bachelorette party – unless the organizer is fabulously wealthy and is picking up the tab for everybody else. I also don’t care of anything in the “spa” area. Spas cost lots of money – lots. Hundreds of dollars. What makes this bride so special? I don’t want to spend money for a spa treatment for myself let alone pitch in for somebody else.

    I also am against splitting the bill. I once went to a bachelorette dinner and came late – I missed the appetizers and cocktails and had a small side salad for dinner because I didn’t want to hold the rest of the group up. We split the bill and pitched in for the bride. I got to pitch in $60 for my side salad after it was all over. I was livid. Tell me – is that fair? I think separate checks is not unreasonable – and whoever organizes the event should pick up the bride’s portion. If you want to help with the brides’ dinner than do – but you shouldn’t be expected to do that either.

    You certainly don’t ask anybody to pitch in for events they aren’t attending. That is really tacky. It sounded like they were trying to give the bride a wonderful bachelorette package but they made lots of mistakes. I’m not strapped for cash but I’m also not made of money. I budget and save to buy the things I want and to do the things I want to do. So yeah, I need to know at least in the neighborhood what this is costing me.

    • kgg February 7, 2018, 2:31 pm

      “Let’s just split the bill” makes me see red. I went to a birthday party at a horrible restaurant probably 10 years ago and we sat on uncomfortable ottomans and ate family style off of a larger ottoman and my share was $200. I ate some rice and drank water. I think the birthday girl was like 22 at the time (I was 20, if I remember correctly). It’s not like we all had amazing jobs at that point and were making tons of money. I still get huffy thinking about it.

      • NostalgicGal February 8, 2018, 9:32 am

        I have so many allergies, medical conditions and dietary restrictions that if I go out with friends or club/group, I get to sit there and watch you eat. If it’s a mandatory cater (you pay for your plate or you can’t attend) then I take it to go-don’t even plate it, just put it in the clamshells. Otherwise I come to have fun, still tip the server as I warmed a chair they were responsible for. And. Recently went out with a group, they had drinks, appetizers, main, and dessert, then split the bill evenly. Um, no, I’m not paying $38. Why? I didn’t eat or drink ANYTHING. A bit of embarrassment and they resplit the bill.

        I think in your case kgg, I would have been firm and polite and gotten out of that. SOMEONE ran that bill up.

    • Dee February 7, 2018, 2:40 pm

      None of the activities make any sense; in fact, I can’t fathom what need there is for a bachelor/bachelorette party in the first place. What does any of this have to do with getting married? And why can’t these people do these things any other time? Why does the group have to get together at a restaurant to spend big bucks to celebrate the upcoming day when they will all sit together to eat a restaurant meal? It doesn’t make sense. The hype and hoopla suggest that the bride and groom are dying and there will never be another chance to do these things with them again so if you truly love them, you will spend all your money for just one more, last, chance to … spend money to be in their company? Ugh.

      Or maybe something really special, really REALLY dramatic happens to people nowadays when they get officially married, that they change in such ways that they are no longer the same people they were before they got married? And everyone is saying “good-bye” to that single person because they will never see them again? I must have done something wrong when I got married 30+ years ago, because I woke up the next morning as the same person I was the day before. And I’ve been the same person ever since. Maybe if I’d had that spa date and weekend in Vegas I would be someone so very, very special right now, instead of just plain old me?

      • ladyv21454 February 8, 2018, 9:33 am

        Dee, in answer to your question of “why can’t these people do these things any other time?”: in many cases, the members of the wedding party don’t live in the same place as the bride, or the place where the wedding is being held. If you have bridesmaids coming from four or five different locations, this might well be one of the few chances everyone has to be together.

      • Kelly February 8, 2018, 8:43 pm

        For real, this is so judgey. It’s a pretty big leap from “bachelorette vacation weeks are a lot to ask” (I think most of us agree on that) to “all pre wedding events are attention seeking.”

    • shhh its me February 7, 2018, 10:59 pm

      I think you can forgive the vacation part if all the invitees already frequently vacation together.

      I guess a better way to say it is:You can anticipate a bachelorette party to be a bit (maybe 5-25%) more/nicer/longer then what the group normally does. So sure if you do weekend tropical getaways regularly it’s reasonable to consider a 4 day weekend for the bachelorette but if you have only had dinner and drinks together for a decade then why should the single vacation you take together be all about any one person. You bought me cheese sticks for my birthday why would I buy a trip to Cancun

  • Devin February 7, 2018, 1:49 pm

    I started out this story thinking the OP was one of the attending guests and was going to get stuck covering more than what was initially planned in order to cover the events since others had declined, but by the end I’m pretty sure OP was one of the organizers.
    As an organizer you may have been a bit over zealous planning this event. The Admin is spot on, since the costs per person have gone up with only 5 people attending it might be a good idea to scale back a bit. Mani pedis, instead of a whole spa day, bowling is a fairly inexpensive activity so that’s good, and then maybe add on an after dinner spot for drinks, not bottle service but maybe the brides favorite pub. That way people who want to celebrate the bride and chip in for the gadgets or buy her a drink can do so without breaking the bank. Realistically this could easily be $300 depending on where you live. $80-100 for the spa, $20-50 for bowling if also drinking, $50-100 for dinner, plus more to cover transportation, gadgets and the brides share.

  • T-Belle February 7, 2018, 1:55 pm

    Wow, it’s easy to see what’s most valued in organizing these events. With hoping invitees not coming would help fund the plans, and thinking ones should decline if they cannot afford attending, there is that your-spending-is-most-preferred mentality.

    With half the guest list declining, I’d think they would try to be more accommodating. A little more organization and consideration, and going with something as the Admin suggested, would be better for everyone involved.

  • kingsrings February 7, 2018, 2:23 pm

    I have never been part of a bridal party, so I have no idea what a usual and politically-correct bachelorette party consists of. But when I’ve seen photos of and heard stories about them from friends, they seem to be more along the lines of just the spa day package deal. Spa treatments and a meal, drinks, and snacks are included as part of the package.
    There seems to be a longtime, popular mindset of “whatever the bride wants, is it”. I’ve heard so many people say this. I guess it’s their way of trying to make it easy. I don’t agree. I think a decent person has consideration and respect for the time, labor, and financial situations of others. Do you really want to cause your beloved friends and family members stress just so you can have your perfect day?

  • Abby February 7, 2018, 3:38 pm

    The cynical side of me thinks the 5-6 people that declined completely were maybe only invited to widen the net of funding sources.

    Also, I dislike the practice of planning extravagant bridal party events and putting people in a position where they need to pony up hundreds or thousands of dollars or they are accused of not “supporting” the bride. And their finances become open to speculation by everyone who insists they *could* afford it if they went without a few other things.

    I feel sorry for the “difficult” friend. She obviously planned to come and order something small to keep her tab low, and now she’s expected to pay 1/5 of a shared meal between 6 people in which she has no control over the final cost. Since sister and best friend have no problem planning expensive activities and consider being frugal the same as “difficult” why don’t they just pay for the bride’s spa treatment between the two of them and cover the cost of the meal themselves?

    • Last Dance February 14, 2018, 6:27 am

      Wrong. Here at the bachelorette you invite all your female friends (well, and your sister(s) and cousins if you have them and are in the same age range).

  • Lara February 7, 2018, 3:57 pm

    It sounds like this poor woman was trying valiantly to be supportive and join in, to point of driving in from out of town, but that all the expenses were mounting up past her ability to pay them. She had probably decided that she would try to counterbalance some of the other costs by eating as little as possible at dinner, so when they announced that the dinner check too would be split, that’s when she reached her limit. Her request to only pay her own meal was entirely reasonable. Even if the restaurant can’t split the check, you all have calculators on your phones, right? It wouldn’t be hard to figure the cost of her meal and allow her to pay it in cash or check to whoever was officially “paying” the bill. Not any harder than dividing up the total. And so she’s right, that she was essentially forced into revealing her personal financial situation by the others, who demanded she defend the request.

    I can only assume that this woman cares about the bride and wanted to be a part of the celebration, etc, and she didn’t want to complain about the high cost being placed on that, but once she reached her limit, it all came out. I think it’s difficult for people who don’t have financial concerns to appreciate how difficult it can be to be the one who can’t afford to do everything everyone else is doing. It’s not about the event or the money itself, but about being left out of the group, having to chose solitude for the sake of paying the bills. It’s not pleasant, and it’s not fair or right to put someone into the position any more than is unavoidable. Especially when it concerns wedding events, which people who are close to bride will naturally want to be a part of.

    • BellyJean February 8, 2018, 9:18 am

      Yes! Agreed. Thank you, @Lara. The OP needs a little compassion, and if not empathy – patience and understanding for those that are in different situations than her.

  • ALM February 7, 2018, 5:20 pm

    Why on earth would you plan to go bowling after your spa treatment?

    If you are getting manicures/pedicures, that is a sure way to ruin it. If you are looking to relax, why are you then going into an activity known for noise?

  • pickles February 7, 2018, 7:31 pm

    I’m tired just thinking of all that in one day! I’ve been married 37 years and didn’t expect a bachelorette party. But if someone wants to give me one now I’d be happy with transportation for a massage and a pizza or something to eat when I collapse in my bed at home. If you’ll drive I’ll pay. I’ll even pay for your massage and pizza!!

  • RevMaxx February 7, 2018, 11:21 pm

    Brava your red zones, EDame.

    Although I have a ‘but’ .

    But one word I despise is callling the paying participants “guests”.
    A guest is someone invited to a party /event to be just that , a “guest” with no stings attached.

    Organizing a mutu al get-together AGREEd upon by all parties involvd makes them participants.
    I M H O

    • RevMaxx February 7, 2018, 11:27 pm

      OOps, high five Dee , sho said it first 🙂

  • Rebecca February 7, 2018, 11:46 pm

    I’d likely have been one of the people with “other commitments” because, while I am not completely broke, I do have to watch my spending. Even a “mid-level price range” dinner can be extremely expensive once you add in drinks, and the spectre of being asked to split the check without any control over what others are ordering would sound dodgy enough to make me bow out.

    Asking people to pitch in for the other events they’ve already gracefully bowed out of is super tacky even if it’s only asked once and with no pressure. Bear in mind “other commitments” may be polite fiction to avoid saying “I can’t afford it/don’t want to spend the money.” With such a small group involved in the conversation, the person who doesn’t say “Sure, I’d love to contribute” feels conspicuous. I really dislike being put in the position of having to state I can’t afford something. I reserve the right to say I can’t come due to other commitments, without the follow-up of “Okay!! Do you want to help pay anyway?”

    Honestly I can’t see why a pre-wedding party needs so much fuss. The wedding reception isn’t enough of a party to celebrate two people getting married?

  • Hannah February 8, 2018, 12:10 am

    “Even though the bachelorette is planned for a Saturday, some of the guests couldn’t make it because of work or previous commitments.” Mmhmm. Because if someone I was really close to was having a bridal shower, I definitely wouldn’t take off work or cancel casual commitments. *Cue an eye roll for those that didn’t see the sarcasm.*

    C’mon, OP. Are you that naive? Half of invites aren’t coming because of how absurdly impractical the whole thing is– and to top it all off, you’ve made at least one person feel awkward for not being over-the-moon about your expensive, shallow plans. It’s just ungracious. I wouldn’t come to the event either– or any other event planned by these people. I’d be talking to the bride behind your back right about now; giving my apologies for my “inability to be there” and offering to buy her dinner one-on-one to celebrate her engagement.

    • Last Dance February 8, 2018, 7:44 am

      They weren’t my plans.

      • Dee February 9, 2018, 12:36 pm

        But you certainly agree with whoever made those plans, and supported them on it, and criticized those who didn’t like those plans.

  • Last Dance February 8, 2018, 7:45 am

    Except the dinner. Since I was the one who suggested the restaurant, I take responsibility for the dinner

  • Agania February 8, 2018, 8:11 am

    I did not have a bachelorette as I didn’t want any of my friends to go to any expense. I had a shower tea and themed it a Recipe Tea, which meant bring your favourite recipe on a card to stick in my recipe book. No expense, no hassle, just a really lovely afternoon with good friends and yummy food. That’s all you need. Incidentally, all the ladies invited were also wedding guests.

  • Last Dance February 8, 2018, 8:47 am

    Hi, I’m the OP.

    I would like to clarify a few things: I am neither the bride, the sister (only child) or the best friend. I did say “we” about the dinner because I was the one who, two weeks before the party, pointed out that we still didn’t know where we would end up at dinner, so maybe we should start discussing that, too. I was also the one who suggested that particular restaurant, so I guess I am responsible for the dinner.
    I didn’t contact the restaurant to ask for a menu because:
    A) nobody asked me
    B) the restaurant was already hosting a huge event that night (yes, they were still open to the public)
    C) Sister is a notoriously picky eater. One of the participants also has a food allergy, so even if I had been asked to organize a menu, I would have declined because I would not have felt qualified to do it safely.

    The bride didn’t ask for any of this: the ideas came either from all other participants (I thoroughly skipped that part of the planning process, so don’t ask me who suggested what) or Sister or Best Friend. I also dubbed them organizers because they did most of the leg work/price checking etc.

    Bowling was added somehow at the last minute because they noticed there was a large gap between the spa and dinner.

    Participants definitely did not include mothers or relatives other than siblings. Bachelorettes/Hen dos/Whatever they are called are friends only. Also, the two-or-three events thing isn’t really out of the ordinary for bachelorettes I have attended or heard about. Paying for yourself plus the bride is also totally normal and expected.

    Speaking of costs, the total costs were known:
    – especially printed t-shirts, 14 € (t-shirt and printig, including costs for the bride’s t-shirt)
    – Best Bride Diploma, 1 €
    – plastic tiara for the bride, 0 € (because splitting 1 € is just ridiculous)
    – spa + bowling for the bride 7,50 €
    – bowling 7 € (one’s own ticket)
    Total: 29,50 € (36.10 $, if the converter I found is accurate)

    Again, the only unknown cost was the dinner, because nobody knew what they would order.
    In the end, dinner was 40 € (48.95 $) each: 1 appetizer each, 1 entree, 1 dessert + 2 bottles of wine (for the whole table, not each. Well, the rest of the table since I don’t drink. I still paid for them)

    While I agree with the Dame that asking other people who weren’t coming to pay the bride’s share wasn’t right, I do not agree that the events and the cost itself were excessive.
    I confess I never even considered whether splitting the cost was out of line because that’s how bachelorettes are done here. I have never seen one fully hosted by the Maid of Honor or the Best Man, who usually end up being the ones in charge.

    When I said that Friend should have declined, I meant she should have declined to attend the bachelorette from the start . I never said anything about not going to the wedding or not being a bridesmaid ( which she wasn’t, sonce there aren’t any in our tradition anyway)

    Also, in spite of what other posters said, almost all who declined to attend the bachelorette did so when the date was decided – long before we were told anything about the events or the costs.

    • Last Danceq February 8, 2018, 2:29 pm

      One important thing I forgot: brides have no control over their bachelorettes here. They are asked to provide a guest list, some dates in which they are avalaible and that’s it.

      Once the participant figure out which day works best for everyone – or at least for the majority – the bride is told, and that’s it. Everything else is supposed to be a surprise.

    • Abby February 9, 2018, 7:43 am

      Wait, the spa/bowling was $9? Even if that was everyone’s share for the bride, that’s still what like, under $40 total (assuming only 4-5 people went). What spa is this where a special treatment for the bride is less than 40 bucks?

      I still think insisting people to split the cost of the dinner when a few expressed reluctance is unfair. I could go to the nicest steakhouse in town and I still wouldn’t eat/drink $50 worth. I mean, I *would* agree to it because 50 bucks isn’t going to break my bank, but if I was already struggling financially, I’d hate to be friends with people who told me I wasn’t welcome to the dinner if I wasn’t willing to subsidize everyone’s appetizers, desserts, and wine.

      • Last Dance February 14, 2018, 6:29 am

        Sonce when 1 is “a few”?

    • Rattus February 9, 2018, 9:59 am

      For what it’s worth, I un-RSVPd to a friend’s wedding using the date as an excuse because I changed my mind after saying yes. They put it out there that they didn’t not want traditional gifts, but we could contribute to their travel bank account. Yeah, no thanks. September 1, you said? So sorry, didn’t realize that was the Labour Day weekend – we have plans.

    • deddeddie February 9, 2018, 1:57 pm

      OP, I agree totally with how bachelorettes are. From reading almost all other posts here, I wonder how long it has been since the other posters have attended one.

      In no world that I have ever seen is a bachelorette party a “hosted event”. It is a girls night out with the bride. Like any other event, go if you can / want to spend the money and don’t go if you don’t. In this case, the organizers have made it even easier because people can go to one or all events depending on how much time and $ you want to spend.

      Again, it is a fun excuse to go out your group of girlfriends. When I have any “girls night out”, I pay for myself and don’t expect the planner to pay for me. In the case of a bachelorette, I pay for myself and chip in for the bride. That is how it is done in every instance that I have ever seen.

      And yes, there are people who I am close enough with to want to spend 12 hours and $100, and other people who I would not drive 1/2 hour to attend a shower. Why is that insulting?

    • Kelly February 10, 2018, 5:16 pm

      Printed t-shirts for a one time event are excessive by definition. This all sounds very over the top.

      • Last Dance February 14, 2018, 6:37 am

        You are entitled to your opinion. As I said, they are pretty common here and were accpeted by the whole group when it was first suggested.

    • EchoGirl February 10, 2018, 7:19 pm

      Maybe you’re all a lot wealthier or better paid than I am, but $85 (plus one’s own spa costs which you didn’t include) for a girls’ day seems pretty excessive to me. That’s more than my grocery budget for an entire month.

      • Last Dance February 14, 2018, 6:38 am

        DH and I usually budget 150 € for eventual bachelor/bachelorette party in case of a wedding.

        • EchoGirl February 16, 2018, 3:40 pm

          So about $190 US…that sounds really high to me. For comparison, my average monthly income is about $1500 (about 1200 Euros). I’d have a hard time spending that kind of money on one bachelorette, even if I wanted to.

          Like I said, I don’t know your group’s situation so it may not be outrageous, but the implication in your post is that it’s not really *that* expensive…to some people, it probably is.

  • WifeyDear February 8, 2018, 1:36 pm

    Oh how I’ve missed your ‘comments in red’ !

  • sunnydi84 February 8, 2018, 9:06 pm

    I have never been to a bachelorette party that was more than a nice dinner & seeing Chip & Dale’s or some other men’s group. For mine, we had dinner and went to a comedy show. Generally, the other girls pay for the dinner and the Chip & Dale’s or in my case the comedy show, for the bride. But, it’s not a huge amount, like maybe $30-$40 each for their dinner, their portion of the bride’s dinner, some drinks and the their admission and their portion of the bride’s admission. This sounds outrageously over the top, IMO. It’s always nice to know a ball park cost before hand. We always knew admission per person is X amount split by X amount of people. Bride’s dinner is roughly $15-$20 split by X amount of people. Each person buys the bride a $5-$10 or a few go in on one and split it. Plus your own drinks, if you choose to drink. So, you can ball park it. And, none of this was EVER expected in my friend group. It was just something we all wanted to do for each other.
    But to just go to a spa for the day, fancy dinner and ‘gadgets’ (anyone know what those are??) with no estimate whatsoever is unreasonable.

  • BagLady February 8, 2018, 9:50 pm

    I’ve been involved with lots of events where invitees were asked to chip in toward the cost of food, or venue rental, or a “big” gift for the honoree. However:

    a. The amount, if specified, is small — $5 or $10. Sometimes it’s worded as a “suggested donation,” and other times no amount is specified — there’s just a bucket, basket or other receptacle where people can drop in whatever amount they can spare.

    b. Nobody is obligated to chip in, or disinvited, turned away or shamed because they can’t.

    c. The organizers throw the party that they can afford to host. If people help out, voluntarily, with the cost, it’s because they are happy to do so, because they love Honoree (if there is one) or are just grateful for the party op. If organizers get some of their expenses covered, that’s gravy. But nobody in my circle throws a $5,000 party for 10 people and expects they’ll all kick in $500.

    If people decline your party “invitation” ordering them to kick in $XXX, there’s a pretty good chance it’s because they can’t afford $XXX. Asking them to kick in $XXX anyway is the height of arrogance. News flash: They don’t *have* $XXX. That’s why they aren’t coming.

  • Julie February 9, 2018, 7:55 am

    LastDance, I appreciate your additional input so much, especially in light of the comments. I hope you will respond as well to my questions here because truly, these numbers are hard to believe.

    “Speaking of costs, the total costs were known:
    – especially printed t-shirts, 14 € (t-shirt and printig, including costs for the bride’s t-shirt)
    – Best Bride Diploma, 1 €
    – plastic tiara for the bride, 0 € (because splitting 1 € is just ridiculous)
    – spa + bowling for the bride 7,50 €
    – bowling 7 € (one’s own ticket)
    Total: 29,50 € (36.10 $, if the converter I found is accurate)”

    The t-shirt converts to about $17.00 U.S., and to have a t-shirt with special printing plus including a portion of that $17 for the bride’s shirt seems amazing indeed. Perhaps someone’s family member prints shirts or a party member works at a t-shirt shop? Otherwise it would seem those are some pretty low quality t-shirts and printing job.

    I am wondering, too, why you didn’t include the dinner costs in the total cause that sure does ratchet it up from $36.00, in fact it bounces all the way up to $85.00! Your fudging of the ”total costs” here rather lends credence to the thought that these numbers themselves are subject to question.

    But it’s the Spa PLUS Bowling being a total of $17.75 that is really intriguing. Is ”spa” the correct word? And does this include the special treatment for the bride? So a few hours at a spa, [one would assume a few hours] for yourself, plus a portion of the special treatment for the bride, plus paying for your own bowling, and a portion of the bride’s bowling ALL FOR $17.75? What do you do at a spa that only charges around $3.50 or something even to walk through the door? That’s barely a passable tip for getting your nails done in a shop, much less spending time on site at a place called a ”spa”.

    I am sorry to be so critical but this was a really short-sighted view as expressed in your post. $85.00 is a HUGE amount to the average, regular person, it seriously is! And that you left dinner out of your total makes your information as a whole very suspect as to being completely impartial and not self-serving. I just don’t like being duped and this seems like a real duping.

    • Last Dance February 14, 2018, 6:01 am

      I don’t know what you want me to say. The prices are accurate.

      The spa where we went is pretty small and part of a big sporting complex. As I mentioned in the posts, organizers took advantage of special Christmas discounts. From an offhand remark from Sister, there might have been a further discount on groups and we qualified for that.

      It’s pretty funny you think the T-shirts were too cheap, because in the end the organizers got complaints they were too expensive. I think they had them printed at a big chain store of sporting goods.

      Also, I don’t know why you guys keep harping on the dinner: when I wrote the questions, the party hadn’t happened yet. We hadn’t gone to dinner and we hadn’t ordered any food yet. How on Earth was I supposed to know, at the time of writing, how much dinner was going to cost?
      Tantruming Friend had no way of knowing this, either. She complained the bill was too expensive when there was no bill yet.

      • Julie February 14, 2018, 9:43 pm

        It sounds like Tantruming Friend was upset based on past experiences with your group as a whole. There were other wedding related parties in the past from the sounds of it, and if that is the case, then she already had experience with people who will not work to create budgets. How do you know in advance how much a dinner will be? Well, you likely managed it for your wedding, did you not? Did you just plunge into your wedding catering having zero idea of what the cost per plate would be? I can budget a dinner at an medium upscale restaurant very easily by looking at the most expensive meal on the menu, KNOWING that not everyone will order that, IF ANYONE, multiply by the number of people and there ya go, there’s a budget. You are acting as if it is impossible to predict and it absolutely is NOT an unknowable number.

        You did take a jab at Tantruming Friend as well for ”living in the middle of nowhere” so her gas cost has to be figured in. That was DEFINITELY written in a critical tone, as though she is errant for living probably where she can afford but has to live with the hassle of it being off the beaten track.

        The tshirts probably WERE too expensive for the presumed quality one would get with such cheap pricing.

        Why, I wonder, are all these prices unavailable to you regarding the spa? Discounts upon discounts brought several hours on a Saturday afternoon down to about $3.50 per person? Maybe that is the case but without you providing more information than the other people got discounts for the group, this really does defy belief.

        It is the nature of the post, that you find it extraordinarily rude of the others to want to know the estimated expenditures in advance, not just ”Organizers got discounts! We have ”gadgets”, which really are a shirt, a piece of paper and a paper crown”, plus then asking those not attending to pitch in — none of these expenses were unfathomable in advance, and there is nothing wrong with the requested participants wanting to know exact numbers. It’s a simple accounting rule that people who are married should certainly know – Always overestimate expenses and underestimate income. Figuring out the most expensive item likely to be ordered, calculating typical drinking habits which you would certainly be familiar with as these are presumed to be friends – there ya go, dinner’s budget.

        Being considerate of other peoples financial situations, whether you know what they are or not – that’s the hallmark of a good friend.

  • ALM February 9, 2018, 8:14 pm

    I read these stories on EHell and wonder ‘where are all these brides and their friends getting this much time off?’ And then I remember I work a crazy job and have to come in 7 days a week and that’s one of many reasons why I’m an old maid.

  • Angela February 10, 2018, 9:51 am

    Every now and then I read a submission to EHell regarding weddings, and am glad DH and I eloped in 1993. This is one of those times.

  • Julie February 15, 2018, 11:31 pm

    Last Dance, in reading through the other comments, I came across your response to Dee, which further clouds the veracity of the expenses per participant.

    “First, she kept pushing for a different spa, because the one Sister and Best Friend chose was “too small. The one she wanted would have cost 50 € per person – just the entrance.
    The bachelorette package at this spa? 68 € per person.

    When Sister and and Best Friend chose the other, Tantruming Friend told Sister she was cheap and didn’t want to spend on her Sister.”

    How is it that you say “– spa + bowling for the bride 7,50 €” when in your response to Dee you noted it would cost ” 50 € per person “? The difference between 7,50 € per person and 50 € per person defies comparison.

    The end result here is that you wrote to Jeanne looking for affirmation that the inconsiderate, thoughtless behavior displayed by you and your friends is perfectly reasonable, but in no way do you and your friends know how to properly behave when planning communal events. I do not know how people old enough to have weddings and maintain marriages can be so clueless on these matters, but I truly hope you will follow this site and read all the things that are normal, considerate behavior and work to adopt them.

    • EchoGirl February 16, 2018, 3:43 pm

      I think she’s trying to say that it would be 50 Euros per person for the spa Tantruming Friend chose, not the one OP wanted.

      That said, there does seem to be a disconnect between OP’s idea of what’s reasonable and affordable and what most people would think of as such.

      • Julie February 17, 2018, 1:53 am

        In her response to Dee, the OP actually did state that the spa TF wanted was “this spa? 68 € per person.” The spa chosen by OP and friends was 50 € per person. OP now specifies PER PERSON. In her original response post she had the breakdown of expenses as
        “Speaking of costs, the total costs were known:
        – especially printed t-shirts, 14 € (t-shirt and printig, including costs for the bride’s t-shirt)
        – Best Bride Diploma, 1 €
        – plastic tiara for the bride, 0 € (because splitting 1 € is just ridiculous)
        – spa + bowling for the bride 7,50 €
        – bowling 7 € (one’s own ticket)
        Total: 29,50 € (36.10 $, if the converter I found is accurate)”

        She completely left out dinner which she said was about 40 € which is about $50 U.S. so her total of 29.50 € was short by 40 €; it equaled 69.50 €.

        So removing the erroneous notation, EVIDENTLY, of “– spa + bowling for the bride 7,50 €”, with the 7,50 € being ONLY bowling for the bride(?), and adding in what OP now says was the cost PER PERSON for the spa of 50 € [which is is a LOT more realistic], we have a total of 119.50 € per person participating in this bachelorette party.

        119.50 € versus her original stated amount of 29.50 € per person. That is a 90 € DIFFERENCE.

        This is what OP has written to us, total strangers. What kind of financial gymnastics are her friends used to from her and the “organizers”?