Post # 1
I’ve been invited to my FSIL’s bachelorette party. My FSIL has 5 bridesmaids. They’re planning on going to a nice dinner, then several bars, and maybe a nightclub. I’d like to go and be supportive. However, I won’t be drinking. All of these girls (including the bride) are big drinkers. There is a potentially high tab that the bride will rack up. My question is: Am I expected to pay for her dinner, drinks, and cover charge, along with the other bm’s?
I’m currently unemployed, planning a wedding, and my fi and are spending lots of money on immigration fees. Fi and I never eat out–it’s a luxury we can’t afford. In the city where we live, drinks cost around $6-10 each at bars. Way too much money! (I don’t drink, and I’m not into bars, so this usually doesn’t affect me).
Even if my share for her evening was, say, $50, that is a lot of money for us. (Basically, a week’s groceries.)
If I’ll be expected to pay for her, I want to know so that I can decline gracefully.
Also, I should mention that I’m American, and living in Canada. I don’t know if the etiquette is slightly different here…so any Canadians, I welcome your input. Thanks.
Post # 3
It is generally expected that guests, especially BMs, pay for the bride.
However, I think any etiquette rule can be ignored if you just handle it right.
Call the BM organizing the event and let her know as much as you would like about your financial situation. Let her know that you would be happy to help in any way, maybe be the DD or make reservations, etc, but that financially you just can’t contribute.
I imagine that if you take it from the POV that you want to help and be supportive, you all can work out a solution.
Post # 4
In re-reading this, I realize that it sounds like obviously I can’t afford a nice dinner and night out, even for myself, so I should skip it. (I would find a way to order a cheap appetizer and not spend a ton on dinner, though).
But the tricky part is that-
1. She has already asked me to be a BM, but I declined for financial reasons, and
2. I’m already missing her bridal shower, as I’ll be out of the country.
So I feel like she is making an effort, and that if I don’t go to the bachelorette, it will be the last straw and it won’t seem like I’m meeting her halfway. As I’m marrying her only sibling, this relationship is important.
She understands our financial situation, but her friends are going to be the ones planning the evening… I really don’t know what to do.
Post # 5
Mine did, but some of them paid more than others depending on financial situation. I’d talk to the one organizing it and let her know what your deal is and what you would be able to spend and then just have that as the set amount you give and no more.
Post # 6
I think you should talk to whomever sent you the invite and ask what’s expected cost-wise, so you can make a decision if you’ll go or not. There also may be more people than just the BM’s attending (which means more people to split the cost).
I don’t know what the tradition is in Canada – but in the US it’s typical that the brides portion (at least for dinner) is split between all the attendees. Typically drinks are bought as the night progresses (that’s more individual tabs) but there will likely be covers for the bar.
If you decide not to go, perhaps you can have your FSIL over for dinner or something similar (in lieu of attending).
Post # 7
Usually, the guests pay for the bride. I agree that that contacting the other BMs and telling them your financial situation is a good idea. Hopefully they will be understanding. If not, maybe just attend the dinner and skip the bar/nightclub. I think that’s a good compromise too.
Post # 8
Mine split most stuff between themselves though I stole the dinner bill and paid for part of it because I felt bad. For drinks it seemed more like people were paying for what they wanted. I think for the first few drinks some of the girls bought themselves and me but mainly it was just random guys who were buying us drinks. No idea how they managed that, there was one guy just sitting at the bar, hadn’t even talked to us really and would buy a round of 10 drinks at a time for us (there were 10 girls). We said thanks and he said ‘just trying to help people have fun’.
Post # 9
No! The BMs are responsible for the bride not other guests.
Post # 10
I think being the DD idea is great! It’s a real contribution, and will save every involve tons of $$ on cabs or renting a party bus sort of thing.
Post # 11
In all the BP I’ve been to both as a guest and BM, if I am a guest, guests DO NOT pay for the brides part. Only BM’s. As a guest, I will buy the bride drinks and if there was a limo or cab, chip in for that. That is how we have always done it and there is never an issue. If I was the bride and especially if it was my SIL in same situation as you, I would want you there no matter what. I would pay your way bc you are family and I want to celebrate with you and would feel awful knowing you can’t be there bc of a issue such as money. But thats me. 🙂 I hope you go! I am sure everyone would understand!
Post # 12
This is tough, since it sounds like you dont want to bail out again on another event, but the bride seems pretty understanding of your financial situation. That being said, I can see how expensive that bacheroette party can get for you, so I would go ahead and decline. Then take the bride out for fun coffee/dessert later.
I recommend declining because Im afraid the other BM and guests wont be as understanding, and might be annoyed about why you can’t just “suck it up” and pay for your part. I think it would safest to avoid that potentially awkward situation.
Post # 13
If I were in your shoes I would make an excuse to bow out of dinner and plan to meet them at the first bar. Let the BM that is planning it know and offer to help out with some planning in lieu like offering to call the bars they’d like to go to for guestlists. A lot of bars have lists (just make sure it’s not the bottle service list!) and that will allow you ladies to skip the line and in a lot of cases not pay the cover. It’ll show you putting in the effort, but also helps keep your costs down.
Post # 14
I am in Canada, and while I can’t speak for the national custom, I can tell you what my fellow BMs and I are doing for my friend. The limo will be taking about 10 of us to a restaurant for the bride’s bachelorette party. Anyone who wants to take the limo will split that cost. There are a few making their own way to the restaurant to save that cost, and it’s absolutely no big deal. The dinner and drinks at the restaurant are each individual’s responsibility, and the bride’s tab will be split b/w the BMs. I think the bride will care more about you being there than your ability to pay a portion of her tab. you could touch base with the organizers just to see what the expectation is money wise. If it sounds like guests are expected to split the bride’s cost, you can simply explain your situation as you have done here. Honestly, anyone that expects you to fork over money you clearly don’t have is just plain mean. I would personally have been mortified if I found out that a close family member or friend avoided a wedding event because of the cost. There are always ways to keep your own costs down too…eat before you go to the restaurant and order an appy for your meal, go to the restaurant but not the bars, or the bars but not the restaurant, etc. It’s always a little awkward when it comes to money, but I am sure the bride will appreciate you making the effort just to be there, especially since she knows your situation.
Post # 15
I also don’t mean to speak for the entire nation…
I’ve attended a bachelorette (while I was a poor student) where the bridesmaids picked up the bride’s tab, and as a guest I was responsible for only covering my own expenses. Drinks were being bought by guests (as well as random strangers) but it was a fairly large group, and by the time I offered, she was past the point where any more drinks would be a good idea.
I’ve been a bridesmaid attending a bachelorette, and we had pretty much worked out ahead of time that one would pick up the cab, one would pick up dinner, and two picked up the hotel room that the 3 bridesmaids/bride shared that night. The other guests again were just responsible for themselves, and if they cared to buy her a drink.
My own bachelorette was just my bridesmaids, so that’s not much help.
Post # 16
I’m American so I don’t know Canadian customs but I will tell you where I live, Germany, the bride pays for the drinks of her guests at the bachelorette party. Not always for all of the drinks but at least one round, sometimes more depending on the situation (if she is selling things, the $ goes to drinks).
As far as US based bachelorette parties, the last one I attended was as a BM but everyone split the costs for hotel and dinner and then randomly bought rounds of drinks. We also paid the bride’s cover and bought her a ticket to a show we attended but I don’t remember who was paying cover. I don’t see why her dinner tab would not be split by everyone (just the BMs seems silly to me) who is there to celebrate.
I think offering to DD is a great idea or only going to the dinner portion of the party could work too , especially since you don’t drink you could save a lot of $ by not having to deal with cover or buying the bride drinks while still attending the main social part of the evening.