Post # 1
My fiancee and I are having a destination wedding in Europe that includes several large, hosted events: a 2-hour reception on Thursday with cocktails and appetizers, a rehearsal dinner on Friday with full open bar and live music, and the wedding itself on Saturday. We’re also paying for everyone’s hotel rooms.
We would like go out for dinner with our bridal party and close friends after the Thursday reception (on our wedding schedule, we’re noting that everyone is free to get dinner on their own). My fiancee insists that we can just go out for dinner with them and split the check, but now I’m thinking that that would be rude, since we are inviting them.
I would prefer not to have to pay for yet another event, but I also don’t want to be rude. What do you think: is it okay to just go out as friends and split the check?
Post # 2
My honest opinion is that I think you should let your friends do their own thing. It’s very generous of you to pay for their hotel rooms, but I think that doesn’t mean they should have to do so many wedding activities. I think they have enough wedding activities for that weekend, maybe you should just let them do their own thing? And if you really do want them to do dinner with you, I think you guys should pay. That’s my 2 cents.
DH’s brother and his wife invited a lot of us out to dinner the day after their Destination Wedding. I think a lot of us went out of obligation (they had a lot of wedding events too), and I don’t think everyone was super psyched. Dinner was expensive ($80 pp) and not filling.
Post # 3
I feel like if the invite was only extended to this small group, they might be expecting you to pay.
Post # 4
I agree with @breatheandrelax. You can put it out there for the wedding party that you & Fiance will be getting dinner at a certain restaurant at X time, have them let you know if they’re interested in joining. From there, you and Fiance can decide if you would like to cover costs or not.
Post # 5
Well said. OP, when you’re focused on trying to be a good host, it can be easy to forget that your guests will also want some time on their own. You do have enough scheduled. I would take Thursday to spend time with your fiance or your close family.
Post # 6
If you make it clear that it’s a super casual, optional event and they’re responsible for their own tab, I would say you don’t have to pay. But if you’re inviting them to something to honor their participation or celebrate your upcoming wedding, then yes, you pick up the tab.
Post # 7
I agree with a pp. I would leave them some free time to enjoy on their own.
Post # 8
Thanks all. I should’ve been more clear; everybody wants to go to dinner with us, since it’s a city none of them have been to and they want us to give them the lowdown on what to do. Otherwise, I would absolutely agree on giving everyone some downtime. I think I’ll end up having to just bite the bullet and pay, since if I were in their shoes I would expect it to be hosted (since everything else is)
Post # 9
If you said something like “Hey, Cindy and I are planning on getting dinner at X place, would you like to join us?” that implies that they need to pay for themselves. As opposed to “We’d love to take you to dinner at X place.” To me, saying “let’s get dinner” is very different from saying “I’ll take you out to dinner,” if that makes sense.
Post # 10
Given the precedent set with you paying for everything else, I would honestly expect this meal to be covered. If you’re inviting the bridal party only, it seems like a wedding event, and I think that would be hosted.
Post # 11
If you are inviting them to a dinner, then you need to pay. I don’t think there is any good way to phrase it on a weekend when people are there for you. I’d either be clear that there are no planned activities or I’d pay. As a guest, I’d greatly prefer the former. You can always give them restaurant and touring tips ahead of time.
Post # 12
You can give them the lowdown on what to do in a foreign city without going to dinner together. You could just say, “X is a fabulous restaurant, Fiance and I will be eating dinner there at 8pm, and anyone is welcome to join us.”