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Etiquette

charging guests for dinner

I've been invited to a wedding of a close friend. I "RSVP'd" verbally, because of course I would go to her wedding. After saying yes, I found out that the ceremony will be family-only and friends are only invited to the following reception where they are charging guests $75 per person for dinner! I'm somewhat horrified, because I've been planning my own wedding and not once have I considered charging my guests for anything. 

I'm a bit choked because 1) I won't get to see the ceremony and 2) we're pretty much in the same boat financially so being charged $150 to attend a fancy dinner seems entirely rude, if not a little hurtful. Also, I would normally give a couple getting married $150 as a gift ... but now that I'm being charged the same amount for dinner, another $150 for a gift is a little unfeasible. The wedding is also out-of-town, so we'll have travel costs to cover as well. 

I'm looking for some advice on how to handle this. Do we attend and just not give a gift outside of a card? Suck it up and charge things to my credit card so we can attend and give a gift? Or take back my RSVP and not attend? 
AJuliaNJharper0813NYCMercedes
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Re: charging guests for dinner

  • How do they intend to collect the money? Will the waitstaff give a bill to each couple or will the bride and groom collect cash from everyone? OR will it be an entrance fee where you can't come in until you pay? I ask all these questions because I can't even imagine there's a venue that has a protocol for such a thing. 

    I'd act stupid and say something like, "I didn't quite understand the invitation. I'm supposed to pay $75 or that's the amount you paid for me to attend? I haven't seen that before." I'd just really want to hear her rationalize it in her own words. Then I'd say something like, "Hmm...that's interesting." 

    I think you should either go and consider the contribution to the dinner your gift, or you should skip. 
    [Deleted User]daveANDkristenPrettyGirlLostjendemeyer
  • manateehuggermanateehugger member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    edited June 2013
    These people are crazy and rude. Decline and stay far away. I wouldn't send a gift either. 

    ETA: Just tell her your plans changed. Or if you feel like being more direct, I like what @AndreaJulia said. 
    image
    AJuliaNJ[Deleted User]PrettyGirlLost
  • smalfrie19smalfrie19 Home of SB XLVIII Champs member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Fourth Anniversary Name Dropper
    i wouldnt buy a gift if i was being CHARGED to go to someones wedding! Why dont they just throw cover on their too? are they having a CASH BAR?!?! 
    Anniversary
    image
    AJuliaNJPrettyGirlLost
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    I would decline.






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • Oh man... How did you find out that dinner was $75? Was it on the invitation? Or did you hear word of mouth?
    Maaan.... it's rude to point out to others what they are doing rude sometimes but I'd be really, really tempted to say something.
    PrettyGirlLost
  • Decline.  I have never heard of this either and am also wondering how they are getting this money.. I guess people are billed like at a restaurant?   :s

    I can't imagine asking this of my guests though - its insanely rude. 
  • Decline from this train wreck. If you really want to go, I wouldn't feel bad about not giving a gift since you're paying for your own flucking dinner. 

    This
  • I was stunned by this post and googled the idea. Apparently many people have done this! I so can not imagine receiving an invite with a request to pay my own meal! I'm just dumbfounded by this! I think I would have to skip it!
    [Deleted User]PrettyGirlLost
  • Decline from this train wreck. If you really want to go, I wouldn't feel bad about not giving a gift since you're paying for your own flucking dinner. 
    Ditto!!!
  • decline. thats nuts.
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    Uh, decline.  This is a no brainer. You're not even invited to the ceremony!!!   

    Actually, no. I'd be tempted to RSVP "yes" and then "get sick" that day just to stick it to 'em! 
    What are you sticking it to 'em?  They clearly are not going to be out any money since they are not spending any.

    I really do not like the trend of not actually hosting people that seems to be happening lately.    Sad actually.






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
    PrettyGirlLost
  • You should send this bride over to us.
    image   imageimage
    You'll never be subject to a cash bar, gap, potluck wedding, or b-list if you marry a Muppet Overlord.

    snippet17PrettyGirlLost
  • lyndausvi said:
    Uh, decline.  This is a no brainer. You're not even invited to the ceremony!!!   

    Actually, no. I'd be tempted to RSVP "yes" and then "get sick" that day just to stick it to 'em! 
    What are you sticking it to 'em?  They clearly are not going to be out any money since they are not spending any.

    I really do not like the trend of not actually hosting people that seems to be happening lately.    Sad actually.
    I was not truly serious, but I would imagine that even if they end up passing the buck along to the guests, they'll still ultimately be the ones who signed the catering contract, gave the number of guests, and ultimately be responsible if a meal they ordered goes unpaid for by a no-show, right?
    PrettyGirlLost
  • That's crazy!

    If it were me, I would only attend if it was a really close friend....like best friend who I've known for 20 years or something. Otherwise, I'd decline. If I did go, I definitely wouldn't bring a gift.

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    lyndausvi said:
    Uh, decline.  This is a no brainer. You're not even invited to the ceremony!!!   

    Actually, no. I'd be tempted to RSVP "yes" and then "get sick" that day just to stick it to 'em! 
    What are you sticking it to 'em?  They clearly are not going to be out any money since they are not spending any.

    I really do not like the trend of not actually hosting people that seems to be happening lately.    Sad actually.
    I was not truly serious, but I would imagine that even if they end up passing the buck along to the guests, they'll still ultimately be the ones who signed the catering contract, gave the number of guests, and ultimately be responsible if a meal they ordered goes unpaid for by a no-show, right?
    I know you were kidding.  






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • I'd be tempted to go to see how much of a train wreck it ends up being. But only tempted, because $75 pp is far too much for me to spend on a dinner when I (presumably) don't even get to pick out what I'm eating. 

    You are fine with saying no. I wouldn't send a gift either. 




    Blue_Bird[Deleted User]PrettyGirlLost
  • SBminiSBmini member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    This is the second time I've heard about this this week. If I went would only give them a card. After all, whether the cash is given to them via a door charge or in a card- it's going to be for the same thing. They aren't helping themselves out here. They'll probably get the same amount as they would have in gifts, but they'll upset everyone in the process.

    image
  • @AlpineBride75: how on earth was this worded on the invite?? Do they actually expect people to RSVP yes?
  • xt5678 said:
    Depending if you want to open a can of worms or not, you can always dodge the bullet by writing a personal note with the official RSVP "sorry, spoke too soon! I have previous engagement that day. Sorry to miss your special day!"

    OR you could decline and say (maybe by phone would be better) "Sorry, as much as I'd love to make it for your special day, we can't afford for travel and dinner so we will be wishing you well from afar!"

    I wouldn't count a verbal RSVP as 'official' unless it's in place of a RSVP card. Obviously you don't know all the details which is why they send official invitation and RSVP. I just say this so that you don't feel bed about verbally telling her you could make it, but declining by formal RSVP. I personally would not feel hugely bad or surprised if this was the case as I would expect it to happen a fair amount.
    I like the bolded response suggestion.  I also agree that your verbal RSVP without knowing the details wasn't so official, so don't feel bad about changing your response now.  And wow.

    jendemeyer
  • Oh good gravy.  This is madness!  I get being on a budget, but you pay for the food at the reception as host.  That's just how it works.  

    I really don't care what food and drink I have at a reception as a guest (it's ranged from cookies and coffee at a church wedding all the way up to five course gourmet yumminess), but paying for it?  Oh hell no.  This woman is beyond rude.  I can't even.

    Team Decline, all the way.

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    polly212goodplan86PrettyGirlLost
  • Wow, I think this just topped potluck receptions. I would decline and if asked, you didn't know about the cost before when you originally accepted. You can always send her a card with a check for $75.00 and take the other $75.00 and go out on a nice date night. Nice dinner & wedding gift covered for the cost of just going to her reception.

    I think she will be in for a world of surprise when she starts getting all the declines due to the cost to just attend the event. And for those that do attend, I'm sure it will cut into the gifts that they will give.

    PrettyGirlLost
  • I'm sure somewhere, at some point, this started from a good-hearted place, but holy shiz, decline. That's insane! I would also love to know the backstory on how they arrived at this idea, especialyl since people attending the ceremony is the FREE part!!
  • I agree with all PPs, I would politely decline..It almost comes across as if they don't want anyone but family to attend the dinner. Maybe they just gave that option so any non-relative couldn't be upset for not being invited, but would be deterred by the price/and having to pay for themselves. Either way..pretty ridiculous.
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