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"Suprise" Bachelorette Party - my obligation as guest of honor, vs. hostess?

100 Comments 100 Love Its Second Anniversary Name Dropper
edited September 2014 in Etiquette
I know I've read about scenarios like this before on these forums, but I can't find or remember the details now, so I apologize for asking what has surely been asked before.

A friend of mine is organizing a bachelorette party for me. Much of it was secret to begin with, but she has let me in, that the first part will be at a nice local restaurant. Guests are expected to pay for themselves -- and also to cover my portion of dinner. Following this, we will be going to ... some unknown location, which is cited to include only modest debauchery, but enough that co-workers who were invited to the dinner, are not invited to the second part -- to protect my professional reputation, I guess. I really think she is being over-cautious here to play it safe; she has assured me it isn't a strip club or anything like that, and I believe her. Anyway, guests will also need to pay their way to whatever this second, surprise, part of the bachelorette party is.

Now. I understand the difference between a gathering of friends, where people meet to have fun together and pay their own way, and a hosted party, where one may expect to be provided for. Where does this fall? My friend is sending out paper invites, but I think (based on her excited chatter about facebook msgs and txts) that she did a lot of the initial invitations by word of mouth, and is just doing paper invites because it tickles her to be organizing this for me. And she works at Michael's so she gets a discount on invitations!

I guess my main concern is that people show up expecting to be hosted, and then told they need to pay. I have no idea what "the second half" is all about, and she insists that she simply can't deprive everyone of the look on my face when it is revealed.

But there are also a few other pieces I feel unsure about. Guests have to pay for their dinner, AND subsidize mine? I suppose I'm the guest of honor, but I'm so used to the hostess mindset it feels weird. I'm also worried about offending coworkers that are invited to dinner, but not the later activities, whatever they are.

How responsible should I feel about this party? Part of me feels like I should just be grateful and happy that she's put all this together, but the other half worries about people that might be offended.

Re: "Suprise" Bachelorette Party - my obligation as guest of honor, vs. hostess?

  • B-parties are generally events where people know they pay their own way (and sometimes a portion of the bride's). However, the hostess should ask people how much they are comfortable spending before she starts planning and inviting.
    STARMOON44rsbloom[Deleted User]
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    I think it's weird people are not invited to the whole thing. What if others talk about it in front of them during the first part? As for paying, people don't usually expect someone else to host them at a bachelorette party. The other guests should not be expected to pay for you, either. At mine, my bridesmaids covered my spa, my dinner, and some of my drinks. Others bought me like one drink or shot each. One guest brought gourmet cupcakes and wine for everyone to the spa (volunteered to do so). I think whoever is throwing the party should be prepared to pay for you and then whatever others just happen to contribute (if at all) is a bonus.
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
    Fran1985 lc07
  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!)
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    That's usually how I see Bachelorette parties work.  Pay for your own and a portion of the bride's.  But, the host should check with everyone beforehand to make sure of budgets before selecting the places you'll go to.

    I also find it off putting that your work friends will only be invited to the first part.  They're good enough friends to be invited for dinner, so why not the whole thing?  If the host is worried about your work reputation, are they really just more of coworkers and not friends as much?  If that's the case, then they probably shouldn't be invited at all.  I would decide who should go and invite them to everything.
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    I've generally seen b-parties run as "the guests cover their own and pitch in to cover the bride's/groom's share of the costs."  But yes, the host/ess needs to check the budgets of all the guests before making plans.

    It seems strange to me too that the hostess of yours wants to invite your co-workers but not to the whole thing.  It seems like tiered hosting to me, which is of course improper.  It seems to me that if co-workers are invited at all, the whole thing should be suitable for them, and anything that isn't should be a separate event from the b-party.  Otherwise, as @JoanE2012 says, the co-workers shouldn't be invited at all.
    [Deleted User]
  • huskypuppy14huskypuppy14 Boston Suburbs
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    The coworkers should be invited to everything. Not everyone needs to attend everything, but they should be included. B-parties are usually pay your own way.


  • lc07lc07 Sunny Southern California
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    B parties are usually pay your own way, but I disagree that guests should pay for you. If the host(s) want to pay for you that is generous of them but they shouldn't expect guests to.

    I also agree with PPs that if you aren't that close with your coworkers, they shouldn't be invited to any part of the B party. As it stands, the event is tiered and that is rude. THAT could impact your professional relationship.
    [Deleted User]southernbelle0915
  • Well, a lot of you have echoed my concern about the tiered hosting problem; the thing is, my friend just sent out the invitations last week. :( So I'm in a bit of a pickle.

    I suppose I could insist on her telling me what the surprise is, and then determining if I feel comfortable with my coworkers coming. If I don't, I think I should just decline that portion of the party.

    In response to some PP's, yes, I do feel like the coworkers who are invited really are friends, but... it is a different kind of friendship. I love their company, but of course I AM a bit more guarded around them because of my professional relationship.

    That being said, it is very possible that whatever is going on in the second half of the evening is something I wouldn't worry about them coming to at all, and then they would have been excluded for nothing.

    Hmm. Maybe I will need to dig for a few more details. She is SO excited about whatever the heck this surprise is, and is so determined not to spoil it for me. But I'm going to try and dig with her a bit to see if it would be something to invite my coworkers to. If we can't negotiate anything that way, I will tell her I'm just not comfortable with the way the evening seems "tiered," and what we can do about that.

    Thanks knotties for your help so far!

    --OH! Maybe this is super weird, but she also invited my fiance to the first half of the evening, HAH! Isn't that hilarious. Maybe it is extremely strange for a FI to be at bachelorette party, but I was lamenting that I wished he could come. God we are pathetic. :)
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