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Q: Etiquette for throwing a wedding shower ( Answered,   9 Comments )
Subject: Etiquette for throwing a wedding shower
Category: Relationships and Society > Relationships
Asked by: ace621-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 13 Aug 2005 20:21 PDT
Expires: 12 Sep 2005 20:21 PDT
Question ID: 555507
A group of friends threw a wedding shower.  Half of the group were
married couples, the other half were single people.  Everyone was
listed on the invitation as hosts for the shower (i.e. Amy and David
Smith, Erin Jones, etc.).  Now that the shower is over, we are trying
to divide up costs.  The single people believe that costs should be
divided up on a per capita basis, where each person pays, say, $50 and
the married couples would therefore pay $100.  The married people want
to pay by units and therefore the single people would pay $65 dollars
and the married "units" would pay $65 as well.  Who is correct?  There
was no agreement beforehand and now everyone is upset.
Subject: Re: Etiquette for throwing a wedding shower
Answered By: angy-ga on 13 Aug 2005 20:54 PDT
Married couples with children have the least disposable income of this
group, and should probably be asked to pay the smallest amount.
Singles, and dinks (double-income-no-kids)can probably afford to pay
per capita.

Clarification of Answer by angy-ga on 13 Aug 2005 21:47 PDT
Hi, Ace !

Sorry about the early post - I hit the wrong button - though what I
put there remains the basis of my advice. You need to find a solution
that the majority of people will understand.

 I assume everyone was expecting to bear some part of the costs, and
you?ve already made allowances for anyone you know to be genuinely
flat broke.

As a group, the people with least to spend are the married couples
with kids - and they probably had to pay for baby-sitters in order to
attend the shower, as well.

I suggest treat each such couple as one unit, and the singles as each one unit. 

Double income couples with no kids should probably be asked to each
pay, same as the singles.

If you were the chief organiser, don?t worry too much - apologise
nicely for not having made things clear, explain the basis for the
decision, grit your teeth, and be comforted that other people have
made much worse mistakes. There?s a whole website full of them at
Etiquette Hell:

This site includes this gem:

 ?Being that I wasn't going to attend the shower, again, because I
lived on the other side of the country, I agreed to pitch in, but I
was thinking of pitching in about 50 bucks or so...remember, I already
told her I was completely broke!

Anyway, Kelly tells me that she is going to explain my predicament to
her maid of honor, so that her MOH does not put me in an uncomfortable
position and ask me for a large sum of money. I am so grateful that
Kelly understands that I am completely broke. Eventually, her maid of
honor contacts me by e-mail and informs me that my share of the shower
costs are 300 bucks!?

At least in your group no-one?s asking someone who wasn?t even there
to pay 300 dollars !!!

You mention ?Etiquette? in your title, and ask what is ?correct?, but
I?m sure you?ve realised that correct etiquette was to sort it all out
in advance !!! Wedding advice sites vary from casual to strict about
this. Soyouwanna is at:

They say:

? If you decide to share the cost, you'll need to decide how the cost
will be shared. ...Basically, guests will assume that whatever takes
place is on the host unless you have an understanding before hand
about who's paying for what.?

Top Wedding Questions is much stricter:,__Ideas_&_Themes_F33/Bridal_Shower_Costs_P243/

? Hosting a party where you make your "guests" pay is never an
acceptable option and is not proper wedding etiquette.

Host a shower you can afford. Perhaps you could invite the guests to
your home for tea and finger sandwiches (home made) or coffee and
cake. Under no circumstances should you invite people to a party and
then suggest they pay for themselves.?

and Bridal Guide goes along with that:

?Bridal shower guests should never be expected to pay for their
meal....Bridal-shower guests are coming to celebrate with you and will
bring gifts to help you and your fiancÚ begin your life together as a
married couple. Asking anything more of them is unacceptable.

Traditionally, the bridal shower is arranged and paid for by the maid
of honor and the bridesmaids, good friends or relatives. In many
instances, the bride's parents offer to contribute to the costs to
help alleviate the financial burden for the bridal party (especially
if the shower is held in a restaurant).?

At least with your group people were expecting to pay something and
knew that ahead of time.

Note that traditional etiquette is that the Maid of Honour and
Bridesmaids pay for the shower itself, and the guests who bring gifts.
The food and the party are a way of thanking the guests for the gifts.
Other arrangements (no gifts, pay for own restaurant meal, chip in for
stripper etc.) are a move away from tradition.
Subject: Re: Etiquette for throwing a wedding shower
From: nelson-ga on 14 Aug 2005 12:55 PDT
So single people should be punished for not getting themselves knocked
up?  Perhaps marrieds with kids need to start taking responsibilty for
their actions.
Subject: Re: Etiquette for throwing a wedding shower
From: saem_aero-ga on 15 Aug 2005 07:01 PDT
For the first time on Google-Answers I agree with Nelson! :)
Subject: Re: Etiquette for throwing a wedding shower
From: myoarin-ga on 15 Aug 2005 08:44 PDT
I don't! :)  Maybe single people with that attitude should not be
invited to wedding showers.  They could dampen the whole event.  ;)
Subject: Re: Etiquette for throwing a wedding shower
From: aj999-ga on 15 Aug 2005 08:58 PDT
I agree completely with the first two commenters.  David and Amy are
two people.  If both agreed to host the shower, and both were listed
as hosts on the invitation, both should pay, as two people.  Otherwise
the singles should pair off into ?units? as well, and demand to be
treated the same way as the married people.

The hotel or restaurant no doubt charged per head, rather than per
?unit?.  Or did David and Amy get counted as one person by eating only
one meal, with one place setting, sharing a chair?  Did one of them
refrain from using the washroom, so as to use only as much water, soap
and paper towels as Erin did?  Of course not.  Why not allocate the
expenses the same way the venue did?

Why should single people be asked to subsidize someone else?s marriage
and child care?  Why discriminate against single, child-free people? 
This is completely unjust.  The fact that married couples burdened
with children needed a babysitter is their own issue.  They chose to
have children and they chose to host and attend the shower.  All of
our choices have consequences and costs.  Some people, both married
and single, are responsible enough not to have children they are
unable to support, or to otherwise make commitments they are unable to

The assumption that married couples with children necessarily have
less money than single people is just ridiculous.  I would argue
completely the opposite.

First, a single person has many of the same expenses as a married
couple, with less income to pay the bills.  The argument could
certainly be made that single parents probably have less money in
general than married parents.  Single people may be trying to pay a
mortgage or rent, plus insurance and taxes on one income rather than
two.  They may be supporting elderly parents or disabled family
members on one income rather than two.  The cable or satellite company
charges the same amount no matter how many people are watching the TV.
 Blankets cost the same no matter how many people are sleeping under
them.  A single person?s dog eats as much as a married couple?s dog,
and the vet charges the same no matter the marital status of the

Second, discrimination against singles is already rampant in our
society, causing a single person to pay more for many things.  Most
employed people already have the expenses of their spouse and children
subsidized by their single, child-free colleagues, since most
companies offer at least partially-paid health insurance to spouses,
domestic partners and children.  Car and homeowners insurance
companies routinely discriminate against single people by charging
them more for insurance than they charge married people with the same
risks.  People who travel alone must pay the same amount for a hotel
room as a couple pays, and pay a ?single supplement? on a tour or

Why should the organizers of a shower perpetuate this kind of
mistreatment?  Just as reasonable, caring people do not discriminate
against anyone on the basis of their race, religion or sexual
orientation, they should not discriminate against their friends who
happen to be single and/or child-free.  Maybe married people with a
bigoted attitude that allows them to commit this kind of
discrimination should not be invited to what should be a happy event.
Subject: Re: Etiquette for throwing a wedding shower
From: mongolia-ga on 17 Aug 2005 20:16 PDT
Dear Angy

I was trying to resist the temptation from getting on my soap box on
this one. Unfortunately I have succumbed. So here goes.

Regarding the above 4 comments, I agree with the first, second and
fourth comment. Regarding Myoarin's comment (who writes many very good
comments/judgements/opinions on this forum) I am afraid I will on this
occasion just have to agree to disagree!
There is actually only ONE answer to this question and that is to invoke 
the KISS principle i.e. the costs are split evenly among EACH PERSON.
Full Stop!

And this should of course have been agreed before the wedding shower.

aj999 has explained far more eloquently than I ever could the moral
and ethical issues with respect to charging married couples less than

I would however like to point out what is for me a logical dilemma with your 
answer. You say:

>I suggest treat each such couple as one unit, and the singles as each one >unit. 

>Double income couples with no kids should probably be asked to each
>pay, same as the singles.

So why don't we extend this logic a bit.
  singles unemployed - half a unit
  married couples with kids both partners unemployed - one third a unit
  millionaire singles - 3 units
  millionaire married couples - 2 units (per person)
  ummarried couples with children - two thirds unit (per person)

  and so on 

  see where i am coming from?
Subject: Re: Etiquette for throwing a wedding shower
From: myoarin-ga on 18 Aug 2005 06:23 PDT
Mongolia-ga, thanks for the nice words.  As you (and Ac621) can
imagine, I was just responding to the preceding comments  - But I
should have said so.  Myoarin
Subject: Re: Etiquette for throwing a wedding shower
From: angy-ga on 18 Aug 2005 19:18 PDT
Well, that certainly started a controversy, didn't it!

May I quietly point out that the question makes no mention of the
shower having been held at any venue that charged per head - if it
had, I can't imagine that there'd be any problem. You'd simply divide
the total bill by the number of attendees, assuming you hadn't already
done the sensible thing of pre-ordering and putting the cost on the

Ace621 also say that the hosts were listed as "Amy and David
Smith, Erin Jones, etc." i.e. couples as one unit.
Subject: Re: Etiquette for throwing a wedding shower
From: gemgirl625-ga on 04 Aug 2006 20:29 PDT
I happened to be looking for an answer to another etiquette question
when this one caught my eye.  So much so, that, as a single, I just
had to create an account and post my two cents.  Here goes:  The idea
that married couples with or without children be counted as ONE unit
and pay the same or less than a single with or without children is, in
a word, ludicrous!!  Why??  As someone else pointed out, there are TWO
people there, not one.  Granted, they may have joined their lives and
live, ideally, as one, but c'mon, there are two people there.  Two
people ate, two people drank, two people consumed air, etc.  This
particularly ires me because when I give gifts to people in my family
for their birthdays, I give one to my sister for her birthday, and one
to my brother-in-law for his, and many to their children.  However,
when I receive gifts in return for mine, I receive one gift that
doesn't equal anywhere near what I have spent for each of them
together.  Example, I spent $40 on my sister, $40 on my brother-in-law
and $100 on children.  I receive gift of $40 in return.  I ask, is
this fair??  As someone again pointed out, singles have ONE income in
which to pay the mortgage which is the same amount as a couples.  Our
homes come no cheaper.  Singles get no breaks on taxes, utilities,
gasoline, etc.  We pay extra to travel alone, called a SINGLE
SURCHARGE.  I just can't believe that someone would suggest a single
person pay MORE than a couple!!
Subject: Re: Etiquette for throwing a wedding shower
From: mongolia-ga on 06 Aug 2006 18:01 PDT
Dear gemgirl625-ga

Welcome to the GA commentaters Club. You are in great company.

I always like comments posted months after the question has expired.

For this question I believe the official answer was simply PLAIN wrong 
and some of non official answers expressed another view and (in my
opinion) the correct view.

What is interesting about this question and its controversial answer
is that that the asker did not get back to rate the question

Perhaps He or She got the answer they wanted to hear but were too
embarrassed to admit it.


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