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    • MSE Sarah
    • By MSE Sarah 3rd Aug 17, 3:09 PM
    • 85Posts
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    MSE Sarah
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should I keep forking out for my friend's hen do?
    • #1
    • 3rd Aug 17, 3:09 PM
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should I keep forking out for my friend's hen do? 3rd Aug 17 at 3:09 PM
    This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...

    My friend’s hen do costs are spiralling out of control. A relatively cheap weekend away in a country cottage has risen to £160 - not including travel or a night out in the city. We’re having a beautician visit but I opted out, mindful of money. Now, days before the hen do, the bridesmaids have asked us all to put £5 towards the bride’s beauty treatments. Now, I know it’s just £5, and I hate to appear cheap, but I’m self-employed while the bride earns close to six figures. Is it OK for me to (finally) put my foot down and say NO to these ‘just one more thing’ costs?

    Unfortunately the MSE team can't always answer money moral dilemma questions as contributions are often emailed in or suggested in person. They are intended to be enjoyed as a point of debate and discussed at face value.

    If you haven’t already, join the forum to reply!

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    Last edited by MSE Luke; 07-08-2017 at 11:20 AM.
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    • PrettyFlower90
    • By PrettyFlower90 8th Aug 17, 7:59 PM
    • 187 Posts
    • 96 Thanks
    • #2
    • 8th Aug 17, 7:59 PM
    • #2
    • 8th Aug 17, 7:59 PM
    Yes of course it's okay. I think it's absolutely ridiculous how much hen parties have now spiralled out of control. What happened to a last single girl night out? It's been replaced with holidays abroad and weekends away costing hundreds of pounds, and everyone's supposed to just stump up the cash.

    I went to my best friend's hen party 2 years back, and it initially started out with the other bridesmaids trying to organise a weekend away in UK somewhere or south of Ireland. It was coming up at like £200 for accommodation and few activities- no drink or food. I thought no way, I'm saving for my own wedding and house deposit. So I just said to my friend I cannot afford what is being planned. I;m happy to come to a night out at home, but I can't spend hundreds on a weekend when I don't even spend that on myself going on any holidays etc. People seme to forget that not everyone's circumstances are the same and at the end of the day it's a hen party. It's not the only one you'll go to and it's not that special in the grand scheme of things (not like a one off wedding, in my eyes).

    So I would just speak to your friend and say you can't afford it. Simple as that.
    • pearl123
    • By pearl123 8th Aug 17, 8:28 PM
    • 1,109 Posts
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    • #3
    • 8th Aug 17, 8:28 PM
    • #3
    • 8th Aug 17, 8:28 PM
    A fool and their money are easily parted. Complete waste of money.
    • robin58
    • By robin58 8th Aug 17, 9:01 PM
    • 1,703 Posts
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    • #4
    • 8th Aug 17, 9:01 PM
    • #4
    • 8th Aug 17, 9:01 PM
    A fool and their money are easily parted. Complete waste of money.
    Originally posted by pearl123
    Sounds like Marriage.
    The more I live, the more I learn.
    The more I learn, the more I grow.
    The more I grow, the more I see.
    The more I see, the more I know.
    The more I know, the more I see,
    How little I know.!!
    • Zeni
    • By Zeni 8th Aug 17, 10:50 PM
    • 236 Posts
    • 510 Thanks
    • #5
    • 8th Aug 17, 10:50 PM
    • #5
    • 8th Aug 17, 10:50 PM
    I think its acceptable. I had to recently miss a friends hen do a few months back as it was over £200 pounds for a few nights at a UK hotel and some activities but this didn't cover travel or food there! I was cash strapped and just couldn't afford it. I felt awful as my friend was sad I couldn't come but she didn't actually know how much it cost as was a surprise and I hope if she did know she would realise that I wanted to!
    Swagbuckling since Aug 2016 - Earnings so far.. £55.
    • Elisecas
    • By Elisecas 9th Aug 17, 2:56 AM
    • 50 Posts
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    • #6
    • 9th Aug 17, 2:56 AM
    • #6
    • 9th Aug 17, 2:56 AM
    About 20 years ago this happened to me for the first time. It was a friend from school's wedding. She had gone straight from school into a great job and had lots of new friends with jobs but there were two of us who were her best friends from school. I was in uni at the time and our friend was a single mum of a baby so we didn't have any money at all. The event planned cost too much so we wrote her a lovely card saying we were so sorry but we couldn't afford it, but could she come to one of us for a weekend where we would all spent the weekend catching up? She didn't reply for a long time, then said how disappointed in us she was. Needless to say we didn't go to the wedding either (I can't remember if we were invited after that!) and things were never the same. A year or two ago she got in touch about something f and wanted to meet up and I kind of couldn't be bothered. Which is sad as she was a great friend at school. But basically either your friend will totally get it - and you should expect this of her - or she won't in which case maybe she's not your friend. And remember. This isn't her asking, it's her bridesmaids.
    • bagpussbear
    • By bagpussbear 9th Aug 17, 6:08 AM
    • 749 Posts
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    • #7
    • 9th Aug 17, 6:08 AM
    • #7
    • 9th Aug 17, 6:08 AM
    Definitely say no if you can't afford it.Wouldn't be surprised if some others felt the same too and may follow suit.
    • lika_86
    • By lika_86 9th Aug 17, 8:30 AM
    • 1,115 Posts
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    • #8
    • 9th Aug 17, 8:30 AM
    • #8
    • 9th Aug 17, 8:30 AM
    I think it's difficult. Saying no to spending upwards of £150 on the whole thing is much easier than saying no to £5 for your friend (which most people could probably save by cutting back on something elsewhere). The annoying thing about hen dos is obviously you're going to have to see all these women at the wedding and to an extent maybe it's better to get on with them than not (for the sake of £5). However, in agreeing to pay I would put down a marker, say you opted out personally because it's already a lot of money for you and that you expect that there won't be any further little requests now.
    • Oakdene
    • By Oakdene 9th Aug 17, 8:35 AM
    • 1,183 Posts
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    • #9
    • 9th Aug 17, 8:35 AM
    • #9
    • 9th Aug 17, 8:35 AM
    I dont think it is a problem, a lot of people I know (both stags & hens) have two stag/hen parties, one away which tends to be a night or two away somewhere, then also a home stag where you do the last night out as an un married person...
    • Manilla1
    • By Manilla1 9th Aug 17, 8:49 AM
    • 1 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    I agree that the pressure to organise a 'bigger and better' stag/hen do than your peers is omnipresent these days and rather depressing. In Elisecas' case, I'd say that if you were honest with your friend and she still was 'disappointed in you' well that's her loss, and we don't need people like this in our lives, who only value others by what they do for us!

    However, maybe we need to be a little more honest with our friends about money. I had a similar situation with long-standing friends who wanted to celebrate that we've known each other 25 years. We have different earners in the group, incl a pensioner and someone earning over £100k (not me unfortunately), but I was the first to say I couldn't afford a £200 per night hotel for a weekend away, so would prefer a nice meal instead. All it took was for someone to remind everyone that we're not all huge earners, and we opted for the lovely meal instead, and it was a huge success.

    The morale to this long (sorry!) tale is that we need to be honest, and if we're honest and our friends still don't understand, then surely we should just remove anyone that toxic/selfish from our lives and move on.
    • pollypenny
    • By pollypenny 9th Aug 17, 8:49 AM
    • 22,084 Posts
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    Absolutely. These hen/stag 'nights' are now expensive weekends, it seems.

    Then people complain that they can't afford to buy a house.
    Last edited by pollypenny; 09-08-2017 at 9:25 AM. Reason: Typo
    Member #14 of SKI-ers club

    Words, words, they're all we have to go by!.

    (Pity they are mangled by this autocorrect!)
    • whistler-alison
    • By whistler-alison 9th Aug 17, 8:57 AM
    • 284 Posts
    • 117 Thanks
    I would echo what the previous poster said. It is OK to say no and if you are worried that there will be negative consequences to saying no then maybe rethink your friends. If they choose to view it as a personal affront then that is their problem and not yours.
    • Teacher2
    • By Teacher2 9th Aug 17, 9:35 AM
    • 480 Posts
    • 2,422 Thanks
    My DD is now into her later 20's and she and many friends are getting engaged and attending and planning weddings and the accompanying hen and stag do's.

    I am beyond horrified at the amount of money this seems to run through and the social blackmail and coercion it seems to involve. The example of the bride being 'treated' and let off paying while the chief bridesmaid-to-be puts the pressure on (often) poorer friends to cough up for her part of the treat seems typical.

    This would be OK if everyone were earning the same and they were all getting married. What happens when one unfortunate friend with no or a low paid job is not a bride-to-be? She has to stump up for having her singleton nose rubbed in it.

    The commercial wedding industry is totally geared up to take money from the 'happy' couple at every turn. Even a cheap wedding with a small wedding breakfast for a few friends cannot be had without charges, bills and fees eating up the couple's savings.

    That said, my child is in a reasonably paid job and she and her husband-to-be have savings and are well aware that both sets of parents will make a smallish contribution and that they will have to budget for the rest. That being the case it is their choice to spend two years' hard earned savings on a one-day party.

    However, while saving for her own wedding, my child has been asked to another nuptual ceremony where she will have to stump up for a present and accommodation overnight and she is also attending a hen do weekend where the current cost is £250 and rising.

    She seems to be viewing the events as holiday minibreaks and an opportunity to see her best friends in a very pleasant and convivial atmosphere. Regarded like this, a couple of hundred pounds might compare favourably with a bargain break as the ladies are getting economies of scale and group prices.

    My own wedding cost £250 and I catered it myself for about 20 guests so this modern habit of the spendathon wedding is anathema to an older and very prudent mother. I cannot help feeling anxious that a huge capital sum of about £15,000 to £20,000 might prove ruinous if the children lose even one job between them or if they suddenly have a huge call on their income. If their car or boiler fails or one of them is ill there will be severe financial repercussions which might see them fall into debt from which they cannot recover.

    I also worry that their poorer friends will be marginalised and left out.

    The wedding industry seems to be somehting of a vanity project and, as we all know, pride comes before a fall.
    • hazyjo
    • By hazyjo 9th Aug 17, 9:35 AM
    • 9,379 Posts
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    I'm sure deep down most of us would prefer to stay put - the nicest ones I've been to have been a night out either local or somewhere in the UK (with or without a short flight).

    I've had two, both of which I organised myself and were very local! One walkable, the other a short cab ride! Seriously, who can really afford it? If they're coming to the wedding, that in itself if expensive enough! I don't put myself on that high a pedestal that I think people should spend hundreds on both (hen/wedding) to celebrate MY day
    2017 wins: Opera tickets; film preview; lipstick; Ideal Home Show tickets + afternoon tea & bottle of Champagne; 2 cases of NKD; notebook; bath rack; books; film Premiere; Broadchurch DVDs; lipbalms; hamper (food/wine/Echo Dot/Jo Malone goodies); Avon lippies
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 9th Aug 17, 9:39 AM
    • 59,654 Posts
    • 348,582 Thanks
    The mistake with any hen do is saying "yes" in the first instance. If possible, it's better to stay to one side, suggesting you might be able to make it "at the last minute", then see how things develop and choose to buy in at the last minute if you wish to, knowing what the costs will be.

    In this instance, for the sake of £5 I'd sigh and pay up - and make it perfectly clear that I'm now wiped out and that's it, there' be no more "hand in the pocket" for me as I've had to sell the pocket to come up with this FINAL £5.
    • Pollycat
    • By Pollycat 9th Aug 17, 9:39 AM
    • 17,389 Posts
    • 44,306 Thanks
    My friend’s hen do costs are spiralling out of control. A relatively cheap weekend away in a country cottage has risen to £160 - not including travel or a night out in the city. We’re having a beautician visit but I opted out, mindful of money. Now, days before the hen do, the bridesmaids have asked us all to put £5 towards the bride’s beauty treatments. Now, I know it’s just £5, and I hate to appear cheap, but I’m self-employed while the bride earns close to six figures. Is it OK for me to (finally) put my foot down and say NO to these ‘just one more thing’ costs?
    Originally posted by MSE Sarah
    It's OK to say 'no' to anything that you can't or don't want to afford.

    If more people did it there'd probably be less debt about.
    • belfastgirl23
    • By belfastgirl23 9th Aug 17, 9:47 AM
    • 7,665 Posts
    • 15,436 Thanks
    I don't think you can say no to the £5 without looking really tight.

    But you can take the chance to say that whilst you really want to celebrate and be there for your friend, the costs seem to be increasing and increasing and ask the organiser(s) to be aware that a lot of people are worrying about the potential impact of brexit/rising interest rates/possible job losses and to be aware of this if they are organising a night out in the city. To me paying the £5 is a good opportunity to say 'it's not about the £5 but about escalating costs'. You might find they are glad that someone is putting a brake on things, often it just takes one person to have the courage to speak up and they find that what they are saying chimes with others, and there is a lot of peer pressure in this situation.

    • claire1a
    • By claire1a 9th Aug 17, 9:53 AM
    • 96 Posts
    • 458 Thanks
    I've ended up dropping out of Hendos before as the costs were spiralling, paid for what I'd agreed to do to that point i.e. Hotel etc but didn't have any money for food or spends so decided to bow out before I got into more debt!
    Debt free June '16.
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    • heartbreak_star
    • By heartbreak_star 9th Aug 17, 10:00 AM
    • 7,588 Posts
    • 16,714 Thanks
    I went on my pal's stag do in April - the cost was laid out straight away, there were 3 activities, and we could join in with as many or as few as we liked.

    There was the outdoorsy stuff, which was early and pricey - ~£100
    Then there was the curry lunch and brewery tour - ~£20
    Finishing with drinks in the stag's local city - ~£however much you want to spend.

    I thought it was a decent way of doing it, the best man put no pressure on anyone to attend all of it, and indeed we had people join us at every stage. It worked well

    (FWIW, I did the full day and it was AMAZING!)

    HBS x
    I believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another.

    • Out, Vile Jelly
    • By Out, Vile Jelly 9th Aug 17, 10:23 AM
    • 3,500 Posts
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    Out, Vile Jelly
    I've been on expensive 3 night break Hen Dos, and cheaper ones with just afternoon tea. The best things have been:

    -chatting (free)
    -the Mr & Mrs quiz where you ask the bride questions about the relationship that the groom has already answered, can be very rude and funny (free, just time to organise)
    -all of us putting on masks of the groom's face as a surprise while the bride was in the bog- hysterical (someone used their office printer)
    -a dance routine a group of us did for the bride's favourite song (~£7 for some cheapo costumes off the internet)

    The extra activities are ok, but can often be a distraction when all you want is to spend time with your mates. Often the Hen Do organisers feel they have to fill time with "doing stuff" when it really isn't necessary.

    I would pay the fiver, explaining this is the last cost you can contribute to and ask them to check that if you're all covering the bride's share that this has now been accounted for.
    They are an EYESORES!!!!
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