Do the Right Thing
(MONEY Magazine) – Can I Get Out of Co-Hosting a Party I Can't Attend or Afford?
Q The maid of honor for a destination wedding in which I'll be a bridesmaid has organized an elaborate shower for the bride. She expects me and the other bridesmaids to share the cost of this expensive event, even though I won't be attending. (I can't afford the air fare to go to both this bash and the wedding.) Must I pay a share of the expenses for a bridal shower that I'm not going to have anything to do with?
ANSWER Some folks just love to spend other people's money.
Although her heart is undoubtedly in the right place, the maid of honor is out of line in planning a lavish soiree without first making certain that the people she expects to pick up the tab with her are onboard for the cost. Whatever the occasion--a bridal shower, a ski vacation, a family reunion--the planner-in-chief has an obligation to balance his or her champagne tastes with some respect for the pocketbooks of the people who will be helping to foot the bill.
As for your obligations, the question is, Did you agree to co-host this party or know that you'd be expected to? If you did, we're afraid you're stuck. Walking away from the bill would mean sticking the other bridesmaids with your share of the tab, and that wouldn't be right.
What you can do: Propose to the maid of honor and your fellow bridesmaids that the party be equally celebratory, but on a more modest scale. And next time you go in with a group on something, consider setting a spending limit up front to avoid awkwardness later on.
Questions about money and ethics? Our ethicists are consultants who advise attorneys on people's ethical beliefs. E-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org.