Baby shower hostess now wants to go to a restaurant and split the bill among all. How do I say no? — The Bump
December 2016 Moms

Baby shower hostess now wants to go to a restaurant and split the bill among all. How do I say no?

NenaMommyNenaMommy member
edited October 2016 in December 2016 Moms

Hi ladies,

I am in tears and really need your advice. 

A friend of mine offered to host a baby shower for me months ago, and repeated the offer several times. I finally accepted and we agreed on a target weekend.  Because I have very distinct groups of friends, I am having multiple baby showers all hosted by and 'for' those different groups.  This one would consist of about 10 ladies, half of which I've known for almost 15 years, and the other half more like 5 years.

Apparently, the hostess has been talking to that friends in common group (the oldest in my life, but not the closest), and because no one else stepped up to help (she usually takes the lead in hosting and then makes everyone else do the work), she has 'gotten their agreement' to do it at a restaurant with each guest paying their bill/splitting the bill. Also the agreed on weekend 11/5 or 11/6, no longer works, so she said, "why not do it next weekend?" Yes, in one week! Oh, and "X lady works on Saturdays, but it could be after her work. We'll go for drinks (DRINKS!!) and appetizers. We all want to celebrate your baby."

When she offered to host, she said "I can host something very simple for you, I am not the pintrest type nor do I focus on all the details", to which I responded (truthfully) that that was just fine, that the important thing is getting together and celebrating, and that I was very thankful and appreciative of the opportunity to do so.  My expectation has always been that this would be something very small, and very, very basic.

But, I am not ok with asking guests to pay for their food at what is supposed to be a baby shower for me.

There are no financial concerns on her end whatsoever, but she does tend to be very thrifty. I don't mind her doing something very simple (cake, iced tea, and finger food) at her house.  I know she won't want to do the work for it (buying, set up, clean up). I don't even mind buying most of the food (except cake - that's going too far) to help out.  She's told another friend that she doesn't know about decorating.  So, I don't even mind leaving out the decorations, games, favors, and an electronic invitation is fine.  I am not the one throwing the party. She is.  And, this is her style. We all know her. She chooses to prioritize other things in her life and that's fine. I'm still flattered that she wants to do something for me, *specially* because parties are not her thing.  But, now this restaurant thing just feels so wrong, and it being drinks focused, feels even more inconsiderate. 

We're supposed to talk about it tomorrow, but I honestly can't hold back the tears, and don't think I'll be able to communicate very well.  It seems that if I now tell her, thank you for offering, but no thank you, that would be very rude of me; that she would get offended and the other ladies who've been contacted would think that I didn't think this 'restaurant gathering was good enough' or something.  So, in order to please THEM, I have to agree to have MY shower be a drinks at a restaurant - guest pay their way - last minute thing put together?  How can I get out of this? Also, if I say 'no', and then the pictures of the other baby showers show up on FB, and they see they were not invited to any, they might get offended. It's as if somehow *I*, the honoree, owe everyone...the no-hosting hostess, the no helping guests, etc...

I can offer to help her do something very, very basic (think broke college buddies rather than the successful, professional women in our forties that we are) at her place.   But, if she doesn't agree to doing something basic at her place, I do not under any circumstances want the drinks and appetizers thing or meal out thing.  Whenever I've hosted something like that on my own (for my birthday or something like that), I've always picked up the check for everyone.  And, honestly, I can't think of anything more demoralizing that having to pay for these ladies to drink and eat for 'my' shower.

Oh, she also asked me to tell her if I just want a big group gift from everyone (which they did as a 'sprinkle' for one of the 15 kids that have been born into this particular group), or just to go off the registry.  Can this get more impersonal?

Hosting at my own house is not an option right now (and should it even be?).

Girls - be as honest with me as you can - am I being crazy here? How do I get out of this?   I don't want to add these 10 women to the other showers. They have their own vibe/groups and I don't want to burden those hostesses with more guests. I also don't want to pick up the check at the restaurant, and can't or want to host this group at my own home.  To be honest, I think it's lame that I'd even have to bring food to her house or help like that for my shower, but it seems to be the lesser evil.  I really, really, really just want to have nothing to do with this, but it seems it will look really bad if I say that. 

Thanks for reading and in advance for the much needed advice!

Me: 40 | DH: 45 | together 14 years

TTC since 9/2015

  • Low AMH (0.1), high FSH (23.7), low AFC (4), low responder to stimulation, given 0.5% chance of being able to conceive
  • High Risk Factors: AMA, APS (antiphospholipid syndrome), obesity, uterine fibroid, rh negative
  • SA: everything excellent
  • Began medicated cycles (clomid, ovidrel, follistim, estrogen, progesterone)
  • 1st IUI: 3/27/16, BFP: 4/11/16, EDD 12/18/16!!!


We trust and pray that God will continue to bless us with a full-term, smooth pregnancy and the delivery of a healthy baby.


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Re: Baby shower hostess now wants to go to a restaurant and split the bill among all. How do I say no?

  • It must be very difficult to deal with this emotional situation right now!  My own shower has been very rocky, on the opposite end of the courtesy aspect - I didn't want my hostess to stress out about it too much because I have never done anything like that for her.  I didn't have anyone else to throw me a shower, so I'm glad that you are blessed with several!  We certainly put a lot of pressure on ourselves about the etiquette of these things, don't we?  I know that it is often traditional to pay the way for any guest, and so it must be too much for you to swallow - but since it is becoming very common, your hostess probably thinks that your guests will not be very surprised or upset at the suggestion.  In fact, in many circles these days, participation in any group event is negotiated with the same level of consent and communication as you would use to navigate a diplomatic junta.  The idea is that we all have different needs and expectations, and since we all have different traditions as well, it's best to approach each other with open minds.  Your friend is probably coming from that mindset, and so she probably won't mind listening to your concerns.  You could start off with saying that it means a lot to you to have her support for this baby, and that you're grateful even for the offer of help.  Then you could explain that the way you were brought up means that you personally can't cope with the idea of guests paying their own way, and that with the pregnancy, you'd rather not have to deal with that stress right now.  Tell her that if she can't host the event somewhere free for the guests, you will be happy to fold the guests into another celebration, and you will not be angry with her, but will invite her to one of the other events.  Tell her that the important thing is to have fun and honor the feelings of everyone involved.  Ask her if she can think of another way to do things more traditionally.  As for the gift: there may be a reason that she wants to do it that way.  One or more of the guests may be facing financial hardships of which you are not aware, and she may be attempting to accommodate them.  Try to keep that in mind, and remember that the important thing is to have the support of your friends in whatever form they can give it.  Congratulations on your baby, and good luck with a celebration that honors the feelings of everyone involved!

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  • That's difficult. My shower that is today started off during the planning as difficult like yours. Thankfully BFF is hosting with her mom and I just flat out told her. Restaurant/ catered baby shower is not my thing. I was in the position where I was able to open my home for this so that is what we are doing. 

    I think in your position I would be perfectly honest. And it's okay if you cry. "X, I'm not comfortable with the idea of this shower centering are drinks since obviously I cannot drink. Also I do not feel good about asking people to pick up there own tab. At this time my home is not an option however if you'd be willing to have it at your house I'll help with finger foods, ect." 

    As far as the joint gift goes I agree with PP that there may be a reason for that. I'm sure whatever they do it will be a thoughtful gift. So personally I'd just drop that one. 

    I hope that whatever is decided on makes you happy.
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  • It's nice that she wants to organize a get together.  Just let her do it however she wants.  Wanting specific things for something that's one of many showers doesn't sound very grateful.  Let her do the casual thing, if your friends don't want to pay their own way they'll let her know or not come.
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  • I think you're overthinking this. If it was your ONLY shower-to-be-had, I might see cause for your concern. But since it's just a blip on your multi-showers radar....just go to dinner. See what happens. Or don't go to dinner. And say whatever you need to say to excuse your absence. Case closed. 
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  • I agree with the above, you're overthinking this.  If she has told the guests ahead of time that this will be an event where they will be expected to split the bill, they will either come knowing that and be ok with it, or not come.  It's not like she plans to host dinner and drinks and not tell anyone she expects them to chip in until the end (at least from how you've posted it).  I would go and enjoy yourself.  Although you said you often pay for your birthday parties/dinners as an adult, most of the birthday parties I've been to in my 20s and 30s involve going out to dinner and then splitting the bill and everyone pays except the person we're celebrating.  Perhaps it might be helpful to re-name this in your head as a "baby celebration" instead of a shower, and adjust your expectations.

    If you're not comfortable with how she has arranged it, then I would simply say that you appreciate her putting this together, but you've decided it seems too complicated and you'd prefer not to have an event.  However, I would absolutely NOT tell her that she has to host something according to certain rules.  That, in and of itself, is pretty rude.  I would also consider that if your friends are aware of this event, they might be looking forward to it, and view you cancelling it because it isn't being held a "certain way" as much more rude than letting your friend host an event where people are buying their own food.

    Re: the gifts, I would just say "I don't really have a preference, any scenario is fine with me, including one where people don't give gifts, since they're all chipping in for the food".  
    NenaMommysourlemonleksiL
  • Stop overthinking it. If people want to throw you a party- let them! Don't get involved. To me going out with friends just to celebrate baby to be sounds like a fun time especially since you're having multiple baby showers. You'll probably get bored doing the same thing over and over again. Also be grateful. You said your friend isn't really a planner but she's doing her best and probably wanted to do something unique and different. 
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    TTC since June 2015 
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  • NenaMommyNenaMommy member
    edited October 2016

    Ladies - I can't thank you enough for taking the time to give me your advice.  I feel SO much better and my view on things has been broadened substantially.  I'm in a much better place to talk to her later on today. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

    This is all very new for me.  My main concern, again, was offending the guests.  And my main wish is to celebrate with this group.  The offended guests won't go so that defeats the wish part. But, this is really all out of my hands.

    To clarify:

    - Half the guests (5 out of the 10 ladies) have not been contacted. They do not know that it will be at a restaurant, nor that they will have to pay for themselves/the group. 

    -For those of you who said to just go out and have a girls night/outing and say 'no gifts'. Do you feel the same even if the hostess doesn't say 'no gifts'?

    -The hostess's main concern is to do as little work and spend as little money as possible.  There is no intention of 'doing something different', etc...I love her dearly and I appreciate her wanting to pull something together for me, so while that description sounds harsh, it's just the way she is with these matters.  She is an amazing woman, and a great friend in many other ways.  My gut after years of co-organizing with her (mostly showers for this group) and attending over 15 baby showers and many other social events with her, is that she was hoping others would step up and she could pass on the work to them (as she has done in the past).  Again...not a judgment...just the way she has always been about these things.

    -Group gift: There are no financial concerns within this group.  I just put myself in the place of someone receiving the invitation:  "come pay for your own meal, and send me X amount of $ for a group gift."  Ouch!  Since she asked, I'll tell her that I'd rather people do their own thing. :)

    Thanks again fellow bumpies.  You are all awesome!

    Me: 40 | DH: 45 | together 14 years

    TTC since 9/2015

    • Low AMH (0.1), high FSH (23.7), low AFC (4), low responder to stimulation, given 0.5% chance of being able to conceive
    • High Risk Factors: AMA, APS (antiphospholipid syndrome), obesity, uterine fibroid, rh negative
    • SA: everything excellent
    • Began medicated cycles (clomid, ovidrel, follistim, estrogen, progesterone)
    • 1st IUI: 3/27/16, BFP: 4/11/16, EDD 12/18/16!!!


    We trust and pray that God will continue to bless us with a full-term, smooth pregnancy and the delivery of a healthy baby.


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  • Just wanted to throw out there that my "friends" shower for DS1 was a brunch with friends. Everyone paid for their own food (and covered mine), everyone also brought a gift (though I wouldn't have cared if they didn't). It was not a big deal at all. Throwing a shower is expensive and I just wanted to see my favorite people and hang out! Try not to overthink it.
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  • I have been to three baby showers at restaurants now. Two of them were brunches and one was a dinner. They all turned out great! At one of the brunches, the "host" picked up the check for us all. I thought it was very generous and, as a guest, assumed if it was at a restaurant I'd pay for myself. The other two showers I went to were split checks, which wasn't listed on the invite, but was mentioned and agreed upon verbally and quietly on the side beforehand. I think the "host" paid for the Mom to be. The host organized a few simple games and brought some centerpieces for the tables. As a guest, I didn't mind paying for myself and had fun! All that matters is celebrating the baby and supporting the Mom! Nobody has offered to throw me a baby shower... You're lucky! :)
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  • juliehollz13juliehollz13 member
    edited October 2016
    I have to agree with you OP, some don't understand but there are certain people who are just so terrible at hosting things its cringe worthy. My SIL's offered to throw me a bridal and baby shower - both of which I politely declined (I chose not to have either because of the following issues) - BOTH showers were going to be hosted by them so that THEY can sell their informercial stuff (tupperware, ItWorks, essential oils, jewelry - whatever they're selling that year). So the guests would be pressured to buy all this crap that I don't need or want and my SIL's would be profiting off my shower. Oh and the baby shower was going to be "virtual", so guests wouldnt get cake or punch or even have me there in person, they would just be forced to buy stuff off "my registry" (aka THEIR list of suggested stuff that they're selling) and mail me the items. 

    If I were you I would just not think of it as a shower, think of it as a night out and if someone gets offended or isn't notified blame the hostess. You have bigger things to worry about than a handful of GROWN women getting offended over picking up their own tab. Just like PP's said, make sure the hostess communicates that gifts are optional and everyone is going dutch. 


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    NenaMommy
  •  BOTH showers were going to be hosted by them so that THEY can sell their informercial stuff (tupperware, ItWorks, essential oils, jewelry - whatever they're selling that year). So the guests would be pressured to buy all this crap that I don't need or want and my SIL's would be profiting off my shower. Oh and the baby shower was going to be "virtual", so guests wouldnt get cake or punch or even have me there in person, they would just be forced to buy stuff off "my registry" (aka THEIR list of suggested stuff that they're selling) and mail me the items. 

    WTF!! This is the crassest thing I have ever heard of - I am so glad you didn't fall for that. 

    I am in the be grateful they are getting together and stop overthinking camp. Why are you so worried about offending the guests? YOU ARE THE GUEST OF HONOR NOT THE ORGANIZER. You have no control! People need to stop interjecting so much in showers/parties thrown for them and just go with the flow. 
    Me: 38, DH: 36 
    Married Jan 2008 
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    LinziLoo09sourlemonNenaMommy
  • I agree with the majority of posters - just let them do what they're going to do and enjoy it for what it is. There was plenty of alcohol at my baby shower, and it didn't bother me at all. In fact the one baby game I allowed was a drinking contest from baby bottles. It was highly entertaining.

    It sounds like you're primarily annoyed with motives you suspect, but can't confirm, of the hostess (that she wants other people to do the work); though you try to cushion your comments with 'how much you appreciate the gesture'. Hun, none of what you're saying is appreciative; it's very judgmental and unappreciative. I can get being annoyed if this was your one and only shower, and she was blowing it royally. But you're getting multiple showers whereas most of us only get one or none. Count your multitude of blessings. I'd let them decide what to do with the gift situation, and let them know that they are not obligated to get you anything, and I'd enjoy a night out with the girls.

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  • Austenista  Austenista member
    edited October 2016
    I don't know, I don't think you should do anything you're not wanting to do. You have to be your own advocate and your own decision maker and thus if you find yourself in a situation you don't want to be in, you've still given your consent, per se, by going along with something. I think there's a compromise here and communicating with your friend honestly is the key. If you aren't happy with the venue/setting/drinking maybe suggest doing it somewhere like a tea room. Then you can get together, have a shower/party with or without gifts, your friend doesn't have to plan, and you don't have to deal with the drinking. 

    I think drinking is a personality thing. I'm not a big drinker (almost never) and I'm not a party-type person. I wouldn't be happy at a baby shower where people are drinking heavily and my mother tried to throw me one with jello shots and whiskey. I said no and didn't have a shower with her, which was fine by me. However, if it was just a glass of wine with dinner, that probably would not be a big deal for me though. 
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