Hen do shortfall - who should pay?

(62 Posts)
ViviPru Thu 17-Jan-13 07:20:26

With two months to go, a friend (Mary) has dropped out of my hen do. Yesterday's email to her requesting payment prompted her to check her diary and realise the trip to Italy she booked last week clashes.

Problem is, when the hen do was originally organised and booked, it was on the basis of her confirming that she was definitely able to attend. This means there is now a £150 shortfall.


~The hen do has been arranged by my friends

~When initially discussing my expectations/desires for a hen do, my main concerns were that it ought to be as equidistant as possible from all attendees and have the option of a scaled-back attendance and consequent reduced cost for those with kids (this was fulfilled)

~I suggested that I wasn't comfortable asking anyone to pay more than £120 in total at the very most.

~Mary does not have children

~Last year I attended Mary's hen do, which was a similar cost up front, and cost me about £350 when all was said and done.

~It's only just come to light to me that Mary is the only one who did not pay 50% deposit last autumn. I don't think this is because she never intended to come, more that she is quite difficult to pin down by email, rarely checking her hotmail emails, and not able to use work email for personal correspondence. I was not aware of this prior to the hen do being organised, we tend to communicate via text mostly.

~In her words, she's simply had a 'blonde moment' in double-booking this weekend which is wholly believable. She's very upfront and if it were about anything other than a genuine oversight, I believe she'd have said.

~I recognise that having friends organise my hen do on my behalf might have left me open to a situation such as this arising. Had I done it myself I could have chased Mary up for the deposit before Christmas and the situation wouldn't have arisen. My friends were keen to do it for me though, I only ever wanted quite a simple do and with so much else to organise I thought I may as well hand it over.

~At this point in time, I do not have the exact details about what monies have been paid that are non-refundable etc. I was just told last night that without Mary's attendance, there is a £150 shortfall.

~No mention has been made of money by Mary. I don't know if she is aware that her dropping out at this late stage has the consequence of a shortfall.

~The organisers suggested we just share the cost between the other attendees, but Im not comfortable with that and have said if it comes to it, I would rather cover it myself.

~I am aware this is not strictly an "AIBU" question.


Who ought to pay the missing £150? Mary? Me? The organisers? The remaining hens? If Mary, how should it be handled?

AltinkumATEalltheTurkey Thu 17-Jan-13 07:22:19

Get everyone to chip in.

Back2Two Thu 17-Jan-13 07:24:02

Not Mary, I think you'll just have to split it

PrincessOfChina Thu 17-Jan-13 07:25:10

Depends how many of you there are, and if the other hens were already chipping in to cover your costs? If there are lots of you then it's like a tenner each or something and is do that. If its less, I'd be inclined to suck it up between myself and my bridesmaids.

I do think you should have a chat with Mary and point out she should have paid £60 as a deposit and now she's dropped out you need it really. Just make lots of apologies and say you've all just realised she didn't pay the deposit and say you'll be out of pocket. If she's pretty straight up she'll offer anyway when she realises.

BillyBollyBrandy Thu 17-Jan-13 07:25:24

Surely she should just lose her deposit unless someone else has paid for the entire amount without getting cash in first? If that's the case then I would tell her and see if someone else can come. If they can't then she owes you the money.

YorkshireDeb Thu 17-Jan-13 07:25:43

I'd like to think Mary but I doubt she will. If you feel you can I would point this shortfall out to her though - it's really not fair for anyone else to pay for her mistake & at the very least she should feel bad about it! Failing that I'd say split the cost - the other hens will understand (although may be cross with Mary). How many hens are there to share the shortfall between? X

dexter73 Thu 17-Jan-13 07:25:52

If I cancelled something I would pay the money myself as it isn't fair to make other people pay because I can't look in my diary. I would send her an email saying that the money is still owed and see what she says.

squeakytoy Thu 17-Jan-13 07:26:10

invite someone else to take her place?

ENormaSnob Thu 17-Jan-13 07:27:00

I would say either Mary or the organisers.

Mary shouldn't be dropping out.

Organisers shouldn't have booked place without deposit.

I don't think it's fair to expect everyone else to cover it tbh.

ViviPru Thu 17-Jan-13 07:28:01

I probably should have said there are 10 other attendees including me, two of these are attending on the scaled-back basis.

saggybaps Thu 17-Jan-13 07:28:07

Ask her to pay her deposit explaining that there isnow a shortfall. If she's as nice & genuine as you say, & you paid £350 for hers, she should pay no prob.

Trills Thu 17-Jan-13 07:29:42

She should pay some of it, at least.

Whoever i organising it should sort it out - you shouldn't have to worry about it when you don't have all the info. Just telling you "there is a £150 shortfall" is a bit useless.

What s being paid for that would definitely not be if Mary was not there?

Non-refundable activities where you pay per person?

Is the accommodation per person (hotel) or are you in a house where you would have got the same house anyway if you had known there was one fewer person.

littlewhitebag Thu 17-Jan-13 07:32:30

If no-one has to pay more than £120 at the most why would the shortfall be £150? Genuinely confused.

lightrain Thu 17-Jan-13 07:33:18

This happened on my hen do, the exact same thing. I covered the cost myself. I felt uncomfortable asking others to pay more, and uncomfortable asking 'Mary' to pay when she wasn't going to attend (even though really, she should have paid!).

holidaysarenice Thu 17-Jan-13 07:35:03

I would definitely expect the £60 deposit from her. Would email her and say I'm sure she understands she'll lose the deposit she has paid. Except you know she hasn't paid it yet!

How on earth will you divide the shortfall espec as some ppl are attending less of it. Very hard!!

RuleBritannia Thu 17-Jan-13 07:36:42

Why on earth do people have such expensive hen dos? In my day, It's not so long ago that a group just went out for a drink or meal with wine. Why assume that everyone has £100+ to spend on non-essentials?

jumpingjackhash Thu 17-Jan-13 07:40:40

It sounds to me like Mary didn't consider herself confirmed to the point of having to pay, especially if she was meant to pay her share of a deposit last autumn. I think your bridesmaids should sort out the shortfall (or revise plans for the activities) as they were remiss in not chasing her up (they're had months, really, so could have called her!).

I can see why you might want to chip in too, but it's not fair to expect the others to pay.

Also, not sure her having no kids is relevant. Child free women also have other things going on.

Branleuse Thu 17-Jan-13 07:43:42

things were much simpler when a hen do meant getting all your mates together for a meal and a few bottles of wine

RuleBritannia Thu 17-Jan-13 07:44:56

Thank you for the back up, Branleuse.

Adversecamber Thu 17-Jan-13 07:49:48

Do not ask the other attendees to pay the shortfall
Has to be Mary or you

ViviPru Thu 17-Jan-13 07:50:02

PrincessOfChina Good advice - thanks

Enorma Good point. The organisers paid the deposit I think without Mary's contribution. They shouldn't have, really.

Trills Good points, it was Mary who texted me directly last night to say she shouldn't come, all previous correspondence re the hen do has taken place between the organisers, I have not been involved. I got in touch with one of the organisers to see what financial consequences her not coming would have.

I believe that some of the £150 is to cover food, drink, an activity of some description, so while it is not already spent, it is accounted for.

It is a rented cottage, so we will get the same house anyway with one fewer person.

Littlewhite At the outset, I SUGGESTED it cost no more than £120. I only found out last night that it was actually costing everyone £150

RuleBritannia There was an option of a scaled back attendance, just a meal out on a night that suited the individual or a 1 night stay rather than 2. These options were open to all of the hens, and two decided to take the option of staying one night. The rest chose to attend in full.

ViviPru Thu 17-Jan-13 07:54:13

JumpingJack You hit the nail with where Mary is with all this I think. Were I reading this as an outsider, I think I'd say 'you should make Mary aware she is responsible for the shortfall and really she ought to pay the deposit, but the rest should be shared between you and the organisers.'

not sure her having no kids is relevant

You now that if I'd not stipulated this in my OP, some people would have assumed she had kids and might base their judgement on Mary and the situation on this.

CaseyShraeger Thu 17-Jan-13 07:54:38

I also don't see how if there are originally planned to be eleven people going, paying no more than £120, and one of them drops out, the shortfall can be £150. Shouldn't it be a maximum of £120?

Really IMO Mary should pay the 50% deposit and the remainder should be paid somehow - in your position I'd probably cover it myself if possible but there's nothing wrong with asking tge others to chip in. But I can see it could be awkward asking her to stump up now.

ViviPru Thu 17-Jan-13 07:55:02

*know not now

ViviPru Thu 17-Jan-13 07:55:34

Casey see my previous post re the confusion between the £150 and £120

CaseyShraeger Thu 17-Jan-13 07:56:15

(cross-posted on the £120/£150 thing)

ViviPru Thu 17-Jan-13 07:57:29

ha sorry smile

I feel that really, Mary should pay the £70 deposit, and the remaining £80 should be paid between me and the 3 organisers. But I'm not sure how to go about making that happen in the most reasonable way....

CloudsAndTrees Thu 17-Jan-13 07:59:39

She should pay the deposit at least, and unfortunately I think you as the bride should pay the rest. You shouldn't have to, but the others shouldn't have to even more.

This is why I'm dreading organising my friends hen do!

iamabadger Thu 17-Jan-13 08:03:09

Will there really be a remaining £80 if some of that was to cover food and drink? As Mary isn't going so her proportion of food and drink won't be required. I'd also check what she's actually been told and asked for-if I wasn't chased for a deposit if probably assume there wasn't one or it was just a nominal fee for the whole group to be honest.

jammietart Thu 17-Jan-13 08:03:29

Can you just pay? Absorb the cost into the overall wedding spend and move on and enjoy your hen do? Not saying you won't enjoy it but issues like this can fester and cause resentment.
( although I think Mary should pay the entire cost herself but if she hasn't offered already I doubt she thinks she should)

TheCatIsEatingIt Thu 17-Jan-13 08:04:12

I had a dropout, so I paid the shortfall myself and used the empty space for a very dear schoolfriend who couldn't afford it but had wanted to come - I told a white lie and said the dropout had paid.

ViviPru Thu 17-Jan-13 08:04:23

Good points all, thanks for chipping in

SminkoPinko Thu 17-Jan-13 08:04:26

shock @ the expense of hen nights! I would never pay £120 for a night out with friends even if one of them was getting married and I loved her dearly, let alone £350! Couldn't afford it, full stop, especially at this time of year. Are you sure she's not skint after Christmas?

Anyway, this is all an aside. You have made your feelings clear about not wanting your mates to pay too much more but your friends are organising, not you, and they need to manage this hiccup. They need to sort out the money side to all attendees' satisfaction and come up with a implement plan B if plan A is now unrealistically expensive. Let them sort it out amongst themselves.

Have a great time, when the big day comes.smile

jumpingjackhash Thu 17-Jan-13 08:05:23

I think the big learning for your plans Clouds is if they've not paid their contribution by X date, you assume they're not coming and let them know that!

Thanks for answering questions Vivi, you're in a difficult situation over something which has been caused by others (a misunderstanding most likely). Just have a chat with Mary then if you want her to contribute. I would probably cover it myself though and silently wish my bridesmaids were better organised, but I'm anal about planning!

Got you on the kids thing! wink

Gumby Thu 17-Jan-13 08:05:37

Can't you invite someone else?

Sister, sister in law, your mum, his mum, cousin work mate?!

Mary should pay, at the very least just the deposit. But if she won't, if I were you I would pay. It's lovely that your friends have all been able to pay £150 to celebrate with you, if it was me I wouldn't want to burden them with extra cost.

CloudsAndTrees Thu 17-Jan-13 08:09:42

Thanks jumping!

I'm hoping my friend will want a hen do that can be paid for on the night so I just have to book a table and a few pay-when-you-get-there travel inn rooms!

ViviPru Thu 17-Jan-13 08:10:35

Sminko The £150 covers 2 nights in a rented cottage, travel, food & drink for the weekend and and activity of some description. All but 2 of the hens have had a similar scale hen do for a similar price. Everyone was given alternative options.

She's definitely not skint after Christmas, Mary is a high earner and is generally generous and extravagant. I think if it was put to her, she would pay in full, but it's just whether she ought to.

Deffo heed Jacks advice, clouds!

SminkoPinko Thu 17-Jan-13 08:11:45

Good luck, clouds!

LIZS Thu 17-Jan-13 08:19:38

At very least she should stump up the deposit then the remaining cost would be split unless you can fill the space in which case person x pays and Mary gets her 50% back.

SminkoPinko Thu 17-Jan-13 08:20:45

Yes, sorry, I can see that, reading the thread a bit more thoroughly. I just meant that I personally don't have that kind of budget for extras at all (and sadly can't think of any time in my life when I had) despite earning reasonable money- it's all spoken for. Feel very lucky that I'm a living in sin type with few married friends and in any case too old for the trend in exciting expensive weekend away type hen dos! I wondered if Mary was in the brassic boat with me but it doesn't sound like that is the case at all from what you've said in your last post.

miggy Thu 17-Jan-13 08:23:08

I cant really see why if she isnt coming her share should be any more than cost of house divided by number of hens as one less person to eat drink and do activity surely?
I would send her a really friendly email and explain that the cottage has now been booked and your numpty bridesmaids forgot to ask her to pay her deposit at the right time and would she mind coughing that up if she is now dropping out, as otherwise everyone will pay more. Then cover the rest yourself?

MTBMummy Thu 17-Jan-13 08:46:17

I was the bridesmaid organising my mates hen do, and I double and triple checked who could make it, most people paid their monies upfront, except for one family (which had 2 people attending) who said they were a bit skint pre Xmas and could they pay afterwards, I agreed and covered their costs.

They then emailed 2 weeks before the event asking if they could bring 3 more (all confirmed with the bride) so I said yes, and they agreed to pay on the night, so I manically contacted the various things we had planned ordered extra food and drink and paid the extra amounts.

Come the Hen Do, they did not turn up for the day part, which wasn't too bad, although did leave me a little out of pocket, do you think they turned up for the evening do (after making a huge fuss and getting specially catered meals) did they hell! I was left £300 out of pocket, with a bunch of food that no body touched.

I couldn't ask the bride, as I knew she was broke, as was the other bridesmaid, I will never confirm someone if they haven't paid the entire amount up front again.

goldiehorn Thu 17-Jan-13 08:50:50

I actually think that Mary should pay the lot, seeing as it is totally her fault that she cannot now come, she should have checked much earlier than this. Maybe it will teach her a lesson to be a bit more organised so that she does not end up messing people around! It does not sound like this is going to happen, but I think that it would not be unreasonable at all to press her for the deposit (and then unfortunately I think either you or the organsisers will have to pick up the shortfall - perils of having a hen do!).

However, I dont get why people are getting pissy about your hen do costing £150. I would say that is pretty average really for a nice weekend away, and is what I have paid for all the hen dos I have been on (although I draw the line at hen dos in fucking Ibiza!). And it is nice that you have given people the option of just coming for part of the time if it is too expensive or they cannot come on the friday night or whatever (again, something that all the hen dos I have been on have done).

Have fun! smile

Willowisp Thu 17-Jan-13 08:54:33

I think Mary should pay the lot - she's an adult, she writes said hen do in diary/ checks diary when booking event/ can't do event because hen do is booked. hmm

Why does she cancel trip to Italy ?!

Willowisp Thu 17-Jan-13 08:55:03

Grr... Why doesn't she cancel trip to Italy ?!

Kiriwawa Thu 17-Jan-13 09:13:33

If she's just booked a clashing trip, then she should pay the fixed costs (so share of deposit/cost of cottage). I would imagine that the activity numbers can be changed 2 months in advance, and obviously your food and drink costs will be lower.

ViviPru Thu 17-Jan-13 09:48:14

God, MTB that's terrible! How nice of you to not burden the bride with it. If your name is anything to go by, you and I would get on well, howsabout I sack off the hen do completely and you and I head to Coed Y Brenin and hit the black runs instead?

On reflection, reading all your (very helpful - it's not true what they say about AIBU!) posts and having a useful discussion with one of the (more organised) organisers the true accommodation deficit is likely to be more like £110, although it does mean there will be £40 less in the spends kitty, and it's not as clear cut as everyones £40 extra covering JUST their own individual place, but we'll just have to be a bit more careful.

The temptation will be there to casually let it slip to Mary next time I see her that we were left short, but I know that's really not at all fair and I won't do it. It's either tell her now and let her act accordingly or not at all.

I am just going to cover it myself. I CBA with any ill feeling or further dramas.

Crinkle77 Thu 17-Jan-13 09:51:50

The polite thing would be for Mary to make a contribution but perhaps not the whole cost. I would say half then split the rest between the other ladies. Or at the very leat the deposit money that she should have paid

MsVestibule Thu 17-Jan-13 10:09:40

Ah, Vivi, you didn't consider all of this hassle when you were waiting for your laidback DP to propose, did you wink?

I think you should ask Mary for her share of the accommodation. She sounds nice enough (if a bit dizzy) and why should you or any of the other hen party be out of pocket because she's double booked? I can't see why there are additional costs WRT food and activities, though? Surely you just buy less food, and activities are normally price per person?

DeepRedBetty Thu 17-Jan-13 10:16:55

What TheCatIsEatingIt did was very sweet, is there anyone in that position in your circle of friends?

ViviPru Thu 17-Jan-13 10:17:27

Oh MsV. So wise ;)

MTBMummy Thu 17-Jan-13 10:26:27

Vivi it's a deal - actually CYB is where DP and I plan to get married next year :-)

Ceremony, then bike ride, then party - I couldn't think of a better wedding day - well for DP and I anyway

ViviPru Thu 17-Jan-13 10:29:38

Yeah me neither! I'd love to have got married there, you lucky thing!

morethanalltheteainchina Thu 17-Jan-13 10:40:59

I would send her an email back saying something along the lines of "Ok, hope you don't mind that you will lose your deposit though as obviously we've already had to give this to the venue etc blah blah blah'

This should then prompt her to either a) say "shit, I never even paid the deposit, here it is, sorry once again" and then I would cover the balance myself or b) say "oh I never paid the deposit to start with haha!" in which case I would cover the full cost myself and think that Mary was a cow

FriendlyLadybird Thu 17-Jan-13 10:41:13

I think Mary should pay at least the deposit, but probably not the full £150 if that includes food, drink, and an activity. Basically, she needs to cover her share of the cottage rental, which is a fixed price and you're not going to be able to reduce, but not the food and drink etc. because she will not be sharing in it and it can just be scaled back.

StuntGirl Thu 17-Jan-13 10:51:02

Aef @ £12

StuntGirl Thu 17-Jan-13 10:51:55

Arf @ £120 being the scaled back version!

(Fat fingers!)

Haughtyculture Thu 17-Jan-13 11:13:31

I think that in an ideal world Mary should cover the costs but chances are I would just end up putting the shortfall in myself and make a mental note not to invite Mary to anything expensive again

ViviPru Thu 17-Jan-13 11:34:08

No, StuntGirl, £120 was what I suggested should be the maximum cost for those attending the whole weekend.

fromparistoberlin Thu 17-Jan-13 11:34:23

but try mary first

tough titties

and not fair AT ALL to others hens

Gryffindor Thu 17-Jan-13 20:24:45

Mary should pay the deposit, I think you should pay the rest.

I got married last year and couldn't stand the thought of my friends paying a fortune for a hen night on top of the costs of actually coming to the wedding, new outfit etc.

Instead we just went for a boozy local meal. I was a bit upset because a few close friends cancelled with extremely implausible excuses, but in the end, I was glad that I spent time with the friends who actually bothered to show up, and when the bill arrived I paid the lot as it was actually not bad for the 10 of us. Luckily it was just after payday!

I honestly would have hated a big extravagant weekend-long do.

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