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Engagement Party Hosting Rant

(92 Posts)
Bitchywaitress Mon 29-May-17 19:27:46

Just recently we did a small engagement party for cocktails only. This was all friends of the same age group, about 18 people.

They ran a tab, then at the end queued at the bar to pay individually for the exact drinks they had consumed, leaving as a group not a penny of a tip for the bar staff that had provided table service all night, mixed them custom cocktails and even cut and served the engagement cake they had brought. (We normally only allow guests dining to bring their own cake.). Anyway my AIBU is....

Aren't engagement parties about letting the families meet each other, not getting pissed with your friends so everyone can 'celebrate your love', it seems so self indulgent.

Am I right or wrong in thinking, isn't it crap hosting to not provide even a single drink to your guests? Or no nibbles, no entertainment, no transport.

Btw the cake was brought by one of the guests as a surprise, so the plan was no food at all for a party 7pm till midnight. We do bar snacks from £4.

I just think if you can't afford at least some basic level of hospitality, then don't throw unnecessary parties of which the primary goal is to celebrate yourselves.

Comments, disagreements and biscuit all welcome.

MasuMara Mon 29-May-17 19:32:19

Why do you even work in hospitality? An engagement party can be whatever you want it to be.

Maybe when they booked you should have made pay a service charge? Your fault for not doing it.

LedaP Mon 29-May-17 19:34:41

I dont think engagment parties are for family to meet. Its an excuse for a party. I also think drinks dont have to be included.

I do thing food/nibbles should be offered. This doesnt sound like a party. More like a night out at a bar.

I used to have a restaurant and hated group bookings for this exact reason. People assume restaurants/bars love big groups. As a rule we dont. It usually ends with people quibbling about who drank what, no tip, claiming items werent had and less spend per head than small tables. But cost more in staff.

I would rather have lots of small tables than one big one.

Tbh i think this is the reason people are becoming bored with engagment parties, birthday parties, baby showers, weddings etc. They can end up costing guests a lot of money.

Bitchywaitress Mon 29-May-17 19:34:50

Trust me I love working in hospitality! I just don't understand people that can't work out the basics of hosting an event.

viques Mon 29-May-17 19:43:16

I can understand people paying for their own drinks, but I think the engaged couple should have put their hands in their pockets for a tip to the staff, especially if the staff had served a cake which had been brought in.

Bitchywaitress Mon 29-May-17 19:43:57

It is not our policy to service charge guests, we don't agree with it. On the other hand, people that expect that level of care then don't tip their bar men are clueless.

Bitchywaitress Mon 29-May-17 20:06:23

So, hosting according to bitchywaitress...

Nice glass of fizz, juice or cold beer on arrival.
All soft drinks for drivers/preggers/teetotals
Nibbly picky things
Greet all guests
Hand written thank you card for gifts

Several drinks from limited bar
Light meal

Full on
Open bar
Extensive catering

I see all of the above in my line of work, and I am not judging the cash bar events where the couple really can't afford it.

However, there really is a minimum standard of hospitality for a party thrown in your honour. If you can't afford that, don't have the party, just ask your friends to go on a normal night out, don't label it as an engagement party.

Of do it at home when at least you can open a few packets of crisps and a 6 pack of cider. In our cocktail bar it's really really hard to spend under £100 per couple.

ghostyslovesheets Mon 29-May-17 20:09:46

well when you get engaged you do just that

I'm not sure why it's even bothering you? Do you work in a nice cocktail bar in Knightsbridge?

harderandharder2breathe Mon 29-May-17 20:12:00

The bar should've added a service charge for a group that size, I would've expected it tbh.

Personally i think engagement parties are a load of bollocks anyway, just another way to get family and friends to have to spend too much money on someone else's celebration

60sname Mon 29-May-17 20:14:21

So basically you're moaning that people hold events at your bar who you don't deem affluent enough?

60sname Mon 29-May-17 20:14:52

And yes definitely I would expect a service charge to be added for a group that size

Underthemoonlight Mon 29-May-17 20:24:05

So you worked this engagement party? Why do you care so much? The length you've gone to actually post it on a Internet forum to bitch about it is disgraceful, I think your in the wrong job. I've worked on a bar serving people drinks and tips are a bonus but they are certainly not an expection and you get your wage from your boss at the end of the night. An engagement cake is no different to a birthday cake that many venues allow. It was a small get together of 18 people who were celebrating in the way they wanted to not a big massive party of 50plus people. The only time I've ever heard of drinking being provided is at weddings and normally a toast and wine on the table then the guests buy there own drinks.

Bitchywaitress Mon 29-May-17 20:38:43

I didn't work this party, I work in the restaurant area.

I'm shock that nothing was provided in the way of food for the guests.

I'm even more shock that a couple of you think the guests should have had to pay an additional 12.5 service charge because the hosts were too tight to give the bartenders an extra £10 for waiting on them hand and foot.

And no, we do not allow guests to bring their own food into the bar unless they are having a meal in the restaurant, and bring a celebration cake, for after said meal. But as it was brought as a surprise we allowed it to be nice.

Underthemoonlight Mon 29-May-17 20:41:13

So if you didn't work it whats it got to do with you? Seriously posting it on here is OTT it's been and gone

Mistletoekids Mon 29-May-17 20:45:42


Bitchywaitress Mon 29-May-17 20:49:29

You know what moonlight. It's not really the event last weekend itself that really grinds my gears. It's this growing trend for everything wedding related to come at huge cost to guests. Why do you need to have your party in one of the most expensive bars in town? To show off?

Trust me, I have been in hospitality management for 2 decades and more and more I see these overblown events including engagement parties, hen and stags etc, where no expense is spared, but the hosts don't pay.

I once did the on the day co-ordination for a wedding with a flower bill of £thousands that had a cash bar. And yes I am married so I know what it's like to plan these events.

DerelictWreck Mon 29-May-17 20:53:50

Why should anyone pay service charge?? It's not as though the bar staff weren't all paid for the evening. It's part of their role to serve drinks etc, for which they are compensated, so why the obsession with the extra cash? I really don't understand the worlds obsession with service charge - you wouldn't tip a nurse or a teacher would you?

PurpleMinionMummy Mon 29-May-17 21:05:22

Am I the only one lol-ing at a waitress bitching about no tips when they clearly say they don't agree with a service charge? Dare I suggest the service wasn't all that and that why they didn't tip? If they were the guests they probably had no idea whether service charges were included or not and assumed it was? forces guests to go to an event if they aren't happy with paying for themselves.

Underthemoonlight Mon 29-May-17 21:12:12

I think your in the wrong job op you get paid a wage to provide a service it was carried out. You have no right to judge customers especially on a public forum. Imagine if your boss found this thread. Regardless of what people pay for their dress or flowers why should they pay for every single drink? I've never been to a wedding where I didn't buy my own drink but had toast and wine on the table same for engagements, birthday parties and christening I would imagine a paid bar would be something someone with a lot of money would pay for.

Allthewaves Mon 29-May-17 21:14:31

If it's a group booking then iv never been anywhere that didn't add a service charge onto the bill - always made clear at booking.

Most places have had a set party/nibbles menus that you have to order from as part of booking the restaurant - basic price per head up to fancy price

Allthewaves Mon 29-May-17 21:15:02

Or you pay a room charge if not having food

Bitchywaitress Mon 29-May-17 21:19:29

I do see the majority of PP think IABU.

But ask yourself, when invited to a party, do you really want to have to spend £100+ per couple? The nature of these parties is that they have a 'once in a lifetime' status, and guests, rightly or wrongly do feel obligated to attend.

You and your girlfriends love meeting up for £12 martinis, well that's just fine.

But making a hen do of disparate friends sit through a fine wine tasting which they have no interest in, is not fine.

And to make them pay £45 per person for the privilege of this hour of fun is sheer lunacy on top of all the other expenses of the evening/weekend/week in Maui.

harderandharder2breathe Mon 29-May-17 22:05:33

As I said, I think the whole idea of engagement parties is bollocks.

But you're far too het up about something that has absolutely no impact on you.

The staff were paid. They did their jobs. Tips are optional in this country.

RainbowJack Mon 29-May-17 22:16:24

because the hosts were too tight to give the bartenders an extra £10 for waiting on them hand and foot.

They get paid a wage for doing their job. It's gross to demand extra money.

Really living up to your username.

Ellisandra Mon 29-May-17 22:22:37

Absolutely none of your business.
You'll be horrified that last month I went to a wedding where we were asked to bring our own picnic.
It was one of the loveliest weddings I've been to.
The couple had a very limited budget.
I suppose you think they should have just had a multipack of crisps wedding breakfast?
Newsflash: all the people who were there, were there because they like this couple and wanted to celebrate with them.
It really is none of your business.

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