If you’re planning a hen night or another party, how do you say everyone pays for themselves? Asking might make you feel uncomfortable, but you may really be unable to afford such an expensive event on your own.
Communicate the expectation that everyone pays for themselves already in the description of the event. At spontaneous get-togethers such as a restaurant visit, you can let the waiter know at the beginning that you would like to have separate bills – preferably in such a way that everyone present notices.
The cost of living is high, and bills take up most of the average consumer’s salary. Any person will be able to understand if you admit that the cost of having an event is too much for you to shoulder on your own.
However, while selecting the venue and type of entertainment, keep everyone’s budget in mind.
Don’t choose a meal or entertainment package that’s expensive and then talk to everyone afterward.
If you expect them to contribute with their hard-earned cash, talk to them about what they can afford, before making a decision.
When you gain consensus beforehand, everyone will be on board with the financial aspect of the plan.  Funding the event is a problem but if you talk to each person before and come to an agreement, it alleviates the strain on you.
Ensure that you pool opinions and listen effectively to what each person is saying. Ensure that the fee you settle on is something that everyone can live with. They’ll pay their own way a lot more willingly if they feel that they’ve been heard.
Don’t drop hints about what you want. Also, try to avoid anything that seems vague or looks like manipulation. For example, try to avoid dropping hints like:
“Wow. That place seems really expensive.”
“I wonder if I can afford all that?”
“The bills for this event just keep adding up.”
Making statements like that and hoping the person who is listening to you will catch on and jump in with a cash offer, can come across as indecisive, vague, or even manipulative. If you want them to contribute, ask respectfully, making it clear that you’re asking for help.
Trying to use guilt or other emotions to push people in the direction you want them to go can spoil the event for everyone.
Don’t make a vague statement and then leave it hanging, hoping that the person will respond in the way you want.
Research has shown that inferred manipulative intent can actually lead people to give less.  If the people who you want to attend an event don’t think that you’re giving them room to make a deliberate choice, some may even decide against going anywhere with you in the future.
If you aren’t honest and respectful while asking, it can also affect word of mouth. Offended people may decide to not say anything at all to anyone about the event since they’re unable to speak about it without talking about your approach. That decreases the positive sense of anticipation that you would want to build.
Keep It Simple
If you want each person to pay their own way, go straight to the point. Don’t add on extraneous details that might confuse the person you’re asking.
As you make a statement, check for how well it fits your intentions.  Make sure your statements aren’t ambiguous in any way and will elicit the type of response that you want
You want your intention to be known without any room for unintentional misunderstanding. Each person will need to pay their own way.
Also, tell each contributor how much they’ll need to budget for.
You could say:
“The party will be on Friday. The cost will be $39 per person.”
“The dinner will start at 7 p.m. It will cost $40 per person.”
“The day cruise will be $60 per person.”
“Could you advance me $100 for Anna’s bachelorette party?”
Follow that up with information on the method of payment. This reinforces the idea that each guest will be expected to pay their own way.
For example, state whether each person will pay you in cash personally or can transfer the payment to a specific bank account.
You could say:
“Payments can be made to my bank account #2345678.”
“You can transfer your payment for the event to my digital wallet.”
“I’ll be home all day on Saturday if you want to give me your payment in person.”
It’s not generally a good idea to ask for payment for an event and then collect on the day of the event.
It creates more stress for you since you have to be concentrating on the business aspect of a personal celebration, instead of being relaxed and enjoying yourself.
Advance payment also makes it possible for your group to pay the deposit on time. Most venues require a deposit, whether you’re renting a venue or booking other entertainment options.
Give A Deadline
If your friends know that the event is on a specific date, some may not pay before that date until you ask them. Let them know what the deadline is and invite them to pay early.
If some of the fees have to be paid at the event, tell them.
You can also indicate which payment method will be available there. For example, when you tell them that some fees will have to be paid there, you could say:
“They accept cash there.”
“They only accept cards there.”
“You can pay using your card.”
Attach An Invoice
If your invitations are being sent via email or WhatsApp, you can let each person know that they’ll have to pay for themselves, and you can also share the cost breakdown. This can be included in the message or given in an attachment.
You could say:
“The birthday party will be held at Celia’s restaurant. It will cost $35, including drinks.“
“My graduation party will be next Friday. It costs $35. I hope you can be there.”
“So, we’ve agreed to celebrate at Fusion Club. The package is $40 and includes drinks.”
Even if you attach the details, state the cost in the main email.
Some people won’t have time to download the attachment but others will want the details, so it’s good to provide the option.
You could invite them to look at it by saying:
“I’ve attached the details on the location and cost.”
“I’ve included an attachment with details on cost.”
“An invoice is attached.”
Dutch Treat Parties
If you’re having a party, you could simply let everyone know from the start that it will be a Dutch Treat party.
When you say that it’s a Dutch Treat party, everyone will understand that they’ll be paying their own way.
With this type of party, they’ll have to purchase their own food and drinks. Some people prefer it that way because they can stay within their budget.
Let everyone know what arrangements are in place, by saying:
“My graduation party is on Friday. It will be a Dutch Treat party.”
“Let’s meet on Friday at Sizzle to celebrate. It will be a Dutch Treat party.”
“There will be a No Host Bar at my party, so you’ll be able to purchase the alcoholic drinks that you like.”
We Will Ask for Separate Checks
If you don’t need to book a venue ahead of time or pay for any rentals as a group, it may be possible to leave all the transactions to your host. This is ideal for people who aren’t comfortable with collecting money from their friends.
You can intentionally pick an activity that allows you to do this and avoid having to keep a record of payments. This also allows you to avoid using the word money.
For some people, talking about money causes feelings of discomfort and they would prefer to use a euphemism.
You could say:
“Each person will just pay their own bill after the meal.”
“Each of us can just pay to go in when we reach the gate.”
“We can just take separate checks.”
If you’re planning to take separate checks, make sure it is clearly understood by each person. Sometimes people forget or they may try to switch the arrangement in the middle of the event.
If you’re planning on separate checks, make sure the eatery that you’ll be at actually allows that. Not all do and it would be inconvenient to find out late.
At the beginning of the meal, ask the servers to provide everyone in your group with separate checks. Doing so while everyone is present helps to remind them and sets the tone.
It allows everyone to relax, knowing that they can enjoy themselves while sticking to the level of spending that’s right for them.
Use An App
Sometimes everyone is in favor of doing an activity or attending a venue where they don’t give separate checks. That’s not a problem. Decide on your method of ensuring that each person pays the correct amount, long before you go.
Some apps make it easy for you to calculate how much each person owes. Venmo is one such app and it will help you to enjoy your night out.
Sophie Hammond is a journalist, psychologist, and freelance speechwriter for people in politics and business. She lives on the edge of the Rocky Mountains with her dog and a lifetime supply of books. When she’s not writing, she can be found wandering through nature or journaling at a coffee shop.