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20-40-60 etiquette: Splitting a party-planning bill

The 20-40-60 etiquette panel and guest Hilarie Blaney help a reader figure out how to divide a bill among hosts for a party.
by Helen Ford Wallace and Lillie-Beth Brinkman and Callie Gordon Published: September 16, 2013

QUESTION: There are 11 nieces and nephews who are planning a 90th birthday dinner party. There will be 50 to 70 guests. Some of the hosts may not attend. Others have to travel and have hotel expenses to add to the cost of the party. How should we divide the cost?

CALLIE'S ANSWER: Parties are expensive. All hosts need to be aware of that from the beginning. If someone is flying in for the party, this shouldn't affect the overall budget. If there is worry about travel costs, they can opt out of attending the party or even hosting the party.

How fun and cool! Happy 90th birthday!

LILLIE-BETH'S ANSWER: How neat that cousins are all planning a family affair together! If you can work together to do that, then it sounds like you can also talk out the financial expectations ahead of time. Depending on everyone's circumstances, I think the travel part is typically not considered part of the party budget, so the bill for the party itself is split 11 ways. However, as you work out the party-planning details, these are things to discuss among the planners, especially if incomes vary significantly between families. Let someone take the lead in the discussion and make sure the budget and bill-splitting are as much a part of planning as the decorations and food. Have a great time!

HELEN'S ANSWER: Usually when you offer to host a party you are aware that the costs will be divided equally. So if your name is on the invitation you are obligated to help with the expenses. If 11 people are hosts, then the total bill should be divided 11 ways.

If the nieces and nephews are children, then the parents could help with the final party costs.

The financial issues should always be talked about in the planning stage of the party so that no one is surprised when the bill comes. If travel and hotel expenses become a problem or if one of the hosts is not coming to the party, they should make that decision when the party is planned and opt out of the host group.

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by Helen Ford Wallace
Society Editor
Helen Ford Wallace is a columnist covering society-related events/news for The Oklahoman. She puts local parties online with daily updates. She creates, maintains and runs a Parties blog which includes web casts. She is an online web editor for...
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by Lillie-Beth Brinkman
Lillie-Beth Brinkman is a Content Marketing Manager for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce. She was previously an assistant editor of The Oklahoman
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by Callie Gordon
Freelance Writer
Callie Gordon, a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, is working at Chesapeake Energy in the Environment, Health, and Safety Department. She was previously an event coordinator for Chesapeake Energy.
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