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Who Pays for What? Bachelorette Party Etiquette

Mar 11, 2019
By Wedding Spot

Trying to figure out what to expect at your upcoming bachelorette party? Whether you’re the maid of honor in charge of planning it, a bridesmaid along for the ride, or the bride herself trying to spit the bill, these tips, tricks, and rules will help guide you through the process. 

Answers to the 4 Most Frequently Asked Bachelorette Party Etiquette Questions:

Let’s clear some things up first. 

1. What is the point of a bachelorette party?

It’s the bride’s last hooray with her closest family and gal pals. The definition of what that looks like will be different for everybody. But as long as the event involves some fun activities that the bride will love, it’ll be a success. 

It’s also worth noting what a bachelorette party isn’t and that is the single best party this bride will ever have in her life. So take a breath and lower your expectations. The point is to have a good time with the people she cares about most. 

If you’re planning a bachelorette party for yourself or for a friend, it’s worth sitting down and discussing some realistic goals. Be honest about everyone’s wants and needs. Yes, the bride gets priority, but what’s the point of choosing something that makes everyone else miserable? 

2. Who should be invited to a bachelorette party?

Invite all the members of the bridal party on the bride’s side. Do not invite anyone outside the bridal party without the bride’s express permission. And if your Great Aunt Cheryl keeps dropping hints about how she’s never been to one before you’re not obligated to invite her. 

3. Who pays for what at a bachelorette party?

Chances are your bridal party won’t be coming from the exact same household incomes and some attendees will have tighter budgets than others. Which is why it’s great to fall back on the tradition in this area. The bride usually doesn’t pay and the rest of the guests split the tab.

If you’re a bride with an especially gifted financial situation but have a bridal party that doesn’t have the same luxury, you can still have a great time. You may just have to chip in a bit if you’d like to have some high-end experiences. Or, if you’d like, you can always cover the cost yourself. However, that’s not required or expected so don’t stress over it. 

Money talk with loved ones can be somewhat awkward at times. But in this case, it’s necessary. No one should go into debt over a bachelorette party. Check-in with the bride about what amount per person she thinks is doable for all the guests (she does know their situations best, after all). Then, once you’ve agreed on what amount should be appropriate for both the itinerary and the group budget, let the invitees know what you have planned and how much is expected per person. 

4. What do you get a bride for a bachelorette party?

It’s a tradition to give a bride a gift at her bachelorette party but it’s not at all required. Unlike the wedding gift, this present is just for her, so go for something sentimental and/or fun. Joke gifts from party shops are often exchanged since this event tends to be a bit more light and high energy. And, if you’d like to give a gift but don’t know what to get, paying for her spa upgrade, ordering an extra bottle of her favorite bubbly, or even just bringing a thoughtful card will do. 

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Here’s How to Plan a Bachelorette Party in 11 Simple Steps:

Even if you’ve never planned an event before, these simple steps will make it easier for you. 

1. Choose your decision-maker(s).

This should definitely include the bride and, traditionally, the maid of honor, although that’s not required. This also means that not everyone should get a say, otherwise it’ll be close to impossible to get things done. 

2. Create the guest list.

The more people you have, the more people you’ll have to manage. But more people can sometimes make it cheaper so it’s up to you. 

3. Figure out the budget.

Most attendees spend an average of $537 per person so try to keep it at that number or lower if you can. 

4. Brainstorm your itinerary.

Decide if this will be one night or a weekend, where it will be held, roughly when it will take place, and what theme it should be (you can nail down activities later). 

5. Pick a method of communication.

It should be free and easy for everyone to access. Text chains and emails can get messy so people often use Facebook groups or Slack. 

6. Create a poll with 3-5 potential dates.

Make sure you do this well in advance (at least 8 weeks), especially if people have to travel to the location. Choose the final date either by a majority vote or by who the bride simply cannot have the party without. 

7. Send out official invitations.

If you use a digital tool it will be able to easily track RSVPs. And don’t leave off that RSVP by date! 

8. Finalize the itinerary.

If you or the bride is feeling stuck, a good rough activities list typically includes a group meal, one laidback activity (drinks by the pool, day at the spa, etc.), and one wild activity (strip club, drinking, etc.). You can do all of this in one day or spread it out over a long weekend. 

9. Follow up on RSVPs.

A final headcount is needed for getting all the details together. You can even send an overview of the itinerary along to help guests decide. 

10. Find and book your accommodations, travel, and activities.

You can also choose to do the next step before this one. 

11. Notify the group and collect payment.

Let them know exactly how much is owed, what is covered under that price, the payment deadline, and what methods you’ll accept. 

After that, all you have to do is juggle the little things that come up. So mentally prepare yourself because they totally will. Just focus on the big picture and remember, you can always go to the bride if a really sticky situation comes up. 

Here Are The Best Bachelorette Party Ideas & Themes:

The sky’s your limit so here’s some inspiration to kick things off. 

  • Spa Retreat. A little pampering always does a bride and her closest friends some good. 

  • Karaoke Party. Rent a room, order a round, and host your very own American Idol. 

  • Boozy Brunch. Mimosas, anyone?

  • Last Hurrah. Gambling, booze, and/or entertaining boys. 

  • Adult Sleepover. Bring back the magic of PJs, face masks, and trashy magazines. 

These classic bachelorette party plans are solid choices. But you can even do things that appeal to the bride’s specific interests such as attending a comic book convention, have a past life reading, or host a private yoga session. Pretty much anything goes! 

Discover the Top Crowd-Pleasing Bachelorette Party Activities:

Even if you don’t know everyone on the guest list, you’ll ensure a good time had by all with these tried and true ideas. 

  1. Pole-Dancing Class. Just make sure they play “All the Single Ladies” as your bride-to-be twirls her final hours as a free woman away. 

  2. Wine Tasting. For the more sophisticated and refined bride. You can also do a brewery if that’s more her taste. 

  3. Crafting. Help the bride finish up some fun wedding decor crafts or create some take-home goodies like candles and lingerie. 

  4. Picnic. Whether it’s at the park, on the beach, or in botanical gardens, a classic picnic is just plain fun. 

  5. Sailing. A day on the water, tanning and hanging out together. 

  6. Art Class. Painting, pottery, and flower arranging are great for a girly bride. 

  7. Tour. Whether the focus is history, architecture, or food, a tour of any kind is especially great for destination bachelorette parties. 

  8. Tea Party. Traditional English, Japanese, and Russian tea parties are all a great option.  

  9. Hike. And don’t forget to bring some fun, wedding-themed photo props for when you reach the top! 

  10. Local Flavor. This wildcard category is especially fun for destination parties. Is there something the chosen city is known for? For example, an early springtime bachelorette party in Lake Tahoe can enjoy a sunset snowshoe tour. Or a New York City event can include a Broadway show. 

Now you’re ready to host the perfect bachelorette party!

If you’re planning your event for yourself, you still need to make sure you have your maid of honor picked out sooner than later. Or, if you’re the maid of honor or bridesmaid in charge of planning, take a minute to start thinking about your wedding speech too (we’re sure some moments at the bachelorette party will probably be included). 

UP NEXT: Check out our Cabo bachelorette party guide!


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The Wedding Spot blog is designed to help couples navigate every step of the wedding planning journey. From before the engagement to after you say “I do,” our goal is to give you the tips, ideas, and inspiration to prepare for your big day — and all that comes with it.