Who's Really Supposed to Pay for the Bachelorette Party?

group of friends outdoors with wine

Photo by Kelsey Chance

You’ve been invited to be a bridesmaid in your best friend’s wedding, and you know what that means: bachelorette party. It is by far the most fun of the bridal party’s duties, but it can also be one of the priciest. Even if you’re not heading out of town (and thereby skipping flights, hotels, cars, and restaurants), the cost of planning can still add up when you throw in dinner, drinks, transportation, and décor. So who foots this growing bill? We're breaking down who pays for the bachelorette party.

bachelorette party etiquette

Alison Czinkota/Brides

Traditionally, the only person who doesn’t pay for the bachelorette party is the bride. This especially rings true when the bash is an in-town party (consisting of a single night out) as opposed to a weekend away. The bridesmaids and other guests will often chip in to cover the bride’s share, as well as cover their own costs. That’s one upside to heading out on the town with a bigger group. Of course, this depends heavily on the wishes of the bride and the group as a whole.

For destination bachelorettes, however, that rule doesn’t usually apply. Since travel and lodging are involved, plus multiple meals out, the bride will also contribute to help cover the expenses. You may all decide to treat the bride to one night on the town, but she’ll have to take out her wallet to cover that hangover brunch the next day.

While you’re still in the planning stages, keep the bride in the loop so she (and all of the attendees) have an idea of how much they’ll be expected to spend. Keep in mind that everyone participating in the bachelorette party festivities should be comfortable with the costs of attendance. Consult with the entire group about spending before creating the budget. Usually, the most effective way is to ask them individually as group settings could influence each person's response.

Once a budget has been established that more-or-less satisfies everyone, you can start scouting locations and brainstorming activities that will adhere to that guideline. Consider Airbnb over a pricey hotel suite, and look at options in a few price ranges to find something that works for everyone. As you’re planning activities and meals, be sure to share pricing information so the guests can start budgeting.

Make pricier activities (like a massage at a high-end spa) optional, and fill in-between time with low-cost or free choices (like a local hike or an afternoon window shopping) that everyone can participate in.

If the bride is strapped for cash (hey, weddings are expensive), scrap that weekend in Vegas in favor of something she’ll be more comfortable with. A slumber party with teen movies, quirky ice-breakers, and junk food (plus the bride’s favorite wine or cocktail) is just as fun and will be much easier on everyone’s wallets. Alternatively, sign up for a group cooking class or have a low-key wine and paint night.

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