One of the trickiest things to talk about (in general) is money. And when it comes to wedding and party planning, unfortunately, nobody is spared.
Today, we’re going to discuss a big one: who is responsible for paying for a bachelorette party?
It’s no secret that a bride’s bachelorette party can rack up costs quickly- and while, yes, there are totally ways to keep costs low… at the end of the hangover- I mean, day– someone is ultimately on the hook for paying for it.
So let’s talk money (and traditions!)
Who Traditionally Pays for the Bachelorette Party?
Weddings are a funny beast, and paying for one is an even trickier thing!
As time goes by, we’ve noticed some wedding traditions that have marched on out the door, and yet some have stood the test of time.
With all the moving pieces leading up to a wedding, there are traditional understandings of “who pays for what.” For example, parents used to be on the hook for paying for the majority of the wedding, whereas nowadays, more modern couples are seen to be pitching in for the big day. (Source)
It hasn’t always been so clear-cut when it comes to planning and paying for the pre-wedding festivities on the bride’s side. But traditionally, the Maid of Honor and bridesmaids would split the final costs of the party.
The understanding was that all of the bride’s expenses would be generally covered by someone else. And if you have a MOH who’s in charge, they would be the one organizing logistics and wrangling everybody- which includes the conversations around paying for things.
Tip: Be sure to talk to the attendees ahead of time to see what they’re comfortable spending. The sooner you’re informed, the easier it will be to discuss costs.
Factors To Consider When Splitting Costs of a Bachelorette Party
Who pays for travel expenses? Booze? Gifts? Experiences? Hotels? There’s a lot that goes into planning, and therefore, lots to consider when splitting the costs. Different scenarios can also affect things.
Is There a Bridal Shower on the Calendar?
Imagine you (the MOH, for example) are also throwing a bridal shower. In this event, the mother of the bride would also share the cost along with the bridesmaids.
But that party could also be hosted by an aunt or godmother, who would possibly also foot the bill for hosting.
Destination vs. Local Bachelorette Party
A destination party will take place in a different location and will require not only more logistics but also, more money!
More often than not, individual members of the bridal party (bride included) will take their fair share of the travel expenses tab, but things like drinks, food, or decorations will be covered by the MOH or bridal party.
If the bachelorette party is happening in town, then typically the bridal party will cover the costs, including those of the bride. Whether that includes food, drink, a party bus, tickets to an event, the hangover brunch the next morning, etc, is up to the party to split!
Tips for Handling the “Who Pays” Conversation With the Bridal Party
As a bride, money, and budgeting for the big day will most likely be at the forefront of your mind. (If it’s not, wow, lucky you!)
For handling conversations with your MOH or bridal party about your desired bachelorette party outcome, you’re going to want to keep a few things in mind.
List Your “Wants/Needs/Nice to Have/Avoid” Ahead of Time.
You can’t expect even your best of friends to read your mind. You’d also be surprised how many brides-to-be actually want to avoid the typical “bachelorette party staples.”
If you’re hoping for a weekend getaway to Mexico, or a quiet evening in a rented cabin upstate, then say so!
It’s also helpful to have an Option B for tighter budgets, or for things you’re willing to compromise on! Your MOH will thank you.
Estimate Any Large Expenses.
Plane tickets, car rentals, event tickets, and hotels will fall under “big ticket items.” Experiences that you’re wanting to have may also fall under this category- like renting a pedal pub or a yacht.
Communicating these potential expenses upfront will allow your bridal party to see if it’s possible, and it’ll help avoid any future resentment down the line leading up to the big day.
Also, as general etiquette, the more expensive activities should be made optional (to be on the safe side.)
Let the Bridal Party Handle the Little Things.
You’ve got 101 things running through your head, and if you’re already thinking about invites, flowers, and decor items, don’t!
Delegation is *actually* your best friend, and handing the reins to a reliable person like your MOH or trusted bridesmaid will take the stress off your plate and allow you actually enjoy the event!
Decide Whether You Want Gifts or Not, and Make It Clear.
Nothing is more awkward than showing up to a party empty-handed when everybody else has brought something for the special person.
Gift-giving isn’t mandatory for bachelorette parties; they’re typically reserved for the bridal shower. However, if you’re expecting gifts, list your registry on the invitation so there is absolutely no question!
Pro Tip: Looking to build up your lingerie collection? Mention your size on the invite to take away any future hassle of gift returns.
What Should the Bride Pay For at Her Bachelorette Party?
Traditionally, the bride is the one that enjoys being lavished on, but more modern brides have been insisting on taking on a fair share of the financial burden.
Nowadays, nobody wants to put their bridesmaid out for a party if it’s known that they’re financially struggling.
We’re in tough times, people, and compassion goes a long way- ultimately, nobody should go into debt for a bachelorette party!
If circumstances are such that the bachelorette party is taking place out of town, which will require a flight, hotel, car rental, and other assorted activities, then the bride should pay for her share of the expenses that fall under that category, like the rest of the bridal party.
It’s also considered good etiquette to show your appreciation for the bridesmaids by purchasing thoughtful or sentimental gifts. Whether it’s given to them at the bachelorette party or even on the big day itself, the bride is always welcome to return the love!