Ladylike Laws: Bachelorette Party Etiquette

Bachelorette Party Etiquette -

It’s officially wedding season, which means that many of us have bachelorette parties lined up all summer long. I’ve been to a handful of bachelorettes through the years, so I thought I’d put together my list of do’s and don’ts when it comes to celebrating your bride-to-be bestie.

Now, keep in mind that every bride and every bachelorette party is different. However, there are a few golden rules of bachelorette etiquette to stick to, no matter what the specifics are. Here we go…

All About the Bride

The absolute, most important rule of etiquette when it comes to bachelorette parties is this: You are celebrating a very special bride-to-be, and this weekend is all about her. I’ve been to a handful of bachelorettes where some of the bridesmaids and guests lose sight of this, and make the festivities about them and what they want to do. Now, I know that everyone is paying their own way (and in many cases for the bride, too), so it can be tough to put that aside and focus on what the bride-to-be wants to do. But trust me—if you want to have a happy bride-to-be, keep the weekend about her.

Cover Costs

It’s traditional bachelorette party etiquette to cover costs for the bride-to-be. This one can vary from bachelorette to bachelorette, but in most cases, the guests will pay for meals, cocktails and special celebrations for the soon to be bride. My advice? When you know that you have a bachelorette coming up, try to save a little extra each month so that you can spoil the bride-to-be on her special weekend. A note on gifts: In my experience, it is not necessary to bring a gift to the bachelorette party. You’re paying for your transportation, hotels, meals, and most likely will be covering costs for the bachelorette—that is quite a lovely gift, if you ask me!

Social Media Savvy

You’ll want to be extra careful when Instagramming over a bachelorette weekend. Bachelorettes can get a bit wild (depending on who you’re with and who you’re celebrating), and some of the photos you take should never see the light of day. Just make sure to get approval from the rest of the bach’ party before you post/tweet/etc. And if you need a refresher on the topic, take a peek at our blog on social media etiquette.

Dress Code

Determining what to wear to a bachelorette party will have a lot to do with where you’re going, what the plans are and what the weather will be like. However, there are a couple rules to follow no matter where you’re going. First, it’s customary for the bride-to-be to wear white, so unless you’re the bachelorette being celebrated, leave your white-on-white ensembles at home. Next, I recommend keeping it ladylike when it comes to your outfits. While it can be tempting to wear that too-short dress for a night out in Vegas, think twice before you head out in an outfit that you’ll regret the next day.

Drink Responsibly

The worst feeling in the world is waking up the next morning either not remembering what happened the night before, or dealing with a hangover that means you have to miss the day’s celebrations. It’s definitely fun to have a few cocktails with your best girlfriends and celebrate one of the most exciting times in a friend’s life, but trust me, you’ll want to be able to soak up every minute with your friends instead of being stuck in bed with a hangover headache.

Now, keep in mind. If you’re going to Vegas, the vibe will be very different than if you’re heading to Palm Springs for a spa weekend. You’ll want to make sure that you plan (and pack) accordingly, based on where the festivities are located and what’s on the agenda.

You’ll also want to refer to our proper party girl etiquette as well as our wedding guest etiquette post. Most of those rules also apply to bachelorette parties.

Do you have any other bachelorette party etiquette tips?

Leave them in the comments!

xo Rachel
Team LC


Photo: Carrie Beth Taylor Illustration
Categories: Celebrate, Etiquette, Ladylike Laws, Rachel Rosenbloom, Wedding
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  • arielle q.

    love this post. so appropriate for this time of year. and so helpful! I definitely learned/re-learned a couple of things.

    love, arielle
    a simple elegance

  • Laurel Loves

    Very good tips. Not the time to behave inappropriately! My friends did it for me and I look forward to returning the favour since I was the first to get married, I have all their bachelorette parties to look forward to! (or Hen parties as we call them in the UK)

    • Samantha Brown

      I totally agree – it has to be all about the bride!

      I’ve only been to one Hens night (we call them that here in Australia too) and one of the bride-to-be’s friends spent about half of the night crying because she was drunk and wasn’t a bridesmaid… not the best!

      Sam xx – how to make the most of your twenties

  • Christina Goldsmith

    FABULOUS tips, Rachel!!!

  • Deek Labelle

    We are having a girl’s weekend at my cottage for my bestie’s bachelorette party! Can’t wait – nothing but her favorite snacks and foods, awesome games, and the bridesmaids are even planning a lip sync battle! Not to mention decorating our own beer koozies and t-shirts! Can’t wait!

  • Victoria

    I am getting married in Septmeber, and the BIGGEST piece of advice I can give is to listen to the bride and what she wants out of her bachelorette party. Often times what everyone else thinks is fun is not what the bride truly wants. Every bride is different and not everyone wants to take shots out of a phallic shot glass! Great article!

    • Kristi

      I completely agree! I kept getting pushed to have the traditional, tacky, uniform-clad bridal party and I just.didn’

    • ThePunkyDuckling

      Ohmygod, thank you!! I’m getting married in a few weeks and I’m so thankful that my friends are understanding what I want to do – no pink penis balloons, no sleazy games…. just no! We are going to the movies before dinner and drinks, just my very closest girls – and that’s exactly how I want it!

    • TM

      Totally agree – all about the bride… My bridesmaids didn’t like what I wanted for my bachelorette, and picked what they wanted to do. I didn’t enjoy my day at all. Gutting.

  • melissa

    Ok so I have a bachelorette party coming up for a close friend. She’s not inviting guests to the wedding or having a bridal party and she is the one who brought up what people would be spending on her bachelorette party. I just think it’s kinda tacky to expect people to go to your bachelorette party, pay for all your stuff for the night and then not have them at your wedding. I dunno…thought? For the record I had my bachelorette party last year (same day she’s having hers this year actually) and my bridesmaids paid (my mom also put up some money), but everyone who was going to bachelorette was also invited to wedding. She’s my friend so in a sense I don’t mind but I think it’s a little strange to have a bachelorette party when you’re not inviting any guests and tell them “oh well you’ll pay cause you’re invited.” And she told us “Well the bridesmaids usually pay” and we are like “Ok but you don’t have bridesmaids.” I don’t know. It just seems a little strange. Obviously she shouldn’t pay for her own bachelorette party but is it in poor taste to invite guests to bachelorette if you’re not inviting anyone to wedding and then just expect them to cover everything?

    • Sue

      A friend of mine from college is getting married, and I was one of the people she made a personal phone call to after her fiance proposed. About a week later, when talking about the wedding, she told me that she may be having a really small wedding due to the fact that her fiance and her were paying for it on their own and they would rather get married sooner than save for over 2 years, which I totally understand. Before she said anything, I told her, “I wont be offended if you cant invite me, just make sure I’m invited to your bachelorette party!” I would rather her not stress about letting me down and just let her know I support her decision.

      The only reason I would think its tacky is if the bride was inviting random people to the bachelorette party just to cover costs, but since she is your friend, I don’t think that is the case.

      • melissa

        Yea thanks for responding. My other friends and I just never heard of having a bachelorette party if you weren’t having a wedding so I wasnt sure what the etiquette was.

    • Haley

      I think that if she’s expecting you to cover her expenses, that’s definitely tacky. If she isn’t going to share the festivities/experience of the wedding, then you shouldn’t have to pay for her part. If she’s cutting expenses for the wedding to the point where she won’t invite guests, then she can cover her own expenses. I do, however, think you should be responsible for your part in the bachelorette party.

      • melissa

        Thanks for your response. I definitely would expect to cover myself so that’s no issue. Yea I think half of people think it’s tacky and half don’t. I was just curious. As she is a close friend and was in my wedding I will put towards her expenses but I just don’t think she should have brought it up. cause that’s kinda strange for the bride to bring it up (especially if the girls invited to bachelorette aren’t invited to wedding.) Thanks.

      • melissa

        Yea actually she did say she wasn’t inviting guests cause they didn’t want to spend the money.

  • J

    I work in the nightlife industry, and I’m honestly debating printing this off and handing copies to the parties who decide to come in. I can understand having a good time, but some girls get just plain trashy. Disgusting really. I’ve had to help a bride to be in the restroom because her “friends” were nowhere to be found.

  • Ashley

    Great tips, I will definitely remember these..

    xo Ash,
    Sincerely Miss Ash

  • Rachel

    These are great tips, and honestly I never thought about paying for everything, I have a been to a few bachelorette parties and I definitely chipped in for food/drinks, etc. but I didn’t even think about it being a part of the whole thing. I’m not sure what we are going to do for a bachelorette party coming up because three of my friends are having one bachelorette party, which obviously will help us save on costs by not having to travel three different times. I’m wondering if I should talk to the other girls going about this, I feel like it would be difficult to keep track of all three that night and make sure we can all split up those costs!

    • Reba

      Who ever is hosting the party should (if they can) initially cover the costs of the weekend and then after recounting how much everything was, divide it up and “bill” the rest of the girls who attended. That way there’s no confusion on who needs to pay for what or how you will keep track of each bride.

  • Annie

    I find money has always been an issue with other bridesmaids (at least to some of the ones I’ve been to). Being sensitive to what people can afford is also important when planning a bachelorette party.

    Annie @

  • Social Bliss Events

    These are great tips! We specialize in Nashville bachelorette parties, and always tell our clients to make it about the bride-to-be! Check out 4 other tips on our blog!

  • shakinnobacon

    Thanks, Rach! 😉

  • Mo

    Great tips! We paid for all my girls dresses, jewelry, the hotel rooms for our bachelorette and the wedding, and let them pick their own shoes, and they didn’t even offer to pay for a drink during the whole bachelorette weekend! I didn’t expect them to go above and beyond since none of us make a ton of money, but the gesture would have been nice.

    • Grace

      I think it’s really nice that you paid for your bridesmaids’ dresses & accommodations–that doesn’t usually happen. I’ve had to start saying no to being in weddings because I keep having to cancel my own plans to afford the outlandish expenses of helping other people celebrate their weddings.

      • Cesfranca

        Totally agree with you on canceling own plans to afford outlandish expenses of other people

  • Lilly


  • Ashley

    I have been to a few Bachelorette parties and have found these tips to be very true!! Never try to take the spotlight off the bride, but by the same token, don’t push into situations she doesn’t want to be in! :)

  • Grace

    I’ve never seen anyone write about this before, so thanks! It was very informative :)

  • Nicole

    I am getting married this coming March. I read something in a bridal etiquette book that really stuck with me. It said that as a rule of thumb, you should only invite people to your bachelorette party and bridal shower that you are actually inviting to your wedding. That way you are not imposing on anyone and you don’t have to have the “ohhhhh… awkward.. you’re not invited to the wedding” conversations. Unless of course it is clear that it is just family at the wedding, an elopement, or destination wedding.

  • Ago Prime
  • N

    In keeping with the rules of remembering the weekend or night is about the bride and to Drink Responsipbly…if it is a big group of women there can tend to be disagreements, especially when they are from different social circles. Keep your feelings and complaints aside and do not let it ruin the party. I know first hand as a bride that if your freinds cannot get along it really ruins the entire experience.

  • The Single Diaries

    Great tips! I’d love to see a post with ideas for bachelorette parties! I know a lot of girls who get stressed about the planning process especially when the bride to be isn’t looking for a crazy night out.

    Jen Hacker | The Single Diaries

  • Kball359

    I just love how classy Lauren Conrad is. It’s so refreshing.

  • fab&otherf*words

    We call them hen parties in the UK and they tend to get quite rowdy! I wrote a piece on games you could play at a hen party here:

  • Sarah

    As someone who has been in six weddings with a seventh this summer, I just want to remind any brides reading this that, even though it is your special day and your bridesmaids are so happy to support you, please remember how hard it can be for others to foot the bill of your wedding activities. I estimate spending about $1,000 to be in a wedding this summer and that does not include picking up the bride’s tab at bars over the bachelorette weekend. The bride wants a very special get-away weekend for her bachelorette party and, as MOH, I’m obviously expected to attend all of the festivities…which means another $200-300. I am so happy that they are getting married but as the very expensive expectations begin to add up it’s easy to feel more stress than happiness over this wedding.

    • Lisa Tufano

      Hey Sarah, I totally hear you.

      I’ve been in your shoes for years now as a frequent MOH and bridesmaid as well. While I do agree that it’s important for a bride to keep her expectations semi-realistic, ultimately I think it’s more important that in doing our part to be a good friend we only accept a MOH title or bridesmaid position if we are truly okay with the expense and the time commitment that will be required of us. At the end of the day, it’s not our wedding and we have to do our best to support and make the bride’s wishes a reality. I discuss some of the politics around this for brides in a guide to choosing a wedding party on my blog.

      I’m not saying that you have done this yourself, but it’s not fair to the bride-to-be if her maids over-commit themselves and then complain about it later or make waves. We all have to be extremely honest with ourselves about our personal and financial bandwidth, especially if we anticipate a lot of upcoming weddings.

      Sometimes the right thing to do is to decline the wedding party invitation to ensure that the friendship and your finances stay intact. While it may feel like you’re letting her down to say “no”, you’ll both be glad when you can enjoy each other’s company at the parties and activities without feeling resentful of any potential burden.

      It’s okay to say no! She will understand. :)


  • Kenz

    what do you do when you can’t afford the parties that the bride wants and the rest of the bridesmaids are planning?

  • Anon

    I would also say be respectful of the people planning the party and the bride by speaking to them directly about issues if you have concerns. Some people invited to my party expressed concerns to me about cost ($40 a person…) and when I planned my best friend’s party, a girl complained to her! The bride does not need to be involved in this discussion. Also, if you are the one planning a party, make sure all ideas are out on the table early on. I experienced a great deal of awkwardness when the girl planning my sister in law’s party decided the day before that we should go to a strip club. Four of us chose to not attend this portion of the party, but the last minute nature of that choice caused awkwardness that could have been avoided if plans had been made sooner.

  • Cleanis Soap

    Hopefully we’ll have a successful Kickstarter campaign and soon enough a story about bachelorette party etiquette will include making sure the BTB gets a Cleanis.

  • Emily

    I find that a tool like Splitzee makes chipping in to pay for a bachelorette party way easier. All guests pay in advance online with their credit cards, then you have centralized funds to cover the costs of all the supplies.

  • Lisa Tufano

    Team LC, way to go! You nailed these ladylike laws perfectly.

    Also, for any bridesmaids looking for ideas to take the bachelorette party or hen night to the next level, check out this article on 5 Unique Props for the Ultimate Bachelorette Party. It highlights some non-traditional additions to your party guaranteed to make it extra selfie worthy.


  • Jamie

    I am the MOH in my best friends wedding. She is only having 2 other girls standing up with her. I am trying to get the ball rolling for her bacherlorette party and the girls are letting me know that they can’t afford any other activities outside of the hotel, dinner, and drinks. I am willing to front the rest of the bill but I think it’s rude that they say yes to being apart of this but can’t go over spending $100.00. Am I asking too much?

  • K

    What is the brides role in the bachelorette party planning? As a bride, should I be taking on the planning (organizing flights, hotel) with the guests or should I rely on a bridesmaid to take my vision and run?

  • Flora O

    I’m so torn. My sister wants a tropical trip for her bachelorette party, but there is no way I could afford such a thing, never mind treating her. She and her fiance are quite well off, while my husband and I work for charity, so her lifestyle and expectations are very different from what I can provide. My husband and children will also be in the wedding party, and between all of our clothes, we are already going to have to do without a family vacation this year. I love my sister very much, and I want to give her the bachelorette party she wants, but how can I plan an event that I would never be able to attend?

  • Courtney

    It can certainly be expensive like Sarah says below. Our team specializes in helping plan bachelorette parties, and we use a formula to help calculate a per person budget for bachelorette parties, so no one feels pressured into spending more than they can afford. There are lots of fun bachelorette party ideas that don’t cost an arm and a leg. A little creativity goes a long way. Oh, the formula for the bash party budget is here:

  • Mrs. Johnson

    My own bach coming up in two weeks!! Really jazzed about it. I was raised with the principal never to impose costs on people, and I don’t want to regret stripper adventures. So I organized my own bachelorette and will be paying for it too. Since this is more expensive for me, we’ll just have cocktails in the best cocktail bar in town. They have the option to chip in a little but not obliged. As for dresscode: going for cocktails was the ultimate excuse to have a Sex and the City dresscode (heart)! They had to pay for their own dresses though. I also will be giving them all their personal goodie bags at the bachelorette, so they have something fun to take home and discover.
    Interesting fact that the bride to be should wear white to the hen do. Good to read this BEFORE going dress-shopping! Hope my lil sister will stick to these rules as well.

  • Amy

    Help! What if the bachelorette party is a week-long destination getaway? Are bridesmaids expected to cover the costs of 7 x 3 meals, and all 7 days of activity costs too? The girls are not the type to cook themselves, and they are the type who likes to try expensive gourmet foods on vacation too….

  • guest

    Hi I have a destination bachelorette party in mexico that I was invited to fire a close friends. I was not asked to be a bridesmaid which is fine with me. However what should I be responsible for besides making my friend happy. I will buy drinks airfare and board.but what financial obligation do I have as a guest. And friend.

  • okokok

    What fresh bullshit is this? The WEDDING is all about the bride. The BACHELORETTE party is about your friends. These “traditions” are being invented as we speak. Yes, covering the expenses of the bride’s dinner is a nice thing to do, but it makes equal sense for the bride to honor her

  • Sam

    Thank you for the tips!! One etiquette question for you: If you are in the bridal party but are unable to attend the bachelorette party, are you expected to still pay your part to cover the bride’s costs?

    Thank you!!



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