Before you pack your bags, set the itinerary, or even order bachelorette T-shirts, there's one question that needs to be asked: Exactly who is going to pay for this?
Like all things wedding, traditions of who pays — and who doesn't — have gone by the wayside in recent decades. For example, at one point the bride's family paid for the wedding while the groom's family paid for the rehearsal dinner. But today, it's far more common to have the happy couple foot the bill themselves, with both sets of parents chipping in where they can.
But when it comes to who pays for the bachelorette party, traditions haven’t been so clear-cut. And with changing times — and changing itineraries — it can be difficult knowing who picks up the tab.
Here's one thing we know for sure: Every guest has the right to know which costs they’ll be responsible for before the BACH bash occurs — that way, there are no surprises. Below, we explain who should (and should not) be responsible for certain costs, how to approach the subject, and different ways to divvy up the bill.
Who Pays for the Bachelorette Party Traditionally?
Typically, the maid of honor and bridesmaids split the cost of the bachelorette party. The bride's expenses (including her drinks, meals, and transportation) are split evenly between the bridal party. To thank her besties for covering her costs, a bride usually purchases gifts for her guests, like tumblers, nail polish, or koozies, while the maid of honor may offer smaller party favors, like hair ties, lip balm, or face masks.
At least, that's how things used to be done.
Now, with so many bachelorette parties taking place in other cities, the bride pays for her hotel and transportation costs. If you're hosting a destination bachelorette party — where costs easily add up — it's only fair to split the costs evenly between everyone in attendance (bridesmaids, friends, and even the bride-to-be herself).
There are so many factors to consider when deciding how to split costs at a bachelorette party. Here are a few scenarios to consider:
- A bachelorette party and bridal shower party: If you're throwing a bridal shower in addition to a bachelorette party, typically the wedding party and the mother of the bride share the costs. However, whoever hosts the party (which could easily be an aunt, friend of the family, or a godmother) foots the bill for the bridal shower portion.
- A local bachelorette party: If the bachelorette party takes place over a single evening and doesn't require airfare or an Airbnb, typically the bridal party will cover the costs of food and drinks. If there are additional costs — such as a party bus rental — split the costs evenly amongst the entire group, minus the bride.
- A destination bachelorette party: If your bachelorette weekend takes place in another city, it's only fair to split costs for transportation, entertainment, and lodging evenly amongst the entire guest list — bride included. Many times, the MOH or bridal party will pick up the tab for certain expenses, like decorations, booze and snacks for Airbnb, or bachelorette T-shirts.
How to Approach the "Who Pays?" Conversation With Your Friends
When planning for bachelorette party expenses, we have one motto: Transparency is always the best policy. Before you book anything, have a conversation with the bridal party and bride's besties to ensure each person in attendance knows exactly which costs they will be responsible for.
Recently, a bride went viral on TikTok for putting together a "bridesmaid letter" before her wedding, outlining financial responsibilities and time commitments. And we👏are👏so👏excited👏 about it. As seen on Buzzfeed, the bride dives into the nitty-gritty of what she will pay for (like hotels the night of the rehearsal dinner), and when the bridesmaids will pay their own way (wedding night hotels and bridesmaids dresses). For costs where the bridal party picks up themselves, the bride provides a ballpark figure (e.g., a $500 trip to Mexico for the bachelorette party).
Here's what we love about this approach: All tough discussions are handled upfront, preventing hurt feelings or outbursts later on. When approaching this discussion, keep these tips in mind:
1. Know Your Wish List Upfront
As a bride, you need to put together a list of wants, needs, and non-negotiables for your bachelorette party — it’s unfair to expect your best friends to read your mind. Start with your list of wants and needs, putting together your dream BACH package (picture it: a getaway to your dream bachelorette party destination, like Miami or Nashville). Then, if your estimated price point is too high for your friends to reasonably afford, look for ways to scale back. You can easily shave a few hundred dollars off per person by staying at an Airbnb rather than an all-inclusive resort, or by choosing another city within driving distance.
Ultimately, we suggest putting together an Option A and Option B, then presenting both choices to your friends. If only 1-2 of your closest friends can afford your first choice, perhaps you would be happier aiming for the package at the lower price point, where more of your friends could take part.
2. Put Together an Estimate of Large Expenses
Work with your maid of honor to create a list of big ticket items — mainly your hotel, airfare or car rental, and booze/snacks to keep at the Airbnb. Think of any BACH bash experiences that may present a higher cost — like a party bus, mural photo shoot with a photographer, pedal pub crawl, or yacht rental — and calculate the cost per person. Present these costs to the entire group before you begin party planning, so they can fit the trip into their monthly budget.
Once you've split large items evenly between guests, decide how you will divide up other expenses. If you want each person to handle their own bar tab, meals, and Ubers to and from the airport, that's fine! Just be sure to communicate personal costs upfront.
3. Let the Bridal Party Handle Decor and Party Favors
Typically, the maid of honor pays for smaller-ticket items, like a bachelorette sash or tiara, decorations, and swag for the other party guests. If you, as the bride, don't want to pay for these smaller items, our advice is to give your friends space to take the reins. If, on the other hand, you want a say in the matter, you might need to pay for a portion of the costs.
Side note: If you are planning a hybrid between a bachelorette party and bridal shower, talk with the bridal shower host and see if you can reuse some decor items. This can help decrease the overall cost for your bridal party.
4. Mention Gifts on the Invitation
Typically, gifts are given at bridal showers, but they aren't mandatory for bachelorette parties. If you expect gifts at your bachelorette party, you should include your registry on the invitation. That way, there will be no surprises for your guests.
Of course, most guests will expect to bring a gift for your new lingerie collection. Be sure to mention your bra and underwear sizes on the invitation to make it clear that a lingerie moment is happening.
Split the Cost of a Bachelorette Party on the BACH App
When it comes to bachelorette party etiquette, our best advice is to create an open dialogue with your bridal party and other guests. Split big ticket items, cover your own travel and portion of the Airbnb, and create a "plan B" if your party isn't comfortable spending a high dollar amount.
To plan the perfect bachelorette party, be sure to download the BACH app to your phone. With BACH, you can easily set an itinerary and split costs with your friends. That way, everyone in your group can predict their costs upfront, preventing uncomfortable surprises later on.
With a little planning and a lot of communication, you can plan the best bachelorette party ever. Download the FREE BACH app to your phone to get started.