There’s no doubt about it: bachelorette parties are fun. In fact, they’re probably what the bride and her bridesmaids look most forward to celebrating (don’t tell the groom!). Which is why they can become their own celebration within the celebration, and as such, a whole slew of questions can come up. For example: Does the bride pay for herself? If not, who does? Does it have to be a party filled with X-rated shenanigans or will a fancy tea party suffice? Here are the answers to the most popular bachelorette party etiquette questions.
1. Who’s in charge of organizing the party?
Typically, the maid of honor is responsible for organizing and planning the bachelorette party. That’s not to say that the rest of the bridal party can’t offer their two cents or help plan it. In fact, the MOH will probably welcome any support she can since this is a pretty big undertaking.
2. Does it have to be x-rated?
Not necessarily. Traditionally, it’s the bride who will set the tone for the bachelorette party. She will let her MOH and bridal party know what exactly she’s looking for, whether it’s a weekend trip, a one-nighter—and if she’s looking to get rowdy or prefers something more low-key. If the bride hasn’t been clear with her vision for her bachelorette party, then it’s a great idea to ask. You definitely don’t want to plan a crazy trip to Vegas when all she really wanted was a quiet escape to a spa.
3. How soon before the wedding should the party be?
It’s a good idea to throw the bachelorette party a couple of months before the wedding. This way, the bride and MOH can focus their attention and energy on the wedding once the bachelorette party is over. But that doesn’t mean you can’t throw it within weeks of the wedding, either. The timing of the party will be pretty much dependent on the bride’s schedule (as well as her bridal party because you can’t throw a party without people).
4. Who’s invited?
The MOH and bridal party are a given. As for the rest of the invitees, it’s up to the bride. Usually, the MOH will look to the wedding guest list and double-check with the bride about who she would like to be there at the party. Sometimes, the bride prefers just to have her bridal party present. As for family members—the mothers of the bride and groom or a future sister-in-law—that’s the bride’s personal choice. When in doubt, check with the guest of honor.
5. Who pays for it?
Everyone invited will pay their own way. Traditionally, the MOH will cover the cost of the bride, but the other invitees and members of the bridal party are more than welcome to chip in—and usually do.
6. Should you send out invitations?
There’s no real need to get fancy with formal invitations if that isn’t your thing (or within your budget). Simply setting up a Facebook event or sending an email may suffice. Just make sure that you’re giving the invitees a ton of notice so they can clear their schedules. Six to eight weeks before the party is usually a good idea.
7. Do you need to give the bride a gift?
There’s no hard and fast rule with this, but most invitees do gift their guest of honor with a little something commemorating the occasion. This is the time to think outside of the box, including the wedding registry. Think fun and personal. For example, maybe gift her with lingerie, or a box of intimate items that the betrothed couple can use together on their honeymoon. Something a little less x-rated could be a gift certificate to a spa for a mani/pedi or blowout—whatever you know the bride might need leading up to her big day.
8. Do you all have to dress the same?
Pinterest and Instagram will have you believe that all bachelorette parties demand a thematic dress code, including matching tees and tanks. If that’s your thing, then go for it—but it’s not necessary. Not everyone can afford to pitch in for that type of thing, and some people might not even really like it. Run it by the group first before you go out and purchase a dozen t-shirts. However, if you want to make your wardrobes still fun, budget-friendly, and cohesive, you might want to suggest a theme. For example, if you’re going to an outdoor spa, suggest people wear beachy and floral dresses.
Bottom line: the bachelorette party is meant to be a fun party for all involved. When in doubt, run everything by the bride-to-be, and make sure everyone’s budget is taken into consideration. And most of all, have fun!