Your Bachelorette Party Etiquette Questions, Answered
Hosting an epic bachelorette party isn't an easy task: You have to plan a celebration the bride-to-be will love (your main priority!) while accommodating her many bridesmaids, who likely have their own opinions about how this event should unfold. To help stop conflict in its tracks, it's helpful to know the basics of bachelorette party etiquette—which is where we come in. Ahead, you will find a comprehensive set of guidelines that will get you through the preparation phase. From setting the right date and creating a guest list to deciding who pays for what, here's everything you need to know about planning a bachelorette party that everyone feels good about.
The first step in doing so revolves around deciding who is actually throwing the event. Though the responsibility of planning a bachelorette party typically falls on the maid of honor, anyone can fulfill the role. Yes, the bride will ultimately decide on this pre-wedding party's location, theme, and dress code, but it's the planner's job to bring her vision to life. That means discussing finances with attendees, sending out invites, keeping track of who gifted what, and, perhaps most importantly, defusing tension within the bridal party. Luckily, these bachelorette party etiquette tips and tricks will help you manage it all without feeling overwhelmed.
Ideally, these rules will ensure that your fun destination trip, staycation at a spa, or festive night on the town goes off without a hitch. As long as you follow the advice ahead and keep the occasion all about the bride, you really can't go wrong.
When should you throw the party?
A bachelorette party usually takes place around two months before the wedding, but can be thrown within weeks of the main event, too. We suggest planning this celebration a few months ahead of the big day so the bride doesn't feel overbooked with pre-wedding commitments so close to the date. Just don't schedule your celebration too far in advance—you want the excitement from this party to hold the bride over until her nuptials finally arrive.
Who should host?
The maid of honor is most often the bachelorette party planner, but anyone can put together the bride's gathering. A tip to the organizer: Make sure to talk to the attendees first to see how much they can spend. Normally, everyone pays her own way, with the hostess covering the cost for the bride (unless 'maids or invitees are asked to chip in).
Who should be invited?
Whoever throws the bachelorette party will likely consult with the bride on the guest list, which should include the wedding party (minus any junior 'maids, of course), sisters, and close girlfriends. If the bride has a future sister-in-law she's looking to bond with, feel free to include her, too—just as long as the guest of honor approves.
How should you celebrate?
The bachelorette party is typically the final soirée before the wedding (besides the rehearsal dinner), so a relaxing escape, rather than a wild weekend, may be the bride's preference. Surprises are fun, but the host should keep the bride's personality in mind. There's no need to plan a wild escapade if she'd prefer an activity like relaxing at a friend's cabin, taking a private cooking class, or hitting the local ski slopes (an après ski-only trip works, too).
Should you send out invitations?
Formal bachelorette party invites aren't always necessary; hosts can get the word out via email, phone, or a site like Paperless Post. Just make sure to send them well in advance (especially if you are planning a weekend-long event!) so guests can clear their schedules.
What should you gift the bride-to-be?
Bachelorette party gifts aren't mandatory, but they are nice. If you are shopping for a bachelorette party present for the bride-to-be, think outside of her wedding registry. Lingerie, for example, is a fun gift option perfect for the intimate occasion. Also, consider the bride's beauty and self-care routine leading up to her big day. Between the rehearsal dinner and bridal shower, a massage or blow out gift card could go a long way.
Should you have a dress code?
Dressing up in coordinated or thematic outfits for a bachelorette party can be an idea, but remember that some guests might have limitations. Not everyone can afford a planned elaborate costume for one evening. If that is the case, but you still want to look cohesive, try implementing general dress code guidelines—think beachy or Grecian-inspired attire.
How should you go about sending thank-you cards?
Pen-and-paper notes (not emails, texts, posts, or tweets!) are the only polite way to show appreciation for guests—you should send them to each attendee, thanking them for coming (if they brought a gift, be sure to mention it in the note!).