What is a Bachelorette Party?

  • A bachelorette party is a contemporary rite of passage for a bride before her wedding day that celebrates her final night(s) out on the town as a single woman.
  • Traditionally a group of close female friends plan and attend the bachelorette party in the bride’s honor.
  • A bachelorette party may last for just a single day or evening, or it might involve an entire weekend of activities either near the bride’s home or at a travel destination.
  • Typical bachelorette party activities often involve meals at nice restaurants, pampering trips to day spas, relaxation in the form of beaches, pools, or easy hiking, and/or bar hopping and dancing.

Who Throws The Bachelorette Party?

Traditionally the bridal party—the bridesmaids and maid/matron of honor—throw the bachelorette party for the bride. If the bride has chosen to not have a bridal party, or if it’s not ideal or possible for the bridal party to handle this task, anyone else who is close to the bride can plan the bachelorette party, such as:

  • a sibling
  • a close cousin
  • a group of tight-knit coworkers
  • a childhood best friend of the bride

Really, anyone can throw the bachelorette party if she or they meet the following criteria:

  1. Is close enough to the bride to know what she will want from her bachelorette experience.
  2. Is good at handling logistics, making reservations, and organizing groups of people.
  3. Has good communication skills—planning a group event of this nature can involve a lot of emailing and texting!
  4. Can keep track of costs and receipts to make sure expenses are appropriately settled up after the party is over.

The only person or group of people who should NOT throw the bachelorette party are the bride’s parents or senior family members. A bachelorette party is typically an event that’s reserved for friends and family of the bride who are close to her in age, and thus interested in the same kinds of “last fling” activities.

Who Should You Invite to a Bachelorette Party?

The bride should make a list of people she’d like to invite to her special day or weekend. While traditionally this list would have been all women, modern brides with coed or non-traditional wedding parties might want to have their close male friends or siblings also attend. Go with whatever the bride wants here: this is her celebration! Commonly these folks make it onto the bachelorette party invite list:

  • The bridal party
  • Close friends of the bride
  • Siblings, soon-to-be-siblings, or same-age relatives of the bride
  • Co-workers of the bride who will also be invited to the wedding

The party planner(s) should send out invitations to the bride’s list, collect RSVPs, and begin planning according to the total number of attendees. Invitations to a bachelorette party can be more casual than for a bridal shower or rehearsal dinner, but there are few options when it comes to formality:

  • Most Formal: If you have the time and prefer formality, print paper invitations and send them through the post.
  • Mid-Level Formal: Use an online invitation company to send beautifully designed, customized digital invites through email. This option can make gathering RSVPs much easier, not to mention it’s less expensive than paper.
  • Least Formal: Send a group email to the list announcing plans for the bachelorette party. This can be a quick way to get the word out, see who can make it, and begin a dialogue for planning the festivities.

Who Should You NOT Invite to a Bachelorette Party?

While the philosophy of “the more, the merrier” is lovely in theory, there is a limit to whom you should invite to a bachelorette party. This limit has to do with the bride’s feelings, and with making sure that she has the best possible experience relaxing, exploring, and generally living it up with her closest crew. With that in mind, here are some folks whom you might want to keep off the invitation list:

  • The bride’s mother, stepmother, or senior relatives: Having an older generation of relatives around might force the bride to celebrate in a different way than she’d prefer to if there were just her age-peers present.
  • Anyone who’s not invited to the wedding: Avoid an awkward situation here by only inviting people who will also be invited to the main event.
  • Anyone who struggles with group dynamics: This can be tricky to navigate, but we all know or have those friends who are great one-on-one but lack the social skills for group settings. Whether it’s attention-seeking behavior, poor decision making, or making others feel uncomfortable, consider the group dynamic when choosing whom to invite.
  • Any (current or former) significant others of the bride’s exes: Again, consider the bride’s feelings here. Reminders of her exes are not what she wants or needs on her bachelorette weekend.

However, be sure to check with the bride before finalizing a guest list. She may want her mom there, for example, depending on the relationship.

Who Pays for The Bachelorette Party?

The costs for a bachelorette party are typically split up among the attendees, minus the bride. The bride should not be expected to contribute much, if any, throughout the weekend, as it’s a party thrown in her honor.

However if there’s a group consensus to turn the bachelorette party into an expensive weekend getaway, the bride might want to pay for her own airfare and/or accommodations in order to make costs more even and reasonable for everyone.

When it comes to dividing up expenses, there are a few methods that work best:

  1. One main organizer covers large group expenses, like an Airbnb rental, tickets for excursions, or bills for meals out. Individuals cover their own smaller expenses. The organizer then tallies up and divides the group costs, letting each attendee know what they owe her (including a percentage to cover the bride).

  2. Major expenses are outlined ahead of time and assigned to different attendees so that the total amount spent by each person is roughly equal. For example, one person can cover an expensive meal at a restaurant, someone else can cover all of the cab fares, while someone else can pay for entrance fees at clubs and venues, etc.

  3. Certain group expenses in which everyone has equal share—such as accommodations, car rentals, costs of excursions—are pooled and split equally, minus the bride. Everything else is covered individually. This option allows those on tighter budgets to modify their spending (such as ordering less expensive items at restaurants or buying less drinks at a bar) while still participating in the main events.

Budgeting Tips for Bachelorette Parties

It can be tough for some people to attend bachelorette parties when they’re on tight budgets, as expenses can add up quickly. Here are some things you can do to make it easier for guests to make the right decision:

  • Try to provide a rough estimate for how much each guest will need to budget for the weekend as far in advance as possible.
  • Consider costs when picking the date of the bachelorette party, and look for off-season options. For example, rent a beach house a week or two before or after peak season (Memorial Day through Labor Day).
  • Consider costs when choosing the location of your lodging. Investigate whether you can stay at someone’s home to save money, or try to choose accommodations that are within walking distance of your destinations to save money on Ubers.
  • Try cooking a meal or two at your group rental, if possible, instead of eating out for every meal. This can also be a great way for the group to bond (especially if a bottle or two of wine is involved).

What Do You Do at a Bachelorette Party?

Bachelorette party activities are as varied as brides themselves. From a wild weekend of drinking and dancing, to a zen getaway focused on yoga and wellness, to a nature lover’s itinerary of day hikes and bonfires, there are tons of ways you can plan a bachelorette party that’s fun, unique, and matches the personality and interests of your bride. Check out our sample itinerary and creative ideas below to get your ideas flowing.

Sample Bachelorette Party Weekend Itinerary

Friday: As folks arrive, plan to spend a low-key but festive evening exploring your surroundings and getting to know each other. Suggestions include:

  • Take a self-guided neighborhood tour if you’re in a new city, or go for a low-key walk if you’re at the beach or the country.
  • Sit down to a happy hour of cocktails and cheese plates, or drive to local winery or brewery for pre-dinner tastings.
  • Eat out at a casual restaurant, like tapas or gourmet pizza, or cook a group meal at home.
  • Head back to your home base on the early side for pajamas, ice cream, and maybe a rom-com or some girl talk.
  • Try to get some sleep to conserve energy for tomorrow!

Saturday:

  • Enjoy a leisurely morning in, with coffee and pastries, before motivating for the day.
  • Do a more energetic group activity in the morning, such as a group class, a guided tour, or visiting a local museum or attraction.
  • After lunch, find a more laid-back or relaxing activity, such as relaxing poolside, getting massages or pedicures at a spa, or seeing a movie.
  • Allow time for everyone to power nap, shower or freshen up, and get dressed for your big evening out.
  • Splurge on a fancy dinner out a restaurant, and hit a few bars or dance clubs afterwards.
  • Be sure to follow the mood of the bride, and take the energy up (or down) depending on how she’s feeling.
  • Get home safely!

Sunday:

  • Go out for a decadent, mid-morning brunch to offer one last mimosa toast to the bride.
  • Fill in with any other activities as needed until everyone makes their departure.

Creative Bachelorette Party Ideas

While sitting by a pool or going to a spa are always fantastic options, don’t be afraid to think outside the box when planning a bachelorette party. Group classes can be a great way to freshen up the usual itinerary: take a group cooking class, book a yoga teacher for an afternoon stretch session, or do something active and empowering (or maybe just humorous?) like a burlesque or hip-hop dance class. Here are some other creative ideas:

  • Take an outdoorsy bachelorette on a day hike complete with photos (and beers) at the summit.
  • Get your sweat on with a full-body workout at a group fitness studio, like a barre or an HIIT class.
  • For a yoga sweat instead, gather the girls for a heated vinyasa or Bikram class.
  • Cleanse your system by visiting a salt spa, taking turns in a sensory deprivation float tank, or getting detox massages.
  • See a music concert, stand-up comedy, or another live performance.
  • Sample produce, baked goods, and handicrafts at a local farmer’s market.
  • Visit a historical site or museum for a bit of education and culture.
  • Be spectators at a fun, low-key athletic event.
  • Go tubing, kayaking, canoeing, or stand-up paddleboarding on a nearby river.
  • Pick apples, peaches, or other fruit at a local orchard.
  • For performance art lovers, get tickets to a ballet, a classical concert, or an opera.
  • Book a private class in pole or other exotic, burlesque, or the aerial arts if you’re feeling a little risqué.
  • Do a guided, hands-on activity like making pottery or painting a landscape at a wine-and-design craft studio.
  • Hire a professional chef to come to your space and do a hands-on cooking demo (then sample the results).
  • If you’re at a beach location, take a surfing class.
  • Rent bikes and see the sights on two wheels.