When planning a bachelorette party, you likely have more questions than answers. We know we did!
We also remember that we were too embarrassed to ask these questions because let’s face it – it can be completely awkward!
To save you from uncomfortable convos with your bridesmaid colleagues, we’ve broken down everything you need to know about proper stag and hen party etiquette.
What is a bachelorette party?
For technical reasons, a Merriam-Webster bachelorette party is defined as “a party for a woman about to get married and normally only attended by women”.
This tradition began during the women’s liberation movement in the 1960s as a counterpart to the age-old “bachelorette party” and is often referred to as the last night of freedom for bachelor parties.
Nowadays there are stag and hen parties in all forms: only for girls, students or joint stag / hen parties.
And while it’s still often referred to as “the last time before the ring,” modern bachelorette parties have grown into much more meaningful celebrations for a bride-to-be than just male strippers and sexual innuendos.
What are you doing at a bachelorette party?
While the itinerary of a stag and hen party varies depending on the bride’s personality, a typical list of activities includes:
- Relax in the place where you stay overnight
- Explore your destination
- Eating out in local restaurants
- Bar hopping / dancing
Depending on where you are and what time of year you are, some specific ideas are:
- Have a beach / pool day
- Hiking in a nearby park
- Visit to a local vineyard
- Do an exercise / yoga class
- Take a tour of the city
MODERN MOH TIP: Before making any lasting plans, sit down with your future bride to get a basic idea of what to expect / want for her bachelorette party.
Who is planning the bachelorette party?
The bachelorette party should be planned by the maid of honor with the help of her fellow bridesmaids.
While it is important that all ideas and input are taken into account, it is even more important that the MOH remain accountable for all final decisions in order to limit unnecessary confusion or drama.
As for the bride’s engagement, it is up to her to make important decisions such as the destination, timing, and general expectations (i.e., activities she is dying to do or places she is dying to visit). In addition, it should be kept away from certain details unless it clearly requires being kept up to date.
MODERN MOH TIP: Send a group text to all other participants (except the bride) to open the lines of communication. All the details of the bachelorette party should be discussed here.
When should the bachelorette party be?
As for the time of the bachelorette party, we recommend no earlier than two months from the wedding date, but no later than two weeks in advance.
This timeframe allows the bride to have all of the big wedding details planned out so she can relax, but it also ensures that the fun doesn’t come and go too soon before the big day.
When it comes to the actual length of the event, most stag and hen parties last a long weekend (i.e. Thursday-Sunday or Friday-Monday).
MODERN MOH TIP: Use a planning app like Doodle to save time and effort trying to find a date that works for everyone.
Who pays for the bachelorette party?
The simple answer to this question is that each participant pays their own travel expenses (flights, gasoline, Ubers etc) while the accommodations (hotel, Airbnb, VRBO etc) are shared equally among all participants.
Other expenses such as decorations, clothing, and food / drinks for the house should also be shared among the participants. If you are in restaurants or bars it is up to each individual to bear their own costs.
This question gets complicated when it comes to the bride’s share. Bachelorette party etiquette states that attendees should tune in to cover most, if not all, of the bride’s expenses, but this may not always be feasible.
Depending on travel and accommodation costs, as well as the size of your group, splitting up the bride’s share might not be a big deal. If these costs are too high to cover, you should split the cheaper of the two sums (usually this is the cost of accommodation).
MODERN MOH TIP: Before discussing the destination, it is extremely important to be honest about budget expectations. The last thing you want to do is make someone feel uncomfortable or upset about how much money to spend.
Who are you inviting to a bachelorette party?
The guest list for the bachelorette party is 100% the bride’s choice.
Depending on the size, many brides only invite members of their bridal party to the trip.
However, it is still common for other close friends and family members to be invited to the celebrations.
MODERN MOH TIP: This should go without saying, but be absolutely sure that everyone invited to the bachelorette party is invited to the wedding too.
What shouldn’t you do at a bachelorette party?
We think this should go without saying, but here is a list of no-nos when it comes to planning and attending a bachelorette party:
- Pressuring the bride to do something she doesn’t want to do
- Including the bride in a bridesmaid drama
- Complain about how much money you are spending
- Too drunk or cause a scene
- Make the weekend all over yourself (or anyone but the bride)
MODERN MOH TIP: Ask the bride to be clear about her expectations and limitations. We can’t tell you how many times a bridesmaid has persisted about hiring strippers when that was the last thing the bride wanted to do!