One of the more recent (relatively speaking) traditions regarding weddings is the bachelorette party. Not be outdone by the guys who get a “last night out,” women have opted for equal time. The bachelorette party can be as simple as an old-fashioned pajama party, or as extravagant as a night in the city, with dining, entertainment, and overnight accommodations. Because the party has so many variations, the issue of cost — and who pays for it — varies as well.
A Hudson Valley bride asks: “I overheard my maid of honor collecting money from my other attendants (presumably for my bachelorette party). Then, to my horror, she asked me to chip in as well! My gut feeling is she’s breaking the rules of etiquette by doing either of these things. Am I right? Who is supposed to pay?”
(Our answer on next page)
The Wedding Guru answers: As for asking you to pay, she’s wrong. You shouldn’t be asked to contribute money or time. What you can contribute are any ideas for the party (or concepts you are vehemently against, e.g. male strippers), and a guest list. Anyone who’s invited to the bachelorette party must be invited to the wedding, of course. The rule of thumb is that the list should be small, so the party is intimate.
The answer to whether bridesmaids should contribute is not quite so clear. Traditional etiquette mavens say that the maid of honor should pay for everything. If budget is an issue for her, she can tone things down to make it more manageable. I understand and can accept that rules are changing; apparently, your girlfriends will not be surprised being asked to pay into the pot, or to purchase some of the favors for the party. The only time under which this may not work is if the party is in her or someone’s home (like the mother of the bride) — obviously, then, the hostess is responsible for all costs.
Whatever happens, what’s most important is that the party is an event fondly remembered by everyone!