Bachelorette Party Etiquette

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Spring is wedding season, and whether you are tying the knot yourself or participating in the nuptials of a friend, learn bachelorette party etiquette from a bride-to-be who is days away from the big day.

Inviting guests to attend the bachelorette party is time tested, meaning it's a tradition, meaning, to Heather Watkowski, an e-mail invitation won't do. Send invitations to the best friends of the bride, her bridal party, her sisters, and sister-in-law(s) to-be, and depending on the setting, her mother and mother-in-law to-be.

"It's more appropriate to send actual invitations through snail mail because it makes it more personal and the bride likes to have those kind of keep sakes. I kept all of my invitations to different wedding events, and I'm going to put them in my wedding album," Heather says.
When planning the bachelorette party, the maid of honor–who typically heads event planning in this case–should consider the tastes of the bride and her wedding. Will it be a simple ceremony and laid back reception? Would the bride be more comfortable at a spa? Or, would the bride prefer a more lively affair like a bar crawl or a nightclub?

The bachelorette parties Heather has attended, including her own, started off with a cocktail reception at someone's home where the girls played games, gave gifts, and loosened up for the evening. Gift ideas do not come from the registry, Heather says. Her gifts had a theme, "usually, gifts are intimates for the honeymoon," she said.

Heather's maid of honor was prepared for the games portion of the event. She contacted the groom-to-be with twenty questions related to the couple's relationship–where they had their first date, what Heather was wearing when they met, etc. Heather then had to answer the questions herself, and for each question she answered that did not match her fiancé's, she received a "dare card," to be used later that night.

Dress the part at your next bachelorette party. Heather says gone are the days of fake tiaras and shiny "Bride" sashes.

"The new in thing is for the bride to be in one color and the rest of the girls to wear black. I wore red," she says.

There are some things Heather prefers to remain non-traditional, like the date of her bachelorette party. Heather got together with friends a month before her wedding. She says it was better this way because then she wasn't tired or sick on the day before or days leading up to her wedding, and it gave her more time the weekends prior to her big day to take care of other things.

"The month before your wedding, you have so many other things, like dress fittings. All your weekends are taken up," she says.

Who pays? Typically the maid of honor or the host of the event bares the brunt of the costs including appetizers, drinks, and game materials at the cocktail reception. The cost of any other activities are usually split by other party attendees except for the bride.

Bachelorette parties became particularly popular at the end of the last century mirroring bachelor parties. It wasn't until the late '80s and '90s that hosting and attending a bachelorette party became the norm. Do you have questions about bachelorette party etiquette? Let us know!

Written by: Erika Fifelski was born and raised in West Michigan, and after a brief stint on the sunrise side, she's home and loving it. Erika enjoys cooking, sewing, vacuuming, and discovering new ways to live sustainably and support local businesses.

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