Bachelorette Party Expenses Explained: Who Pays for What?
Sometimes in life, you have to pay to party, and bachelorette trips are no exception! While you can totally plan a trip on a budget, there will always be a tab to pick up at the end of the night. Splitting the bill is something that has become a huge question mark for groups everywhere and we’re here to clear up any confusion with our full breakdown of who pays for what at a bachelorette party. While there are exceptions to every rule, these are some good touch points for your group to consider when you’re planning the bach bash of your best friend’s dreams.
Below we answer some of the top questions we hear when bridesmaids are planning a bachelorette weekend and our best advice on the proper etiquette, but remember, at the end of the day, it is always important to do what is best for you and your group. If you need more bachelorette party planning tips and inspiration, make sure to check out the other posts on our blog, too!
The Burning Question: Should The Bride Pay?
Our Answer: It depends on the bride, but aim to have her pay as little as possible!
Every bride and every party is different, so communication is going to be key when it comes to splitting expenses. The most common question we get asked is, “should the bride pay or not?” Our best overarching answer is that the bride should pay as little as possible… she is the guest of honor, after all! That said, it is up to the Maid of Honor to communicate with the group and most importantly, with the bride, to see how everyone feels about pitching in to cover her expenses. Some brides may feel strongly that they would like to help cover expenses, especially if they are choosing a more expensive destination, whereas others might be more opening to letting their girls treat them.
The Full Breakdown: Who Pays For What at a Bachelorette Party?
Our Answer: Put one person in charge of the budget. They book the big expenses, keep track of the small ones, and then the rest of the group reimburses them as needed.
Below we share our recommendation on how to handle each type of bachelorette party expense. Every group is different, so do what is best for your crew, but in general we recommend having one person (MOH, we’re looking at you!) manage the bachelorette party budget. Start by polling members on what their max budget is for the trip (excluding airfare) and then look for options that stay within that budget.
This person should then start by booking the big ticket items, like the house or hotel, party activities, decorations and party swag, and let each guest know what they owe. Payment for these items can be collected before booking, after booking but before the trip, or after the trip. This really just depends on what the MOH is comfortable with and when she needs to be reimbursed.
Expenses incurred on the trip, like meals and rideshares, should be tracked and then split equally amongst the party guests after the trip is over. We share some of our favorite tools below for splitting expenses, so make sure to check out that section of the post, too!
|Split Equally||Pay On Your Own||MOH Pays|
|Hotel or Airbnb||✓|
|Airfare and Gas||✓|
|Groceries (Snacks, Alcohol)||✓|
|Drinks Out||✓ *|
|Rideshares and Taxis||✓|
|Activities and Entertainment||✓|
|Party Swag and Decorations||✓|
*If the restaurant or bar cannot split checks, then have the group split equally. Make sure to have someone cover the bride's bill!
Hotel or Airbnb
In general, we recommend splitting the AirBNB or hotel price across the whole group and covering the bride’s portion. She shouldn’t pay to stay, since this weekend is all about celebrating her! To keep things simple, we recommend having one person (ideally the MOH) book the lodging and then have each guest pay her back for their portion.
Airfare and Gas
For trips that require flights or long drives, we recommend that everyone book and pay for their own travel. Since long trips can get expensive, you aren’t expected to cover the cost of the bride’s travel whether it’s via plane, train or automobile. But, if you are just going a few hours down the road and carpooling, you should split the gas across the group once you return home and exclude the bride if you can. Another tip, don’t ask the bride to take her car. She should be as carefree as possible!
Activities and Entertainment
Before you book the pedal taverns, mani/pedis, bar crawls and limo rides you should consider the prices and who is covering what. Will the whole group shoulder the bride’s costs or will she be paying her own way? Splitting the fees for entertainment and events isn’t expected, but it is always nice to treat the bride! More pricey items like concert tickets can be tricky, so don’t feel obligated to pay for events that exceed what is doable for the whole group. These expenses should be known months in advance and paid for before the trip takes place.
Whether you’re eating out or ordering in, it’s typically a nice gesture to cover the bride’s meals. You can split her check across the entire group each time you eat out, or each bridesmaid can take a turn paying for the bride’s meal throughout the weekend. Just be sure to plan ahead so that everything stays fairly even!
If you and the girls hit the club or kick back for cocktails, you should treat the bride’s drinks the same way you handled her food. Bridesmaids are always responsible for their own beverages, so just order your drinks like you normally would, but take turns adding the bride’s drink to each girl’s tab. Cheers!
Rideshares and Taxis
Rideshares and taxis are an easy split! Have one girl cover them throughout the trip and then split it evenly (excluding the bride) once the weekend is over. If you’re using Uber, there is a “split fare” option that allows you to share the fare with other passengers. Otherwise, just ask one bridesmaid to keep up with it over the weekend so that it is easy to track and split at the end.
Party Swag, Decorations and Accessories
Accessorizing is so much fun on a bachelorette trip. It really helps put everyone in the party spirit and makes the pictures super instagramable. The Maid of Honor is usually in charge of the party swag and decorations, but since everyone will be wearing and using them, it is only fair to split the total cost. The Maid of Honor should let everyone know what they owe a few weeks before the party so that she can be reimbursed before the trip. If you need a jumpstart on decorations, we have everything you need.
Hey MOH, this one is for you! A cute invitation with all the details about the party including the itinerary is a helpful and special touch for the weekend. We make purchasing and personalizing your invites super easy and budget-friendly with these downloadable and customizable invitations.
Shop 200+ cute and classy bachelorette party shirts, accessories and decorations in our online party shop!
Our Go-To Apps for Paying and Splitting: What’s The Best Way To Pay?
Our answer: Use an app like Splitwise or Venmo to easily track expenses and reimburse each other.
There are a few ways to approach sharing and splitting. When it comes to planning, prepping and booking, one person can be responsible for paying for each aspect ahead of time (the lodging, the activities, the accessories, etc.) and can settle up through a splitting app once everything is paid for. We recommend reimbursing the MOH for the initial expenses a few weeks before the trip takes place. Getting the biggies out of the way leaves you free to enjoy the trip and only worry with small expenses like drinks, meals and rideshares while you’re there. It also ensures that people who paid the big lump sums are reimbursed before they hit the town.
Splitwise takes ALL the guesswork out of splitting bachelorette party expenses, which is why we consider it an absolute must for your trip. Have each guest download the app and enter expenses as you go. The app automatically calculates who owes each other what and helps you settle up with each other once it is all said and done.
Venmo is great for sending money quickly and easily. This is the perfect way to pay back a friend when you don’t have cash on you. You can even order a venmo debit card that links directly to the balance in your Venmo account and works instantly. We love using this when we are out at a crowded bar and only one person can wiggle their way to the bartender for drinks. Venmo her and she can use her card to pay for all of the drinks on the spot. Cha-ching!
Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets
If it is easier to leave the math and details to the MOH, there’s always the traditional spreadsheet option. She can pay for everything up front and keep close track of it in an Excel or Google Sheets document. Once the trip is over she can share the document and what everyone owes so that each bridesmaid is only responsible for paying one person. This can help minimize confusion if you have a large group.
Our final words of wisdom: don’t get bogged down in the specifics, just do your best to make the bride feel special and the rest will fall into place! If you need more tips and tricks, be sure to check out the rest of our bachelorette party planning tips and advice!