Wet Bachelorette: If the hostess doesn’t drink, should she foot the bar tab?

Q: I am the Maid of Honor for my best friend’s wedding next winter. I am starting to think about her shower and the bachelorette party. I do NOT consume alcohol but it is a major part of the bride’s social life. Do I need to pay for/provide alcohol for these events? I don’t mind if people drink but I don’t feel like I need to or should pay for it.

A: As the hostess for this event this is a choice that you may make.  You are wise to consider and balance the expectations of your guests as well as the guest of honor with your own.  It is not uncommon for people to host bring your own beverage events as one way of keeping costs down.  You could also ask with one of the other bridesmaids to give the party with you. Perhaps  she would be willing to provide the beverages if you do all the food. Good luck and have a great party.


  1. Jody

    I think part of the answer depends on where the shower/bachelorette party are hosted. I too do not consume alcohol, and I will not serve it in my home. I don’t expect others to follow my rules in their house, however. If the shower/bachelorette party are hosted in your home, I think you’re perfectly entitled to not serve alchohol. I would make that clear up front, so that if others really want alcohol served the location can be moved elsewhere. If the events are being hosted in another person’s home or in a restaurant the idea of splitting the cost with others (you provide food, they provide beverages) is a good one, I think.

  2. Amanda

    I attended a bachelorette party where we all chipped in for a limo, purchased our own meals at a restaurant and brought wine because it was BYOB. I was shocked when the bachelorette received (and opened in front of everyone) rather pricey gifts. A few weeks later, she had a shower. Is it normal to expect and open gifts at a party in which you had your guests pay their own way?

    • Elizabeth

      Well, like a shower, a bachelorette party is not hosted by the bride, but by her bridesmaids, female family members, or friends. Further, unlike a shower, a bachelorette party is not typically fully paid for the hostesses, simply according to custom. Usually the hostesses will pay for some food and drink (if the party begins in a private home) but the usual expectation is that everyone will pay for themselves while out. It is very common for the participants to chip in for a limo because everyone expects to imbibe quite a bit. I don’t think there is an expectation of gifts at every bachelorette party, but usually the bride will receive some personal/lingerie-type gifts, as this is not something she might want to open in front of older relatives at her bridal shower. I doubt anyone thought ill of you for not bringing a gift, and I hope that the bride did not expect gifts but was pleasantly surprised by them.

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