Are Gifts Really a Thing at Bachelorette Parties?


And does it have to be scandalous lingerie?

by Amy March

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Q: I am attending a bachelorette party soon and it just occurred to me that this may be the type of event where I’m expected to bring a bachelorette gift. Is that a thing? Or not? I was not invited to a shower, which I think was just her mom and closer friends. I am very happy with my role to show up, buy drinks, and help show the bride a good time. But… is everyone else going to arrive with cute packages of lingerie for the bride? And does that mean empty-handed me will be ordering another margarita?

Signed,

Do I Need to Bring That Thong Thong Thong Thong Thong??

A: I think you’ve mostly got this bachelorette party puzzle solved! When you accept an invite to a bachelorette party a few things are required: 1) You must come ready for a good time. If you hate the bride, hate the party idea, are feuding with the maid of honor, or just simply don’t have fun in the way this party is going to require, just say no. There is no room for sulking at a bachelorette party. 2) Buy drinks! You’re right on track here. When attending a bachelorette party you should anticipate paying your own way and offering to treat the bride to a drink/portion of the affair, especially if this is just a night out in the town you all live in and not a weekend in Amsterdam. 3) Bachelorette gifts are a solid… maybe.

I know that’s not particularly helpful, but here’s the deal with bachelorette gifts. They are absolutely not required. In fact, I think bachelorette gifts should be avoided. At the end of the day, they are just another cost, and everything adds up. But I can’t promise that you won’t be the only person to not bring one. They’re more common in some groups of friends than others, and if you’re not super close you won’t know which kind you’re in until the thongs start flying. It sounds like you’d rather not buy a gift, but you would also rather not be the only one without one.

Fortunately for you, underwear is a perfectly appropriate bachelorette gift, and it’s small enough to tuck into a purse and deploy if needed. Personally I’m team bright and cheerful when buying lingerie for someone you don’t know well. Think cute and fun, not scandalous. Maybe this? Or perhaps this. Get a gift receipt, and if it isn’t a bachelorette gift kind of night, just return them. Or keep them. I’m not judging.

While we are talking about stuff you absolutely do not need to buy for a bachelorette party, allow me to add a few other suggestions: favors, goody bags, snack packs, and decorations for the bride’s hotel room for pictures. All this stuff sounds fun and cute and cheap individually. But the costs add up, and too often the person saying, “OMG we must all have matching beer mugs,” then allocates that cost to everyone equally, including “OMG must we all have matching beer mugs? What about my rent money” girl who is already stretching her pennies to attend. If you’re thinking of suggesting something along these lines, ask yourself if you’d be comfortable paying the entire cost if no one else wanted to contribute, and if the answer is no, ask whether the party really needs this thing.

Worst-case scenario, you end the night with an extra thong in your purse, and let’s not pretend it won’t come in handy sometime.  Enjoy!

Amy March

Amy has loved weddings at least since the second grade when she made an epic diorama of Charles and Diana’s wedding for “important historical event” day. She has purchased every issue of Martha Stewart Weddings ever published and will happily talk to you for an hour about the relative merits of blush and bashful. Her happy place is poolside with a glass of rosé and a good book. 
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  • Eve

    Honestly, I think the real takeaway here is that we need an Amy March underwear roundup.

    • Jessica

      If you haven’t already, go see what other “colors” that Sundae pair is in!!

      • penguin

        Oh my god the cat one.

        • Amy March

          I am so pleased you have found this because it was my favorite part.

          • Engaged Chicago

            Lolllll I was just at a bach on Saturday that asked “bring undies that describe you” (?) and was basically looking for just this!!

        • Eve

          I can’t believe I didn’t flip through the first time.

        • Dana East

          My only disappointment is the lack of tail in the back.

  • Sara

    I have been to exactly one bachelorette party where gifts were given. The sister of the bride sent out invites with the bride’s bra size and underwear size, so we knew up front what we were getting ourselves into. I told the bride (a good friend of mine) that there was no way in hell I was buying her underwear. (I’m very particular about my own undergarments so I didn’t really want to shop for someone elses) She was cool with it. I gave her a bottle of wine I know she likes which she enjoyed. At the end of a fun night, I was the only one sober enough to take care of her, so I think she appreciated that more than a bra.

    • Haha, the one gift-y bachelorette party I’ve been to also had lingerie theme and I also brought wine because I’m particular about undies. Especially anything fancy, I feel like the fit is way to important to risk it?

  • Emily

    Dude, my bridesmaids spent a pretty penny to buy me perfect bridal night lingerie (think mesh veil…) annnnnnd I never even wore it. Some other ideas for bachelorette gifts I’ve done are: gift cards for like massages, Sephora, Lush, etc… or just a good bottle of wine/booze. There’s something creepy to me about opening boxes of lingerie potentially in front of the mother or sister of the groom to be.

    • sofar

      Mesh veil. Wow. That would go straight to the bottom of my drawer, too.

    • volley10

      I agree with the ick factor sometimes! I am going to a bachelorette party in a few weeks for my boyfriend’s future sister-in-law, i.e., someone I have never discussed lingerie preferences with, and likely never will. This event is an overnight out of town and requires I buy a pair of underwear for the “Underwear Game” and gift lingerie. I’m having trouble finding reasonably priced, but nice lingerie, and I know her friends will go all out. As I was stunned to even be invited in the first place, the extra expenditures seem a little much to me.

      • Kalë

        I’ve never been to a bachelorette party where buying lingerie was a thing, but for inexpensive but still cute and flirty lingerie, I love Aerie! They constantly have sales and good stuff on clearance, and their stuff falls more on the everyday (but still fun and sexy) side of things rather than the 50 Shades of Grey end of the spectrum. I just bought a bralette and panty set and two bodysuits for like, $40 total.

        • CMT

          Yes, I was going to say this! They have sales pretty regularly where you can get 10 pairs of underwear for $35.

          • volley10

            Thanks!! :)

          • Jessica

            Right now their clearance is 5 pairs/$15. I just bought a swim suit there for verrry cheap. Love. Them. So. Much.

          • nutbrownrose

            hitting them up tomorrow!

      • Lisa

        If you need it soon, I’d recommend checking out some discount shops like TJMaxx or Marshall’s. I actually found some really cute, inexpensive, designer items when I was looking for underwear for the panty game at the aforementioned bachelorette!

      • Rosie

        My mom bought me lingerie for my bridal shower and made me open in front of everyone, including my fiance, stepdad and my grandfather, I was mortified! Thankfully she included a gift receipt…

        • Engaged Chicago

          I went to a bridal shower where the grandma did this!!

        • CommaChick

          This happened to me at my work shower. But there was no receipt.

          • Lisa

            Someone at work thought it was appropriate to buy you lingerie??

          • CommaChick

            A coworker was getting married around the same time I was, so our team threw us a joint bridal shower. They all pitched in and bought each of us fancy lingerie, which they said they tailored to what they thought we would like. It was really awkward. They took us out to eat at a nice restaurant and had us open our gifts at the table. I should probably mention I left the company not long after for unrelated reasons.

          • Lisa

            …..I just can’t. It seems like this is indicative of poor judgment and boundary issues. I have no desire ever to think about my co-workers’ personal taste in intimate apparel.

            When one of my co-workers got married at LastJob, some people took up a collection and bought him a wheelie-cooler that was on the registry and filled it with miscellaneous grilling/cooking implements. There were so many problems at the Toxic Non-Profit, but at least they showed good judgment in this area.

          • penguin

            I’d love to see Ask a Manager’s response to this one.

          • CommaChick

            Right? I wasn’t expecting it and lifted high what I thought was a scarf or pillowcase, which turned out to be satin, lacy lingerie. I wish I could have seen my face at the time because I was definitely shocked, and I know it showed.

            The fact that they tailored it to what they thought we would like made it so much worse. Most of my team had no idea my coworker was a born-again Christian saving herself for marriage, and she received a lingerie set that was so much more risque than mine. She turned bright red when she opened it and clearly wanted to melt through the floor.

            The filled wheelie-cooler, however, is a great idea.

      • lamarsh

        In case this helps, we did a lingerie shower for my bachelorette and my brother’s girlfriend was there (we hang out on family vacations one-on-one, but otherwise we only hang out with my brother there, so we’re friends, but not super close and definitely weren’t friends outside of them dating). When it got to the lingerie shower, she was just like, I didn’t get you anything because it seemed weird, and I was totally OK with that (and understood). I think it’s fine not to buy lingerie for people who are or potentially will be your family, if it seems unusual for your relationship.

    • eichalex

      i can totally get behind a bath-bomb themed bachelorette party!

      • Totch

        You’re giving me some serious regrets.

    • Totch

      Seconding gift cards for makeup/bath/beauty stuff! Gift cards are similarly portable and easily returned/spent, and don’t have to be impersonal or unfun (a thing I often forget). My husband’s work threw him a bridal shower and gave him a gift card for a local brewery and a friend at my shower gave me a liquor store gift card.

      Also, as long as I’m talking about gift cards, one friend gave us the ultimate combo: half the money on a HomeSense card and half on a movie gift card. Simple, but the combo really felt like “get yourself something you need and also go have fun!”

    • Kate

      I was invited to my SIL’s bachelorette weekend, I put together a basket for her that contained;

      -a heinous floor-length, full coverage nightgown from Goodwill.
      -mud masks
      -hair curlers ($1 store sponge rollers)
      -a Bodycology body spray called “Whoopsie Daisy”
      -a $1 pregnancy test.

      My nephew was an extremely unexpected honeymoon baby. I later found out she used the test from the basket to find out she was pregnant.

  • Ashlah

    I fall on the side of no gifts, unless it’s specified on the invitation/by the organizer that it’s a lingerie party. That said, I haven’t been to many bachelorette parties, but it seems like a reasonable assumption? Bridal shower is for gifts, bachelorette party is for partying. But I do like the solution of carrying around emergency panties in case of surprise gifts.

  • AmandaBee

    I would be…super uncomfortable with people buying me underwear. I guess that is “a thing” in some groups but I’m so glad it isn’t in mine. My bachelorette was dinner and a sleepover the night before the wedding and it was perfect.

    Like, here’s what I’d worry about undies: if everyone else brings gifts but they’re not lingerie related, that puts LW in a bad spot where she either gifts no gifts or has to bust out a packet of lingerie. So, personally, I’d try to feel out if it’s an underwear crowd.

    My “IDK if should get something” gift is a nice bottle of wine, or other booze of choice. It’s easy enough to use up and affordable – I try to guess what kind they might like but barring that I go for something neutral and figure they can use it on guests if nothing else. Other options are gift cards to a restaurant or salon for a manicure – these are also easy to carry and regift if you feel weird about underwear.

    • Amy March

      I’m generally team booze, but it’s not great to slip into your purse and bring to a bar. Much more fun ways exist of getting thrown out of a bar at a party!

      • AmandaBee

        I will admit to having gifted a bottle of booze at a bar. Not to open at the bar, of course. Also, yeah, not really subtle to drag around so you are kind of committing to gifting it. Gift cards are subtle though.

        I like the hidden undies idea, I just would personally check that it’s along the lines of what others are bringing first.

      • BSM

        Nips or a cheapy flask are always a good idea :)

      • CommaChick

        I try to avoid bachelorette parties, but most of my friends tend to tuck a phone and ID into their cleavage instead of bringing a purse. I don’t think they could hide underwear anywhere, but the idea of them smuggling in booze is making me laugh.

    • quiet000001

      What about a gift card to Bare Necessities or HerRoom or similar? That is themed enough if it is an underpants kind of event, but not super racy if not, and most of those shops sell plenty of other things that might be useful for the wedding or on the honeymoon (swimsuits, pjs, etc.)

  • Lisa

    I’d prefer to go with no-gifts, but most of the parties I’ve attended have explicitly requested gifts from the guests. Unless the organizer is specifically requesting that you bring something, I think you’re OK to show up with nothing but cash for buying the bride a shot or something.

    On a side note: I went to a bachelorette recently where we played a game where every attendee had to buy the bride a pair of underwear, and then she unwrapped them and had to guess who had purchased them. I took the coordinator literally at “a pair of underwear,” but apparently everyone else knew that this meant we were supposed to buy at least one coordinated ensemble? Some of the guests even gave multiples? Can anyone tell me how common this game is because every other attendee seemed to know of it?

    • BSM

      We did this at my bachelorette party, but everyone just got me a single pair of underwear, which I prefer (not that I knew anything about it). I’m pretty particular about my lingerie (anything more than just underwear).

      • Lisa

        I just felt horribly awkward about the whole thing because it was clear that I had not spent the same amount of money as everyone else. I’d already spent a lot of money on other things associated with the wedding so I wasn’t really up for spending a bunch on the lingerie. (I picked up a pair of lacy bottoms at TJMaxx instead.)

        • BSM

          I’m not sure how close you are with the bride, but I bet she didn’t care. It’s always nice to get a new pair of undies, which in all likelihood will get way more use than a more elaborate get up.

          • Engaged Chicago

            Agree. Is it bad one of the things I’m most excited about for my bach is getting undies (not lingerie, just undies)? Ha. Especially seeing the cute/funny/nice ones people pick out.. outfiting a new drawer full of underwear is pricey! And everyone has old pairs they’re overdue to get rid of.

          • BSM

            I had no idea that it was happening, but it was *so nice* to get a bunch of new, fun pairs. Enjoy!

          • penguin

            At first I thought you meant people would be giving the bride their old undies and I was horrified… and then I realized you meant replacing old undies with the new ones from the bachelorette. Whew.

      • Katharine Parker

        I don’t want anyone buying me bras/involving bra cups. I have two styles of bra that I wear–one everyday, one pushup. I would happily accept undies, robes, slips–but I feel awkward about anything that has to be more specifically sized than s/m/l, because I’m super particular.

        There should definitely be a gift receipt with any gift like this.

        • Her Lindsayship

          I am so with you. My cousin got married when we were rather young (I’m a year older than her) and her wedding was the first one I went to as an adult. She had a lingerie party for her bachelorette, and I was HORRIFIED at the thought that this might be a thing that everyone does. I just really don’t want anyone buying me undergarments, even my fiancé. It’s so hard to find stuff that fits properly, and with lingerie a perfect fit is ESSENTIAL.

        • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

          Size and fit are so different from person to person, I don’t understand how you could possibly buy boob clothing for someone else. Hell, I’ll try on 10 things that are supposed to be my size, and be thrilled if 2 are keepers.

          • A single sarah

            This! Plus I’m thrilled if one of those two is marked down to under $50. Which is more than I expect friends to spend. (Especially on top of food and drinks!)

    • Ashlah

      I was invited to a bachelorette like this recently, but I didn’t attend. Had I attended, I also would have bought just a single pair of underwear.

      • Lisa

        That’s what the coordinator had said, but everyone had matching sets with robes! The only other person with a single pair of underwear was another guest/friend for whom I’d offered to pick up a pair since I was already at the store.

        • Ashlah

          That’s so strange! Either all the other guests took it upon themselves to go above and beyond, or the coordinator really dropped the ball in communication. It doesn’t sound like you did anything wrong. I’m sorry it made for an uncomfortable gift exchange!

          • Lisa

            I was inspired to go back to the original thread, and I see now the coordinator said, “If you want to bring [the bride] a full set of lingerie or something, that is perfectly fine, but all we need is a pair of panties from everyone!” Since the pair of panties was re-iterated a couple other times elsewhere, I went with that, but apparently everyone else was feeling more generous than I was. :

          • Katharine Parker

            This is like when invitations say “no presents” but everyone reads that as “a small present” and one feels like a dick if she doesn’t bring anything. You can’t win!

        • eichalex

          I don’t want my friends trying to guess my cup size (never gonna get it right.) I’d rather just have a bunch of cute thongs (w/ gift receipts b/c they inevitably won’t fit my bum!)

          • Totch

            Or even if you give them your cup size… I have enough trouble finding good 40B bras, and it’s been my size for years. Underwear are much easier.

    • InTheBurbs

      I also attended a party where this happened – but everyone only bought 1 pair of underwear

    • Alyssa

      Oh gosh, I would hate that game (both as giver and receiver). Self- and other-judgments abound!

      • AmandaBee

        I was just thinking this sounds like the most judgmental gift game, yipes.

      • Lisa

        Yes, this is exactly why I didn’t like it/want to participate in the first place/followed the guidelines to a T, and I still ended up on the outs! It was mortifying to show up with a tiny wrapped package and see all of these large gift bags and boxes instead.

    • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

      Sort-of related, I was invited to a baby shower once where the invite suggested we all bring books to build the baby’s library. Made sense to me, the mom-to-be lived abroad and books are small and flat to pack or mail. So I wrapped my book as part of her gift, and stuck a gift card to her registry in the card. Everyone else somehow magically knew to leave the book unwrapped, so that it could be placed in a basket right inside the door, and their gift was something completely separate.

      • Megan

        I’ve heard of people asking for books instead of cards – so you inscribe a message or something in it for the couple/new baby. Maybe that’s why other people knew to keep it unwrapped?

      • Lisa

        How strange! The only thing I can think is that it was something like what @Megan:disqus suggested, and they’d all had the same issue that you had before.

      • eichalex

        Also, don’t people realize how expensive children’s books can be? You can easily drop $20 additional dollars on a hard copy of a picture book, not to mention the requisite spend on the “actual gift.” Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a great idea to have a books-only party, but to ask for a book in lieu of a card is a little much.

        • emmers

          Yup! Or if the party could be a books OR other gift but both is definitely a little much!

        • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

          Exactly!

        • gonzalesbeach

          I’ve seen parents suggest ‘gently used’ books in lieu of cards – keeps costs down

          • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

            I always appreciate when I know someone won’t mind used books. For a relative’s first baby, I filled a giant basket with garage sale books, and years later, her kids still love them.

        • Eh

          I’ve never heard of people requesting picture books instead of cards for a baby shower (I have heard of book-only parties). When I have seen requests for books instead of cards it has been board books, and you can buy board books (at least where I live) for $6 (which is the same price as a standard card where I live – but you can also go to the Dollar Store and get cards for $1, which is what I prefer to do).

      • BSM

        I feel like there are sometimes restrictions on having wrapped gifts in luggage, so maybe that was it? Still odd that it wasn’t explicitly communicated, though.

      • Megan

        I have been to so many baby showers where they requests books “in lieu of a card”. Books cost so much more than cards! How is this a thing? If you want me to bring a book, fine, but don’t pretend like it’s an even swap!

        • Eh

          This is what I have been told… books and cards cost about the same amount.

          So you can buy a card for $6 or a board book (from a recognizable author/series) for about the same price (at least where I live). Alternatively, you can buy a card from the Dollar Store for $1 and then a board book is more expensive.

        • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

          YES! I buy all of my cards at the dollar store, since they’re just going to get tossed or put in a drawer somewhere, and a book is way more expensive. I tend to keep an eye out at the dollar store for when they get little Sesame Street board books, and I stock up on those for supplemental baby gifts.

    • laddibugg

      At first I was Team No LIngerie, but I can get behind (heh) new panties. Cotton boy shorts from Gap. I usually wait til they are on clearance, but I’d jump at the opportunity to get new patterns

    • Meredith

      I’d be with you on the pair of underwear thing. That sounds potentially fun. Don’t know why your group had to take it too far. ;) I’ve never heard of this game though.

    • Jess

      Ugh, I hate the “guess who bought this” game. It’s the worst.

    • emmers

      I’ve been to one with that game, too, only I didn’t see the part of the invitation where it said we were supposed to bring underwear, so I didn’t. Oops! It was fine.

      • Lisa

        Ha, I did this at a baby shower, too. They put that “bring a book to start the baby’s library” thing on the back on the invite, which I didn’t look at until I was in front of the event space.

        • emmers

          Haha, I also recently missed this at a baby shower! Apparently I have some sort of mental block on themed gifts. Registry gifts? I’m your gal. Themed gifts? My brain shuts down.

          • BSM

            My friend just went to a bridal shower where each guest was assigned a month and they had to get the bride a gift that corresponded with their month. I can see how the host (the mother of the groom) thought it would be fun, but my friend was like, “Wtf do I do with March???”

            Also, I’m still wondering if there were only 12 guests or if they doubled up on months or…?

          • A single Sarah

            I like this idea in theory (March=cute, cheap rain boots or an umbrella). But seasonal shopping is best in season (or sales immediately after)!

          • BSM

            I feel like they were supposed to still get more couple-y stuff, not gifts for the bride specifically (at least this was how I helped her brainstorm for it, lol). So not like, cute rain boots for March or a nice cashmere scarf for November.

            My friend ended up getting some spring-y cocktail napkins and pint glasses from their registry, which I think worked well.

          • ART

            Ooooh I feel like this kind of thing would fall in the same category as telling your guests what color to wear…maybe I’m overreacting but I really don’t like the idea of being assigned my OWN theme for my gift (seems worse than a general theme like “kitchen stuff” or even “lingerie”)?

          • BSM

            Yeah, it’s just a little odd. Especially since it turned out not to be a larger theme to the shower (they just opened the gifts in the order of the months), it was kind of like… what was the point of this?

            There might have also been some annoyance on my friend’s part since this was the second shower for this bride, in addition to a weekend bachelorette in Cabo and a $300 BM dress. I think she just wanted to buy something small off their registry and get it over with at that point.

    • Engaged Chicago

      I’ve played this game at least 5 times! If it said “bring a pair of underwear,” everyone brought undies and if it said “bring a gift for the bride to guess” then people brought outfits, etc. that’s def odd!

      But also I love that game.

    • Hannah B

      we played this game at mine and I was weirdly good at guessing who got me what, but we were all similarly poor so it wasn’t lavish. The downside was everyone was, um, kind, i guess, when guessing/underestimating what size I needed because L/XL doesn’t translate across brands necessarily, so out of like 6 pairs I could only wear two. My friends went mostly goofy with it. It worked because it was a know your crowd thing and it was just my bridesmaids who did the gift part.

    • Oh yikes… To be honest I actually don’t mind the idea of the game, but anything like this should have *strict* parameters communicated like 1-pair, nothing else, under $20 or else it’s messy (see also, totally open-ended white elephant parties).

    • SS Express

      I had this game at my hen’s night! I’d never seen it before but it was so much fun – I had to drink every time I got it wrong and the rest of the group had to drink every time I got it right, which interacted really well with the lose-a-peg-every-time-you-say-drink game we had going at the same time. But people just brought one item each, and they were explicitly told that cheap was fine because it was just for the game so most were only a few dollars. They were all really nice though!

      • Mary Jo TC

        We did that at my bachelorette party too–and there was a trick present from a girl who wasn’t there, so I kept guessing wrong and drinking more! It was fun

  • savannnah

    As someone who just vehemently nixed buying 15 personalized tumblers for bachelorette favors ($10.99 a piece adds up) I just want to second Amy March on the no favors. My initial reaction was ‘is that a thing? to my bridesmaid who was pushing them and then peer pressure led to me to 2 days of etsy research before I was like no, no this is not a thing.

    • CMT

      Plus those kinds of things are just more crap to clutter your home after the night or weekend is over. Their value is the pictures and after that most people are not going to want a bachelorette party beer mug or t-shirt.

      • rg223

        I LOVE when I find a random penis straw in the bottom of a kitchen drawer. Just me?

        • BSM

          We made penis-shaped pasta at our Airbnb on the first night of my bachelorette, and now I’m thinking that we should’ve used something like that to announce that we’re having a boy. Dammit. Where was this thread last week??

          • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

            This is the best gonad-reveal idea I have ever heard in my life.

          • BSM

            Maybe I can quietly slip penis-shaped pasta salad into the shower?

          • penguin

            Wait what?

            ETA: Derp, baby shower right? Not like.. the shower in your house.

          • BSM

            LOL, sorry, that was confusing. I mean maybe I can bring penis-shaped pasta salad to my BABY shower. I would ask my mom to provide it, but I feel like she’d shoot me down.

          • penguin

            That makes a lot more sense haha. I like the idea of making a bowl of pasta salad using penis-shaped pasta, and then just casually including it on the table of food at the baby shower. See if anyone notices.

          • emmers

            lol

          • CMT

            My best friend and I threw a casual baby shower for another friend (who had already had a “real” baby shower) and we decided to make a penis cake, mostly because we wanted to. The baby was a girl, but we figured there had been a penis involved in the conception of the baby, so it was relevant enough.

          • BSM

            Lolllllll. So what you’re saying is… just eat penis pasta at my house like a damn grown up if I feel like it?

          • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

            I’ve never wanted to crash a baby shower before, but here we are.

          • Emily

            This conversation could have gone SO many ways lol

        • CMT

          Okay, I’ll make an exception for penis straws.

      • Brynna

        Still trying to find an appropriate place to wear a leftover “Cheers BITCHES” tank I had to buy for a friend’s bachelorette…

        • AnneM

          Sounds like perfect attire for wall painting? :D

      • Olga Mikhailov

        The favors at my bachelorette were mostly chocolate and beauty products, so I was like, BRING IT ON. But yeah, no novelty mugs, plz.

    • BSM

      I’m glad I was the first of my friends to get married so we were all like relatively oblivious to all of this (at least I was, lol).

      • Eve

        Yeah. Despite the fact that I’ve already told my MOH sister no penis stuff, I’ve already been informed that there will definitely be penis stuff. I think fondly about the bachelorette party for my first friend to get married, which happened before anyone was 21. We did a potato-themed potluck because potatoes were her favorite food, wore our nicest pajamas, and had a sleepover.

        • angela

          I also, strongly, told my sister and friends planning my bachlorette no penis stuff. They respected it, but one of my cousins busted out a bunch of penis straws when we got to a karaoke bar a the end of the night. I was already drinking and having fun, so I basically ignored it, but it was amusing that my one straight guy friend who was there loved them and drank his whiskey out of one all night.

        • Lisa

          That sounds like the best bachelorette ever.

          I hope for your sake that the penis stuff is rather tame! My SIL had requested no penis things, but her gay best friend brought two small touches for the night–penis straws for drinks at dinner and a genital-shaped cupcake tin that that cupcake decorating place we went to put our sprinkle options in. I think both of those were minor enough that they didn’t end up bothering her too much if at all.

    • Katelyn

      I cut a compromise with myself and got a set of plain tumblers with different color lids, “chalkboard” labels, and chalk markers, and let the ladies loose. But, since I was hosting at my apartment all weekend, it was a practical solution to the dish problem, not just a favor for favor’s sake.

      • Lisa

        The bachelorette weekend I attended was like this. The hostess bought a bunch of those plastic tumblers with lids and straws and encouraged us to mix-and-match to create a memorable, custom combination to use for the weekend.

    • TheHungryGhost

      Yep. I am firmly of the opinion that, yes, any attendees should pay for their own drinks, accommodation, activities and the bride’s share (if she’s down with that), food etc. But the guys hosting the party should pay for any ‘details’ they want themselves – favours, sashes, decorations. They’ll quickly revise their opinions of what is an appropriate amount to spend then!

      If you are throwing a party for someone, throw the party you can afford.

      The ‘thing’ here in the UK seems to be masks of the groom’s face – which are used for one dumb photo then trashed in 5m. I always groan when I see ‘you will get a goody bag’ on the invite, because I know I’m paying for a bag of goddamn tat. I got a mask of the grooms face AND a t shirt with a picture of the bride on it at one do – but the people throwing the party had no actual idea of when we were supposed to wear them, so they just got thrown on at a random time in the evening when everyone was dressed nicely.

  • Jane

    One of the things that makes this hard is that often you don’t know the host of the party that well because the person you are closest to is the bride-to-be – so it’s way harder to ask.
    This question really highlights how important it is for whoever is throwing the party to have reasonable expectations and communicate them clearly!!

  • Sarah

    Just got married. A month before the bachlorette, my bridesmaid organizing it asked me for size info/ store preference. I was shocked and insisted I didn’t need presents. She insisted everyone was going to bring them anyways. So I relented and said she could go with a “things for the honeymoon” theme. So people could bring whatever they wanted, not necessarily scandalous stuff. I got some ridiculous bride and groom sunglasses, flipflops, mad libs for the plane ride, cash, travel stuff, a couple of gift cards to VS, and 1 nice outfit. Everyone brought something, and people probably would have felt awkward if they hadn’t.

    Why doesn’t LW ask the host of the party what most others are probably going to do

  • I would say ask the person who is hosting the party. I just had my bachelorette party and specifically told the hostesses that I didn’t want gifts. They passed that onto guests and there were no awkward moments or awkward presentations of lingerie. I’ve also been to a party where the exact opposite happened: We were explicitly told, please bring a lingerie gift and here are the bride’s sizes.

    • AmandaBee

      Yeah, I was at a bachelorette where the bride specifically requested no lingerie and no penis stuff. One guest did not get the message and showed up with All the Penis Stuff. Bride was gracious about it, but it was super duper awkward.

    • BSM

      Yeah, I think, when in doubt, just ask the organizer.

    • Jessica

      I was invited to my SIL’s bachelorette party, where we were told to bring a pair of underwear that describes our relationship. My mom was very grossed out that I got this invite.

      I declined and sent nothing (which kind of describes our relationship anyway!)

      • BSM

        That sounds veryyy awkward. My little brother came to my bridal shower and got me some really cute and cozy cotton PJs, which is probably the route I’ll go if this ever happens to me. Or do the same as you and just not go because my SIL, oh jeez.

  • Katharine Parker

    Having a gift that you can keep stashed in your purse is the right idea. It’s so awkward if everyone else brought a gift and you didn’t. It’s also weird if you’re the only person with a gift. Asking the maid of honor or main bachelorette organizer is worth doing, if you feel comfortable. But a pair of cute, non-scandalous undies (I’d avoid crotchless agent provacateur, but that’s just me!) are easy to bring, available at any price point, and definitely fall under the category of bachelorette gifts.

  • Alyssa

    Not sure if this is a great option, but as someone who’s picky about underthings, maybe a giftcard to a Fancy lingerie place? Like Journelle.com for example? Keeping with the theme, but also allowing space for the bride to get what she wants without you feeling too uncomfortable — plus, you can keep it in your purse and whip it out if needed too.

    • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

      Super portable, even if it’s a teeny-phone-size-purse kinda night out.

    • Amy March

      But to actually buy anything at a fancy store you’re looking at a significant amount of money, and I’m hoping to help people spend less on this not more.

      • Alyssa

        True. But I was thinking someone can give a $25 giftcard and that should cover at least 1 nice pair of undies, right? And $25 is substantial without being overkill. Then the bride can pick what she wants.

      • Katharine Parker

        True, you can usually get cute sale undies for under $15, but a gift card for $9 is chintzy as all get out.

        • Alyssa

          See I was thinking $25… you’re right, $9 would be a little sketch!

  • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

    Have never, ever heard of bachelorette gifts. I thought participating in a night out and paying your (and a bit of the bride’s) part of it was, in itself, the gift, and the bridal shower was for giving tangible things.

    • Megan

      Posted a reply to the wrong post and Disqus won’t let me delete. #fail

  • Eenie

    Just went to a bachelorette party, no gifts were given (it was out of town though). Bridesmaids had matching shirts that are being repurposed for the actual wedding day. In lieu of underwear, you can always buy and write a nice card. Or ask. Whoever you invited you should know – “hey, is there time set aside for gifts during the party?”

  • sofar

    Almost everyone gave me a wrapped gift at my bachelorette party. I mean, I was touched, but I was NOT expecting it (I’ve NEVER brought a gift to a bachelorette party). And, deep down, I felt kind of “Ugh, really??” about the gifts. Especially because I worried that it made the rest of the folks who didn’t bring anything feel bad. And also because a lot of the gifts were racy.

    At one bachelorette party I hosted, the bride’s future sister-in-law asked me, “Uh. Aren’t you going to tell everyone to bring the bride lingerie?” To which I replied, “Wasn’t planning to, but feel free to organize that if you want to!”

    • Abs

      Yeah I don’t really wear that much lingerie–if I had gotten some from each person at my bachelorette I would not know what to do with it all. And would probably never wear like 75% of it.

  • emmers

    My general bachelorette party rule is to not bring gifts unless it’s specified on the invite. So far that’s worked out fine, but this makes me feel like I should do some checking if I get an invite in the future!

    • Amy March

      No please don’t! You’re doing great. Hold the line on gifts. Be the change.

  • LazyMountain

    The only time I’ve brought lingerie to said party is for a specific game: we all bought a couple of pairs and hung them up on a makeshift clothesline (indoors of course). Bride to be had to guess who gifted each pair, and because they ranged from cute athletic briefs to very raunchy crotchless panties, this was especially entertaining. She had to drink every time she got it wrong. This eventually resulted in her modeling a few pairs on top of her jeans. Much fun (and great pictures) was had by all!

  • erika22

    I bought my friends matching shirts for my bachelorette, so I feel like I did it backwards? But I was the one who found the shirts in the first place, so I felt weird being like “guys I want these shirts so do it”.

    In general I thought the bridal shower was where you got lingerie and the bachelorette was for having drinks and fun, but I know other people have different expectations.

    • ManderGimlet

      This is more my experience! The bride and/or MOH/bridal party did and paid for most of the planning (maybe had people chip in for a party bus or whatever), and the guests paid for their accomodations (if it was an out of town thing) or bought dinner/drinks for the bride. Guests maaaayyybeeee bring a fun lingerie gift if that’s part of the plan, but mainly it’s about just getting your crew together and making fools of yourself.

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  • Engaged Chicago

    I think the underwear advice is spot on..especially a nice brand like Hanky Pankies! I’ve given a gift at every bach (~10) I’ve attended except one, where we pooled money for a group gift.

    Here’s other semi-bedroom related ideas to tuck in a purse: a cute toiletry bag for the honeymoon, a little perfume bottle or set, some sort of room spray or sheet spray, nail polish/mani gift card, mini champagne bottles, a silky robe, cute pj top/shorts.

  • JC

    Funny story: My mom went to a bridal shower for her best friend’s FDIL, and it was lingerie themed. (Weird for a bridal shower and not bachelorette party, but alas.) Two weeks later, Mom’s best friend calls cracking up laughing, because her son (who is a farmer, in the middle of harvest working 12+ hr days), has come to “hide” in his mom’s house because every night the bride has a new set of lingerie. He said, “I’m so tired, but the sexy clothes just never end!”

    • Eh

      My SIL’s bridal shower was “Naughty or Nice” themed. My MIL (also this SIL’s MIL) hosted the shower with the MOH (from what I heard, MOH was MIA for most of the planning). I did not go to the shower (invitation got lost in the mail – it was when my husband and I just moved in together and my husband gave his mother the wrong apartment number – so I didn’t find out until the last minute) but after I found out the theme I was wondering what I would buy her. I didn’t really know her at the time so I guess something on the “Nice” side. But how awkward for you MIL to plan a “Naughty or Nice” themed shower. It’s a bit weird to open “Naughty” presents in front of you husband’s mother and grandmother and their friends.

  • Abs

    In my circle, there’s a lot of organization that goes into a bachelorette party, because at this point a lot of people live in different cities. As part of that organization, generally folks go in on a group gift, like one set of lingerie between everyone. Which means it can be something nice that the bride wouldn’t have gotten herself without it being a burden on those involved. Also, less of the party is focused around everyone watching the bride open gifts, which I find uncomfortable enough even when the gifts are not sex-themed.

    Also, if you’re doing it this way and can spend a bit more–cute robes (like from someplace like Eberjey) are SO NICE. Comfy, easy to fit, sexy feeling but not like “you must wear this for sexy times”.

  • Julie

    I once attended a bachelorette party immediately after going to a small town fall festival so the gift I brought was one of those sparkly wire and curly ribbon crowns they sell for children at fairs and a pumpkin I drew a penis on with a sharpee. It was seasonally appropriate.

  • Nicole

    I didn’t know bachelorette gifts were a thing until ten minutes ago.

    I’m still not sure that they are in my friend group, but I’ve actually only been to bachelor parties and bridal showers.

  • Em

    This might be an Australian thing – but the “hens” (what we call bachelorette!) parties I’ve attended have typically involved the bridesmaid/MOH responsible for organising the party telling everyone what the cost per head was (which admittedly can often be steep :<), and that cost includes covering the bride's costs for the activities we're doing, and enough for everyone chipping in a bit to get something *really* nice from all of us.

  • In the UK underwear, even cute stuff, would normally be seen as too intimate. Chocolate genitals, however, are practically de rigeur!

  • Reeeeally neither here-nor there for this question but the sexuality meter setting/aesthetic for “mainstream” bachelorette parties kind of cracks me up. Like, lingerie which is technically tame enough for older relatives combined with enough penis swag to please anyone’s inner high-schooler?

    Idk, it just kind of seems like a bizarre pastiche of things I maybe thought sex was about when I was 12… While still being sexual enough that someone is often uncomfortable ¯_(ツ)_/¯

    • Ella

      “it just kind of seems like a bizarre pastiche of things I maybe thought sex was about when I was 12…” 100%!

  • Meghan Zero

    I’m in a circle of friends that enjoys reading trashy romance novels, so for one lady’s recent bachelorette party, we all agreed beforehand to buy and wrap the trashiest romance novel we could find (I got mine at a used bookstore and added some (in)appropriate sharpie doodles to the cover artwork.) Then we made her open to a random page and read to us from each one as she opened! It was hilarious and fun.

    • emmers

      I love this!

    • Yesss, so good!

    • A single sarah

      Not a romance novel, but the 50 shades of chicken cookbook is AMAZING for forced read alouds. I tend to cook vegetarian so can’t vouch for the recipes.

      http://www.fiftyshadesofchicken.com/

      • Yet another Meg

        I was given this book as a joke one year for Christmas. The recipes are surprisingly good.

    • ManderGimlet

      What a fun idea!

  • lh

    Bachelorette gifts are a thing in my friend group and often people really spend a pretty penny on nice/fun lingerie which can be extremely pricey. My go to to keep my sanity/pay my rent while still bringing something fun has been MARSHALLS. Just wanted to pass this along. I have had success every time in finding a couple really cute things (even little nighties which I did find fun to receive when I had mine because I don’t normally buy them for myself). I always walk out spending under $15. Participation without being broke! it’s my favorite. No one has ever batted an eye and I guarantee they have no idea I spent $10.

  • Jessica

    I’ve found bachelorette gift expectations to differ by region. My friends in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, we never did gifts. The Midwest bachelorettes we did, of the lingerie sort. I was caught empty handed with no gift.

  • ART

    As I’m thinking about it, I’m pretty sure the only bachelorette I’ve been to was my own. I’m definitely in the no gifts camp, and no one brought any for me (I would have been surprised if they had). I guess I’d have to be told explicitly to bring one or I’d show up without!

  • ManderGimlet

    All the bachX parties I’ve been to have been wildly different (weekend away, in-town night out, Sunday afternoon tea party, a small group outing to a day spa, to name a few), but the only ones that required “gifts” were part of the party games (think tacky lingerie gift opening (cheaper/trashier the better)). We are throwing a 2-groom bachelor party where we’ll be having a white elephant exchange, again cheap/funny gifts under $20. In my experience, wedding showers have been more traditionally the place to give nicer/useful/more spendy gifts. As someone who has both planned and attended bachelorette parties, I personally don’t feel that gifts are necessary (or even appropriate if everyone is meeting up at a restaurant first and then heading straight out to a club). But I would ask the MOH or whoever is planning the party what the plan is for the evening. If gifts are expected but you don’t know the bride very well, opt for a pretty robe or spa basket, something neutral, useful to anyone, and not dependent on knowing their exact clothing size.

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  • Ella

    Wow, I’m shocked at how common giving sexy underwear as a gift seems to be, even between family.
    ~Sexy times happening~ “New underwear?” “Yeah, your sister gave it to me” ~Bye bye sexy times~
    I mean, if the host has asked for it, I’d play along, but I would *definitely* not want this for myself and it seems like a risky choice for someone you’re not super close to.

  • Eh

    I had a small bachelorette (two friends and my sister). They signed a card which was nice and way more than I expected since they paid for me to go to the spa and stay in a cottage over night.

    I have never been to a bachelorette where the Bride has gotten gifts. I think it’s generally assumed that the party (and any drinks bought for her) is enough. This is pretty timely since I’m going to a bachelorette this weekend.

  • Yet another Meg

    I personally don’t think gifts should be a thing for a bachelorette, unless it’s been specifically set out as a lingerie party. And if you’re going that route, please don’t do what the MOH for a friend’s destination wedding where we were given instructions on what brands were acceptable (nothing “cheap”) and were also given a minimum purchase amount. Not cool considering everyone was also traveling. I know none of it was the bride but it was still irritating.

  • Olga Mikhailov

    I think all a (practical) bride really wants out of her bachelorette party is a good time. I was pleasantly surprised to find favors at my own party, but I wouldn’t have realized they were missing had they not been there. I’d say about half of the attendees brought gifts, which I also didn’t expect but found touching. If you’re worried you’ll be the only one without a gift and underwear doesn’t seem right, a cheap and cute way to go is to buy a mini bottle of prosecco and dress it up with some ribbon and maybe one of those cardboard straws you find in the $1 section of Target. You’ll spend like $7 max. But again–you should absolutely NOT feel obligated!

  • bean213

    Another thought: I went to a bridal shower a few years ago and bought the bride a gift card to Target (I know, not terribly classy, but insanely practical, IMHO). Anyway, the bride starts opening gifts and it was all sexy lingerie! I had no idea! I felt so silly. Anyway, by the time the (extremely modest) bride got to my humble Target gift card, she was a) slightly drunk from courage drinks, and b) so damn grateful to not be looking at another frilly, lacy thing that would end up prompting discussion about what she was going to do with it.

    So, moral of the story, a practical gift (new website idea?!?!) is always a safe bet, even when everyone is buying thongs. You could even get a gift card to a lingerie store! Then you are not guessing sizes, which is always the WORST for everyone involved.