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Signs, bracelets, even QR code tattoos: Brides solicit Venmo donations for bachelorette parties

Nowadays, it's becoming more common for bridal parties to encourage others to "buy the bride a drink" in cheeky or unique ways. It has etiquette experts squirming.

MINNEAPOLIS — Kim Meyer of Eldridge, Iowa, said she did it at two separate bachelorette parties she went to. It involved window paint. Brittany Clark, now a newlywed, did it for her girls' night out as well. Eva Garloff, of Cincinnati, had a custom shirt for it.

The latest bachelorette party trend doesn't involve risqué party favors. It includes Venmo user names and QR codes, like the one Garloff had on a shirt her friend made her. 

The purpose? By displaying the Venmo name for all to see, strangers are encouraged to chip in and help buy the bride a drink. And hey, if they make a little more money than needed to cover their bar tab for the night? Even better.

Credit: Brittany Clark
Brittany Clark, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, got married in 2022.

"We’ve definitely seen it become a trend much more frequently," said Allison Odhner, founder of Bach to Basic.

Odhner, whose event company is based outside of Philadelphia, serves clients across the U.S. by booking and planning luxury, multi-night bachelorette extravaganzas.

She says it's become more common for her guests to ask her to include Venmo QR code custom items in the form of signs, keychains, or bracelets. 

"We will sometimes have things printed for people to do that," Odhner said. "It would be included in their decoration set-up or their favor bags. We can print little QR code logos on it or at least customized with the bride’s name. Any sort of little details they want."

The global marketplace Etsy sells plenty of customizable items, ranging from pins bearing QR codes to bracelets and even temporary tattoos.

Credit: https://www.etsy.com/listing/1211519990
Etsy store Designsxmollie sells customizable pins that can bear a brides Venmo QR code.

"It draws attention to the group, and people like that," Odhner said. "It’s just kind of another way to draw attention from other groups in a different sort of way. Where or not they're buying the bride a drink on the spot, it’s kind of a conversation starter."

However, some view the trend as troublesome. Bethany Friske, founder of Doors of Success School of Etiquette in Minnesota, says asking for a donation "takes the fun" out of the chance for strangers to do it out of the kindness of their hearts.

"I feel like our up-and-coming generation are more and more, 'You owe me something,'" Friske said. "And honestly, we don't owe anybody anything."

She also believes bachelorette parties have gotten far too lavish.

"They're asking for money to foot the bill for an extravagant party that doesn't need to be extravagant," she said.

Credit: Blissful Haze Photography
Bach to Basic plans destination bachelorette parties from start to finish.

Odhner acknowledges parties can be costly.

"It adds up very quickly," she said. 

But overall, she thinks the notion of Venmo-ing the bride is harmless and maybe even a little fun.

"As long as the group’s intention is to just have fun with it and they’re not relying on that money, or anticipating that everybody they see is going to be wanting or able or interested in contributing to their weekend, I think it’s kind of just a fun aspect to it," said Odhner.

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