8 Rules the ‘Bachelor’ & ‘Bachelorette’ Contestants Are Forced to Follow

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Being a contestant on The Bachelor sounds like a blast. We mean, who doesn’t want to take a brief pause from the real world in the hopes of becoming internet famous finding love?

Well, you might be surprised to learn that it’s not all fun and games, since Bachelor Nation is contractually required to abide by a strict set of rules when they’re on the show. From ignoring the date food to giving up their cell phones, keep reading for eight crazy rules that Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants are forced to follow.

the bachelor wardrobe
ABC/John Fleenor

1. They Can't Overpack

The contestants aren’t allowed to bring more than two bags, which is why many seek out the largest suitcases they can find. While the star of the show is assigned a stylist, the rest of the cast isn’t given the same luxury. In fact, they’re expected to dress themselves entirely, which—for women—means doing their own hair and makeup.

the bachelor behind the scenes
ABC/Francisco Roman

2. They Can't Interact Off Camera

Yes, you read that right. Everything must be filmed, which is why the cameras follow the contestants everywhere, even when someone makes a surprise visit to the star’s room. Former Bachelor Sean Lowe addressed the rule in his 2015 book, For the Right Reasons, and confirmed there’s an “ironclad rule [of] no interaction off camera.”

bachelor cant eat food
ABC/John Fleenor

3. They Can't Eat The Food

Have you ever noticed how contestants will breeze through a dinner date without ever touching the plate of food that’s in front of them? That’s because the food isn’t meant to be eaten—it’s just for looks.

Think about it: No one wants to see—or hear—someone chomping down on food. Not to mention, it’s nearly impossible to maintain continuity with a half-eaten plate. This is why producers typically feed the contestants before the actual dinner date, so they can focus on the conversation without worrying whether there’s something stuck between their teeth.

“Before we went on the date, the producers sent food to our hotel rooms,” Lowe said in his book. “We ate in our rooms and then went out for dinner, where we would be given beautiful food arranged nicely on the plate. This was just for show. No one looks good eating, and microphones pick up all kinds of chomping.”

the bachelor rules
ABC/Francisco Roman

4. They Can't Have More Than Two Drinks Per Hour

Every season, there’s always one contestant who drinks too much on the first night and can barely make it through the rose ceremony without falling over. As of January 2018, ABC created a “two drink per hour maximum” rule for Bachelor in Paradise and claimed the rest of the franchise would follow suit. Based on Kelsey’s #ChampagneGate during Peter Weber’s season of The Bachelor, we highly doubt it’s being strictly enforced.

bachelor hannah ann
ABC/John Fleenor

5. They Can't Use Technology

This means that cell phones, along with any other technology, must be given up prior to stepping out of the limo. The rule restricts all forms of entertainment, including music, books and gossip magazines. Not only does it ensure they remain cut off from the outside world, but it also stops the contestants from researching their competition.

“You can’t watch TV, there’s no internet, there are no magazines, none of that,” Molly Mesnick previously told The Ashley.

bachelor victoria peter
ABC/Francisco Roman

6. They Can't Say 'no' To Dates

Had a traumatic childhood experience that resulted in a fear of bumper cars? Heard that one before. Too afraid to repel down the side of a skyscraper? Too bad. If you couldn’t tell, Bachelor contestants aren’t allowed to turn down dates, no matter how scared they are.

According to the official eligibility requirements, contestants have zero control over the show’s activities, which can change at any moment. “Dates and/or location to be determined and subject to change in Producer's sole discretion,” the website reads.

bachelor mykenna peace
ABC/Eric McCandless

7. They Must Undergo A Background Check

This includes meeting with a private investigator the moment they join the cast. The meeting is designed to weed out anyone who might result in bad press for ABC, which has been a problem in the past.

According to Amy Kaufman’s 2018 book Bachelor Nation, “This person would be trained to dig up any skeletons in the closet—partly to use for their storyline but also to get ahead of any tabloid stories that could come to the surface if they were on the show. Had they ever been arrested? Had they ever sent nude photos to anyone? Had they ever made a sex tape? Had they gotten a DUI?”

bachelor peter weber fantasy suite
ABC/Francisco Roman

8. They Must Be Clean

Both physically and mentally. In addition to undergoing a series of psychological evaluations, the contestants are also screened for STDs as part of the application process. Better safe than sorry, amirite?

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Senior Editor

Greta Heggeness is a California-based editor at PureWow and has been writing about entertainment since 2015. She covers everything from awards shows to exclusive celebrity...