All The Rules Bachelor In Paradise Contestants Have To Follow

"Bachelor in Paradise" has been running since 2014, giving reality TV fans a dose of romance, drama, and vacation vibes every August. With fan-favorites from prior seasons of "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette" shacking up at a Mexican beach resort, the show follows the ups and downs of their summer romances. Wells Adams, the show's bartender and a former "Bachelorette" and "Bachelor in Paradise" contestant himself, spoke to Hollywood Life about the show's appeal. "'Bachelor in Paradise' isn't going to fix the world's problems, but I do think it's a show that we kind of needed at this point because everything's been so sad and depressing and dark," he said, explaining that the world needs "maybe a little bit of silliness."

Although the show has changed slightly over the years, especially after the permanent departure of host Chris Harrison (via Deadline), fans look forward to "The Bachelor" spinoff's familiar format of rose ceremonies, dates, and romantic proposals. But for the contestants who head to "Paradise," it's not all fun and games. From contracts to clothing styles, reality TV viewers might be wondering what kind of rules "Bachelor in Paradise" contestants have to follow. That's where we come in: Here are all the rules the show requires.

Contestants must be available for three weeks of filming

The cast and crew take over the Playa Escondida resort (per Glamour) in Sayulita, Mexico, for what seems like an entire summer full of sun, fun, and romance, but how long the contestants actually stay there might surprise fans. While other "Bachelor" franchise shows tape for a much longer period of time, "Bachelor in Paradise" is filmed over just three weeks, with an average season "anywhere from seven to 13 episodes long" (via Refinery29).

"The Bachelor," on the other hand, films for roughly two months, according to Insider. The 2021 season of "Bachelor in Paradise," for example, aired on ABC from Monday, August 16, through Tuesday, October 5, with the network broadcasting two episodes on some weeks and one episode on others. However, the season is actually taped a couple of months earlier — the cast and crew started filming on June 8 (per a tweet from show creator Mike Fleiss) through roughly June 26, which is when Refinery29 noted cast members returning to Instagram. "Bachelor in Paradise" fans know that contestants can't predict when they're going to be sent home (often in dramatic fashion!), so it makes sense that they need to clear their schedules for the full span of taping, just in case.

No sunglasses or loud prints are allowed on Bachelor in Paradise

The stars of "Bachelor in Paradise" sport some stylish and memorable outfits on our screens every year (although sometimes they're memorable for the wrong reasons). Whether it's bright beachwear or elegant cocktail party attire, fans are treated to a range of fashions every summer. But what viewers might not know is that cast members actually have a dress code of sorts. Former "Bachelor" lead Sean Lowe shared in his book, "For the Right Reasons: America's Favorite Bachelor on Faith, Love, Marriage, and Why Nice Guys Finish First," that "stripes, small checkered patterns, big patterns, and solid white" were a no-go on camera (via Bustle). 

Former contestant Dean Unglert shared some of the show's wardrobe guidelines with Us Weekly. "They're not, like, super strict with the dress code," he said, adding that a producer once asked him to change because he and girlfriend Caelynn Miller-Keyes were both wearing white. He also confirmed "no sunglasses, no ... logos." Miller-Keyes added during the interview that producers "don't like busy prints." This explains why you often see contestants wearing solid colors. With all of that lush greenery and colorful Mexican decor, it's understandable that a busy pattern would clash with the backgrounds on set. Plus, sunglasses would hide that special look in someone's eye when they're asking someone on a date — or sending them packing.

Bachelors and bachelorettes never eat the date food

Eating on national television might be a lot of peoples' worst nightmare, and luckily for "Bachelor in Paradise" contestants, it's not one they often have to worry about. Fans might notice that contestants never seem to eat during the elaborately-produced dates set up on the show. This rings true for "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette" as well. There's a good explanation for this, which Sean Lowe detailed in his book, "For the Right Reasons: America's Favorite Bachelor on Faith, Love, Marriage, and Why Nice Guys Finish First." He revealed that before the date "producers sent food to our hotel rooms ... then [we] went out for dinner, where we would be given beautiful food arranged nicely on the plate. This was just for show," he explained, as "no one looks good eating, and microphones pick up all kinds of chomping" (via Bustle).

Tahzjuan Hawkins, who appeared on two seasons of "Bachelor in Paradise," also confirmed the "no eating on dates" rule in an interview with Refinery29. "I thought everyone knew that you weren't supposed to eat the date food. That food is sitting out. You eat before and then you go and just like, no one wants to hear people eating on camera," she said. While all of that delicious Mexican food goes to waste, no one wants to end up on TV with beans stuck in their teeth, either. Plus, it means more time for talking and connecting if the contestants aren't actually eating. 

Paradise stars have to undergo psychological evaluations

Whether it's social media trolls or comments from strangers in a bar, becoming reality TV famous (or infamous) overnight can seriously impact a contestant's mental health. For this reason, shows in the "Bachelor" franchise rely on psychologists for help before, during, and after filming. After Gia Allemand, a past contestant on "The Bachelor," died by suicide in 2013, former host Chris Harrison told People, "We go to great lengths to make sure these people are okay."

Steven Stein, PhD, who helps counsel contestants for a range of reality shows, including the "Bachelor" franchise, shared some insight into the process in an interview with Flare. When evaluating potential cast members, Stein looks for "mental health issues" and "anything serious, problems with addiction or anger." He added that psychologists also administer "IQ and emotional intelligence assessments" — as many as seven depending on the particular show.

Psychologists like Stein are also kept on-call during filming for any issues that arise. Kalon McMahon, who appeared on "Bachelor in Paradise" Season 1, told Houston's ABC13, "It's [the psychologists'] job to mentally assess you to see how you're going to react to situations. I have to admit, they're very good at their jobs."

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Contestants have to sign away their reputations in an extensive contract

If you want to enjoy the sands of "Bachelor in Paradise," you have to sign on the dotted line first, and the things contestants must consent to are pretty crazy. In 2017, CNN Business obtained a copy of a contract from "Bachelor in Paradise" and spilled the details. Exactly what such things must contestants agree to? They include being embarrassed on national TV, as the contract states that "their actions and the actions of others displayed in the Series may be disparaging, defamatory, embarrassing or of an otherwise unfavorable nature and may expose me to public ridicule, humiliation, or condemnation."

According to CNN Business, "Bachelor in Paradise" producers can play with scenes to make contestants look however they want, because the contract allows them to do so. Cast members must agree to give the show "the right to change, add to, take from, edit, translate, reformat or reprocess [footage] ... in any manner Producer may determine in its sole discretion." What this means is, at the end of the day, the producers are in control of how stars are portrayed to the public. "I can basically take your image and do whatever I want with it and I own it and you have no recourse," entertainment attorney Nicole Page told CNN Business.

The living conditions at the resort are less than luxurious

Heading to a gorgeous Mexican resort sounds like most people's idea of paradise, and for "Bachelor in Paradise" contestants, it is ... well, sometimes. Although Playa Escondida is a high-end resort with stunning vistas and a luxurious pool, it doesn't come without its challenges. First off, the sleeping accommodations are more summer camp than fantasy suite. "We're sleeping on bunk beds on top of each other, all sharing two showers," former "Bachelor in Paradise" contestant Kalon McMahon told ABC13.

Even worse, there's the Mexican heat. "We don't have air-conditioning," former contestant Tenley Molzahn said in an interview with Flare. "I feel like people assume that because we're on a television show that we're actually set up to the nines. The 'resort' was essentially glamping." In the same interview, fellow contestant Mikey Tenerelli added of Molzahn's experience, "You got out of the shower and you were basically sweating again."

The other issue? Crabby wildlife. According to the resort's website, the local land crabs migrate and reproduce in the early summer season. The timing of "Bachelor in Paradise" seems to line up with this event each year, as 2021 guest host David Spade experienced. "I went to 'Crab city' in Mexico and filmed in between being covered in crabs," Spade told The Aspen Times. "They were in my room and bathroom every night. It was just terrifying. I had to deal with that along with all the contestants."

There's a two-drink-per-hour rule on Bachelor in Paradise

Once upon a time the drinks flowed as freely as the ocean on "Bachelor in Paradise," but the situation today is quite different. In 2017, sexual misconduct allegations against a contestant rocked "Paradise," shut down production, and changed the rules forever. At the time, a producer filed a complaint regarding an encounter between contestants Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson, questioning whether consent was given due to alcohol. An internal investigation found no wrongdoing (per The Hollywood Reporter), but afterward producers had to create "better monitoring of issues regarding consent" along with drinking rules (via Entertainment Weekly).

"Bachelor in Paradise" executive producer Martin Hilton gave Entertainment Weekly more details — namely that producers sat down with the cast on camera and off to discuss how they felt regarding alcohol and filming and what should be done moving forward. Because contestants didn't want alcohol taken away, producers established a two-drink-per-hour rule per contestant (per People). However, that doesn't mean that some beachgoers don't bend the rules at times, as "Paradise" star Robby Hayes told People. "If it was two drinks an hour, we'd grab one at 3:50, one at 3:55 ... We'd grab one at 4:00, and one at 4:05, then you have four drinks within 15 minutes."

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Couples don't own their Neil Lane engagement ring unless they stay together for two years

Members of Bachelor Nation know the deal when it comes to Neil Lane, the famed Hollywood jeweler who has appeared on every season of the "Bachelor" franchise since 2009 (via Brides). When Lane shows up, things are about to get serious: Contestants meet with him to look at rings before they pop the big question. But what viewers don't know is that the rings don't technically belong to their owners.

In her book "Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America's Favorite Guilty Pleasure," author Amy Kaufman shared the behind-the-scenes dirt on the "Bachelor" world, with one such allegation revealing that contestants don't get to keep their Neil Lane ring unless they stay together for two years. If they break up, the ring gets returned to ABC (via Elle). Of course, production doesn't want contestants popping the question just to get a huge diamond and then sell it right afterward, so it makes sense that they'd want to cover themselves for such a situation. On the 2021 season of "Bachelor in Paradise," for example, each of the three engaged women walked away with a dazzling two-carat Neil Lane diamond (via Us Weekly). According to Brides, some of the rings given on the franchise's shows have been worth up to $150,000, so it's no wonder production wants to ensure these relationships stand the test of time.

No phones, books, or TV are allowed for Paradise contestants

When you're on a show like "Bachelor in Paradise," producers naturally want to make sure that the contestants' entire focus is on finding love (or drama). This means, no distractions from the outside world — like watching television, reading, or using a computer, tablet or phone — are permitted, as The Verge noted (via Refinery29). Multiple "Bachelor in Paradise" contestants told the outlet that they were allowed to listen to music at limited times, but that while sitting together as a group, headphones were not allowed in order to encourage everyone to talk to each other.

Dean Unglert, who's appeared on multiple seasons of the show, admitted to Us Weekly that he managed to sneak a phone into his last season of "Bachelor in Paradise" but said he felt so guilty that he told producers and had them take it away. And another unnamed contestant was successful in slipping an iPad into "Paradise," as Unglert told the magazine. "One of my buddies ... I remember he pulled me into the bathroom and he's all over his iPad in the bathroom," he said. "And it's, like, somehow on a Wi-Fi connection over there." Unglert added that he was shocked his friend was able to get it past security — and that he had Internet connection to boot.

The cast should expect to be filmed at all times, except in a fantasy suite

As one can imagine, when a contestant agrees to be on a reality TV show, there's an expectation that cameras will be around most of the time. But on "Bachelor in Paradise," contestants need to agree that they'll be taped 24/7. Viewers even see footage in the infamous "Boom Boom Room" where couples go for private time, although most of them pull the covers over their heads. "There are cameras everywhere and there's nowhere to hide, so when cast members behave outrageously, they allow themselves to forget there are cameras — and just get caught up in the moment," a former producer told People.

The only places where filming doesn't happen are in the elaborate fantasy suites that the final few contestants are allowed to use for overnight dates, as "Bachelor in Paradise" alumnus Evan Bass told Bustle. "The Fantasy Suite portion is completely without cameras. I can confirm that because I did a fairly thorough, albeit pants-less, sweep of the room for hidden devices," he said. Bass added that the total time he spent alone with his then-future wife Carly Waddell (they've since split up, per People) was about five hours, and "the cameras came knocking" at 7:30 a.m. the next day.

Bachelor in Paradise contestants can negotiate their pay rate

There's an interesting rule about "Bachelor in Paradise" that doesn't apply to other shows in the franchise, and that's about money. Outside of the lead on "The Bachelor" or "The Bachelorette," no one else is compensated for their time on the show, according to Insider. In "Paradise," however, they actually get paid. How much depends on the contestant, and many of them negotiate for more, which two "Bachelor" alumni, namely Jason Tartick and Dean Unglert, discussed on an episode of the "Dear Media" podcast (via Us Weekly).

Tartick disclosed on the podcast that he was initially offered $400 a day to appear on a season of "Bachelor in Paradise. "And then I start talking to some friends and they're like, well, 'You should get more money because ... you're going to be, like, the guy they want most from your season," he said. Although Tartick eventually turned down their final offer of $600 a day "with a $5,000 guarantee" and didn't appear on the show, Unglert shared in the episode that he tried to get $800 a day to take part in "Bachelor in Paradise" — but said that production would only pay him $600. "I just had wanted them to pay, could have been $1 more, you know, [out of] principle," he said. "I wanted them to pay me more than they were offering everybody else."

Don't come to Paradise if you're already in a relationship

The point of "Bachelor in Paradise," of course, is to find love. But anyone who watches knows that appearing on the "Bachelor" franchise comes with lucrative offerings other than a romantic relationship, like social media followers and sponsorship deals. This means contestants occasionally do the show for the wrong reasons and even hide relationships for the opportunity to be on "Bachelor in Paradise." This has happened multiple times over the years, and in Season 7, for example, several contestants were accused of trying to pull a fast one on their castmates. Victoria Paul allegedly had a boyfriend at home, and her own friends were the ones to approach suitor James Bonsall about the situation, causing Paul to leave the show (via People).

More drama ensued when contestant Chris Conran was accused of dating Alana Milne before filming, causing a confrontation that led to other contestants forcing them out. Though Conran later posted that he "was by no means in a relationship prior to the show," according to Page Six, Brendan Morais and Pieper James did admit to going on multiple dates before filming began (despite his pursuing contestant Natasha Parker, per Entertainment Tonight) and even had conversations on camera discussing their Instagram followers. When their co-stars confronted them, the pair left the show, leading to a major drop in Morais' Instagram followers – proof that the public wants contestants to follow this pretty simple rule.