Planning the Perfect Bachelorette Party
It’s finally here! The time has come!
It’s time to start planning the bachelorette party and also get real about what it takes. Let’s first acknowledge that it is almost entirely your responsibility to plan the bachelorette party as a bridesmaid (but the maid of honor should take charge). Unlike wedding dress shopping and the engagement party, the bachelorette party is for the bridal party to arrange. Roll up your sleeves ladies because you’re in store for about four months of planning and we have everything you’ll need to know to get you through it all.
Bachelorette Party Etiquette
Before we jump into planning, we need to go over some areas of etiquette, so you and the rest of the bridesmaids can organize the bachelorette party effortlessly, flawlessly, and with poise.
- Who plans the bachelorette party?
Traditionally the maid of honor will be responsible for taking charge of the planning and will have the rest of the bridesmaids (or other close friends) by her side to help her in the execution. While this is the norm, it is more than okay for the bride to assume command and plan the bachelorette party herself.
- When does the bachelorette party take place?
The bachelorette party should be held one to two months prior to the wedding, allowing enough time beforehand to make the bachelorette party epic and more than enough time afterward to recover and get back to finalizing any wedding planning.
- How should the bride be included in the planning?
If the bride isn’t already in charge of planning, it’s essential to include her in the significant decision making as the whole event is for her. Get the bride’s input early on to see if there’s a destination she has in mind, a specific date that works best for her, activities or interests she wants to include, who to invite to the event, and of course, whether the theme will be innocent or naughty.
- How much should the bachelorette party cost?
The bachelorette party’s cost will always range depending on the number of people involved, the selected destination, the duration, and the activities chosen. You should set a budget with the bride and the other bridesmaids early on and make sure you stick to it. The average cost can be anywhere from approximately $300 to $2000 (for one to five or more days respectively).
- Who gets invited to the bachelorette party?
The bachelorette party will likely be just those in the bridal party. The bride may request to have other friends in attendance too, and that’s perfectly fine. Make sure you don’t include any uninvited wedding guests, that’s a big no-no (unless otherwise instructed by the bride). Don’t be afraid to include males in the bachelorette party if the bride wants them there or if they’d be up for any of the festivities you have in mind. Oh, and don’t forget to include the bride on your list of those attending.
- How should invitations be sent out?
You don’t need to send out an invitation that is formal or super cute for this event; instead, a simple email with the vital plans and logistical information will suffice.
- Who pays for the bachelorette party?
The cost of the bachelorette party falls on everyone involved, depending on the situation. For instance, if the group intends to travel, it’s customary for the bride to pay for her flight and accommodations (and each attendee is to pay for their own as well). Once the group has arrived, the rest of the attendees will usually divide the cost of any activities and dinners (covering the bride’s expenses). Whereas when the event stays local, dinners, activities, decorations, and transportation are all divided between the group attendees (excluding the bride). Note that it’s nice to give a heads up on the approximate amount that each individual will be required to pay if they intend on participating earlier on; this lets them know what they’ve signed up for and gives them a heads up.
- Are favors necessary?
The bride is not required to hand out favors during the bachelorette party; however, it’s always a nice little thank you for all the hard work you and the rest of the bridesmaids put in to plan the event (so she could if she wanted to).
- Are gifts necessary?
You’ll be happy to hear that this is one event throughout the pre-wedding festivities where gifts are not expected. Write it down, spread the word, and never forget. No presents are needed here!
- Should social media be excluded?
Depending on the bride’s preferences, she may ask that no one posts photos on social media for the duration of the event (for any multitude of reasons). It’s better to have this conversation and make sure everyone’s on the same page, rather than upset the bride.
Steps for Planning the Perfect Bachelorette Party
- Determine the guestlist
The very first thing you’ll want to do is sit down with the bride and get an idea of what her expectations are for her bachelorette party, starting with who will be in attendance. As mentioned above, you’ll want to stick to those invited to the wedding.
- Select a budget
Based on the chosen plans, you’ll need to make sure everyone you invite can afford to participate. Setting a budget early on keeps your imagination in check, so you don’t over plan and under-deliver or overspend and have major regrets once the event rolls around.
- Select a location
Deciding on a location is relevant whether you travel or keep things local. Perhaps it’s about choosing a popular bachelorette party destination such as Las Vegas, Nashville, or Miami; or maybe it’s about choosing the perfect bar, the best strip club, or the most elegant garden to host a tea party, all within your city. Of course, there’s always the option to make it a multi-day event, planning numerous activities at different locations/venues.
- Book everything
At this point, you have enough information to start booking flights, transportation, and accommodations. Ensure everyone is on the same page, as it’ll be a lot easier to keep everyone together and close by (especially when traveling).
- Plan the activities
Similar to choosing the location, planning out the activities can range as well; they can be games to play, places to visit, hired entertainment (wink wink), or plans to set off on an excursion.
- Arrange food (group meals)
Especially if your group intends on downing (a few bottles of) wine or any choice of alcoholic beverage(s) throughout the bachelorette party festivities, it is essential to pre-plan the majority (if not all) of meals. Make reservations at restaurants along your path for the trip/night, so everything runs smoothly; check for discounted restaurants, and if your hotel has buffets included. Also, look to see if your choices accommodate for larger groups. Consider packing water, snacks, and other essentials in a survival kit. Remember to arrange breakfasts and lunches (not just dinners if you’re traveling) and take into account timing very carefully.
- Confirm Attendance
Within the one-month mark, you should confirm that those who sent an RSVP are still planning on being in attendance. Also, one week from the event, you should do one final confirmation for your assurance.
- Make the bachelorette party personal and keep in mind the bride’s requests and wishes.
- Don’t overschedule your night, day, or getaway trip; allow space for downtime (you’ll thank us later).
- Always have back-ups prepared. Anything can go wrong (bridesmaids drop out, brides change their minds), and you don’t want things to fail.
- Don’t underestimate the bachelorette party’s cost; stick to the budget (even consider over budgeting, so you save money in the end).
- Discuss social media etiquette with the bride, then relay the decisions to the rest of the team, so everyone’s on the same page, avoid the urge to post pictures if she’s said no.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Planning anything can be overwhelming and stressful.
- Never opt for drinking and driving, it’s never okay, and there’s always another option.
- Let go of what you believe are traditional bachelorette party activities; every bride is different.
- Let someone take charge and have them assume command, they won’t plan the event alone, but it definitely helps with organization.
- Don’t forget to include the fiancée if possible. It’s nice to have the partner feel involved by sending a sweet video from the bride or including info about them in a trivia game.
- Don’t forget the décor and the swag; this is where ‘team bride’ gets to go all out and have fun (with the bride’s permission, of course).
Planning the bachelorette party is hands down one of the most exciting parts of participating in a wedding, besides looking for a wedding dress, and the actual wedding itself. For more tips on how to be the best bridesmaid for the upcoming wedding checkout The Ultimate Guide for Choosing the Perfect Bridesmaid.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio
Photo by Rachel Claire
Photo by Daria Shevtsova