We've been getting a lot of requests to write a blogpost on this topic lately. How do you plan a bachelorette party?! Where do you even begin?! How do you organize a group of people with different interests and thoughts? Do you have to go to Vegas? How do you choose what to do?! Does the Maid of Honor pay for everything? Does it have to be a complete surprise for the Bride? Well, as always, we're here for you and we're answering allllll those questions. In this week's blog, we're giving you all sorts of things to think about as you plan out your best friend's last single bash! So if you're a Maid of Honor, or if you're a bridesmaid, or you might be one in the near future, or a friend of your's is... read this. Send it to them. It will only help! Take a look...
1. CHAT WITH THE BRIDE
First things first, you are her best friend! You know what she likes and dislikes, feel confident in that and don't stress out about the planning process! And as her BFF, most importantly, you shouldn't feel weird about asking if she has any strong requests about her bachelorette party. Does she want the entire thing to be a complete surprise? Or has she always dreamed about a getaway to Palm Springs? Or maybe she doesn't know where she wants to go, but she knows what kind of vibe she wants... maybe she's always wanted something chill, sitting poolside of the airbnb / hotel, OR maybe she's always wanted a crazy booze-filled weekend one she'll never forget nor really remember.
Also--always double check dates for the bachelorette party with the bride first! She'll be juggling various showers and events leading up to the big day, and her schedule is the most important. Maybe she wants a one-night party to kick off the wedding weekend, or maybe she wants a full weekend getaway a month before the big day! This will all drastically change what you decide to do. Additionally, don't forget to ask the bride if she has any special gals she wants to include in the bachelorette shenanigans that are not part of the bridal party. That's a nice way to include other people close to her and it helps you get a full understanding of 1) who you need to invite, 2) what plans are realistic for a small group vs a large group and 3) total costs and shared expenses for a group, etc. Ask for any invitee's emails and phone numbers as well.
2. BRAINSTORM IDEAS
Now you should have a decent place to start after chatting with the Bride! If she wants something chill, respect that. Maybe opt for a staycation in her city at an airbnb or a dope hotel. Kick it off with all the gals getting their nails done (everyone's nails should be done going into the wedding--there will be lots of photos and detail shots taken and maybe the bride wants everyone in a certain color, so go get your nails done!) Then go out for a nice dinner in the city, then maybe back to the hotel for a big girly slumber party with drinks and popcorn and rom-cons and dirty secrets of boyfriends past! Such a chill but fun laid back day.
Or if the bride wants a crazy weekend, start looking into those options. You could do a weekend getaway in Vegas. Or again, you could go to the nearest big city and do a weekend of clubs and rooftop pools and bottomless mimosa brunches! With this plan, always remember to allot a decent amount of down time in between events for everyone to re-charge and keep the party going with high energy when it matters! And do your research for the best club, bar, rooftop pool, hotel, dinner spot, etc! This weekend is a splurge.
"Do you need to surprise the bride completely with the bachelorette party?"
This is a question that comes up a lot. The short answer is no. As with most things bridal, there really aren't any rules anymore. If the Bride has specific things she knows she wants to do as part of the weekend or night, then obviously you should incorporate those things and she will know about it. Additionally, some Brides prefer to plan out the majority themselves, knowing what they want or if they want to show their girls their city, etc. However, we still personally love the idea of surprising her in some way. Whether the entire weekend is a secret, or the place you are staying is a secret, or where you go to dinner is a secret, etc. it is so fun to surprise her with something and keeps the weekend as something for her to look forward to, and it makes it one less thing she has to plan in the midst of all her wedding planning.
"Do you need to pay for the bride's everything that weekend?"
No. You don't need to pay for everything. If you can do that, would it be the nicest thing ever? Yes. Would she be so grateful and happy the whole weekend feeling so spoiled? Yes. But if you (maid of honor, or entire bridal party) can't pay for all the costs for the bride, it is nice to at least pay for something... it could be her portion of the hotel stay, or it could be her dinner. The point is, you spoil her a little bit and it really does go a long way.
Overall, whether you opt for a relaxing spa day or a wine tasting weekend in the country or a city affair, this stage is key for researching pricing and timing and dates, etc! Keeping costs and a reasonable budget in mind here for your plans, will greatly ease the next part....
3. PITCH TO THE GROUP
Which brings us, here. Let's be honest. This is the hardest part about planning a bachelorette. Not everyone in the party will think the same way, or value the same things. Getting an entire group to agree is going to be tough, and then getting people to have "fun" when they might not have gotten their way, is even harder. Once you've done your brainstorming and research and think you might have a good idea for the bachelorette party, it's time to run it past the group.
The key here is this... you don't want to just tell people that they have to do X and spend Y amount of dollars on it and that you need all the money up front by Z with no questions asked. Doesn't exactly sound like a fun time when you (and your money) are bossed around. Yet on the other hand, you also don't want to open up this conversation too wide and lose focus on what the bride wants should some bridesmaids start trying to derail the plans.
Instead, share your thoughts. Kindly (but firmly) say you are open to other additional suggestions if someone has an idea, but that you've discussed this a bit with the Bride already and know she would love this plan. Breakdown what you think the cost per person will be. Remind them what their money is paying for if they need to send it to you upfront (hotel, rental cars, flights, boats, etc). And let them know what they will also be paying for when they get there (nails done, dinner, drinks, etc.)
Be prepared to compromise a bit. Remember that everyone's story and jobs and debts and finances look different. Just because one person could spend $1,000+ on a dope weekend, doesn't mean everyone will be able to as well. Try to find a balance. Prioritize things that the Bride will love, and find ways to cut costs elsewhere. Buying alcohol from the grocery store and stocking up your hotel room is a great way to save money for everyone overall instead spending 10x the amount on drinks when you are out. Maybe opt for a 1 night stay at a hotel instead of 2. Be prepared to talk questions of expenses and ways you can compromise. If you can show you care and are willing to compromise a bit or hear people out, it will make it much easier for them to do the same.
That being said, if one or two people are being ridiculous and unnecessarily sticks in the mud about everything and refuses to pay for anything the whole weekend, remind them what they said yes to. Being a bridesmaid isn't free. When you say "YES" to being your college roommate's bridesmaid you are saying yes to spending money on a new dress, to spending money for her bachelorette party, to spending money on new shoes, to spending money on buying her a wedding present, etc. As the Maid of Honor, you can remind them that they chose to do this. And most importantly, remind them that this weekend is for the bride. This is what she wants. This is her last big thing with all of you in one place. This weekend is about blessing and loving on her. Yes, it takes a little sacrifice from you all, but this at the end of the day is about giving her the best time that you all can and enjoying it together and creating the best memories for her to look back on.
4. THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU'LL NEED TO BRING, EXACTLY
Whether its a chill old-school slumber party, or a massive Vegas bash, one thing is for certain... you need some decorations! Go to your local Party City or hey, make it easy on yourself with Amazon Prime, and buy tons of cheesy bachelorette decor. A cheesy bride-to-be crown for the bride, or a sash, some penis shaped candy, maybe even streamers, bachelorette themed cups for mixed drinks, tons of balloons, materials for drinking games, etc. Then, think about the booze--you definitely want your house / airbnb / hotel / etc. alllllllllllll sorts of stocked up for the night(s). Make sure you have the classic easy drink mixes on hand: vodka + cranberry juice, gin + tonic, tequila shots, maybe some wine, definitely champagne, and do not forget lots of ice and water! (lots and lots of water) Also, snacks. Can't forget to stock up enough late night snack stashes. Don't be afraid to ask the bridesmaids to split these things as well.
Another thing you might consider are super cute goodie bags for each attendee! Fill them with whatever fits the vibe of the day / weekend.... cute waters (like the boxed water), gum, more penis shaped things, lotions, etc! You can really have fun here and it totally doesn't have to be expensive, just a cute little something for each gal to open when she gets there! Be prepared to pay for those on your own. Just like the bridesmaids, Maids of Honor make financial sacrifices throughout this season too. (A good rule of thumb: always keep any receipt of purchases for things you spend on anything for the bachelorette in case you do need to split it with anybody or if you decide you want to return it instead of use it, etc!)
This would also be the time to book any serious reservations in advance!
5. SEND OUT THE INVITATIONS
Lastly, be sure to sent out cute invites to everyone invited! The Bride, the bridesmaids, and any other special guests outside of the party if the Bride requested to invite them! We love the idea of a Paperless Post invite for something like this so that everyone has a copy and they can't lose it! (Really helpful when it comes to events with special addresses and times -- like catching a bus, or meeting at the hotel by a certain time, or reservation details, etc.) And be sure to include on the invite details if there are specific things each invitee should know to bring... like a bathing suit, etc.
Now, just enjoy the trip!!
Bachelorette parties are one of the highlights of the time leading up to the big day. The Bride will likely never have all her best friends in one place doing something so fun again. Keep it fun and light hearted and don't drown in the details! If you are stressing out, she will be stressed too. Just enjoy the time and make memories that she can carry with her forever and look back on with so much happiness!
Do you have more specific questions about the planning process? Need a little help deciding between a couple options? Are you in a sticky situation with the group having massively different opinions? Comment below! We'd love to help you work through your party planning hurdles! Or, have you recently thrown a kick-ass bachelorette party and want to share what you planned or even helpful tips you learned from your planning experience? Comment below and share with other gals who are trying to plan one right now! We'd love to hear all your different creative parties and don't hesitate to throw any crazy bach stories in the comments either!
Cheers to party planning!