When people think of the time right before a wedding, they often think of bachelor parties. Bachelorette parties, however, have steadily gained ground, and are now nearly as common – and often nearly as wild – as their male counterparts. Here’s what you need to know about planning a successful event.
First of all, is it your responsibility to host this celebration? If you are the maid of honor, often so. However, others of the bride’s close friends and relatives can also take on the task. Just be sure that if you aren’t the maid of honor, you let her know that you’re willing to be the planner for this event – she may even thank you for it.
Your next step is to decide on a guest list. Whereas a bridal shower’s attendees are all invited to the wedding (due to the gift-giving nature of a bridal shower, it would be inappropriate to ask people to bring a present and not be invited to the wedding itself), you may potentially invite ladies to the bachelorette party that may not be attending the wedding – especially in the case of smaller or out-of-town ceremonies. You’ll want to keep the guest list fairly small, with around 8-15 of the bride’s closest friends, relatives, and coworkers.
When you choose the date of the event, don’t even consider having it the night before the ceremony. The bride will not want to be hung over or tired at her wedding. If the ceremony is going to be held out of town, you will of course want to plan the bachelorette party before she leaves. Also, if making reservations for a concert, show, or other ticketed event, you will want to choose an RSVP date that is well before the actual party.
You’ll need to then look at your budget. There are no hard-and-fast rules for “who pays” for a bachelorette party. The maid of honor may foot all the costs herself. The bride may volunteer to contribute (though you’ll probably want to gently decline her offer). You can ask each guest to contribute to a collection hat.
If planning more expensive events, like spa treatments (unless you’ve arranged a one-package-for-all-deal) or a male revue show, each guest will likely pay for herself. Remember two things here – first, let the guests know in the invitation if a contribution is expected, so they can keep that in mind when they RSVP. And second – it is not at all necessary to put yourself in debt just to throw this party. Bachelorette parties can be enormously fun with very little expense.
For the party itself, there are many options. You can have a low-key dinner at a favorite restaurant, munch on appetizers and blended drinks at someone’s house, see the bride’s favorite artist in concert, go out dancing at the hottest club in town, or hang out at a fun bar. The point is for everyone to relax, share stories about the bride, make her blush from time to time, and talk about men and friendship. You can spice it up with crazy games and props – or not.
As far as gifts go, you can ask each guest to bring something risqué (like a naughty pair of underwear), either for the bride or to exchange in a white elephant game. You can provide each guest with little favors to wear or use during the night (like a beauty queen sash or a candy necklace).
There are all kinds of silly and scandalous options to get everyone laughing.
Bachelorette parties, like bachelor parties, are meant to reinforce the bride or groom’s bond with friends and family. How you make it happen is up to you!