The months prior to a bride's big day may be packed with wedding-related drama, but at least she has her bachelorette party to look forward to. Fun fact—centuries ago in Europe, bachelorette parties were usually held to honor the bride and her bridesmaids and they were hosted by her friends and family. As you may imagine, there was no male stripper involved back in the day—rather just tea served at lunchtime.
Of course, nowadays, we tend to plan a more elaborate (and fun) affair usually taking place over a weekend. So if you have been tasked with throwing a fun bachelorette party for #TeamBride, we have you covered. We surveyed several wedding professionals on their top tips for hosting a bachelorette bash that the bride will never forget because it was that good.
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1. Start Early
"Don't save the planning process until the last minute! First off, you want to make sure that everyone in the group can lock in good rates if travel is involved. You also want to avoid special events selling out or hotels booking up before you can reserve them. It will also lower everyone's stress levels if they know what to expect well in advance," says Joanne Barken of TheBach.com.
How early, you may ask? DIY wedding blogger Jen Carreiro suggests you start planning at least three months before the event. "First steps should include picking a date, deciding on a venue, location, and itinerary. Then, invite your guests," she says.
2. Budget Up Front
Newsflash: attending a bachelorette party is not cheap so it's important to make sure that everyone's on the same page budget-wise early on.
"If not, you risk losing a member of the pack well into the planning due to the fact that things are getting way beyond their financial means," says wedding planner Brit Bertino.
To avoid awkward situations in restaurants, you could also collect money upfront so nobody spends the actual bachelorette party worrying if their credit card will be declined.
"Have people contribute an equal amount to a 'slush fund' that can be used to activities, meals, and transportation for the group over the weekend. Whatever cash is left over, can be split equally and sent back to the group," suggests Jen Glantz, founder of Bridesmaid for Hire.
3. Put One Person in Charge
"It's a lot of work, but it will be more organized and streamlined if one person is calling the shots. Speak with the bride to get her list of any of her must-dos or absolute do nots before making any reservations," says Allison Aronne, partner and wedding producer at Fête NY.
We cannot stress enough that last part—Always. Speak. To. The. Bride. As Barken puts it: "Don't assume that you know exactly what the bride will want."
"While you may feel like you know her inside and out, a lot of times brides like to step out of their comfort zone and try something completely new for her bachelorette party. Other times people assume that the bride wants something extravagant, and it turns out what she really wants is a casual slumber party with her closest friends. To get started, grab coffee with your bestie-bride and find out what kind of celebration she envisions and who she would like to attend," Barken adds.
4. Personalize, Personalize, Personalize
"Glam up drinks and snacks with personalized cocktail napkins, drink stirrers and cups. Make the bride-to-be feel special with cute and quirky additions made just for her that can be used throughout the night and weekend," suggests Sari Mintz of ForYourParty.com. "They also make for built in party favors and memorabilia."
Basically, you need to do your best to create an experience that feels likes it's tailor-made for the bride.
"If she's an exercise guru, make sure to schedule a cycling or yoga class for the group. Print water bottles or sweatbands to unify everyone. If she's a wine drinker, plan a wine tasting and have every guest bring a bottle that has meaning for the bride. It's a once in a lifetime experience for a bride, and it should feel really thoughtful and personal," says Aronne.
5. Theme the Days
According to Glantz, this will not only make packing so much easier for everyone, but it will also add to the excitement.
"It will give everyone the thrill of dressing up. Perhaps one day can be 80's themed, another a throwback theme to something fun in the bride's past (like her teenage style), and another themed after her favorite musician or movie," she adds.
You could even DIY some of the props and decorations.
"Asking the rest of the bridal party to join in is a perfect excuse to bond and personalize the party," says Carreiro.