8 Tips for Planning a Bachelorette Party for Your BFF, According to Experts
Penis decorations and all.
A bachelorette party is the ultimate Girls' Night extravaganza (GNO or GNI). The bride's best gal pals and closest family members gather to celebrate her impending nuptials (and usually, to get a little rowdy for one last hooray before she says "I do"). But although bachelorette parties are fun and exciting events for the bride's nearest and dearest to look forward to, planning one can be stressful AF. Oh, and some are expensive AF for those in attendance.
A bachelorette party shouldn't be a stressor—financially or emotionally—for those invited. We know accomplishing this goal is no easy feat, so we tapped event and wedding planners for their advice on how to plan a bachelorette party as smoothly as possible in eight easy steps.
Bachelorette party ideas:
1. Discuss bachelorette party ideas with the bride.
First thing's first: The bachelorette party is all about the bride-to-be, so check in with her before you get opinions from other women. Every bride will likely have bachelorette party ideas in mind when it comes to the timeline, duration, and type of trip (i.e. beach, lake, cabin). Plus, although bachelorette parties have gotten a rep for involving strippers and penis-shaped decor, some brides might not be comfortable with provocative festivities, so check in with her before you book a naked firefighter.
"Some brides want the bachelorette party to be a complete surprise, while others have a very strict vision for what they want," founder of wedding and event company Bluebird Productions Virginia Frischkorn tells HelloGiggles. "It's best to keep the bride involved in the planning if she has one of these type-A personalities."
2. Keep the designated planners to a minimum.
Although fellow bridesmaids and family members might have lots of bachelorette party ideas, if you're the maid of honor, remember that you're probably leading the charge. More opinions mean more complications, so keep your co-planners to a minimum to avoid potential headaches. Both Frischkorn and Allison Odhner, founder of Bach to Basic: The Bachelorette Party Planning Experts, recommend one to two people take the lead in planning.
"While taking the group's general opinions into consideration is generous and polite, too many cooks in the kitchen can make the process much more stressful," Odhner explains. "Taking a couple of polls or surveys at the beginning to set expectations and make sure everyone is on the same page is a great way to include opinions and then let the people in charge take the lead in making the event happen."
3. Choose a guest list.
Obviously, the bridesmaids will all be invited to the bachelorette party—but who else makes the guest list? This is another time to tap your leading lady, aka the bride, for her input. Does she want to include other friends from childhood and college, too? What about close coworkers? Do cousins and aunts get the invite? How about their mom and future mother-in-law? (This last addition could affect those raunchy decorations, too.)
"A bachelorette party could include two to three guests or 20 to 30," Frischkorn explains. "The size is a reflection of what the bride is hoping for. Each person has a different preference: intimate, one-on-one style parties or larger groups that break into mini groups."
Odhner adds, "Larger or smaller numbers may impact what you are able to do throughout the weekend, but the most important part is that the bride's favorite people are able to celebrate with her."
4. Pick a location.
Once the guest list is finalized, now comes the biggest choice: location. The first thing to remember when choosing a location for a bachelorette party is the climate and activities you're looking for. Does the bride want to lounge on a beach, hike in the mountains, or hit up clubs and restaurants in an exciting city like Vegas? The type of bachelorette party she's imagining will help you narrow down locations.
To keep things affordable, keep in mind where most of the guests live. Most likely, women will be spread out across the country, but if a good chunk of the guest list lives in a certain state or region, go with the majority to help cut down travel costs. Next, think about the off-seasons in certain places. For example, tons of summer brides will hit up Arizona in the spring for pool days and desert adventures. However, if you look in August, it's way hotter, yes, but it's also much more affordable. Taking away some of the pressure to spend a pretty penny on the bachelorette party will help guests feel less stressed and more excited.
5. Select a date for the bachelorette party.
Next, perhaps even trickier than landing on a location is choosing a date for the bachelorette party. A good rule of thumb is to decide on three to four dates with the bride and then approach the guests to find out which works best for the majority. Use websites like surveymonkey.com to efficiently take a poll on which dates work for everyone.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to the date of the bachelorette party in relation to the wedding date. It's totally up to the bride's preference and the convenience for the guests. But also keep in mind guests' work schedules: For example, if a bunch of teachers will be in attendance, consider a summer bachelorette party. If several friends have "busy seasons" for their work (read: accountants), keep that in mind, too.
However, at the end of the day, when planning a major event like a bachelorette party, there will be complications for every guest, so don't try to please every single person, or you'll spiral into a panic. Finally, send out invitations (e-vites keep the cost down), and have guests RSVP.
6. Book your lodging.
If you went the staycation route, consider if any guest has a large enough home to host the party in. If not, look into Airbnbs, hotels, and resorts. Block a section of the hotel or resort so everyone can stay near each other. Next, be transparent about costs before guests commit to attending the bachelorette party.
"Set budget expectations early," Odhner recommends. "This is a touchy subject for some groups, but letting guests know what the expectations are ahead of time is important so they can decide if they will be able to participate or not. Cost of accommodations is a good starting point."
7. Plan activities ahead of time.
When arranging a weekend for a large group of people, planned activities are crucial for keeping guests entertained. Lock in two to three main activities (think: a winery tour, fun dinner, pool day), and also pencil in some downtime for guests to chill in smaller groups. Plus, don't forget how long it takes many ladies to get ready—ensure they have enough time to shower and get dressed for each event.
"One of the biggest mistakes people make when planning a bachelorette party is to not consider the guest list," Frischkorn reveals. "While some of the girls on the trip may be party animals, others may want to spend the weekend at the spa and the bride may want to spend the time [being] lazy at the beach. Curating the experience to have a little something for everyone and to facilitate a good group dynamic is key."
Plus, it's normal to want to squeeze in as much fun as possible, but don't make it too jam packed. "Don't overdo the itinerary," Odhner advises. "It's tempting to want to do it all, especially in a city you've never been to, but making sure you have downtime, transportation time, and time to change in between events (if needed) is crucial."
8. Include special touches.
The bachelorette party is all about celebrating the bride-to-be, so brainstorm decorations and bachelorette party games that will get her laughing, touch her heart, and most of all, help her have a blast. Think: cute pictures of the engaged couple, personalized games, and maybe even temporary tattoos of their fiancé's face.