If you’ve been asked to be a bridesmaid or a maid of honor for a family member or close friend, you probably have begun to realize that the fun and meaningful role is actually a fair amount of responsibility! You may find yourself searching for ideas on how to plan a bachelorette party, bridal shower, and more.
Though being asked to play this role in someone’s wedding is definitely an honor, it’s also a role with important obligations.
If you’re finding yourself in this position, do not fret! There are plenty of ways that you can fulfill all of your MOH duties and have the time of your life all at once. Keep reading for everything you need to know on how to plan a bachelorette party.
What Is a Bachelorette Party?
A bachelorette party is the inverse of the classic bachelor party, in which the man getting married and all of his friends celebrate his last big night out before getting married. The bachelorette party is modeled after this idea, giving the bride one last big hurrah as an unmarried woman with her friends.
Though bachelor and bachelorette parties get a bad rep for their stereotypical debauchery and sexual nature, they don’t all have to be that way. In fact, there are a lot of different ways to celebrate a bachelorette party, from a crazy night at the club to a classy afternoon at a winery to an early-morning group hike.
Considerations in Planning a Bachelorette Bash
If you’re looking to plan a soon-to-be bride’s bachelorette party, you may be wondering where to begin and what things you should consider. Thankfully, all of the things that you should be thinking about should be settled before you start planning, so that you don’t miss anything important in the planning process.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed in planning a bachelorette party, you’re definitely not alone. It’s a big responsibility to host that many people and make sure it’s a memorable and meaningful experience for the bride. Keep reading for all the things you should consider when planning a bachelorette party.
What is Your Role in the Wedding?
Before you start planning the bachelorette party, you should maybe take a minute to make sure– should I be the one planning it? The bachelorette party is typically planned by the maid of honor, an official distinction given to one or two of the bridesmaids by the bride. If you’re not the maid of honor, you should talk to the bride about who should be planning.
However, some weddings don’t even have a maid of honor. In that case, it should be up to the bride and the bridesmaids to relegate the planning duties, either splitting them among bridesmaids or giving them to a volunteer bridesmaid or two. So before you start planning, make sure it’s really clear that this is your job.
Can Others Help You Plan?
Once you know for sure that you’re the planner in charge, you may be wondering if you have to go it alone. The answer to that is NO! You should feel totally free to ask your fellow bridesmaids for assistance and even to delegate certain tasks to them like booking restaurants or purchasing necessary items.
If you’re particularly close with another bridesmaid who you feel is a good party planner, you could even co-plan, even if they are not the MOH. Having two bachelorette party planners is a good way to manage the many tasks of planning and to make sure that the bride will like everything you two pick.
Who Should You Invite?
This is definitely something you should swing by the bride, but generally, the bachelorette party guest list contains the other bridesmaids, and maybe a few other friends or family members of the bride. The bachelorette party event is typically all-female, but this is too old-fashioned for some friend groups who will want to be more inclusive.
The bride may even want to do a joint bachelor/bachelorette party, which sort of goes against the idea, but is also cute and fun. This would essentially be a big party with the wedding party and some close friends and family of the bride and groom.
Where Should You Have It?
The destination you pick for the bachelorette party will really set the tone for the kind of party it will be and what your activities will be. A lot of bachelorette parties decide to make the party a weekend trip and to travel a far distance and stay overnight– this is always a fun option if everyone is up for it!
However, if you’re looking to do something a bit more low key, planning a night out in a local city or a day trip within a few hours’ drive is just as good as a long weekend destination. There are also all different types of destinations, from major cities to beach towns. You can read more about the best beach bachelorette destinations here.
When Should It Be?
Generally, the bachelorette party is close to the wedding day, sometimes even the night before. However, the general rule of thumb should be to have the bachelorette party within a month of the wedding. This way, it’s not far enough away that the point of the party is lost, but your bride still has as much time as she needs to prepare before the big day.
Therefore, the date is something that should be agreed upon by the bride and all the guests. Once you find that perfect day, you’re totally good to go!
What Should You Do?
You may also be wondering what you should do during the bachelorette party. For most groups, this is the easiest part of planning hen night. There are a ton of fun things you can do for any bachelorette party, and the bride and crew are not likely to have any shortage of ideas.
For a bride who really wants to live it up before her big commitment, you can look into local clubs, bars, and other party ideas. If you guys are a bit more low-key, you could try a spa weekend or a movie night in. Some outdoorsy brides might love a beach day or a group hike. There are so many options!
Do You Split the Cost?
Unless you’re planning on giving a really generous gift, the cost of the bachelorette party should definitely be split between attendees. The most important thing here is that the bride does not pay at all! The cost of the bachelorette party should be totally free to the bride, as it is a celebration in her honor.
Thankfully, that means that everyone can be responsible for their own travel, lodging, and meals can be split. This is the most efficient way to make sure everyone involved is responsible for their own involvement in the bachelorette party.
Planning a Bachelorette Party, Step-by-Step
Once you’ve taken all of these things into consideration, you’re ready to jump into the planning process! You should probably begin this process about 6 months out from the wedding so that you have plenty of time to get everything down exactly how everyone wants it.
One of the most important things when planning a friend’s bachelorette party is to develop a good relationship with everyone that matters to the bride, even if you don’t know them well or even like them very much. If you’ve ever seen the movie Bridesmaids, then you know that having a harmonious wedding and related events is essential for the couple.
Step 1: Talk to the Bride
Your first step is to talk with the bride about some key things. Once she has delegated the task of planning the bachelorette party to you, it’s time for an open dialogue about what she’s envisioning for it and who she would like to invite.
Obviously, this conversation shouldn’t be her planning the entire thing out– there should be some room for surprise, and for the bride to feel like her friends are pampering her. But getting a good sense of how she would like to spend the day, night, or weekend that you’re celebrating will be the best place to start no matter what.
Step 2: Invite Guests and Ask Them Some Key Questions
After you’ve spoken to the bride and gotten her guest list, you should reach out to each person to let them know that they’re invited to the bachelorette party and let them know what you’re thinking about in terms of date, location, and activities.
This is also the time to ask them some key questions, like what day would be best, if they’re willing to do a full weekend trip or are just looking for one night, and how much they’re willing to spend on the bachelorette party. Once you have an idea of how all your guests feel, you can start drafting up the essential aspects.
Step 3: Pick a Date and Length
Once you’ve gotten some answers from the guests, you can have a communal conversation about the best date for the bachelorette party. If nobody has any prior commitments or specific no-go dates, then it’s really just about how close to the wedding the bride is willing to party.
You can also discuss timing and length. Even though the bachelorette weekend is trendy, not everyone is comfortable spending that amount of time with their friends or away from home. Even though it’s the bride’s time, you don’t want to alienate anyone or make things uncomfortable. You should also discuss comfortable price ranges.
Step 4: Pick a Location
Once you have an idea of the date, length, and individual budget, you can choose a location. Obviously, if your plan is just to hit a local bar or ski slope, then this step is pretty easy. However, if your bride wants to take a plane or a train, then it’s time to start thinking about where you’re jetting to.
Step 5: Booking, Booking, Booking and Billing, Billing, Billing
Now that you know when and where you’re going, you should start booking things like restaurant and club reservations, hotel rooms, flights, and other activities. You should always be prepared for things to be booked, so it’s good to have backups.
Once you confirm all sorts of reservations, you should send copies of the confirmations to each person coming. That way, every person has a full look at every aspect of the party, and there’s a full paper trail in case anything goes missing. Then, they can repay you for anything you booked on their behalf, and you can discuss budget in full.
Step 6: Itinerary
Once you have everything booked, you can create a full itinerary for the night, day, or weekend. This should include all booked activities, meals, and specific time markers. It also can include vague plans– for example, if you want to spend a Sunday afternoon walking around an area and shopping, you can write that!
You should send the itinerary to everyone attending as well, so that they know the full plan, but you can skip giving the itinerary to the bride, in case you want to surprise her!
Step 7: Reach Out to Confirm
A few weeks before the party, you should reach out to everyone you’re expecting to come to make sure they’re still on board. If you’ve been communicating regularly throughout the planning process, then everything should be cool and on board!
However, there is a worst case scenario that someone might cancel or flake out. This is not something worth freaking out about– it’s a shame, but there isn’t anything you can do to change it. Just be sure to tell the bride if you’re having issues with any of the guests she wanted.
Step 8: Party Time!
It’s time for your bachelorette party! After all these months of planning, it’s time to enjoy your bride’s last night of freedom and to make an unforgettable experience for all of your friends.
All About Bachelorette Parties
Here at Yeah Weddings, we want to help with every step of your wedding planning process. From themes for your bachelorette party to party favors, keep reading for everything you need for a perfect hen night.
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