Bachelorette parties are notorious for being memorable, special and unique occasions to celebrate the bride-to-be before the big day. However, planning and pulling off the actual event itself? A little more stressful. But we’ve got you covered—take a deep breath, and check out these 10 do’s and don’ts of planning a bachelorette party that’ll make the whole process easier, so that you can plan the best bash ever.
1. Do Make It Personal
First order of business: this party is for the bride, so make sure you know what she wants! Ask specific questions to clarify the vibe: crazy weekend or casual evening? Fancy dinner out or spa day? Pay attention to her preferences, even if they are different than what you anticipated or clash with your personal expectations (i.e., maybe you love bar-hopping in loud dance clubs, but that’s not her thing, or she wants to do a painting-and-wine class versus your vision of cocktails in cute dresses).
Take the same approach to other elements of the party, such as games, food and drink, presents and so on. Make sure it is tailored to who she is as an individual and what she prefers. Then, do your best to make a plan aligned with how she envisions the day or weekend going.
2. Don’t Overschedule
Even though it seems like bachelorette parties nowadays are chock full of activities with a detailed itinerary, you actually don’t need to plan a bunch of stuff to do. After all, being together and hanging out suffices as the top priority! But you do want to factor in extra time for all the little things: chatting over snacks, getting ready, traveling to and from places, running to the store for extra bottled water, and simply relaxing. And trust me: someone will always be running late, so allow for a buffer of at least thirty minutes before you have to be anywhere. Be flexible and remember that everything will likely take longer than you expect, and that’s okay.
3. Do Have a Back-Up Plan
On that same note, your best-laid plans will not go perfectly, so have some back-up options in mind. Someone’s flight is delayed, someone drops out of the reservation last minute, the bride decides she no longer *feels like* doing whatever you had planned, or it starts pouring when you were going to patio-hop all day outside. Keep your cool, switch gears and go with the flow to the best of your ability. If you’re the calm one, you’ll set the tone for everyone else and help keep the party rolling just fine.
4. Don’t Underestimate Cost
Raise your hand if you’ve attended a bachelorette party where it feels like you’re constantly shelling out cash . . . yeah, me too. If you’re not careful, the list of expenses never ends. Instead, set a budget with the bride, reach out to everyone on the invite list to make sure it’s within their range, and then stick to it. You could even ask people to share clever ideas of a few free or low-cost activities to accommodate all price points. And if someone declines due to cost, don’t take it personally.
Details to remember: consider who is going to pay for the bride’s portion (within reason; if she all of a sudden wants a reallyyyyyy expensive bottle of champagne at the bar, that’s on her) and confirm how everyone is going to pay their share well in advance. Is the host going to pay for all of it, and get paid back later? Do people need to bring cash? Will the restaurant split a group check? Best to figure it out before the drinks start flowing!
5. Do Ask for Social Media Permission
Nowadays, there’s a hashtag for any kind of group outing, which is super fun but may or may not be appropriate. Talk through social media etiquette with the bride: is she cool with people Snapping during dinner? Does she want to be tagged in a million selfies? Was she hoping to see everyone’s favorite videos and photos post-party? What goes on the internet stays on the internet, so be thoughtful about what gets posted publicly to keep everyone’s career, comfort level and reputation intact.
6. Don’t Stress About the Invite List
Unless by request of the bride for some reason, don’t invite anyone not invited to the wedding. That being said, don’t feel like you have to invite EVERYONE either. It’s intended to be for those closest to the person getting married, so it can be just a few people or a huge group. And if someone is invited that you don’t like or get along with (um, been there) know you gotta suck it up rather than creating drama.
7. Do Ask for Help
Once you’ve got a plan, a guest list and a budget, there’s no reason you can’t divide and conquer. A lot of work goes into planning a great party, especially for someone you love! Let people handle what they’re good at, too, versus trying to micromanage a million things on your own. If someone is a big foodie, ask them to take care of brunch reservations; if another friend has creativity flowing from her veins, have that person come up with fun favors and games. You can even solicit help from family members who were invited, but unable to attend for one reason or another to see if they want to chip in for a round of appetizers one night or send a sweet card to be opened later.
8. Don’t Drink and Drive
In a world of ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft, as well as the old school taxi service, you can absolutely come up with the logistics to ensure everyone’s safety. Seriously, though, I’ve been to parties where at 3 a.m. somebody insists they’re “fine” to drive home, and it’s not okay. Don’t drink and drive. Just don’t.
9. Do Let Go of Traditional Expectations
Bachelorette parties have a long history of being toted as the “last night as a single woman out on the town!!!!” or a sterotypical picture of girls in matching black dresses wearing flirty sashes. But really, it’s simply an opportunity for a group of people to celebrate someone getting married . . . which means there are no rules. You can plan a one-night adventure, an entire weekend getaway, a comedy show in the middle of the afternoon, a girls night over popcorn and 90s flicks, or a totally sober event. Encourage the bride to do what feels best for her, and get creative.
10. Don’t Forget the Fiancé!
One of the best (and popular) elements of a bachelorette party involves incorporating the fiancé in some fashion. Anything goes—from a cute video message played at the beginning of the night to full on Q&A sessions where the bride has to take a shot for every answer she guesses wrong. Help the bride’s partner feel a part of the festivities, and remind the bride why she’s getting married in the first place.