Bachelor Parties (for guys) and Bachelorette Parties (for girls) have become pretty much the norm for couples getting ready to get married, especially if they’re in their 20’s and preparing for a first wedding. The idea is that it’s the “last time” the single individual will get to have a big night (or day, or weekend) out with his or her crew and they’re going to celebrate like they mean it! Typically, the Maid of Honor and Best Man take charge on the planning of these (often separate) celebrations and may include the Bride and Groom, respectively, in some or even most of the planning. A few surprises should be left until the party, but nothing that the guest of honor wouldn’t want or like. You always want to keep their upcoming wedding and marriage in mind and do your part to enhance the wedding experience for everybody. The bachelor parties these days tend to be a mix of bonding, adventure and a little raunchiness (but it seems to be a lot less crazy than it used to be- phew), while bachelorette parties are, first and foremost, a chance for the ladies to bond with the bride and each other- over drinks, games and momentous activities to create lasting memories.
This post will have more of a focus on Bachelorette Parties, but guys can check out the activities list at the bottom for some ideas, too (Spa day, gentlemen? Just kidding, but who wouldn’t enjoy a sports outing or a destination party?). Check it out and plan something that your buddy will enjoy.
Okay girls, What would the bride like to do? What are her interests? Throughout the planning, you want to be thoughtful- of the bride and of the other guests- regarding the activities that will be taking place and the cost factor for everyone involved (knowing that all guests will chip in toward the bride’s cost so she can enjoy the party without opening her purse). Ask the bride how much involvement she wants to have and whether she has any preferences about the activity/location/theme of the party, then ask her for the guest list asap! The guest list will help you figure out arrangements such as a hotel, transportation and timing, as necessary, and then you can throw some ideas out toward the bridesmaids and other guests.
Whether you ask your blushing bride in person, via phone, email, facebook, or even a YouTube video like this one (love it!), find out the bride’s preferences before doing any planning. Most bachelorette parties (or Hen Parties, as they’re sometimes called) involve a main activity and an outing (possibly combined), and may include an overnight stay. Oftentimes, the itinerary may consist of an afternoon or evening activity, a few (sometimes naughty) gifts for the bride, dinner, then drinks out on the town, but as with any celebration, it can vary.
If you’re the bride:
Consider the following points before you scroll to the bottom for some Activity & Theme Options to consider depending upon your likes, hobbies and visions for the celebration.
– Nice Day for a Hair & Makeup Trial? Are you getting a hair and makeup trial done before your big day? Consider scheduling it the day of your bachelorette bash, so you’ll be all dolled up and ready to go! Plus, you can test out your ‘do on the dance floor and in pictures.
– What to Wear: Would you rather wear a cute tank or t-shirt, a dress or something in between?
Either way, you (the bride) should stand out! You could have your gals wear black and you could wear white (or some crazy fun, bright color!), or you all wear sparkly dresses. Totally up to you. If you go with t-shirts or tank tops, here are some cute sayings you could have printed:
1. Last Fling Before the Ring
2. I’m Tying the Knot, Buy Me a Shot
3. I’m the Bride, and different t-shirts for each girl, i.e.”I’m the _____ bridesmaid”
4. Soon-to-Be Mrs. ________
5. I’m still single, I’m standing right here. I’m pretty thirsty, buy me a beer?!
6. A Night On the Town, Before the Gown
Look online for more fun ideas or come up with your own 🙂
– Who to Include: Bridesmaids, best friends, ladies you’re close to who live within driving distance and are of an appropriate age to do what you’d like to do. Consider whether you’d like to include moms, aunts, and grandmothers for a meal before you go out- if you feel like that’s a little inappropriate, remember that they’ve been through all of this wedding stuff, too, and some of them made babies, so there’s that…I’ve been to parties where the mother of the bride was included for some, all and none of the activities for the day, so that’s your call! Of course, you just want to make sure that everyone who is invited to the party is also invited to the wedding.
*Note: Sometimes, the bride & groom decide to have a joint Bachelor & Bachelorette Party and may split up then get together later in the day, or spend the entire time together.
Now sit back and relax, bride, as your ladies plan a great party to celebrate you! You have enough planning to do with that bigger party coming up 🙂 You can skip to the bottom of the post now!
Maid of Honor- Planning Steps:
– Once you have the bride’s desired activity/activities in mind, do your research and look for a few options and price points. Remember that you don’t want to do TOO much, as it can get costly and limit some guests to coming for only part of the celebration.
– Find transportation options (as you want everyone to get out and back safely, especially if there’s alcohol involved) to get to the starting line, around during the party, and back at the end. Limo, cab, bus, van, rental car driven by an AMAZING friend or a sober/willing guest, etc.- know the expected price including tip. If you have to travel to get to the starting point (i.e. a destination party), consider where everyone is coming from and try to help set up arrangements for an easy travel/arrival. Have the address, a map, necessary parking info, and any special instructions available.
– Find overnight arrangement options if needed (Hotel, Rent a House airbnb style, the home of one of the ladies or the bride, etc.). Note whether guests should bring anything along, such as sheets, towels, aerobeds, pillows, etc.
– Since the MOH is usually the ‘hostess’ of this event, favors are her choice and responsibility, but bridesmaids may help with these as well. Consider a goodie bag including a candy necklace, light-up rings, bead necklaces, name tags with crazy names (“The ____ one”), penis straws, pop rocks, tattoos, boas, pearls, glow necklaces/bracelets, gum or mints and anything sparkly/fun.
– Make a budget and a plan for decorations (fun, girly, sassy), supplies, food (dinner/late night snacks/breakfast), drinks (including water!) & treats (lots of crazy, fun cake/dessert ideas on Pinterest). Considering any known dietary restrictions of guests when choosing snacks and meals is really thoughtful, if you can take the extra step. Don’t forget about paper goods, plasticware, and ice for drinks if needed. Also consider special individual/group photos (and a plan to share them/not share them afterward), music/entertainment and games.
– Consider what kinds of gifts the bride may want. Lingerie? Sex toys? Definitely NOT either of those things? If you’re not sure, ask her. If she does want lingerie, find out her size (for bra and undies) and whether she has anything particular in mind or any preferences on style/cut, then go shopping! My friend Katrina is a consultant with Pure Romance, which sells items to make a bride feel beautiful and sexy on her wedding day and every day- everything from bronzer to body glitter to lip plumper and of course, bedroom accessories and lingerie to spice up the wedding night and honeymoon. Check out her site here (Click ‘Shop With Me Now’ to see some of the Most Popular items, the Best Gifts and more). If you really want to step up the Bachelorette Party game, bring her out for a party/workshop, learn a thing or two and feel pleased knowing that anything your guests order for themselves can earn free stuff for the bride!
A few other options are Victoria’s Secret, Frederick’s of Hollywood, Trashy.com and, for the giggling teenager in all of us, Spencer’s.
– Once you’ve collected all of the info that you need, communicate with the rest of the bridal party. Check everything with them, then when there’s a more solid plan, reach out to the rest of the guests. Finalize a plan based on what everyone can do/afford, then find out the total cost, divide by the # of guests (not including the bride) and collect the money before the party if you can (this will take any potential confusion/stress out of the day and allow everyone to relax & enjoy the celebration).
As You Get Closer to the Date:
– Confirm RSVP’s and Reservations
– Get Lots of Sleep the Night Before
– Plan some Games:
Scavenger Hunt- Work as a team (or split up into teams) to check items/people/actions off of a list. Keep track of your score, Prizes for the winners.
Panty Line/Lingerie- We’ve done this for a number of bachelorette parties and it’s always a hit. The key is to get a nice piece of lingerie that the bride can keep wearing long after the wedding. We hang up a string on the wall and use little clothespins to attach pairs of underwear/lingerie for the bride. We ask everyone to bring something and put it all in a certain order based upon the Panty Line poem, which goes something like this:
A few other Options Include:
How well do you know the Bride?
Truth or Dare
The Groom Said
Pre-gaming Drinking Games Before You Go Out/On the Bus/In the Limo
The Chore Game (ask me about this one, I can’t explain it without giving away the best part, but it’s great!)
and the list goes on…
The Day/Night/Weekend of the Party:
– Give opportunities for toasting the happy couple throughout the night!
– Look Out for the Bride! Know where she is, make sure she has a drink in hand (if she wants one), and help make sure every other drink or so is a glass of water. There’s nothing worse than a party ending because the guest of honor (or really any guest) is too sick to continue. Keep the party going for her by keeping an eye on her and taking care of her, as friends do.
– Have fun! This is a truly special occasion and only night out like this that your friend may get for her entire life. Do your part to make it momentous, and have a great time!
1. Day on the Water: A Beach Day, Boat/Yacht ride, Pool Party, Tubing excursion then a Bar Tour down by the shore. (“Sail before the Veil”)
2. Health=Wealth Adventure: Camping, Zip-Lining, Skydiving, Wellness Retreat, 5k Run (Color Run is especially fun!), Rock Climbing, Surf Camp, Paintball (layer up!), Hiking, etc.
3. Destination Bachelorette Party: A trip to Vegas, Napa, New Orleans, Atlantic City, New York City, Florida, an away game played by your favorite team, a Winter Ski Trip, a nearby desirable destination, etc.
*Note: If you decide to have a destination getaway and only a few friends are able to join you in your travels, you may want to try and have a smaller soiree near home when you get back, so that others have a chance to join in the fun as well! For my sister’s wedding a few years back, we did a small bride-and-bridesmaids trip out to Atlantic City for her bachelorette party, and then did another one in Philly another night. They ended up being equally awesome and fun, and it was nice getting to know the girls that came out to each/both of them!
4. Moving & Grooving: A Group Fitness Class, Dance Class, A Night On the Town at Dance Clubs & Bars.
5. Drinks, Anyone? A Winery Tour, Mixology Class, Champagne Tour, Brewery Tour, Bar Tour, etc.
6. Keeping It Classy: An Afternoon Tea Party.
7. Money, Money, Money, Money: In the mood to gamble? Visit a Casino, or bring the casino to you!
8. In the Mood for Food: Pick berries or fruit then use them in food or drinks for later. Head out for your favorite Cuisine. Get a Private Room at the Restaurant if possible. Make it an experience to remember at a Hibachi restaurant, Fondue Spot (such as The Melting Pot), Italian Restaurant with Family-Style Meals for all to share, etc. Consider Cooking Together in one of the girls’ homes, or take a Cooking Class.
9. Chill and Comfortable: Have a barbecue or meal at a friend or family member’s home, complete with drinks, music and lawn games. Have a Catered Meal at Someone’s Home (Spice it up with Shirtless Waiters). Have a Movie Night (watching movies with ‘All the Guys You’ve Loved Before’) and/or a Grown Up Slumber Party (complete with drinks and great movies like 13 Going on 30)
10. Reveling in Relaxation: A Spa Day, a Pamper Party at home.
11. Sexy & We Know It: A Pole Dancing Class, Romantic Pleasure Workshop/Party (Check out my friend Katrina’s Pure Romance page here), Lap Dance class or Passion Consultant to give sexual advice. Head to a Male Revue (such as Savage Men, the “Magic Mike of the Northeast”) or strip club, if that floats your boat, or bring the show to you.
12. Take Us Out to the Ballgame: Go see your favorite Sports Team! Get box seats or a suite and make it special.
13. See a Show, Be the Show: Broadway Musical, Concert (your favorite band/singer/group), Play, Comedy/Improv, Ballet, Opera, Dueling Piano Bar (such as Howl at the Moon, now with a location in Philly). Find a bar with Karaoke and get up there!
14. Art from the Heart: Take a group Art Class, Pottery Class, Sip & Paint Class (such as Painting with a Twist), Jewelry Making, Flower Arranging Class or Have a DIY Pinterest Party. Go to a Museum, Find a Place to Make Fun Splatter Paintings a la Princess Diaries, or Hire a Male Model and Practice Your Still-Life Drawing Skills.
(…and of course, the list goes on and on)
Consider a(n Optional) Theme
Yee-Haw: Wrangle up your friends for a Country-themed Party- Cowgirl/boy boots, Mechanical Bull Riding, Hats, Big Belt Buckles and all. (“Gettin’ Hitched”)
1920’s: This is a really popular party theme right now, and can work well tied into a bachelorette
party. Flapper dresses, wigs, feathers, boas, headbands, alcohol, etc.
80’s Bash: Who doesn’t love dressing up in neon colors, denim and…wait, these things are totally back in style? Open up your closet door and grab something that could’ve been rad and rockin’ in the 80’s, then go party! A friend brought this to a bachelorette party I attended a few years ago and it was amazing.
Go ahead and check out more Bachelor & Bachelorette Party ideas on the Wediquette Pinterest page, and happy planning!
Did you attend a bachelorette party and LOVE any special details?
Have any additional tips for current MOH planners, brides and bridesmaids?
Share them in the comments below!
For a friend’s bachelorette party, we got a hotel room in Philly, went out to dinner at Swanky Bubbles (now closed) restaurant (moms and aunts included), then they headed out and we went back to the hotel to get ready. We did gifts at dinner, started with drinks when we returned to the hotel, and took a cab or 2 to Cavanaugh’s River Deck bar. We danced, participated in a bachelorette scavenger hunt that they were doing and had a great time. Stayed overnight, hit up a nearby breakfast spot in the morning, and some of the girls went to a Phillies game in the afternoon.
Have you thought about what you’ll do with your dress after the big day? This post has some great ideas!
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