At some point in your life, you’re going to know a bride in need of some serious pre-wedding debauchery celebrating. After months of meticulous planning, I say she’s earned it!
My sister Laura and I are only 15 months apart in age, so we planned each other’s bachelorette parties. We performed well in some areas, and not so well in others. That said, maybe you can do as we say and not as we did?? Here are some major items to consider when planning the logistics:
1. Location, location, location
Location is usually dictated by the bridal party’s residence or willingness (i.e. financial flexibility) to travel. Weather is another consideration. Vegas and New Orleans sound like pretty nice options in the dead of winter. Not so much in the middle of August. Still, any location can be fun with the right group of people. Here are a few suggestions based on my own experiences and recommendations from others:
For the warm-bodied bride:
- Vegas, NV
- Palm Springs, CA
- New Orleans, LA
- Nashville, TN
- Atlanta, GA
- Orlanda, FL
For the outdoorsy bride:
- Colorado Rockies (Aspen, Breckenridge, Vail, Crested Butte, Winter Park, Steamboat Springs)
- Lake Tahoe, CA
- Jackson Hole, WY
- Glacier National Park, MT
- Asheville, NC
For the beachy bride:
- Miami Beach, FL
- Florida Panhandle (Pensacola, Destin, Panama City Beach)
- Ft Meyers, FL or nearby Sanibel, FL
- Charleston, SC
- San Diego, CA
- Atlantic City, NJ
For the Wine Enthusiast:
- Napa Valley and/or Sonoma Valley
- Temecula, CA
- Finger Lakes Region, Upstate NY
- Washington State (Lake Chelan, Columbia Gorge, Woodinville, Walla Walla)
- Door County, WI
- Dahlonega, GA
For the Bon Vivant (think chi-chi, expensive, or any spa destination):
- New York, NY or The Hamptons
- San Francisco, CA
- Laguna Beach, CA
- Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
- Tuscon, AZ
- Saratoga Springs, NY (also near the Finger Lakes wine region!)
Choosing a theme goes hand in hand with choosing the locale.
For my bachelorette party, Laura planned an outdoorsy-themed day incorporating all of my favorite things to do in Wisconsin. We floated down a lazy river, had lunch at our family’s hunting shack, and later that night rubbed elbows with a real life Green Bay Packer!
Laura’s party was a bit more upscale. We stayed in the uber trendy Buckhead area outside of downtown Atlanta.
Next, how prudish is your group? You may not want to whip out the phallic props with Grandma in the lineup. (Unless your grandma is anything like my late Grandma NeeNee. Then by all means, go nuts.)
I’ve seen some pretty amazing themes that were still relatively tame by today’s standards. For example, one of my friends got everyone to wear blue wigs. Another friend went with an ugly bridesmaid dress theme.
Picking a theme is an excellent opportunity to let your creativity shine through.
More Theme Suggestions:
- Little Black Dress (or any other color code)
- Jackie vs. Marilyn
- Matching Shirts with favorite quotes, sayings, or photos of the bride
- Costume Theme via Goodwill (cowgirl, sex kittens, superheroes, old maids)
- Ball and Chain Theme (handcuffs, striped clothing, orange prisoner jumpsuits)
- Iconic Women of History (Amelia Earhart, Cleopatra, Joan of Arc, Mother Theresa, Sandra Day O’Connor)
- Harry Potter
- Lord of the Rings (Arwen, Eowyn)
- Game of Thrones (Cersei, Khaleesi, Sansa, Arya, Catelyn)
- Sailor Moon (for the Anime lovers out there)
- Famous Pop Girl Bands
- Audrey Hepburn Characters (Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Funny Face, Roman Holiday)
- Spandex Theme
- Hawaiian Theme
- Harlequin Theme
The list goes on and on….
Will your party last a few hours, an entire day, or a weekend?
If it’s only going to be a day party, consider switching up the level of exertion required for each activity. You don’t want your bride falling asleep in her drink by 10 pm.
For a weekend of activities, keep your schedule flexible enough to accommodate potential bumps in the road. One of the mistakes I made for Laura’s party was planning a full day of wine tours following a late night of drinking. Another logistical error on my part was the weird gap between when dinner ended and when the bars of Buckhead started picking up with activity.
Doing a little more research on my part would have been a good idea!
Obviously if your plans include any kind of alcohol consumption, you’ll need to designate a sober driver, willing male relative, or Uber ride in advance.
Luckily for Laura, she had a built-in DD since I was pregnant at the time. We rented a bus and decorated it with decals purchased at Party City. So…much…fun. We also had a teetotaler neighbor who would have done the job had we asked.
5. Dinner & Drinks
Depending on the theme and vibe of your group, a nice dinner will go a long way toward getting the party momentum going.
Here’s another area where you can really let your creative ambitions run wild. There are thousands of fun game ideas on the web, but to me the best ones involve quizzing the future husband about his bride.
At two different parties I’ve attended, we asked the groom to answer a series of questions about the bride. At the party, we asked her to guess what he answered for each. It’s hilarious how similar and dissimilar their responses can be! Keep reading to the end of this post for a free printable version of what we used.
Another fun option is to do a makeover session complete with “Before” and “After” photos…just like our furniture projects!
For Laura’s dinner party, I placed a chalkboard plate at each table setting with an alternative identity pictured. I photoshopped our faces onto celebrity heads.
7. After Dinner Options
You don’t have to limit your late night excursions to clubs and sports bars. Karaoke bars, skating rinks (ice or land), bowling alleys, trampoline centers, laser tag, and even Escape Rooms are all great options.
…Well, maybe not the trampoline center if any of your friends are pregnant. That could get messy…
8. Male Entertainment, etc.
This category is totally optional and depends entirely on your group. For the more introverted folks, another risqué option is to have a Pure Romance sales rep come to your living room.
Now would be the time to hit up your essential oils reps and Dove chocolate reps, since their catalogs include fun pampering items such as lotions, bath creams, and cocktail recipes.
Any way you spin it, the research and planning required to host a bachelorette party pays itself back tenfold. Not only do you get to participate in the fruits of your labors, but your efforts will symbolize the love you have for a great friend. What better way to show the bride you care than by taking her to all her favorite haunts?
Besides, the photos alone will provide enough blackmail opportunities to last a lifetime.
To keep all of your planning details organized, I’ve created a free printable Bachelorette Party Brainstorming Master Document available below. I also converted the Groom Trivia Newlywed game into a document available for download. Please reserve these for personal use. Happy planning!
What do you think of my suggestions? Am I missing anything? Leave your comments below!