Bachelorette Party 101: How to Schedule, Plan, and Win It


Etiquette? Check. A timeline? Yep. Ideas for parties? You know we've got you

by Stephanie Kaloi

woman at a bachlorette party wearing glittery pink dress

The inception of the bachelor party is weirdly credited to the Spartans. Who knew? Bachelorette parties, however, came into vogue in the US in the 1960s, aka the time when women were like, “You know all this dude stuff? We’re over it.” Well, kind of. The idea of having “one last night of being single” is both reviled and celebrated, but in general it seems the modern bachelor / bachelorette parties are just an excuse for a group of friends to get together, drink (or not), and indulge in mostly well-behaved shenanigans… right? (Though if you’re wondering what a bachelor party would look like if dudes celebrated like the ladies… vaginas everywhere might be the answer.)

Bachelorette parties can feel kind of scary and/or gross, but it’s worth considering that you might really love a chance to get together with your best friends for a night of celebrating… you before the wedding. Luckily, there are as many ways to have a bachelorette party as there are people who want to have them. And I guarantee you can have an amazing one, even if plastic penis decorations are in no way your thing.

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To save you the hassle of Googling the whole Internet for dubious advice on “bachelorette party etiquette,” and “bachelorette party ideas that are reasonably feminist and not totally gross,” we decided to create a master guide. So, here’s what you need to know if you’re planning or hosting a bachelorette party. You know, one that is actually awesome.

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so you’re going to host the bachelorette party

For the record, no one can make you host a bachelorette party, no matter what your role is in the wedding. (However! If you’re the person getting married, this is a good time to stop and forward this link to your bestie who offered to help out, because you seriously have enough on your plate.) But assuming you’ve found yourself here because you’re voluntarily in charge of hosting a badass party for your friend’s best ladies (or figuring out what kind of party you want for your squad in the first place), here’s what you need to know:

Related: Unique Bachelorette Party Ideas

The bride makes the guest list: This makes sense, right? Sure, you’re planning, but it’s her party and she can… make the list if she wants to. Unless she specifically delegates this responsibility, it’s wise to lead your bachelorette planning chats with, “So who do you want to invite?”

Budgets matter: They’re not always fun, but budgets exist for a reason. If it even happens, the bachelorette party is one event in a string of events that culminate in a wedding, and that wedding is probably costing something everyone involved would define as “OMG TOO MUCH.” So! Start by asking your friend what she thinks a realistic budget is for the people involved, and try to stick with it. If your guest list is all poor grad students, sticking them with a $1,000 bill for a weekend of fun isn’t going to win you any friends.

You can’t make people travel: FYI, even if the bride love, love, loves someone and really wants them there, you can’t make anyone travel to attend the party before the wedding. Also, some friends will decline the bachelorette party invite for budget reasons (while pretending it’s for a different reason), so keep that in mind. In other words, be kind with declines.

Pick a date and stick with it: It doesn’t have to be the night before the wedding—and if you’re drinking, it probably shouldn’t be. But once you’ve picked your date and people have made plans, that’s it.

Communicate clearly: If guests are expected to pay for something, make sure they know it. If you want them to dress a certain way, tell them. Oftentimes, not everyone in the group knows everyone else, so make it easy on them if you can. On that note, make sure you’re aware of the “odd man out”—aka the friend no one else really knows—and reach out to that person.

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what kind of bachelorette party should i have?

Now that that’s out of the way, it’s time to sit down and get choosy. What kind of bachelorette party are you even thinking of hosting? Here are a few of our favorite ideas.

Go outside: I’m pretty sure that for most people, the phrase “bachelorette party” conjures up images of a group of women in a bar/pub/restaurant, chatting over cocktails. That’s a fabulous image, and probably lots of fun, but your party doesn’t have to be indoors. Consider a kayaking or camping trip (or something like group whale watching!). APW’s editor-in-chief went clay pigeon shooting with her girlfriends (rave reviews), so feel free to get creative.

Sing it: Traditional karaoke makes me nervous, but I’m slowly beginning to love private room karaoke. The concept is excellent: You rent a room with friends for an hour or two, and have drinks and snacks while taking turns singing songs (and belting out a few particularly epic group choices). That way you don’t have to wait for a stranger to finish his or her song, you set your own pace and momentum, and you don’t have to sit through some of the truly awful options out there. I mean, unless you want to.

Go out during the daytime: Your party doesn’t have to be at night! Picnics are super sweet ways to get together and enjoy the daytime hours while also maintaining a festive mood, and they’re easy to plan around various work schedules. Set up a spot in a park (bonus points if it has a spot for grilling or cooking), let everyone know what time you’ll be there, and have people drop in and out and stay as long as they can. If guests have kids or you’re celebrating with older family, this option is particularly family-friendly.

Throw in some sports: If you all live in a city with a major or minor league team (or both!), head out to the game! Between soccer, football, baseball, basketball, and hockey, there’s usually something just about any time of year for anyone who likes sports. Bonus points: depending on where you live, this can be a pretty low-cost option for everyone.

Become seafarers: If you happen to live near a port and cruises are your thing, there are all kinds of weekend cruise options available to you. Obviously a two- or three-day trip at sea is a bit longer than most bachelorette parties, but if you all have the time, interest, and funds… invite me.

Staycations are still vacations: Of course, you don’t have to leave home to have an awesome time; rent a hotel room or a house on Airbnb and stay in town! I personally love Airbnb for all of the truly unique spots you can find, but hotels are just as fun. Pick up some wine and cheese, veg out, and have fun being a tourist in your own city. Plus, if everyone’s local, it’ll be super easy for folks to leave if they’re not into spending the night.

People over twelve can love scavenger hunts, too: Unfortunately, it seems like scavenger hunts stop being a party feature by age twelve. I’m not sure why this happens, but I don’t think it has to. Plan a hunt that involves places that are meaningful (like the cafe where the couple first met, the first class you had together in college, etc.) and enjoy spending the day working through clues that (hopefully) lead to something fun.

Hang with the group: No one says you have to have a separate fete. If the couple has tons of mutual friends that all want to celebrate together, make it happen! There are hundreds of ways you could spin this: a bonfire night with s’mores, rigging up a DIY outdoor movie theater with blankets and a projector, or meeting up at a favorite pizza spot are a few.

Let the Internet help you: If the guests you’d like to invite are far-flung across many state lines (or country lines), why not Skype a bachelorette party? Sure, you won’t be able to get your champagne-laced hugging on, but you can still provide a celebration with all the nearest and dearest… wherever they live.

Meet in the middle: If everyone lives on opposite coasts and you’re not sold on the Skype idea mentioned earlier, find a city that’s in between you all and meet there. You don’t have to think big—there are quite a few small towns that have their own brands of charm.

No booze, no problem: Wherever you celebrate, alcohol and wedding prep tend to go together for a lot of people. If you (or your friends) don’t drink (or aren’t old enough), the best-laid plan may be to skip anything involving drinks completely. Go horseback riding, have everyone sign up for a spa day, or find an amazing dessert spot—and enjoy!

Slumber party: Remember how great slumber parties used to be? Ask everyone to bring sleeping bags to your place, and spend the night watching movies, chatting, and making home videos. Somehow, after you get married, slumber parties often become a thing of the past, so get your kicks now.

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bachelorette party planning: your timeline

Okay, so you’ve got your date, and you’ve got your invite list. What’s next?

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Three to four months before the bachelorette party: Girl, it’s time to chat. This is when you sit down with the bride-to-be and quiz her. You need to know what she wants, how she wants it, and when she wants it. And you need real answers, not “Oh, whatever is fine,” unless whatever is actually fine. Does she want something upscale and swanky? Drinks and a movie? A baseball game and popcorn? Strippers and penis cake? Find out. Also relevant: Where is the line? Like maybe a penis cake would be kind of funny at the end of the night, if she’s drunk, but a mostly naked dude gyrating around her face might not. You guys are friends, right? Okay, so ask those questions.

Also? Set the date.

Three months before: Make a guest list, and make sure it’s solid. After you confirm, feel free to send Evite save the dates and get any major issues out of the way, and then you can move on to the smaller details: necessary reservations, tickets, and, um, cake orders.

Two months before: If drinking is involved at all, decided how people will get to and fro, even if the party is at someone’s house. The last thing you need is to release drunken bridesmaids-to-be on the night after a few hours of revelry, right? Look into hiring a car to drive you around, pricing Ubers, or whatever: just make sure people are safe.

One month before: Start sketching out the details of the night. Are you going on a pub crawl? Seeing a movie? Bowling followed by drinks? Whatever the plan, it’s a good idea to have a general timeline in mind—whether or not you stick to it.

The week before: This is all about CONFIRMATION. Double-check that everyone who says they’re going to be there actually plans to be, that all of your reservations still exist, and that you know exactly what you need.

The night before: Text everyone who is attending to triple-check, make sure the bride is on board, and get ready. You’re going to own this.

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And now, you (bachelorette) party

At this point, you’re basically a pro at planning this thing. A bachelorette party doesn’t have to be over-sexualized if you don’t want it to be—each party can be just as quirky as your group of friends is. The point of the party is to have fun, bond, and make the bride feel loved… which may or may not include penis straws.

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have you planned a bachelorette party? What did you learn? What worked and what didn’t? What bachelorette parties have you been to that were awesome? Give us your best tips!

Stephanie Kaloi

Stephanie is a photographer, writer, and Ravenclaw living in California with her family. She is super into reading, road trips, and adopting animals on a whim. Forewarning: all correspondence will probably include a lot of punctuation and emoji (!!! ? ? ?).

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  • savannnah

    I’ve been to four bachelorette parties and planned 3 of those and they all looked very different.

    1) Dinner at the melting pot following wedding shower. This bride does not drink and all her friends are scattered around so we did the shower and bachelorette party the Thursday before the Saturday wedding because that’s when everyone was in town. She loved it and we only had one woohoo girl who was trying to get her drink on.
    2) My sister and her wife had a bonfire/sleepover/roast things on sticks/beer party at their house the Thursday before the Saturday wedding. I ‘hosted’ and they provided the space. We sent out paperless post invites to make it feel more official and it was low key and nice and people actually got to talk and meet. Men were welcome.
    3) 4 day trip to Vegas, we stayed at the Flamingo and everything was pink. Pool parties, loud music, lots of alcohol and yes we did go to a male strip club. Bride has a good time mostly but logistics and cost were stressful and Vegas is kinda of like new years eve, so many expectations and then not quite sure they were met.
    4) 3 day joint bachalors/bachalorette trip to New Orleans. We stayed in a huge airbnb in teh garden district that had a pool and huge kitchen. Logistics were crazy and I was so glad I was not involved in the many months of planning but as a guest it was great and everyone got to bond and its a great city for exploring. we did have a guys and girls 1 day split to go do different things but for the most part the bride and groom wanted everyone to be together and overall it was fun and money well spent.

    • AP

      #4 sounds awesome.

      I’ve been to a range of bachelorette parties, too, and what I love is that they all (for the most part) reflected the bride’s or the couple’s style and personality. Some were wild and exhausting (Vegas, New Orleans,) some were girly (sex toy party, spa day), some were laid back and easy (dinner and bar hopping, beach house sleepover, pool day.) All were great in their own way. (Although I’m sitting out any future Vegas bachelorettes as long as I live. Once is enough for this girl.)

  • InTheBurbs

    I hosted my sister’s local bachelorette a few months ago. I rented a church basement bowling alley for 2 hours, from there a bus picked us up and we spent 90 minutes in a hotel suite before going to minor league baseball game. We went from there to a restaurant and then bar hopping. What was perfect is that the multiple activities allowed folks to opt in and out as they were interested.

  • Keri

    My friends did a girls weekend away for me, with three friends from where I live now and one friend from high school who travelled up for it. We stayed at a little house in the mountains, drank all the alcohol in a hot tub, got REAL in a hot tub, and then the next day did a ropes course adventure thingy at sunset. The ropes course was more challenging than we were expecting (for some reason I thought it was pretty much going to be zip lines and slides all the way down) but it was AMAZING and we felt like utter champs. We kept shouting “WE ARE AMERICAN NINJA WARRIORS!” and “WE ARE THE GHOSTBUSTERS!” (the harnesses completed the look, and it had just come out), and “WE ARE THE PAWNEE GODDESS, HEAR OUR ROAR!”
    One tip? If you’re going to drink tequila, wine, and champagne in a hot tub, schedule time for hangovers, because we had to ditch like three things from our itinerary. Actually, any kind of alcohol party, give yourself a time cushion the next morning, and if you don’t need it, then bonus time for you!

  • Rose

    I planned one for a friend; we ended up having it at another friend’s house. Mostly my girlfriend bartended making fancy cocktails (she had a blast), while we played 80’s music and played silly penis games, because that was what the bride wanted. I’d found cookie cutters in three sizes, so we decorated cookies, and a game I’d found somewhere where you start with a bunch of minimalistic line drawing of a penis, and then have to draw over them to look like something else. It was fun! And fairly easy, since we planned it at a friend’s house instead of trying to go out anywhere. We did it about two weeks before the wedding, so it was mostly local friends, although one did travel down.

    My sister planned mine, which was also perfect. Since pretty much everyone was traveling, we had it the afternoon before the wedding (well, we also had a wedding D&D game with the friends who were in town on Thursday night, too). Boulder has a really wonderful teahouse, so we all met up there for afternoon tea before the rehersal dinner. It was great fun, welcoming to a mixed group, and the timing was perfect for us. I didn’t mind missing the drinking. My very ideal bachelorette party would have been going away for a long weekend with a few friends, but for a lot of reasons that wasn’t going to happen, and what we did was really great.

    • Sarah E

      We had some low-key penis stuff at mine, too, and did the “make this penis drawing into something else” game. The absolute best part was my super-pragmatic friend who hosted literally googling for penis pictures (she free-handed the starting penises) to use as inspiration, then being being surprised and grossed out at the results.

      Penis ice cubes are also great! You’ll be stuck with the mold, but not an overt amount of penis clutter later (says the woman who still has penis straws and a penis headband in her apartment, a year and a half later), and for those on the low-key penis-theme end of the spectrum, disappearing transparent phalluses are a nice option. ;-)

      • Keri

        Someone brought some anatomically correct/realistic penis straws from the sex-positive toy shop in town, and no joke, seeing them laying on the counter the morning after drinking too much, they kind of made me gag. Yay for realistic portrayals?

        • Sarah E

          Hahaha, I’ve seen very Barbie-esque penis straws (ya know, if Ken had genitals, they’d be so smooth), and also penis straws with veins molded in. Even with uniformly hot pink and purple colors, I did not put my lips to those.

  • norawallis

    My bachelorette weekend was the BEST and it felt completely low-stress (and I was the one planning it!) We just found a bottomless boozy brunch and let the day take us where it went – which, for us, meant consignment shopping and dinner at a divey Belgian restaurant where, since we were the only people on the top floor, they let us plug our playlist into the PA and dropped a disco ball for us to dance. A private dance club! Totally unplanned! It was the best.

    • Keri

      Wait I want that. Can that just be the best Saturday ever?

      • norawallis

        No joke, we talk about doing an annual reunion tour.

  • Lulu

    I would add: it’s ideal if the bride is clear about which things she wants to decide, delegates a decision-maker for the rest, and assigns a specific role for any other volunteer planners. I’m currently on a passive-aggressive group planning merry-go-round of misery, and nobody wants to add to the bride’s plate, but her cheerful, “I just want everyone to be together!” is not helping us come to any resolutions.

    • Sosuli

      This is so often the case… my bridesmaids this spring hinted at one point that they were getting pushback from guests who had alternate plans of what they should do for my bachelorette. They were very discrete, didn’t say what the argument was, just asked if my original requests had changed or if I’d told anyone anything I hadn’t told them. I said no and told them to just pull rank and say as bridesmaids they’re making the ultimate decision. And it was a fantastic event!

      • Lulu

        Ooh, yeah, this may be a hidden downside of not having a wedding party… there is no designated planner-in-chief!

        • Lisa

          Or a hierarchy within the bridal party! I’m one of seven bridesmaids for a wedding this November and had told the bride I’d be happy to help plan a bachelorette for her. Then two of the other bridesmaids (college friends) banded together and announced that they were planning the party. I decided to kick back and let them take over after initially offering them any help they wanted.

          However, now I’m stuck with a cabin rental and pontoon boat party, and I am hopelessly motion sick. So either I get to enjoy a cocktail of dramamine and alcohol or sitting alone on the dock. >.<

          • Bethany

            As someone who has also been seasick, I FEEL YOU. I personally only get sick when the boat is stopped but the waves make the boat rock. When the boat is actually moving I’m totally fine. If you’re the same way, maybe it won’t be too terrible as long as you make sure to be the last one on and first one off? Hope it works out!

          • Lisa

            Lol, thanks. The planner is trying to make me feel better by talking about how since it’s a pontoon and we’ll be going slowly that it shouldn’t make me feel too bad. She also said that they could possibly bring me back if I get too sick.

            A funny, semi-related story: my husband’s parents used to rent a lakehouse every year with friends and family. The first time I met them was for this week-long vacation. On the first day, they sprung a trip on the boat on me, and wanting to be a good sport, I went along with it. I ended up so sick and was lying on my bed for 2+ hours trying not to throw up. After that, I had my now-husband take me to get some medicine, but the small pharmacy only had regular Dramamine not non-drowsy.

            Since my husband’s family prefers to “live in the moment” and Dramamine needs to be taken at least 30-60 minutes before activity, I was taking it every morning like a vitamin to insure that I was ready for any spontaneous boat activity. This meant that I was practically a zombie for most of the vacation. I remember being half-awake in the car with my husband and FIL and hearing my FIL say, “Y’know, Lisa seems like a nice girl, but is everything all right with her? She’s kind of listless and sleeps all of the time.” Then my husband had to explain how the family’s spontaneous spirit had resulted in me medicating myself into oblivion for 5 days.

          • Bethany

            Ugh, that’s rough! Dramamine knocks me out, so I can’t even imagine trying to function and trying to make a good impression while on it. It makes a funny story now though!

            The planner may be right though – I recently went on a pontoon boat with friends and forgot to bring any seasick medicine. I was internally panicking at first but I was fine. They do go pretty slow, and hopefully you’ll be in calm waters. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you!

          • Lulu

            I basically felt the need to be medicated as soon as you said “one of seven bridesmaids.” Big group things are just tough for me in general.

          • Lisa

            It’s my first time in such a large bridal party, and it doesn’t help that most of the other women are either high school or college friends so they all know each other. So far two of the high school friends planned the bridal shower, and then the college friends took over the bachelorette. It’s been an interesting dynamic to say the least.

    • Jess

      Ugh… planning by committee. I always just back out – essentially just say “Let me know what you decide and I’ll be there!” because I cannot deal.

  • Amy March

    One tricky aspect is often pricing, especially if you are travelling- if 8 people come and share a house, it’s $100 each, but if 2 decline and 1 drops out at the last minute, is it then $160 each? Is the organizer paying more? I think it helps to be really specific if you’re organizing, and also to set a drop dead date- we are booking this accommodation on this date, and after we do that, we cannot change our plans, so make sure you are sure because if you drop out last minute, you’re still on the hook for the cost at that point.

    And if you are coordinating a bunch of different people who are all contributing, do yourselves a favor and get Splitwise right at the start- it is magic for coordinated who contributed what and who needs to give money to repay someone else at the end. Combined with Venmo so useful for making sure the one person who just never seems to have cash on hand doesn’t walk away without paying her share.

    • Sarah

      ….and this is reason 1054 why these destination parties are just horrible. I know, I know I’m a curmudgeon but a party should be a fun night…not a weekend committment/not something require public transport/time off work etc. Although some people do work weekends and they may be the waitresses, etc least able to get the time off. YMMV but I guarentee most guests will not be sad about a more low-key shindig.

      • Amy March

        I mean, I get it, but it must be nice having your friends nearby is always my response. My friends from high school moved all over, my college friends are scattered. I think there’s often this critique of weekend long parties requiring travel as some sort of entitled new-fangled fancy nonsense, but the ones I see are more about logistics- if we are located in NYC, Boston, DC, and Seattle, and we all want to get together because friends, at least 3 people are travelling. And once you’re all on the move, weird to just organize a night out and pretend like you’re not together the rest of the time.

        • lamarsh

          YES, this. My bridesmaids are spread between the Midwest, the South and two cities on the East Coast, so no matter what we do, the majority of people will be travelling. At that point, why not go somewhere fun and different (and maybe cheaper than where we live on the east coast)? And if we’re flying, then it makes sense to stay for the weekend. I totally understand people not being able to attend for budget reasons, but there really is not a “budget” option when people are all spread out.

          • Amy March

            Right. And absolutely I think people should be open to consider just having one night out in the town where you live, but if that means only having your one co-worker and a cousin show up, or if that means your friends need to find accommodations on their own because they won’t fit in your place, I really see why destinations are so common. I just think its important to be very upfront about cost allocation and very understanding that “sorry can’t make it” isn’t the start of a negotiation.

        • wma204

          I completely agree. I have a handful of friends who live in my same city but my very best friends are in San Fran, Tennessee, Rhode Island. There is absolutely no way to include my friends, and in particular my MOH, without having it be a destination for most.

      • sofar

        I agree in theory, but, a lot of times, everyone is spread out. A friend of mine threw me a local bachelorette party where I live, and then my sister threw me one in my hometown (where the wedding was). People had to travel for both, if they chose to attend. Btw, there was NO overlap in these guest lists, and people picked whichever one worked best for them. Some attended neither party, and I totally understood!

        I think super expensive “destination” bachelorette parties (especially ones that require travel abroad/paying for a resort) are too much. But I totally get why some people just pick a major city with a major airport and have everyone go there because NOBODY lives in the same city. Vegas is common because flights and hotels can be pretty cheap. I tried telling everyone I didn’t want a bachelorette party because I didn’t want people to feel obligated to travel, but everyone wanted me to have one, soo…

        • idkmybffjill

          I think this is worth noting too. Especially in groups where all the bridesmaids are friends (I’m thinking of groups I’ve seen of sorority sisters where EVERYONE knows EVERYONE)… sometimes people WANT to do a trip! It’s not always an enormous obligation. My bach will be local but if one of my girls wanted to do a destination trip and I could swing it financially, I think it would be a ball!

          • tr

            Also, sometimes a major trip is only marginally more expensive than a regular bachelorette would be, and may give the guests more of an experience for their money.

            For my bachelorette, we all went to New Orleans (roughly 8 hours away) and spent a long weekend staying at a friend’s parents’ vacation house they loaned us. Did that cost more than just going bar hopping in my hometown? Yeah, but not thaaaat much more (particularly since everyone was spread apart, and there would have been at least two or three hours of driving involved for everyone, regardless). By carpooling and staying somewhere that was free to us, each person ended up spending maybe $100 more than they would have if we’d had a more typical bachelorette.

            Did that mean a couple of people couldn’t go? Yes. Would doing what we did work for every group? No. But all of us who went were very glad we did what we did, and honestly, everyone got a pretty great vacation for a lot less than they would have spent under normal circumstances.

      • If people have to travel anyways, it’s probably best to do it as a weekend. The bulk of my friends are not within a one hour drive of any one place…so we settled for a two hour drive from the densest population for a weekend, lol.

    • Keri

      Yeah, a friend of mine got stuck with the costs for the party she was throwing when the guest list dropped… it’s tricky!

    • Sara

      This is similar to what happened with a party I planned – we did a join bachelor/ette party at Medieval times and everyone paid me for their tickets. A week before the party, a friend’s mom died so she and her husband had to back out last minute. I immediately refunded their money but then I was stuck with two non-refundable tickets and no one to use them. I managed to convince Medieval Times to exchange them for drink tickets, which I then ‘sold’ to my friends, but I still ended up losing money. If you’re going to be the planner, expect that you’re going to get stuck with extra costs somewhere in there.

  • Sarah E

    The first bachelorette party my group of college besties had was about a year after we all graduated, so a mix of grad students and under-employed folks in the group. Fortunately, everyone lived within a few hours that we could all drive to the MOH’s parents’ house (who graciously grabbed a hotel for the night) and have a sleepover. The hostess made some party food, we all brought alcohol, and since the MOH is crafty, we had a homemade penis pinata, and a bundt cake turned into barbie’s wedding gown, tastefully decorated with white-on-white penis shapes to look like a lacy dress.

    We were all still getting used to living far apart, so it was wonderful to catch up on a deck with some tiki torches, not worry about driving, not spend a huge amount, and be able to chat and catch up without the clamoring public around us. Highly recommend.

  • LP

    We stayed in a cabin and went ziplining for mine. I’m not a big bar hopper which is what 99.9% of brides do in my area, and ziplining was something my husband would never do with me, so it worked for me! We had a blast.

  • I didn’t have an official bachelorette and I wish I’d had, but no one even asked what I wanted to do :-( Looking back I wish I’d said that I really wanted to do something so they knew how important it was to me.

    • AP

      Aw, that’s too bad! Wonder if you could ask for a girls’ day before your baby arrives? I think that’s just as good a reason to get together as a wedding.

      I ended up having to ask for my bachelorette, too. I almost didn’t have one. Since I didn’t have a bridal party, I think my friends all thought someone else would be planning it, and no one communicated. A few months before the wedding I was lamenting (ok crying) to my fiancé that I didn’t think I’d end up having a bachelorette because all my friends were too busy. I was trying to be cool about it but definitely not hiding my disappointment well. I was thrilled the next day when a friend “coincidentally” called to talk bachelorette. Turned out that my fiancé had sent a group message to my friends to remind them that time was running out and offered to help plan or throw in some money. I didn’t know that until much later, and I felt kind of silly for not just telling my friends I wanted a party:) I would definitely recommend to others that if they want a bachelor/bachelorette party it’s ok to ask directly for one!

    • Kelly

      My bachelorette party almost didn’t happen. One of my BMs had asked specifically to plan it, but when I followed up to see if we were still on she said she hadn’t planned anything. This was less than a week before she told me it was happening :/ So it ended up being a few girlfriends at a pool, which was all I wanted in the first place.

    • Val

      Same here. Didn’t have a bachelorette, convinced myself that it wasn’t that important. Reality? Pretty important to me, and I regret not telling someone that so they could have made it happen. :/

  • Ashlah

    I didn’t have a bachelorette party, but we have a local place where you drink wine and are taught how to do a painting, and I always thought that sounded like a fun idea! Also mini golf and laser tag. Ooh, and I’ve been hearing more and more about escape rooms lately, that could be fun for some groups!

  • Katelyn

    Love this summary. We had a bachelorette weekend – I live in Chicago and hosted everyone at my apartment – 9 ladies, 1000 square feet, 1 bathroom…. but it worked out really well (and there’s a public restroom in my building). Everyone but myself and my sister-in-law were fresh out of college or still working on some form of education, so the budget was tight.

    I ate a lot of expenses – I bought or crafted decorations, bought groceries for cooking in, and picked up plenty of $7 sparkling wine at Costco (and then glittered the bottles! Everything is better with glitter!). I also purchased two air mattresses but I saw those as general household goods.

    We had a slumber party Friday night (including a bad makeup contest!), a pool party Saturday afternoon, and a wine and painting night with deep dish pizza delivered to the art gallery. We goofed around at the apartment for awhile before heading out to a low-key basement bar with a dance club feel but without the suffocating amount of humans. Minimal hangovers on Sunday and we cleaned up the apartment before going our separate ways.

    Wine and paint night was $25 pp – I called the company directly and they honored their Groupon rate while giving us a private reservation. Pizza was about $60. The ladies each paid $35 and paid for their own drinks at the club as well as brought in alcohol/snacks as they saw fit.

    One thing I tried to manage was my own tendency to over-plan. Other than the wine and paint reservation, absolutely nothing had a set schedule. I kept a mental timeline, but was flexible if something was going really well or needed to be cut a bit short. Example – I didn’t shove the ladies out the door to go to the bar just because I thought we’d leave by 10:30. We had a great time primping around the apartment until midnight.

    I felt comfortable giving limited choices to the other attendees for important planning choices (food, activity, clothing) and running with anything less important (decorations, booze, timeline). And the ladies were awesome and helpful with all the various logistics of 9 women in one apartment that was also serving as a party space – then again, I can be a little bossy (“assertive”) and had no trouble asking for help.

    • Lisa

      We did a wine and painting thing for my bachelorette in Chicago, too! It was perfect because the picture we painted was an art deco skyline, and I was moving away the next Monday. I’ve still got it hanging in the living room. <3

  • Booknerd

    I am so lucky I had the best bachelorette party! I was pretty bummed out at first that it would be 3 days before my wedding, and I really didn’t want to drink because I bloat like crazy, but that’s when my international friends could make it so that’s when it was. We started with afternoon tea at a really cute tea shop, followed by games and drinks at my girlfriends house, I drank more than I intended but they made sure to have liquor that was least likely to make me bloat up, and then went out for a great dinner and more drinks after, and then kind of a slumber party to end. It was exactly what I would have planned for myself and I tend to worry too much and even after (too many) drinks I felt fine the next day and my stomach behaved itself.

  • Mrrpaderp

    What are our thoughts on planning your own b-party? Especially for folks who don’t have wedding parties.

    • Amy March

      I think if you’re planning your own bachelorette party, you should also be hosting it, by paying for it all. Its really something someone else throws for you- perfectly fine to hint broadly that one would be nice, but I think many people view it as part and parcel of bridesmaiding- you honor me by asking me to be a part of your bridal party, I honor you by throwing parties. I wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to organizing a bachelorette for a friend with no wedding party, but I’m not sure it would occur to me to offer since not having a wedding party to me signals you’re not really into all that stuff.

      • I know this is the traditional etiquette take on this (i.e., no throwing parties honoring yourself, especially not if gifts are invited)…but I always get stuck on how this differs at all w.r.t. birthday parties. I mean, people throw their own birthday parties all the time. Is that a breech of etiquette? Or is etiquette only a thing that applies to weddings?

        It seems to me like etiquette is a thing that should apply to most all social interactions, that 99% of the population ignores 99% of the time. But maybe this is a class/regional thing?

        • Amy March

          I think you should also pay for everyone if you’re hosting a birthday party, as opposed to just meeting people for dinner near your b-day.

          • So it is as I thought. 99% of the population ignores etiquette 99% of the time. I don’t think I’ve been to a birthday celebration where *anything* has been covered since I was in middle school!

    • emilyg25

      I didn’t have a wedding party, but my BFF was still there for me and she did plan a little bachelorette.

      But yes, I do think hosting it yourself (aka paying for it) would be cool. Or just invite your friends out but don’t call it a bachelorette.

  • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

    Mine was amazing- my two best friends and I road tripped to a kitschy Bavarian-style town, ate chicken dinners, bought Christmas ornaments and watched Anne of Green Gables in the hotel. It’s all I wanted it to be.

    Another close friend is throwing one for me with our group of friends, and we’re going to drink at her house and make old-timey candy, and I can’t wait.

  • Hannah

    My cousin’s friends arranged a private life drawing class with a handsome (and nude) male model. Champagne and laughter was involved, but there was no debauchery. She’s an art history enthusiast, so it played into her interests. It struck me as a brilliant and tasteful take on the traditional striptease!

    • Abe

      That. Is. Awesome!!

    • quiet000001

      That’s a pretty genius idea if you have a group that’s split between people who want the ‘drunk and a stripper’ vibe and people who like things more laid back. Naked dude, but not wiggling in your face and you aren’t expected to get falling over drunk!

  • Her Lindsayship

    I’d love to have a big bachelorette party with friends from all over, but 1) my different friend groups are very distinct, not sure how they’d all mix and 2) how to do this if you’re having a destination wedding? Maybe I’ll just try to get my bride tribe to plan something in the destination city a day or two before the wedding when there will hopefully be other guests there.

    I’ve been to three very different bachelorettes (pretty well reflecting what I said in 1 above). One involved pole dancing classes and something like 200 jello shots for 8 women. We didn’t drink them all! But we did get messed upppp and had to get our hungover asses to a bridal luncheon the next day hosted by my grandma (oops). Another was really poorly planned, met for dinner two hours after the original scheduled start time due to some maid of honor drama and it just got worse from there. Another friend’s MOH hosted the bachelorette at her parents house and made a picnic for us to take to a nearby vineyard. After that we pretty much just Netflixed. It was low-key but she put in the planning and effort to make it fun and cheap for everyone, which was really cool of her. I’d like my bachelorette to be somewhere in between that and the first one…

    • lamarsh

      If you’re going to go the route of planning something in your destination city, I HIGHLY recommend giving the invitees as much notice as possible so they can book their tickets accordingly. I have missed two bachelorettes now that I would have loved to attend because no one informed me that this was the plan until a few weeks before the wedding and I had already booked my airfare (most of the guests were local or in driving distance so it didn’t matter as much to them). Otherwise, I think it’s a great idea!

      • Her Lindsayship

        Good point, thanks! So many logistical issues with the destination idea lol…

  • emilyg25

    I had two bachelorettes! One was with my girl friends and my BFF rented space in a tea room and we had tea and crumpets and made crafts. The other was a co-bacherlor/ette with my husband and my guy friends and they took us out to dinner, to a bar and to the strip club. They were totally different experiences but both totally fun.

  • halliemt

    I love bachelorette parties as an opportunity to celebrate bride(s) as individual(s)! I’ve planned 6 of them– 2 local (for brides based in DC and NYC respectively) and 4 destination (in Vegas, LA, NOLA, and Santo Domingo). Some tips:

    1. Plan a way for friends who can’t make it to participate– scrap book pages, short videos of well wishes you can air at some point at the party.

    2. Consider including a time for everyone to go around and toast the bride, dig deep and tell her why you love her. We’ve done this at every bachelorette I’ve hosted, and it’s always super sweet and moving.

    3. If you’re going out on the town, play a game that can help you get strangers involved. At one bachelorette, we had each guest draw a slip of paper with something they should get a stranger to do for the bride (e.g. serenade her with a love song, propose to her). It gave us great stories, and helped guests to get a little wild, whether they like to drink or not. Another time, we wrote out toasts in advance, and convinced strangers to read them to the bride at random points throughout the weekend.

    • anon

      Those sound like a know your crowd kind of thing. As an introvert,
      those would all make me slightly uncomfortable as the guest of honor,
      and quite uncomfortable as a guest or involved stranger.

      • squirrelyone

        I’m with you here. Happily, my bridesmaids also all fall on the introvert+crippling anxiety end of the scale, so I don’t need to explain to them why putting me on a pedestal ranks somewhere in the realm of beat-me-in-the-stomach-with-a-crowbar on my list of things I’d like to do. I like to send them articles like these with a note in the message, “So, we’re all still good to just decorate the church the night before and then eat pizza in my living room with our phones off, right?”

        But for the folks who enjoy that spotlight and that pedestal, these sound like some great ideas. It really is about knowing your crowd!

  • sofar

    If you have a big party and are going to a restaurant, ask the restaurant if they’ll do a prix fixe menue. And try to get everyone to pay the planner in advance for the meal. And try to get everyone to agree to a certain number of bottles of wine for the table. That way, the planner can just plunk down a single card at the end of the meal and handle the tip. Trust me, getting 17 drunk ladies to handle their own bills with tip or (GOD FORBID) split the bill will add an extra HOUR (minimum) to the end of dinner. And eventually the planner may have to *ahem* settle the bill for the drunk ladies who order $70 worth of drinks and try to pay with a $20 bill.

  • the cupboard under the stairs

    THANK YOU THANK YOU for the recommendation against letting a bride say “whatever’s fine!” I was in charge of planning the bachelorette party for such a person–she wanted the entire thing to be a surprise–and it didn’t go too well. After that I was determined to be in on the planning of my own celebration, which turned out to be twofold: a very boozy all-girl slumber party on one night and a mixed gender bar hopping and karaoke outing with the groom on another. Success!

  • Katherine

    I would be remiss if I didn’t give a shout-out to my maid of honor and bridesmaids for the awesome bachelorette party they planned for me, which I’ve mentioned on here before. The only parameters I gave my MOH were “karaoke” and “no one gets blackout drunk.” Since I’m a huge nerd, they ended up going with a Pokemon theme. We started the night with hibachi, then went to the diviest karaoke bar (with cheap and delicious drinks) and stayed there until 2 in the morning. The wedding party made custom gym badges for everyone to earn by doing various tasks (staying hydrated, getting the crowd into a song, etc.). It was an absolute blast – just me and my best girls! A couple members of the wedding party didn’t attend, but since the planned shindig wasn’t their sort of evening out, there were no hard feelings on anyone’s part.

  • APracticalLaura

    My sister requested a pin up style photo shoot for her party and that’s what we did! (Shoutout to PinMeUp Parties on Long Island!) http://www.pinmeupparties.com

    In hindsight it was super fun, but Planning was STRESSFUL! People had various levels of comfort being with a group of near strangers in various forms of scantily clad clothing (be it just a dress or lingerie!) and very different ideas of budget. As the planner I felt very guilty asking people for money when I knew what their finances were like. I also realized how quick others were to spend more money with no consideration of various financial situations!

  • tr

    Another tip about budgets: Figure out which is more important to the bride–everyone being there, or the activity that she wants. If she reallllly wants everyone to be there, check with those people personally to see what their budget is! I’ve known too many brides who assumed that all of their friends had one amount budgeted, when the actual amount they had was significantly less. (This seems to come up a lot when brides pick a “budget friendly” activity like a staycation in a nice hotel…)

  • anon

    Finding a date recommendation!
    I’ve thrown a few bach parties and I always start with the same question for the bride:

    Give me two groups:
    1. Group to plan around
    2. Eveyone else

    Then when we figure out what it will look like (night vs weekend) we start with sending out a Doodle to group 1 first with a selection of date options. That way we make sure that group can definetly be there. Once that date is picked, I always send out a simple “Save the date” email to everyone (group 1 and 2) right away so people get it on their calanders.

  • Ria

    What happens if the bride-to-be really wants to do an adrenaline type activity (like ziplining) but the some of her friends really don’t want to?

  • Elsa Bannister

    Had a good laugh “mostly well-behaved shenanigans”.

    I really liked this article as a read, but it is a little hard to use as a resource because of the formatting.

    When you look at a post like this:http://farewellfiance.com/best-hens-night-ideas/ the content might not be as extensive when it comes to the actual content but it is much better to identify and scan the sections.

    I have been reading a lot of wedding articles lately and it was just a thought :)

  • Censored Party

    I recommend the Censored Party Game for bachelorette parties. It’s quick to break out and gets everyone cracking up, really good for time in the car, while pre-gaming, or kind of whenever!

    iOS: http://bit.ly/bacehlorPartyGameiOS
    Android: http://bit.ly/bachelorPartyGameAndroid

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