All About Bachelorette Parties

Plan a fun send-off for the bride with this list of bachelorette party ideas, games, and planning tips.

Tired of standing aside while the guys flaunted their wild last-night escapades, the gals are joining in the fun with bachelorette parties often just as raucous as their male counterpoints. But donning a dime-store tiara while a lubed-up dancer named Duke invades the bride’s personal space isn’t required if that’s not her thing. So just what does a bachelorette bash entail? Read on to find out…

What Is a Bachelorette Party

A bachelorette party is really whatever your group makes of it. Since this is an informal event, the etiquette surrounding it is pretty flexible. The only requirements are that the bride enjoys some QT with her best pals. 

When Is It

The party can take place any time during the bride’s engagement but often occurs within the final weeks or months (keeping with the tradition of it being a final send-off). Steer clear of the last weekend before the wedding, however, as things tend to get pretty hectic for the bride toward the end. With bridesmaids often spread all over the country, the main determinant in scheduling the event is the time when everyone can get together. The maid of honor usually gets the ball rolling, coordinating availability with all the ‘maids and other attendees then setting a date that works with everyone’s schedules. 

Who Hosts

The maid of honor and bridesmaids usually do the honors, but really anyone who feels the urge can plan a party for the bride-to-be (some brides even have multiple bashes). One person can plan the entire event, or a group can collaborate together (all the bridesmaids, or the happy-hour crew). Usually, the host or hosts will tally costs and ask for a donation from all those attending – other than the bride, of course. The host(s) should keep all budgets in mind before planning a big blowout gala and make sure all attendees are on board before sending the bill. No one should have to go into debt over this. And to show your appreciation, include some fun bachelorette party favors as an incentive.

Who’s Invited

Bachelorette party guests are generally the bridesmaids and any other of the bride’s best pals. Unlike shower guests – who must receive a wedding invite – there’s no hard rule that says bachelorette party attendees must also be wedding guests. Inviting coworkers, neighbors, or other casual acquaintances for a fun evening out is perfectly acceptable, as long as you’re up front about the bride’s limited wedding guest list first. For logistical and planning purposes, try to keep the party small – no more than 20 and ideally less than 10. 

Where Is It

The party can literally be anywhere. Choice of location usually follows from the style of party you want to throw. Bars, clubs, restaurants (or a combination of all three – pub crawl anyone?) make the obvious locations for a wild send-off. Other options include resorts, spas, beaches, or outdoor activity locations like parks, trails, rivers, or lakes. 

What Happens

Bachelorette parties can involve pretty much any activity the bride would enjoy. The most obvious choice is dragging the bride from bar to bar while calling attention to her in any fun, yet lighthearted, way (think homemade veils and T-shits, phallic paraphernalia, treasure hunts…). But again, that’s not the only way to celebrate. Dinner parties, spa retreats, outdoor excursions, an evening at the show or play – they all make great options depending on the bride’s preference. Unlike the bridal shower, the bachelorette party is not a gift-giving event, but you can present the bride with gag gifts or gifts deemed too racy for the shower, like lingerie. All that really needs to happen is fun, laughter, and some serious female bonding.  And, of course, you may want to embarrass her just a bit along the way.

Bachelorette Party Ideas

OK, so your bachelorette is not the table dancing, inflatable phallus-type of girl. Relax; there are plenty of other ways to send your gal off in style. Here are some G-rated bachelorette party alternatives:

Adventure Bachelorette Go hiking, rafting, horseback riding, camping – really any outdoor activity she enjoys.

Spa Party Gather the girls for some serious pampering.

Fondue Party Or any style of intimate dinner party (fondue just seems to make things more fun!).

Beach Weekend Enjoy some sun, sand, and plenty of tropical beverages.

Casino Night All bets are on! Set up game tables, break out the decks, and test your luck with a roll of the dice. A casino night is also a good bet for a co-ed bash.

Wine Tasting Hit up Napa Valley (or the nearest winery) for a day or weekend filled with good wine, good conversation, and good friends.

Retail Therapy Gather the crew for a day of boutique shopping. Make it more festive and rent a limo to chauffeur you as you pop in and out of the bride’s favorite stores, and be sure to stock it with champagne. 

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