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Wedding Planning

All About Bachelorette Parties

Everything you need to know about attending a bachelorette bash as the guest of honor.

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 your personal space isn’t required if that’s not your thing. So just does a bachelorette bash entail? 

What Is a Bachelorette Party

A bachelorette party is really whatever you – and your maids – make of it. Since this is an informal event, the etiquette surrounding it is pretty flexible. The only requirements are that you enjoy some QT with your best pals. 

When Is It

The party can take place any time during your engagement, but it often occurs within the final weeks or months (keeping with the tradition of it being a final send-off). Make sure your girls steer clear of the last weekend before the wedding, however, as things tend to get pretty hectic 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. Your maid of honor usually gets the ball rolling, coordinating availability with all the maids and other attendees, then setting a date that will work with everyone’s schedules. 

Who Hosts

Your maid of honor and bridesmaids usually do the honors, but really anyone who feels the urge can plan a party (some brides even have multiple bashes). One person can plan the entire event, or a group can collaborate together (i.e. 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 you, as the guest of honor. Keep all budgets in mind, however, before mandating that they plan a big blowout gala. You don’t want your girls to go into debt over this, or you’ll quickly don the bridezilla hat. 

Who’s Invited

Bachelorette party guests are generally the bridesmaids and any of your other close pals, so let your host know if there are specific guests you’d like to invite. 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 your limited wedding guest list beforehand. 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. Bars, clubs, restaurants (or a combination of all three – pub crawl anyone?) make 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 you would enjoy. The most obvious choice is going from bar to bar while donning some attention-grabbing accessories (homemade veils and T-shits, phallic paraphernalia…).  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 your preference. Unlike the bridal shower, the bachelorette party is not a gift-giving event, but guests may bring 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, they may just embarrass you a bit along the way.

Bachelorette Party Ideas and Trends

OK, so you’re not the table dancing, inflatable phallus-type of bachelorette. Relax; there are plenty of other ways to celebrate your final send-off. Here are some G-rated bachelorette party alternatives:

  • Adventure Bachelorette: Go hiking, rafting, sailing, horseback riding, or camping.
  • Spa Party: Gather the girls for some serious pampering.
  • Fondue Party: Or any other 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. 
  • Wine Tasting: Hit up Napa Valley (or the nearest winery) for a day – or weekend – filled with good wine, good conversation, and good friends.

Wedding Planning