Here's how to keep the bride happy, and yourself sane, when organizing her last party as a single woman.
Photography: Jessica Lorren Photography
You think it'd be NBD, but pulling off an unforgettable bachelorette party isn't that easy. There's a lot of organization and communication involved, and that can be a real challenge when you're dealing with multiple bridesmaids and a bride whose pre-wedding schedule is already packed. The easiest way to stay on top of your party-planning game: Start early, research the options, and be flexible to feedback. Here, we break down how to throw a party that goes off without a hitch.
Photography: Ashley Maxwell Photography2 of 9
There's no hard-and-fast rule on when to throw the party, but about a month in advance of the wedding is a good timeframe—it's not so close to the big day that the bride will be too stressed or too busy to have fun, but not so far away that it will seem anticlimactic.
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While you want to keep most of the details a surprise, you do need to ask the bride-to-be who she wants invited and then track down all their e-mail addresses and phone numbers. A few things to remember: Don't ask anyone who isn't also invited to the wedding itself. And if the bride has future sisters-in-law, it's a good bet to include them, even if they're not super-close.
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Some people get caught up in what a bachelorette party is "supposed" to be. But not all ladies dream of night-club hopping wearing a novelty wedding veil and drinking through penis straws. (But, hey, if that's what she wants, more power to her!) Think about your friend's personality, and try to plan something you know she'd love doing, whether that's a winery tour, surf lessons, or karaoke at a local dive bar. And if you're unsure, just ask her!
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Set a Budget
Talk with the other bridesmaids about how much each of you can afford to spend on the night, and negotiate until everyone is on the same page. (Remember, the bride doesn't pay for anything; her costs should be absorbed by the wedding party.) Knowing now what you can spend later will help pare down the options on what kind of party to throw.
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Photography: Courtesy of Margo & Me6 of 9
Don't Make it About the Gifts
Repeat after us: Presents are not required to gain admittance to this party. There is a misconception that every wedding-related activity has to involve gifts. Sure, it can be fun watching the bride open box after box of every kind of lingerie imaginable, but it certainly shouldn't be mandatory part of the evening.
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Send a Save-the-Date
We're not talking anything formal here—an e-mail with the chosen date in the subject line will suffice. Aim to get the word out at least two months before the party, to give people time to clear their schedules or make travel arrangements. Even if you don't have all the major details ironed out, it's best to know now if there are any major conflicts with anyone on the list, and adjust the plans if you feel it necessary. This would also be the time to mention how much you expect the evening to cost, per person, so no one feels resentful later on when they're forking over $200 for dinner and drinks when they had planned on only spending half that.
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Don't Forget About Transportation
Depending on where you're going, what you're doing, and how many people are coming along, you might want to hire a limo, a car service, a party bus … whatever. But it's crucial to have a way to safely transport a gaggle of girls who, let's be honest, will most likely be drinking throughout the night. Don't leave this task to last minute; call around for rates and book transportation at least a month in advance.
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Establish Guidelines for Social Media
Not everyone wants every detail of her life posted to Facebook or is comfortable with her boss scrolling past a photo of her taking shots on Instagram. Before the night gets underway, ask the bride what she is and is not cool with having posted, and pass that intel onto the rest of the party—before everyone's had four rounds of margaritas.