All About the Bride-to-Be
I will go into more detail in the rest of the post, but remember this is all about the bride-to-be. Unlike the bridal shower, a bachelorette is a group of specially chosen girls – her closest girls – who she wants close by to celebrate your friendships before she takes on the role of wife. Your ideal bachelorette might be a first class flight to Vegas, but she has her heart set on a bring-your-own-wine paint night at a local cafe. If you are single (see the end of this post), remember this is not an opportunity to find a weekend hook up. Keep the bride front and center and make sure she is happy. This can be tricky when you are helping to foot the bill, but making your dear friend or family member happy is key.
The bachelorette should be a stress-free event the bride can look forward to. Check in with the bride and get a feel for what she would like without expecting her to plan it. I have had many friends specify no strippers and no penis decorations (thankfully!) Again, if you were banking on single-girl drunken debauchery and your friend is more subdued, respect her wishes. Nothing is worse than expecting a special night with your friends only to be dragged to a male review in a sweaty, dark bar. Obscene balloons do not automatically lead to a fantastic night out. In summary, stick to the bride’s wishes.
Take into consideration everyone’s schedules when picking a date. I would also avoid planning the bachelorette for the same weekend as the bachelor or stag party. After all, someone has to be the responsible adult!
Who To Invite
This differs from bachelorette party to bachelorette party, and really depends on the bride’s preferences. The bridal party is most definitely included. Oftentimes, the bride may want to include some other close friends or family that are not bridesmaids. Depending on the type of celebration, some brides may include their mother and mother-in-law. Some brides are terrified of this idea, while others would not plan a celebration without them. If you are going club hopping in Vegas, inviting the mothers may be uncomfortable. If a spa and vineyard day is planned, perhaps inviting the mothers would be a nice way to include them. Always ask the bride and be sure to stick to her wishes.
Typically, those attending the bachelorette party cover the costs of the bride as well. Splitting costs evenly between the other girls is easiest. If you are going out and someone in the bridal party does not drink, keep that in mind if everyone else will rack up a large alcohol bill. It is polite to free her from the extra costs, but in my experience, that person may still offer to equally split the bill.
Keep in mind all expenses (depending on the activity) when budgeting – hair, makeup, nails, outfits, shoes, dinner, dessert, club cover, drinks, late night snacks, hotel rooms, transportation, brunch, etc.
Traditionally, gifts are not expected at a bachelorette as those attending pick up the costs of the bride. If you chose to bring gifts, some fun ideas include lingerie or pajamas (consider the bride’s personal style when making selections) or a “survival kit” stocked with Advil, mints or gum, mouthwash, makeup remover wipes, travel-sized hairspray, false lashes, and deodorant.
What to Wear
What to wear depends on where you are going. A colorful maxi dress and flats work for a vineyard or spa day. A classy dress and heels may be appropriate for a girls’ night out. Regardless of where you are going, leave white for the bride! And keep it classy – no matter what. A tight bandage dress may seem fun, but if your dress rides up with every step you take, you will not be comfortable. When wearing heels, keep in mind your activities for the night. If you will be dancing, make sure your heels won’t make your feet blister in an hour. If you are getting a pedicure, wear flip flops.
Remember, this is about the bride. Make sure the bride is the shining star and tell her how fabulous she looks. Wear what makes you feel beautiful and flatters your body – your close friend will want you to shine too!
Post wisely. When you are several glasses of champagne in, the elevator selfie of you and your friends doing duck face may seem cute, but when you wake up to see it in your Instagram feed the next morning you may think twice. The video of your best friend snoring, false eyelashes stuck to her forehead is probably not something the rest of the world needs to see. By all means keep it for private laughs during brunch (see next section) but do not share it publicly. You may feel comfortable posting freely, but your other friends may suffer if coworkers or even some family see the posts.
Drink Like a Lady
Nothing is worse than a hangover. I don’t know about you, but I can’t hang like I used to. Instead of wasting an entire weekend, drink responsibly. Have tons of fun but monitor yourself. You don’t want to spend a gorgeous beach day (or next-morning brunch) crying in bed, shades drawn, popping Advil and drinking Gatorade while your friend look at the hilarious elevator selfies you took the night before (see “Social Media” section above.)
Transportation & Hotel Rooms
Don’t drink and drive. Ever. Just don’t.
This is Not Your Final “Fling”
This goes for the bride and anyone who is not single. Remember, this night is about the bride and not about finding a date. Stick together and support each other. If a guy corners your friend and she is uncomfortable, help her out. Do not encourage anyone who has been drinking to do anything they may regret, no matter how cute the bartender. It is not harmless and with iPhones, social media, and the photographers roaming the club, you very well may make a mistake that could cost you your relationship, if not (at the very least) your significant other’s trust. If you are single, try not to make the night a drunken bar crawl where you look for guys and make the other girls uncomfortable. This is about celebrating your friendship and the bride’s WEDDING! She is marrying the love of her life and nothing should get in the way of that.
Other Helpful Links
Lauren Conrad – Ladylike Laws: Bachelorette Party Etiquette
The Knot – Bachelorette Parties: Q & A