As Maid of Honor, one of your main duties is to send your best friend off in style with a wild and terrific party. Or if the bride is more low-key, perhaps a nice quiet evening in good company. There are lots of things you can incorporate into a bachelorette party to make the event more unique and fun, but some of the main things to focus on are location, drinks, food, and accessories. Here are some ideas to consider for each category, as well as a few tips and pointers on making the evening the best it can be!
Nothing sets the mood of the party more than the location. While it should be special, it should also suit the bride’s personality. Wild childs may delight at a party spent dancing the night away with her friends; quieter brides may prefer a day, or weekend, of pampering at the spa. Just know that not all bachelorette parties have to take place at Chippendales or feature a male stripper in your cousin’s living room. Here’s a few ideas for a classier, man-free time with the gals.
- Rooftop Hotel Pool: If you live in a city, and want to feel far away and pampered at the same time, check out local hotels in your area that have rooftop hotels. If you live in New York, the Gansevoort is an incredible option; in Boston, try the Colonnade; in Los Angeles, The Peninsula. Soak in the views, the warm sun, and the time spent drinking fruity concoctions with your friends. If there’s not a suitable hotel in your area, consider taking a weekend getaway.
- Spa Day: A day at the spa is a great choice for a bachelorette party, as it is the quintessential female way to gather and bond. Book a few massages, pedicures, facials, and manicures and prepare for a day of gossip and giggling. If the spa is the party’s main event, make it even more special by renting a limousine and toasting with mimosas beforehand, or make the spa trip a precursor to a night out on the town.
- Karaoke: This is your friend’s last night out as a single woman, so it’s time to toss back a few cocktails, get silly, and indulge in some self-humiliation! No better way to do that than with karaoke. Look into what’s available in your area – perhaps a bar or a private room – and you may want to invest in some cheesy, coordinated outfits. This is a scenario that will probably require a designated driver. Make it fancy by renting a limo and if there’s more than one karaoke bar in your town make a night of it by going on tour.
- Road Trip: It’s a big occasion for your friend, so consider even taking a few days off of work and taking an old-fashioned road trip. Look into camping in the woods, staying at the beach, or just aimlessly driving lesser-known roads and ending up where the road takes you. Road trips are both adventurous and relaxing at the same time. See some new surroundings, meet some salty locals, rent a cabin in the woods, or bond around a campfire. Whatever you decide, it will definitely be a trip your friend will remember forever.
- Wine Tour: Going on a tour of local wineries combines lots of interest into one. First, there’s great wine; second, there’s a road trip; third, there’s beautiful scenery. And did we mention great wine? Not all bridesmaids will have this option readily available, since not every state has a booming wine region, but you would be surprised at how many do exist outside of California. Just plan around the driving – hire a limo or stay in a quaint bed and breakfast in the region.
- Las Vegas: No surprise here – Vegas is the number one destination for bachelor and bachelorette parties alike. And it’s no wonder why – there are spas and terrific, high-end restaurants on just about every corner, more rooftop pools and fancy hotels than you can count, and a nightlife that stands out above all others. Limo services are plentiful, as are dance clubs (both exotic and mainstream) and live music performances. Order in room service to pre-game or try cuisine from one of the many world-famous chefs in town.
- Champagne Brunch to Slumber Party: A bachelorette party is one of the better excuses out there to get a little tipsy in the a.m. And to make it even more fun – and to eliminate the possibility of any tipsy driving – extend the party into the night with a full-on slumber party. Start off by cooking a gourmet brunch, play games and open gifts in the afternoon, and cap it off by baking cookies and watching girly flicks in the evening.
- New York: Like Vegas, New York is a city that never sleeps and has options galore for bridesmaids looking to plan the party of a lifetime. Start with dinner at any one of the city’s upscale restaurants, move on to a strip club or jazz bar, or go on a good old-fashioned bar crawl, like this one recommended by New York Magazine. If you’re in New York for more than one night, spend the day traversing the city’s many wonderful museums before heading out for a little misbehavior at night.
- Island Time: Everyone loves a beach vacation. Throw some bikinis in a bag and head for the nearest island getaway. Charter a sunset boat ride or booze cruise for your party and look into staying in a stylish resort with complete spa services. Nothing will let your friend know you care more about her than a few ocean-side massages and pina coladas.
- Comedy Show: If you’re staying local, think about taking in a nice dinner, followed by a comedy show and some drinks out afterward. Nothing will put the bride in a better mood and make her forget any pre-wedding jitters she might have than a night of hysterical laughter and female bonding. Check out the calendars at local comedy clubs and see who’s coming to town in future months.
Drinks are essential at a bachelorette party, and the fruitier and girlier the better. Even if the bride doesn’t normally partake, she make may an exception for this occasion. Just make sure you have some non-alcoholic beverages available for those attendees who prefer to abstain.
- Champagne: Champagne and wine are obvious choices for a bachelorette party. They’re great drinks no matter what the time of day or situation, however, if you’re going to be drinking for a long period of time, you might want to limit champagne to a certain time frame in order to avoid the nasty hangover so commonly associated with bubbly. Think about more common drinks like mimosas or Bellini’s or check out any one of a number of more creative champagne cocktails.
- Cosmopolitan: The quintessential girly drink, Cosmos are bright, fun, and delicious. If you’re making them on your own, go wild with some colorful and creative garnishes; if you’re ordering them out at a bar, ask your bartender to add a little extra triple sec to make them extra sweet.
- Buttery Nipple: This creamy drink or shot made with vodka, Irish cream, butterscotch schnapps, and coffee flavored liqueur is beloved by all females alike, mainly for the fact that it tastes literally like cake. It’s a festive shot that goes down easy and will be a total crowd pleaser at your party.
- Chocolate Martini: Few things are as decadent and pleasing as a yummy chocolate martini. Prepare this on your own for a very special house party treat or order it for the members of your party after dinner in lieu of desert. Tip: Godiva makes an excellent chocolate liqueur – ask for that at the liquor store or from your bartender.
- Bahama Mama: Combine rum, coconut rum, grenadine, orange juice and pineapple juice together to make this sweet, tropical drink that’s colorful and girly. Definitely a must for those of you planning a bachelorette party at the beach.
- Lemon Drop: Lemon Drops are sweet, sugary and light and they can be served as either a drink or a shot. If you serve it as a drink, dip the rim of a martini glass into sugar and strain the mixture into the glass. Serve it as a shot by just straining it into 1 oz. portions.
- Fuzzy Navel: Made with orange juice and peach schnapps this is the kind of drink that is right up a girl’s alley. It’s light, fruity, and packs a punch. Serve it at a summer party on the beach, as a brunch cocktail alternative, or order up a round for the ladies at the club. This drink often gets voted one of the top girly drinks of all time.
- Appletini: The Appletini’s trendy factor has given it something of a bad rep, but this does not discount its popularity. It’s sweet, tart and a festive bright green. It’s very girly, very tasty and a perfect drink to feature at a bachelorette party.
- Sex on the Beach: Nothing is more fruity, tropical, or widely liked than the Sex on the Beach, which is made by combining cranberry and pineapple juices, peach schnapps, and vodka and accenting with a orange slice. Sex on the Beach even has a saucy name, making them suitable for the bacheorette who likes to live a little. Another drink that can be served in a glass or as a fun shot.
- B-52: If your party prefers creamy and decadent over tropical and fruity, the B-52 is an excellent choice. Fill a shot glass with one-third Kahlua, Amaretto and Bailey’s Irish cream and down it!
With all this drinking going on, you’re going to need something to soak up the alcohol. Bite-sized items and finger foods are the perfect party nosh for a mingling affair that’s casual and fun. Even if you are going to dinner, maybe you’re considering a pre-party with appetizers? Here are a few yummy options you can cook yourself or pass on to your caterer.
- Canapes: The perfect finger food, canapés are bite-sized, crispy snacks where cheese or hearty spreads like pesto or olive paste are piled along with meats or veggies on top of a crisp bread of some sort. There are so many different canapé recipes to be found on the Internet, so just pick the one that suits your taste the best.
- Fondue: Fondue is a special treat and a great idea for a big party. Just cook up a pot of cheese or chocolate, buy some metal spears, and cut up some fruits, breads, and vegetables for a great, crowd pleasing dip.
- Chocolate Covered Strawberries: Like fondue, chocolate covered strawberries are a special treat that, while often associated with romantic occasions, are equally as popular at an all-female event. Make your own easily in 30 minutes or order up a few dozen from a local bakery.
- Spinach and Feta Mushrooms: Stuffed mushrooms are a popular appetizer that are easy to make and palatable for all tastebuds. There are many ways to make stuffed mushrooms, so search your recipe books if you’re looking for something a little more exotic.
- Nachos: Nachos are a crowd pleaser in any situation. Stick to tradition or go outside the box with some delicious recipes like this one for Lobster Nachos with Asian Guacamole and Spicy Sour Cream made on wonton crips rather than tortilla chips. True heaven!
- Burgers: There are many ways to take a fresh variation on the typical beef and ketchup burger, like this recipe for a beef burger topped with mozzarella, tomato salsa, and basil mayonnaise. Also check out some yummy recipes for lamb burgers with a mint yogurt sauce or Asian-style turkey burgers with pickled cucumbers.
- Strawberry Fruit Desserts: Try a traditional summer strawberry shortcake or get creative with a strawberry cream puff. Whatever you decide, the strawberry is the perfect summer fruit to use in a great dessert. There are so many recipes out there that incorporate them – from cheesecakes to blintzes.
- Pizza Bianca: A light pizza made with rosemary, garlic and olive oil makes a light alternative to pizza or a nice, thin bread to accompany a salad or pasta meal.
- Spinach Artichoke Dip: Another popular appetizer choice is a creamy spinach artichoke dip. Break up some crusty bread or slice up some zucchinis and squashes and dip away. Dips are a must at a group event like this, so go nuts with different types.
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cupcakes: Few things are richer and better tasting than the combination of peanut butter and chocolate. Plus, cupcakes are the perfect party dessert – easy to make and eat! Decorate the tops with wedding-related icons, like bells, veils, or rings.
When you’re throwing a bachelorette party, it’s a good idea to incorporate some of the standard bridal party accessories and favors. Some are somewhat cliché and cheesy, but feel free to take some classier liberties with old party standards. And what’s a party without presents? While everyone should bring something special for the bride-to-be, memorable keepsakes and party favors are also completely appropriate. After all, you’re all in the wedding!
- Tiaras: Like the prom, a bachelorette party is the type of occasion where sparkly tiaras are appropriate. If you look hard enough, you can find tiaras that declare who’s the bride-to-be and who’s not. In fact, you may want to invest in one of these just for the bride and find something less-flashy for the bridesmaids. Even if your bachelorette party is going to be a nicer affair, tiaras are still a great option for a little fun with your ensemble.
- Personalized T-Shirts: If the party is going to more casual, have some fun making your own customized T-shirts. “Team Bride” could have each attendees name printed on the back. Get funny with the bride and get her buzzed with T-shirt sayings like “Buy me a beer, my wedding is near!” or “Buy me a shot, I’m tying the knot!” Make sure the T-shirts identify who’s who in the party and make sure the bride to be stands out.
- Feather Boas: For a night out at the bars or singing karaoke, make sure everyone in your party has a different colored feather boa with the bride’s boa being, of course, white. The coordination of this accessory will let the crowd know you’re all together celebrating a special occasion. Plus, boas are fun and a bachelorette party is an excellent excuse to get a little costumey.
- Costume Jewelry: Throw a bachelorette party with a theme and further unify your group with some fun, loud costume jewelry. Make it a 1920s flapper theme or indulge in the sophisticated and demure looks of the 1940s. Whatever your theme, there’s sure to be some gaudy, plastic bracelets out there to suit your style.
- Veils: Get the wedding started early and outfit your girly group in some statement-making veils. You can be as elaborate as you want with floor-length veils or play on the veil theme in a more subtle way by buying a shorter style that simply frames the face. This is another accessory that can be applied to the bride only to make it clear that it’s her night.
- Pinups and Phalluses: What bachelorette is complete without phallic-shaped straws and a few male pinups around the room? So cheesy, but so fun. Shake up even the most refined party with some of these saucy items.
- Shot Glass Necklace: Keep your drinking apparatus handy and wear it around your neck! Shot glass necklaces are terrific accessories for a bachelorette party and it’s something everyone can take home with them afterward. This is a party item that definitely helps set the mood.
- Wear All White: One great idea that’s both obvious and subtle at the same time is to make everyone in your party wear all white. Or have just the bride wear white and have all the bridesmaids wear another color. Have fun with fashion, separate yourself from the crowd, and look great!
- ”Diamond” Rings: Give everyone in your party some bling with fake “diamond” rings. Of course the bride to be gets the biggest one of all. This is an accessory that will tie your group together without being overly obvious.
- Disposable Cameras: Don’t let a minute of this hilarious and fun evening go undocumented. Give everyone a disposable camera to take along with them. At the end of the evening, develop all the film and make a keepsake album for the bachelorette.
Now that you have most of everything you need, here are few tips and pointers to ensure the night to remember goes smoothly!
- Music: Music sets the mood more than any other item at your party. Stick with the classic girl power mantras like “I Will Survive” and “It’s Raining Men.” Pop it into the stereo at your house party or listen to the tunes on the way to your venue. There are plenty of event-appropriate mix CDs out there to buy or get clever and make your own.
- Games: Loosen your bride to be up with some fun, lighthearted games. There’s the classic “Pin the Macho on the Man” and the timeless game of Truth or Dare or look into one of the many card and board games made explicitly for bachelorette parties.
- Moderation: It’s going to be a long day, night, or weekend. And since drinks will likely be involved, you need to remember to drink in moderation. Limit yourself to a drink per hour and drink lots of water in between drinks. With such a wild group someone needs to remain in control and be concerned about everyone’s safety.
- Designate a Driver: If your party is going out for an evening of bar hopping, you’ll need to either appoint a designated driver for the group, travel only by taxis or limos, or have a third party person that can come pick you all up at the end of the night. Don’t ruin a good time by getting into a car accident or worse.
- Research: Before you even start thinking about setting a date for the party, research what the bride to be in your group is interested in doing. Take hints from her personality and then look into what’s available that will suit her style. If you’re not planning to make it a surprise, consider even asking her straight out what she’d like to do. Being thorough is a sure way not to disappoint.
- Plan!:Do not wait until the last minute to throw something together. While there is something to be said about spontaneity, it’s not always a virtue in situations like these. For example, if you’re planning a July party at the beach and you wait until the weekend before to reserve a room or a camping spot, chances are you could get shut out. Don’t let a little laziness ruin your ideal party.
- Checklists: When planning a party, you’ll want to make a checklist so you know you’ve got everything under control. Depending on how much responsibility you’re putting on the other attendees and bridesmaids, you may want to make an individual checklist for each person invited, especially if others are expected to help with the arrangements or bring something along.
- Don’t Rule Out Men: It may sound counterintuitive to the bachelorette party tradition, but if the bride to be has a best guy friend that she holds near and dear it’s OK to invite him along. Or maybe you want to reserve some time for just the girls? Then invite him to attend a portion of the festivities, maybe right at the beginning or at the end. The point of the party is to honor your friend and surround her with love so don’t leave out the people that matter to her most.
- Value Responsibility: Whoever is in charge of keeping the order over this raucous affair should take responsibility for a few key things, like bringing extra cash, a map of the area, phone numbers for cab companies and a list of addresses for every place on the agenda for the evening.
- Have Fun: Whatever you do at the party remember to have fun! Regardless of whether you’ve had a bad day or whether something isn’t going how you planned, don’t let a sour mood ruin the experience for the bachelorette. At this party, you’re a slave to someone else. Keep a positive attitude and have a blast!