I’ve been a maid of honor three times. Yep. Three times as not just a bridesmaid, but the maid of honor. You can bet I have some thoughts and opinions on bachelorette parties. I thought this would be a good time to write about them because I’m about to have my fourth. There’s a possible fifth in the works too, if my sister doesn’t decide to elope. Actually, I might throw her a bachelorette party anyway. They’re just so much fun. Now, I’ll admit, I wasn’t as time crunched when I did the first three. I am slightly freaking out about how to find time for these new ones, but when the bride calls, you answer.
The girls I’m planning parties for could not be more different in personality. This is going to make these parties even more time-consuming than usual, and bachelorette parties are already no joke. Normally, my busy friends, I say host the way you want to host and throw the kind of party you want to throw. But, the bachelorette party is not normal. You have to know your bride, and you have to cater to her. There’s a reason four separate women have asked me to be their maid of honor, and it’s not because I’m the best friend they’ve ever had. It’s because I know how to throw a party.
Lesson 1: Bachelorette Parties are not about You
This should go without saying, but what does the bride want? I’ve thrown your typical Vegas bachelorette (just an FYI, I’m from Nevada – I don’t think it’s reasonable for everyone to go to Vegas and your bride shouldn’t either). But then, I’ve also thrown one at Disneyland. I’m currently thinking about one in Memphis, not because I particularly like Memphis, but because my sister loves jazz. Personally, I would have loved to have mine in Napa. I love wine and I was almost thirty when I got married. I didn’t need to do the whole matching T-shirt thing and go to nightclubs. But, that was exactly what we did.
So, there’s the first thing you need to think about. I would have enjoyed my bachelorette party much more if I’d been just a few years younger. I had moved away by that point, so I forgive my friends for not recognizing how much I’d calmed down. It makes sense to consider age and personality when planning though. Is your bride still young and wild, even if you’re not? I know I’m about to throw one of the tamest bachelorette parties ever, because my sister hates people. She has approximately one friend who isn’t me. That’s not an exaggeration. On the other hand, I’m also about throw one of the wildest for my friend. Which reminds me…I have to travel across state lines to see her…Ug.
Lesson 2: Okay, so they are a LITTLE about you (and the guests)
I have to find a babysitter who’s willing to cross state lines to watch me throw a party they won’t be invited to. That requires a little give on the bride’s part, don’t you think? Coordinating with other bridesmaids and guests to pick a date is fine, but the bride has to be willing to let us choose. Since I’ll only be able to travel once, it will be a bridal shower/bachelorette. This happens frequently when the maid of honor isn’t in the same city as the bride. If you’re in the same city, maybe you don’t need that kind of flexibility. For one friend in my city, I held two bachelorette parties and a separate bridal shower without being inconvenienced. So, think about the bride, but don’t be afraid to schedule it at a time that works for you and her friends, even if it’s not her ideal date.
I feel like some of you brides are about to go bridezilla on me, but if you’ve never been a maid of honor before, you should know it’s exhausting and expensive. If someone’s throwing up a whole bunch of time and money in your honor, you shouldn’t be too crazy about dates. Obviously you get to choose the wedding date; other than that, help us out! For my own bachelorette party, which was co-hosted by my best friend and sister, I had literally no say in the date. It was two months before my wedding, in the middle of summer, in Las Vegas, which by that point was completely across the country from me. Did I complain? No. It was the only way they could both get the time off.
Lesson 3: Enough about you, back to the bride!
In a perfect world, all maids of honors know exactly what their brides want. But, sometimes, they’re new to the club. Other times the bride may be hiding some secret desires she’s either embarrassed about or, for some reason, thought was obvious. My recommendation? Ask! I made a quick little survey you can have the bride fill out. I think it gets to the important questions, so you can start planning a little. It’s best to do this now, because girl, the bride doesn’t touch the budget. You need to do that yourself. We’re going to have to save budgeting for a future date, though, so you’re on the own for the moment!
Okay, short-on-time readers who also have very important parties coming up, you have two tasks to get you stated. First, survey the bride. Next, start working out a schedule that’s going to work for you, your bride, and her other guests. If she throws a fit that she can’t pick the date, tell her her party budget just dropped $100 (kidding!). You should also get a good idea of how many will be on the guest list – you can do a great trip to Disneyland with a few people, but it’s going to be impossible to accommodate a giant group. Once you know those things, you can move on to the fun stuff…And the money stuff. We’ll talk about those soon!