Planning a wedding is a huge undertaking, but pulling off a successful bachelorette party is yet another challenge leading up to the big day. A typical bachelorette’s night is a social tradition to celebrate the bride-to-be, but a truly great one will have guests leaving with heartwarming and downright hilarious anecdotes that become the stuff of legends.
The responsibility of throwing a bachelorette party typically lands on the shoulders of the maid-of-honor or bridesmaids. With so many cooks in the kitchen, this is the one gathering where precise organization and clear communication are instrumental. Believe us: Shepherding a group of people in a social setting is hard enough — you don’t want to be scrambling for a plan-B spot to grab drinks because of a lack of foresight.
We’ve enlisted Camille Styles, Target’s new entertaining expert, to share her secrets to planning a fun and classy ladies’ night that everyone will rave about the next morning. Click through for a step-by-step guide — and a few essentials you need — to create the best marriage sendoff experience for the bride.
AdSense-A]Throw The Party Early
Since the bride-to-be is likely to have her plate full, you should look into blocking off a date for the bash as far in advance as possible. For an out-of-town event, Styles recommends giving three-months’ advance notice so guests have time to clear their schedules. For a local party, sending out invites four to six weeks beforehand should be sufficient.
As for the best date for the blowout? “Don’t try to have it all go down the night before the wedding — unless you want to exhaust everyone involved,” says Styles. “One or two months before the big day is perfect: It will still feel like the countdown is on.”
Even though the bride-to-be should be hands off in the planning process, there’s one thing she should help out on. “Let the bride help create the guest list so she can identify her true nearest and dearest,” says Styles. “At a typical bachelorette party, the sisters, and sisters-in-law and closest friends are all invited.”
Start With The Theme
The bride’s personality should inform the color palette, activities, and favors that would be perfect for the event. Group outings have more of a sense of ritual, and the fact that you all accomplished something together as a group makes for a great memory.
More relaxed activity ideas include cooking classes, spa weekends, sunrise yoga sessions, or a wine tasting. If you prefer things to get a bit more rambunctious, The Artful Bachelorette offers sketching sessions with bubbles, cute topless waiters, and a nude male model.
With all the activities (and craziness) that unfolds during a bachelorette party, there tends to be little time for uninterrupted conversation. Styles has a tip to guarantee some pre-festivities bonding time. “I love having everyone meet at my house for small bites and a quick champagne toast,” says Styles. “This little get-together guarantees some nice one-on-one moments with the bride, plus it’s easier to coordinate transportation to the next location.” These are the products she’d recommend for a gorgeous spread.
Divvy Up Responsibilities
Approach bachelorette party planning like you would with a group assignment in college: Share the list of to-do’s between everyone who’s a part of the process, so no one is left doing all of the work.
Styles has provided a sample checklist of logistics that needs to be taken care of: Sending invites, making dinner reservations, ordering tickets, reserving lodging, and securing transportation. You’ll also want someone to be responsible for other elements of the party, like decorations, food and drink, entertainment, favors, and games.
Spruce Up The Space
A few party accents go a long way in setting a festive tone. If you’re renting an outdoor space near the water, string lights will create an amazing ambience with the reflection in the water. To amp up the tropical vibe, Styles recommends filling up a few bowls with pineapples and coconuts. Depending on the bride-to-be, few “thematic” props are also a good idea — whether that means phallic decorations is totally your call.
Styles recommends getting retro-looking spiral filament string lightbulbs to enhance the vibe. And, what’s a party without highly-Instagrammable foil balloons?
Make F&B Arrangements
Since a lot of serious cooking may not happen during a bachelorette weekend, this is where store-bought ingredients come into play. Styles’ go-to hors d’oeuvres are small bowls of olives, cheeses, baguette slices, figs or pears, and almonds in small bowls. “It’s delicious and time-saving, and keeps me from being stuck in the kitchen all evening,” says Styles.
When entertaining a large group, having a self-serving station is key. Pour a large batch of cocktail in a beverage dispenser or punch bowl before the party starts so guests can help themselves throughout the evening.
Everything looks better on a cute serving tray, especially if you’re serving a simple hodgepodge of snacks. A well-designed bar cart is a beautiful decor element at the party and works especially well with small space entertaining. “It’s important to designate different areas — for food, bar, and gifts — so that guests don’t congregating in one corner,” says Styles. “A mobile bar cart is a chic way to encourage a natural flow throughout the room.”
Capture The Moment — With Permission
When it comes to social media practices at a bachelorette party, the bride-to-be’s own preferences should be given top priority. There’s no need to spam everyone’s feeds with the happenings of the night. The fun and lighthearted moments are best served for Snapchat and Instagram Stories, where you can also save the whole collection of stories into one clip for keepsake.
While staying connected, don’t lose sight of the most important reason for the gathering: Spending real quality time with the bride. The evening of bonding is a gift in itself, but Styles has come up with a lovely idea to turn the evening into a gift as well: Printing and framing a few group photos from the party, so she’ll always have a physical reminder.
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