Any young woman can probably open social media and see friends and acquaintances having a great time at someone’s bachelorette party. Some people make planning and executing a bachelorette party look easy, but, like any event, parties can go awry thanks to a range of internal and external factors. Drunk guests, bad weather, crowded nightclubs, and lost phones can all derail a bride’s last hurrah.
If you’ve been tasked with planning your friend or family member’s bachelorette party, make sure to create appropriate backup plans. Check out these tips for planning a memorable party that the bride’s friends will be talking about for years to come.
1. Provide multiple activities
You may love spending time drinking at a noisy nightclub, but, unless the bride and all her friends are major party animals, you’ll likely lose their interest after a few hours. Consider doing a short spa outing, making jewelry or painting, or even going to a sporting event before the main party begins. Your guests’ interests may vary; having a range of activities will help keep everyone happy. Of course, keep the bride’s interests front and center, but remember that even she might get tired of her favorite things after too long.
2. Know your budget—and that of your guests
Typically, guests chip in to pay for a bachelorette party. This means that less-affluent friends can be left out in the cold if the bachelorette party’s ticket price is several hundred dollars. Talking about finances can be uncomfortable, but reach out to invitees to check on their approximate budgets before setting plans.
Also, keep in mind that some bars’ drink prices and cover charges are much higher than others. If the price of the bachelorette party isn’t all-inclusive, make sure to let guests know ahead of time how much they should budget for going to the club.
3. Build in time to rest
A four-day weekend in Vegas may sound fantastic in theory, but the reality is that the bride and her guests may be too exhausted to enjoy all four days at full speed. If you’re doing a multiple-day excursion, build in time for resting, eating, yoga, or even just checking social media. A night out at a bar should be followed up with at least eight hours of sleep, plus time for everyone to shower the next morning. Don’t book an 8 a.m. boat tour—your guests will likely resent you!
4. Have a designated driver, limo, or party bus
If you are moving between different locations while drinking, make sure to plan how you’ll be getting around. Trying to cram all of your attendees into as few taxis as possible is a major headache. Public transit is an option in some cities but can result in delays or other problems.
If you don’t have a designated driver or parking is too expensive in your area, consider renting a party bus or another dedicated source of transportation for a few hours. The expense may be well worth it if you do your research and pick a reputable company to chauffeur you.
5. Make reservations
Even if your group isn’t that large, make reservations everywhere you can. Some types of events, like distillery tours, may not require reservations for small groups, but calling ahead is always appreciated. Nightclubs may be willing to accommodate an informal reservation even if you’re not booking a table and calling ahead can help you skip the line outside.
If your favorite restaurant doesn’t accept reservations, consider either getting there right when it opens or picking a different restaurant. Your night out won’t be as fun if all of your guests are hungry and staring at their phones while waiting to be seated!
6. Have a backup plan
You might have your heart set on a certain activity, but make sure to have a backup plan available in case of inclement weather or other problems. This is especially true if part of your evening out involves going someplace that doesn’t accept reservations. Research activities in your area that can be done on short notice. Sometimes sporting events will have same-day tickets available, and small local businesses like painting classes will likely try their best to accommodate a last-minute reservation.
7. Try something new
Traditional bachelorette party ideas are fun, but making unique memories can be even more special than a wild night of partying. Hire a mixologist for a private bartending class, or start the evening with a relaxing yoga session. If you’re feeling really adventurous, try a camping trip or a boat ride for some truly photo-worthy moments.
8. Keep the drinking under control
The last thing you want is having to flag down a taxi for an intoxicated guest before 10 p.m.! Encourage your guests to space out their drinking to minimize problems throughout the night. If you have a party bus, keep non-alcoholic drinks on hand so guests can rehydrate, and consider building a snack break into the evening to keep the group from drinking on empty stomachs.
9. Provide small keepsakes
Marriage is a major turning point in people’s lives, and you and your friends may find it harder to keep in touch as time goes on, especially once kids are involved. Give a small present to each of your guests to give them something to remember the night. Bonus points if it’s wearable and won’t be easily lost during the evening.
Skip the tacky t-shirts, though—a cute handmade bracelet can be worn for years instead of just a few hours. Even if you’re not particularly crafty, a necklace with stylish focal beads will be treasured for its thoughtfulness.
10. Know your guests’ quirks
We all have that one friend we love dearly but who can be a bit of a drama queen when things aren’t going her way. It’s also possible that a minor dispute will break out between different friends in your group. Have a strategy in place for defusing arguments or distracting guests to keep a situation from escalating—especially if alcohol is being served at your party. Sometimes a group selfie or a snack break is all it takes to restore morale.
11. Have a safety plan
Phones can get lost, and people can get separated over the course of an evening. Have a rendezvous point where guests can meet up, especially if part of the night is spent at a large club or other crowded places. If your party will involve heavy drinking or moving between multiple establishments, implement a buddy system and provide guests with cards with your phone number on them. Consider carrying a small portable charger in your purse so guests can get a hold of you no matter how much you’ve drained your battery while taking selfies.
Throwing the best bachelorette party isn’t all about big budgets and wild antics—it’s a matter of making fun memories and enjoying time with the bride and her closest friends. Careful planning can help you avoid drama and make the most of the bride’s last bit of freedom.