Last weekend, my sister and I hosted a bachelorette event for one of my sister’s best friends. I say event because having a bachelorette party is no longer a simple single night out hitting up all the bars in the bride's hometown. This is often a three-day extravaganza that brings together all the bridesmaids and its own distinct set of challenges. For many of the women in the bridal party this is the first time they will all meet. Sure some may have been available for the bridal gown fitting or Face timed in for picking out the bridesmaids dresses. For most this will be the first in person meeting of those who work with the bride, are her sorority sisters or childhood friends. Often this meeting can create some anxiety. Will everyone be nice? Will there be any drama? So many things can go wrong, especially when there are often high expectations surrounding this event (I blame The Hangover, and Bridesmaids). Not everyone can afford lavish parties in Vegas with wild antics and extravagant party favors. Having a bash is an awesome way to spend quality time with your fellow bridesmaids and really bond. When you look back on the big day and the events leading up to it you will have some awesome memories and maybe some new lifelong friends. So how can you provide a fun filled weekend for your bestie and her bridal party?
First thing you need to do is pick a theme for the party. The theme may be influenced by the types of things you want to do during the weekend or a favorite place of the bride’s. Having a theme will enable you to decorate and provide party favors that will keep your guests remembering this bachelorette party for years to come. In fact the theme for this party came about from a small trinket (Flora the Flamingo) that made an appearance at a previous bachelorette party. It helps that currently Flamingos and Pineapples are currently trending, so we ran with it! Many decorations and lights were purchased and Flora became a bit of a mascot that went with the party to each and every activity. You cannot have a party with out favors; the guests should have something to take home that will remind them of the great time they had bonding and celebrating their friend's impending nuptials. We wanted to make the favors even more special by creating a coherent bride squad look. T-shirts were ordered for the entire party with glittery quotes from the movie Bridesmaids. Specialty hairbands and tattoos were also ordered for fun and made for excellent photos during the weekend.
We opted to host the bridesmaids in our own home. We live in Chicago and have three bedrooms so there was plenty of space. This saved everyone some much needed cash. Why waste money on hotel rooms when the savings can be added to the entertainment budget? As an added benefit the party was much more like the sleepovers of our younger years. With everyone in a single space so much more fun was had! So bust out your inflatable mattress and gather everyone in one spot for some quality girl time!
Next, make sure that you have some planned group activities. Shared experiences and fun outings facilitate those awkward; "I don’t know half the people here" worries. The girls arrived on Friday afternoon; then headed out to a local favorite tiki bar. Three Dots and a Dash is known for their over the top crazy drinks with fun glasses, dry ice and the requisite dolphin made out of a banana. If you have any specialty bars in your city like a pop up (Stranger Things) or unique club (Disco) go to one of them for something different and memorable.
Saturday was the main event. While you might consider doing some of the traditional bachelorette games and presents during the day and a pub crawl at night, I would suggest you shake it up a bit and plan an activity that will get everyone out of the house. Many people in Chicago favor the Trolleys that will take you on a pub crawl, which is fun in its own right, but we opted for something a little different. Taking advantage of the great weather we decided to book a boat for the afternoon. Depending on the size of the party, budget and how long you want to go out on the water you can book a boat with a captain for downtown on the Chicago River or out onto Lake Michigan. What a fun way to spend the afternoon. Everyone enjoyed the time out in the sunshine and with a cooler full of beer and a whole city to view, a better day couldn’t have been asked for!! With everyone spent from the sun the girls opted for some downtime at Revolution Brewing, before taking a much-needed rest prior to the evening plans. Getting reservations for a large group at a fancy restaurant is hard on a Saturday night. I would suggest doing a group dinner at home; order in or make something easy that will coat everyone’s stomach for the night ahead. You might even have something planned as a late night snack for when everyone gets home from the bar! Then when everyone one is dressed in their best and the bride has her requisite party accessories, head out to the best spot for dancing. Spend the night shaking it with your friends and sisters to some of your favorite jams! This is the time to let loose and have as much fun as possible. With Uber or Lyft you can go all out and not have to worry about how to get everyone safely home!
The bridal party may be slow to rally on Sunday. Make sure you have enough Gatorade and coffee to go around, and it might be a good idea to stock up on some breakfast essentials, such as bagels and muffins. If you are feeling up to it yourself, put out a hot breakfast/ brunch to clear up any remaining fuzzy heads. You might have something planned for this day, but make sure that you can be flexible. In our case the girls chose to lounge on the couch watching Netflix and sooth their aching heads! The best advice I can give is to have fun, and make the most out of getting to know the bride's other friends. You don’t have to break the bank or put on a rowdy drunken fest to make the bachelorette party memorable. Any activity and time you all spend together away from daily commitments will help you build and maintain your friendships. Looking back on the bride’s big day, you will have fond memories not just of the wedding but of the pre-wedding festivities as well!