Planning in the midst of pandemic taught me a few things... real quick.
To the more seasoned party planners or wedding-frequenters, these may seem simple. I mean, they're basic guidelines you'd want to follow if you've been given the blessing (and curse) of having creative control over a bride's bachelorette party.
They're tips I would've loved to have gotten prior to planning an entire bachelorette weekend in the midst of a global pandemic, but... someone had to learn the hard way, right? So that's why I'm here now for you — to pass along some words of wisdom to make your bachelorette party planning even just a little easier.
So, if you're a first-time party planner who has been given the responsibility not only to plan the bride's dream night but to also ensure it runs smoothly while everyone is most likely intoxicated, here are 11 tips you'll find helpful.
1. Don't think "What would I want?" or "What is traditionally done?" think "What would she want?"
Although you're obviously very close with the bride if you've been selected to be part of the bridal party, you two likely want different things out of a bachelorette party.
Is she the type to want pre-planned games or the type to throw together a game of pong if/when people are in the mood? Is she the type to want a male stripper or a lavish wine night? Will she be uncomfortable with penis straws in the photographs she'll have to remember that day or does she want as many vulgar decorations as possible?
2. Place any online orders/personalized orders WAY in advance.
Order all of your decorations and matching attire far in advice. A couple of days in advance is not going to cut it. Most of the higher quality or specialty items take longer to process and ship. Additionally, since you haven't seen these items in person, you may not like them, they may not fit, etc. so you want to give yourself enough time to get replacements.
It's also important to note that if you're ordering things online right now, a lot of online stores are still backed up from coronavirus issues, so they often have fine-print disclaimers stating that packages may arrive after their scheduled arrival date because of this.
3. Mix it up for your bridal party's matching gear! Get creative for more unique attire.
You don't have to buy a pre-matched set of shirts, hats, etc. You absolutely can but that's not the only option if you don't like any of the premade sets or want to make things more personal.
One idea I had was buying a cute baseball cap with a stitched ring on the front and pairing that with the same style but different color hats with matching wine glasses, martini glasses, or liquor bottles on them. Another was having the bride and groom wear hats that have I <3 him and I <3 her on them and then having the bridal party wear I <3 beer hats.
4. Provide your bride with a few options, instead of asking for decisions.
Instead of asking for inspiration, suggestions, or decisions from the bride, take some pressure off of her by providing options for her to choose from. For example, provide 3 or 4 different options for matching shirts you'll order for the bridal party and let her pick or pick three venues you've already checked are available to have you on your planned date and let her pick one.
This will save her so much time and the stress of decision making from the endless amount of options on the internet.
5. Buy in bulk.
Buy decorations like balloons, streamers, plates, and silverware, in bulk from Amazon or a party supplies store. They're SO much cheaper in bulk and easy to find. Especially for specialty items like funny bachelorette hats or penis straws, this will save you lots of money.
6. Email out an itinerary.
At most bachelorettes, there will be drinking. You can lose track of time and things can get unorganized very quickly. Email an itinerary to the bridal party before the bachelorette events start and keep a picture of it on your phone to refer to.
This is especially helpful if people are planning on arriving at different times so they know where you will be, what you'll be doing if they'll need to call an Uber, what they need to be dressed in, etc.
7. Set alarms.
Set alarms for anything important and ESPECIALLY any surprises. Again, assuming there is drinking involved, you and the rest of the party will likely not be in your most alert state of mind. You don't want to spoil any surprises or miss anything you've already paid for.
8. Don't overbook yourself.
And DON'T assume everyone is going to wake up and go to sleep when you do. Keep it simple and schedule anything important after 12 PM and before dinner, if possible.
9. Set budgets with the bridal party before buying.
Most times, the members of the bridal party have different incomes and will, therefore, have different ideas of what is a reasonable amount to spend on everything that goes into the bachelorette party.
This is an awkward conversation to have so, depending on how close everyone in the group is, you can ask people to text you an amount they think they'd be able to pitch in a private text. Agree on a number in the middle of what everyone suggested for how much everyone will owe for the stay, food, drinks, matching attire, presents for the bride, etc.
10. Keep a money tracker.
Unless money is not a care for every single person participating in the bachelorette party, I suggest keeping track of the amounts people pay for different things. If you are going to be in charge of this all yourself, I suggest a spreadsheet app. If you can't access a spreadsheet from your phone, you can always keep very detailed notes in your phone.
If everyone is on board, it's easier to have everyone keep their own notes of all they spend and then send those to you at the end of the festivities so that you can divvy costs up and make things even.
11. Schedule any rides needed ahead of time if you're drinking.
Stay safe and don't be late or screw yourself! You don't want to wait until the moment you need the ride to look for one/count on an Uber being available right when you need it.
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