Dust off your penis straws, take out a loan, practice your Instagram filtering, and get ready to feign a LOT of exaggerated excitement because IT’S BACHELORETTE SEASON, BETCHES! And I mean bachelorette as in the #LastFlingBeforeTheRing but yes, it’s also ABC’s The Bachelorette season and this one might be my fave yet because #TeamKaitlyn. But I digress. I’ve been to roughly 69374928734 bachelorette “parties” (read: entire weekend extravaganzas) and I learned what can make or break them. As I write this, I’m 31 and about to embark on a San Fran/Sonoma bach party which is a far cry from the South Beach bachelorette in my mid-20s where I got back to the hotel at 8 a.m. one morning after clubbing and skinny dipping in the ocean (casual), but I’m providing these tips with all ages in mind. (And for more on bachelorettes in your 20s vs. 30s, click here.)
1) Know your audience. I’m sorry but if you’re 23 and not a debutante with all rich friends, you can’t set your sights on blowing it up in Vegas with shows, bottle service, and luxury hotel suites and expect all your friends to show up. If you want your gal pals to spend that kind of cash on you, you should have waited until you were a grownup to get married. Brides and MOHs, keep your friends’ money situations in mind and choose a location people can travel to without going into debt, or just don’t get pissed when people can’t make it. This also goes for planning activities. I once got an email about a bachelorette party from the MOH with a private cooking class, expensive concert, and 5-star hotel on the itinerary. Oh and it was in Manhattan. HI, I’M 24 AND BROKE. Bye Felicia.
2) Make sure attendees know (of) each other in advance, especially if you’re bringing together friends from different groups. Cute idea alert: Email a brief roster detailing what the bride’s connection is in advance (“Amy and Jennifer met in the Planned Parenthood waiting room sophomore year in college and have been biffles ever since”). This will make for quicker bonding and fewer Mean Girls moments. And definitely send out the “GET EXCITED, BITCHESSSS!” email the week before and start tossing around #hashtag ideas – I know you may think it’s cheesy/overplayed, but it really is great to have all the pics in one place on Instagram. If the bride already knows her wedding hashtag, definitely use that (either as the only bach one or in addition to the bach one).
3) Consider themes/clothing. From my friend Christine who has also been to roughly 9237492874 bach parties: “Themes go over HUGE when you’re out. I’ve done the sailor hats thing, the matching outfits, all of that stuff. I will say that despite the cheese factor it’s particularly helpful if you have some single felines in your group because it’s a great conversation starter and guys SWARM.” And she is right. The MOH/close girlfriends should know the bride well enough to know how she’d feel about a theme. Once, we surprised the bride by all wearing black (her sister made sure she wore white) and she loved it. I’ve also done something subtle to signify our bach status with these pink feathers:
PS, make sure someone gets a veil for the bride. Whether she wants to wear it or not, it will be appreciated. Also, if you make T-shirts, do NOT make all the girls wear them to the bars on the “big night out.” The single girls will freak because they want to look cute and it’s just rude. Save them for a daytime activity or just give them as takeaways.
4) Money. A few important things because this can get tricky and awkward AF.
-If you’re the one booking hotels/houses, make sure everyone pays you in advance (there is no excuse not to with Venmo, PayPal, BOA transfer, Snapchat cash, etc.).
-If you’re the planner/prime emailer, remind people to bring cash and/or download Venmo to make things easier.
-This might seem a little intense, but I did it for one bachelorette party and it was absolutely AMAZING: We all paid one girl $300 in advance for dinners, drinks, cabs., etc. and she handled everything (read: was our sugar mama for the weekend). I cannot express how awesome it was to not have to deal with splitting dinner bills, paying for cabs/Ubers, and just having drinks handed to me. It was like being at an all-inclusive resort. HOWEVER, the group has to be mature/financially comfortable enough to handle this (ie. no one complaining they just got a salad at dinner and shouldn’t have to pay as much), and someone has to be responsible enough (and good at math) to figure it out. We did a weekend in Charleston and I think at the end of it, I only owed our sugar mama $20-30 more.
-You should not have to pay for every single thing the bride does all weekend. Fuck that (no offense). Pick up her dinner on the big night out, a lapdance (if applicable), and buy her drinks. I heard a story about a bride who expected her friends to pay for her every meal and drink over a FOUR-DAY WEEKEND (literally never pulled out her wallet once) and I almost vomited (bet she’s a real gem as a wife). As for the hotel/lodging, I have mixed feelings. I personally would not let my friends pay for that on my bachelorette party, but I have paid before. Defer to the MOH (ideal if she’s family) for this one.
5) Speaking of hotels, I think a house/condo (Airbnb, duh) is always a better option if you can swing it with the location and size of the group, and it usually saves money. Then you all get to be together/pregame together and have more space for your drunken gymnastics and 93798274 suitcases because I know y’all overpacked. Of course some places it won’t work (South Beach, for one), but always worth checking out.
6) Penis stuff. You probably don’t want to wear these out, but penis stuff is always comical, even if you’re poking fun of it all. Items I recommend: Straws, cake, ice cubes, Pin the Junk on the Hunk, balloons, pinata. Tip: Check a sex shop if you have one around. The Inserection in Atlanta is THE MECCA for all penis everything (at least it used to be), plus you can pick up a new vibrator while you’re there. And if you want to do a cake, the mold can be hard to find, so be proactive and order one from Amazon if you don’t have any kinky shops nearby.
7) Play games. Who doesn’t like a nice, raunchy, revealing game of Chutes and Ladders? JK. Click HERE for the best question game (and how to pull it off with flying colors in conjunction with a lingerie shower and instantly be the bride’s #1 bitch). Also per Christine: Make a bar scavenger hunt to keep things interesting and lively, ex: the bride-to-be has to get a guy’s shirt/underwear/social security number (what?), dance on a bar, do a vodka soaked tampon, etc. Incorporate the other girls too; always make the token single(s) make out with someone, take body shots, do the Single Ladies dance on command/etc. (Kidding about the tampon; always vodka responsibly.)
8) Sniff out bachelor parties. Bachelorette parties and bachelor parties have a 6th sense for each other anyway, so once you hit the club/bar/pool scene, they should swarm. You don’t have to hang out with them the whole time, but they’re usually prepared to ball out and want fun chicks around, so if you’re going clubbing, definitely find out where they’ll be popping bottles later. And you never know, a love connection could happen…
9) Save up for the BIG NIGHT out. Designating which of the two nights (assuming it’s a weekend) is the BIG NIGHT helps. The other night can still be awesome; you can always do something like a private chef dinner at the house, a strong happy hour but not going balls to the wall, more lowkey bars, that kind of thing. This also builds anticipation for the BIG NIGHT, plus everyone knows when to wear their skankiest outfits. For the MOH/organizer: Sending a loose (or even full) itinerary to the group prior to the weekend is always appreciated and alleviates some packing panic.
10) Speaking of itineraries, have some shit figured out in advance for God’s sake. You don’t have to have every minute planned, but showing up with nothing on the books is a mistake, especially if you all aren’t familiar with the city. Do some research/ask around (I’ve shared many a Charleston, Dewey Beach, and South Beach itinerary), have at least one dinner res, and an idea for daytime activities. Feel free to ask me about cities I’m familiar with (Atlanta, Miami, Philly, Dewey Beach, NYC, Charleston, Nashville, Austin, Key West) in the comments and I’ll throw our suggestions!
#11 bonus: Goody bags filled with penis pops, lube, Advil, recreational drugs, and Plan B.
Have fun and be safe out there, ladies. Go #TeamBride!
Follow this weekend’s “mature” shenanigans on Instagram @AshHess + Snapchat AshJoyHess