Planning and attending the bachelorette party can be one of the more fun parts of the wedding planning process. It can also be stressful. Plan ahead and consult the bride in advance to be sure the event exceeds her expectations.

Talk to the bride

Common sense? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely yes. Before anything else can get done, have a frank conversation with the bride about what she wants out of the b-ette party. Does she want a crazy 3-day blow-out in Vegas with strippers and tequila? Or is she looking for a low-key spa retreat with a small guest list? Or perhaps one night of clubbing in her home town is all she needs. Regardless of what she’s looking for, it will inform all the rest of the planning.

Invite list

Second order of business: set the guest list. The bride will obviously need to weigh in on this, but it may be worth mentioning that traditionally, only guests who are also invited to the wedding should be invited to the bachelorette party. (There are, not surprisingly, all sorts of exceptions to this rule. Just keep it in mind.) If she’s looking for that Vegas blow-out, perhaps leave off from the list mom, mother-in-law-to-be, and great aunt Gertrude. (Or not. What do I know? Maybe Gertrude likes to party.)

Set a date

Some websites recommend scheduling the b-ette in the week or two before the wedding. As someone whose friends have scattered across the country, I’m less keen on that because it requires two flights in a short timeframe. That said, it’s really the bride’s prerogative. Try to find a date that works for at least everyone in the bridal party. This is not always possible, but it’s a lofty goal. (I’ve seen all kinds of cool ways to track everyone’s availability via the interwebs. Google docs is my particular fave.)

Location

Pick a city. Any city. In consideration of what the bride’s plans are. (Crazy tequila-fueled parties may be difficult to host in a sleepy town in upstate New York. A weekend at the beach might be tough to pull off in Oklahoma City. You get the idea.)

Activities

This can pretty much mean anything from fancy dining to beach lounging to strip club going to massage receiving. It also includes games from “get to know you” to the crazy (or even the raunchy). Make sure the plans you make fit with the bride’s vision for the night/weekend/etc., and communicate anything that requires special notice to the guests. (For example, I had the pleasure of attending a b-ette this past spring in Philadelphia, and the host asked each guest to bring a pair of panties for the bride. The bride had to try and match the panties to the guest.)

(And when she was wrong, the host pinned them to her jacket. Ah-mazing.)

Am I missing any key pieces of planning a b-ette party? Are there any locations and/or activities you recommend?

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