Bachelor and Bachelorette Parties
Traditionally, the maid or matron of honor hosts a bridal shower for the bride. Today, a Bachelorette party is often thrown for the bride in addition to the conservative bridal shower. As the maid or matron of honor, it is likely you will be expected to arrange and pay for both events. However, this can be very time consuming and expensive. Be sure to ask fellow bridesmaids to help share in the planning and expenses, or take on only one party. Since it is the maid/matron of honor's traditional responsibility to host the bridal shower, you may want to consider having another attendant handle the Bachelorette party.
Consult with the Bride
For both the bridal shower and the Bachelorette party, talk with the bride about the guest lists. You'll also want to discuss where the party should be hosted, what day would be best, and what kind of activities she'd like to do, including games. The bride will have opinions on these subjects, and it is best to talk with her beforehand to make sure she is comfortable with the general arrangements.
When and Where
The bridal shower usually occurs on a Sunday afternoon, two to three weeks before the wedding, at the maid/matron of honor's house. The Bachelorette party often happens on a Friday or Saturday night, two to three weeks before the wedding. You may want to plan the Bachelorette party on the same night as the groom's bachelor party. Another suggestion is to host the traditional bridal shower on a Saturday afternoon, and afterwards those who are invited or wish to participate can go out for a night on the town for the Bachelorette party. Keeping the two parties separate may be better in some cases where older relatives present at the bridal shower, such as grandmothers, may not approve of the bride partaking in Bachelorette party festivities.
Orchestrating the Party
The possibilities are only limited by your imagination. Generally, if you are hosting a traditional bridal shower or a Bachelorette party AT YOUR HOUSE, you should:
1. Send invitations to the people on the list you compiled with the bride. Send these out 3 weeks before the party, especially if you re inviting out of town guests. Be sure to ask for an RSVP by a certain date, preferably one week before the party. Parties usually last 2 to 3 hours.
2. Buy a unique gift for the bride. Something off the couple's bridal registry is always appropriate. Also candles, lingerie or sleeping attire, cooking items, towels, and other useful household items are nice. If this is a bachelorette party, gifts can be more risqué, such as books on sex, massage oils, nasty cards, sleazy lingerie and other sex toys, depending on the comfort level of the bride.
3. Prepare a variety of finger foods and order a cake. Don't forget the punch and coffee. You may also want to serve chilled white wine or champagne. If this is a bachelorette party, you may want to add Jell-o shots or other alcoholic beverages that can be made in large quantities.
4. Clean and organize your house for the party. Decorate with streamers, balloons and/or confetti. Arrange furniture and chairs around a central location where the bride will open her presents. Be sure to have soothing music playing in the background.
5. Presents should be placed in a central location in the house such as a living room or family room. Offer guests something to drink or eat as they arrive.
6. Make introductions as soon as all of the guests have arrived and taken a seat.
7. Play 1 to 2 party games. Make sure to have wrapped prizes for the winners, plus one extra prize in case there is a tie. Candles, earrings, candy, and body lotions or soaps are nice prize gifts.
8. Have the bride open her presents. It is appropriate for the bride to remove wrapping paper and ribbons gently, even folding the paper after opening. Be sure to assign someone to write down all gifts and gift givers on a piece of paper for the bride's thank you notes. Save the ribbon and bows and arrange on a paper plate. The bride can use this "bouquet" at the wedding rehearsal.
9. Cut the cake after all of the presents are opened. Be sure to get a picture of the bride with the cake before cutting and serving.
10. If this is a bachelorette party, you may want to continue the party at a local bar or strip club. Carpooling is least expensive...be sure to have designated drivers. You could also rent a van or limousine for a few hours. Limos can be very expensive--read the fine print and get all the details before signing on the dotted line.
Alternative Locations and Activities for the Bachelorette Party
- Have the bride where a "veil" or some other identifier if going out. A piece of tulle glued to a barrette or headband is sufficient. You don't want the bride to where her actual veil because it could get damaged. Or, you could design or decorate a t-shirt she could wear that night.
- Throw the entire bachelorette party at a local restaurant or bar. Be sure to make a reservation if possible and be prepared to cover the costs on your credit card or one tab.
- Pick an area in town where there are several bars in walking distance. Share cabs downtown and again later to get home.
- Hire a stripper to come visit if you are hosting the party at your house. Try to meet the stripper ahead of time.
- Get a small group together and fly to Reno or Las Vegas for the night.
- Instead of whooping it up at a strip club, get dressed up, go to a fancy lounge or night club and listen to live jazz.
How Well Do You Know the Bride?
For this game, draft a list of questions about the bride for the guests to answer. Questions like "Where did (bride's name) meet (groom's name)?", "When and where did (the bride and groom) get engaged?" and "What is (the bride's) favorite kind of music?" You should have at least 12 questions.
Rice and Safety Pin
Blindfold each guest one at a time and have them try to find small safety pins in a bowl of dry rice. Give each person 30 seconds. The person who finds the most safety pins gets a prize. Better for smaller groups.
Best Wishes Apron
Buy a white apron and fabric pens in different colors. Have each guest write a note to the bride on the apron during the party.
For the liberal-minded! Buy a firm banana for each guest. The object is to carve the most life-like "sculpture" out of the banana using only your teeth. Set a time limit of 2 minutes and have the guests vote on the best banana.
If you plan on going to a bar or night club, create a list of things the bride must do or get before going home. These could include:
- Get three kisses on the cheek from three different guys.
- Get a guy to buy you a drink.
- Collect one condom.
- Collect one phone number from a guy.
- Ask three guys to dance.
- Blow a kiss to a guy.
- Collect one pair of men's underwear(!)