Know your bride
Of course, you want the bride to have the best bachelorette party she can imagine. Ideally, she’ll remember her big night with the girls even more fondly than the actual wedding.
But you don’t want to go broke throwing her an epic bash — research shows that the cost for bachelor and bachelorette parties has skyrocketed. If you’re in charge of planning a hen party, here are some great tips for having a lovely time without driving the bridal party to bankruptcy.
Not every bride wants to get drunk. Not every bride wants to gamble. According to the New York Times, some brides would rather work out with their friends than get wasted with them. If that’s the case, you need to take a deep breath and reserve the gym or the spa, and leave that case of vodka for another party.
Keep it small
The trend is to invite a crowd and make the party last for three days. Unless everyone you invite is a millionaire, you should resist following suit. Ask the bride to name a handful of her closest friends and, if she runs out of names at nine, just invite those people plus anyone from the wedding party that fell off the list.
(Martha Stewart reminds us that all bridesmaids must be invited, even if some of them are bridesmaids only because the bride felt an obligation to the groom’s family.)
Once you have the RSVP list, get the others to help you plan. Everyone should weigh in on how much they want to spend, keeping in mind that everyone has to absorb the bride’s costs as well. One good way to save your wallets is to make sure the party doesn’t last more than one day plus travel time. Shorter parties that start and end in one evening are also perfectly acceptable.
Pick a place you can drive to
Destination bachelorette parties are all the rage, but do you really need to lose your shirt in Las Vegas? One sure way to keep this thing under control is to pick a place you can drive to, in four hours or less. The party can start in the rented minivan, with one sober driver designated for the trip there and another for the trip back.
Chances are excellent that you can have a blast in a nearby cabin on a lake or river, a nice bed and breakfast in the mountains, or a hotel with a pool and hot tub. If you don’t really relish a hangover, organize some kind of physical activity, like hiking, kayaking, or river rafting to take the focus off booze.
Keep your homes safe while on the road
Nothing kills the buzz of a good party like coming home to find your house burglarized. Every good bachelorette party planner should encourage invitees to take precautions. Not everyone can afford a security system, but there are other ways to make burglars give your house a miss.
The day before the party, send all the girls an email or text that reminds them to secure their home: lock their windows and doors, cut the grass if they have a yard, and ask a neighbor to pick up their mail. They should also draw all the blinds and curtains, leave one or more lights on and, if possible, a television or radio. No one wants their home or apartment sending the message that the inhabitant is out of town.
No matter how much you spend or where you go, keep the focus on the bride and your companionship and you will have a party to remember — even if you go no further than your mom’s basement.