As most of you following along know, my sister got married last year. Along with this joyous occasion came the traditional celebrations of a bridal shower and a bachelorette party. I’ve mentioned before that planning these things was a bit chaotic with the bridesmaids living in different states and countries. When we planned the bridal shower, we split the duties up between the bridesmaids and the bride’s mother. It was an all around success!
When it came time to plan the bachelorette party, we decided to host it in Atlantic City. The majority of people lived within an hour of that location, so we made a weekend out of it. Over 20 people were invited, but I was convinced I could handle all aspects of planning the bachelorette on my own. I did ask for input from the other bridesmaids, but ultimately I wanted to be the lead decision maker. I felt that was best so we could move forward in a timely fashion.
Well my friends, we had an amazing time with the 16 people who were in attendance. However, I learned a few lessons the hard way when trying to organize that many people. I would definitely do a few things different if given the chance. So to help you avoid some bachelorette party pitfalls, I’d like to share with you some do’s and dont’s for planning a weekend long trip. First up…
1. Don’t do it all by yourself.
If it wasn’t obvious enough from my intro above, do NOT do it all by yourself! I thought I was doing the other bridesmaids a favor by saying I would plan everything. They were gracious enough to step back, and of course reminded me that they could help with anything that came up along the way. Unfortunately, I didn’t take them up on that offer as much as I should have, so the closer it got to the bachelorette party all I did was stress myself out more and more. Which leads me into another pitfall…
2. Don’t plan too many surprises.
Because I didn’t request the other bridesmaid’s input, I planned way too many “surprises” for the bride-to-be. She didn’t want to know anything about the weekend, other than it was in Atlantic City at The Claridge Hotel, and I took this too literal.
I tried to make every last thing a surprise. From the places we were eating dinner, to the theme of the weekend, to the fact we had a party suite for Friday night, to the bars we were headed to Saturday night; it was all hush, hush!
Sure, it was all in fun, but pulling off that many surprises made me a raging bitch the first night we were there. (Nobody said this to my face, but I know I sure felt like one!) Everyone in our group kept saying, you seem so overwhelmed, which didn’t help my stress levels at all. But I wholeheartedly knew it was my fault I was in this situation.
It also didn’t help we had 5 rooms and that they were on two different floors. I messed up upon check in by not requesting my room be on the same floor as the suite. I ended up constantly being in the elevator trying to get stuff back and forth between rooms. Add to that the stress of trying to do it without the bride-to-be seeing. Plenty of people offered to help, but at the same time everyone was trying to get ready for the big night. Which leads me to another big no, no I learned…
3. Don’t plan something big the first night.
If you’re making a weekend out of this don’t try to pull off a huge surprise the first night! It was cheaper to have the suite on Friday night so we choose this as a stay in night, and Saturday as a bar hopping night. If I had it to do all over again I’d still have an in suite party the first night, but I wouldn’t have tried to pull off so many surprises. I would’ve just told my sister that we had a suite and that the party would start at 9pm.
Instead, because she didn’t know, she was dressed and ready to go at 7:30pm and one of the bridesmaids wasn’t even there yet. Since I didn’t want ruin the surprise I made my sister stay in my room, with my mom and my best friend. The only fun to come out of this situation is that we had more time to convince the bride-to-be that there was a stripper coming that evening. Which leads me to remind you…
4. Do listen to the bride’s wishes.
Make sure you listen to what the bride wants! My sister made it very clear to me that under no circumstances was there going to be a half-naked guy at her bachelorette. I am pretty sure she would’ve been pissed if I hired one against her wishes. Instead I decided to prank her.
When all the guests were finally in the suite, I had my friend blindfold my sister and walk her to the room. Once inside we had her sit down on a chair still blindfolded. We started to play music, which of course caused her to panic, but when she took off her blindfold it was just us girls dancing around to Sia’s Cheap Thrills.
To me this was a great compromise because I respected my sister’s wishes, but at the same time we had a little fun. She later admitted that she was having a mini heart attack thinking I ignored her no stripper request. Once she saw the room, she was super excited because…
5. Decide on a theme ahead of time.
Our Friday night party revolved around a Hollywood theme. I made sure to let everyone know the theme ahead of time so they could prepare their outfits. Guests were told to dress as their favorite Hollywood star from any era and be ready to walk the red carpet.
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I surprised my sister by buying a 1920s inspired dress for her, knowing she would love it. Of course it was white, and it was a relief to see it fit her perfectly.
There was a homemade photo booth area that everyone loved, complete with props, feather boas, and chic signs. Some friends were definitely making the most of using all the props, and others were just playing it up for the camera in general.
Everyone came dressed the part, but my Aunt definitely stole the show with her outfit! We later laughed when we found out she bought her dress on Amazon as well, and that she almost bought the bride-to-be one too! As they say, great minds think alike.
The good thing about having a broad theme is that everyone can decide how elaborate they want to get when dressing up for the event. Which brings me to one last piece of advice…
6. Make sure everyone has an upfront idea of costs involved.
Planning a bachelorette party and working within everyone’s budget can be difficult. The best way to ensure success is to make sure you give an estimated cost of each activity up front. I used a private Facebook event to keep all the guests informed. Some of them decided to come for the whole weekend and others just stayed one night.
Obviously it was more cost-effective to come on Friday because drinking in the suite meant you didn’t have to pay bar prices. On Saturday we did a group dinner and then went out bar hopping. Luckily the bars were within walking distance to our hotel on the boardwalk, so everyone could decide for themselves when they wanted to call it a night.
The majority of us made it to all three bars and were out past 1am dancing the night away. Everyone said they had a really good time and it was a well-organized weekend. That was a big relief to me! Still, if I had it to do all over again, I obviously would have made some minor changes to make things run more smoothly. Of course, the most important part is that the bride-to-be had the time of her life.
I hope that these tips help you when planning your next bachelorette party. Just remember, at the end of the day it is about spending quality time with the bride-to-be. You’re there celebrating her upcoming marriage, so don’t stress too much over the small stuff.
What do you think of these tips? Have any tips of your own to share? Tell us in the comments.