Bachelorette parties ― or destination bachelorette weekends ― are a chance for the busy bride to kick back and let her friends take the wheel when it comes to planning.
But for some brides, that’s a stressful proposition. Planning may not be your maid of honor’s forte: What if she struggles to get it all done? What if she’s planned wall-to-wall activities for the day, but you’d rather just have a chill night at a wine bar? What if she organizes a big blowout trip that some of your bridesmaids simply can’t afford?
If you’ve had major “What if?” concerns like these ― or are a slightly Type A kind of gal ― it’s not a bad idea to plan your own bachelorette.
“I think brides that have very high expectations or very specific wishes for what they want for their bachelorette party can benefit from planning themselves,” said Lori Stephenson of LOLA Event Productions in Chicago. “I think it’s pretty genius in that case. It isn’t a bad thing to know what you want.”
The pros? You get exactly what you want. The cons? The extra work. And if you like surprises, this limits the opportunity for that. (Though that would go in the “pro” column if you hate surprises.)
Sarah Campbell, the founder of Pollyanna Events in New York, Connecticut and Washington, D.C., says there are a few types of brides who might benefit from taking the reins.
“A bride who feels more at ease being in control might want to do it,” she said. “It also works for someone who’s keeping it casual: Maybe she’s not planning on inviting a lot of people or knows that those attending won’t have the time needed to plan the party.”
DIY planning also makes sense for a bride who’s inviting multiple groups of friends who don’t know each other, Campbell said. In that case, she may want to play social coordinator.
If this sounds like you, read on. Below, wedding planners offer advice on how to plan your own bachelorette party with as little stress as possible.
First things first: Make sure you really have the bandwidth to take this on.
Calling the shots on your bachelorette is easier if you have extra help with the actual wedding planning. If you’ve hired a full-service planner ― or have some close friends and family who are closely planning alongside you ― it might actually be fun to plan a party tailored exactly to your taste.
“I don’t think planning a bachelorette yourself works for most brides, but it does make sense for a bride who has an event planner for her wedding,” said Lauren Grech, the CEO and co-founder of LLG Events and LLG Agency. “In this case, the wedding planner will be handling all of the details that would typically be on the bride’s mind. You’ll have time to plan this.”
That said, don’t do it if it seems like it’s another thing on your plate: Yes, it’s nice to call the shots on everything, but you want to have enough energy to enjoy the party. You can always have your friends or family members plan the celebration, with heavy edits and collaboration from you.
“Even if your planner is your sister or childhood best friend, it can never hurt to ask your opinion on little details that will make your bachelorette everything you dreamed of,” Grech said.
Touch base with your guests on what they can do.
While a friend planning your party might feel awkward asking others what they can afford or how much time they can take off work, you can have clear, candid conversations with everyone. Of course, your wishes come first, but as chief planner, it’s nice to consider your guests’ needs, too.
“Discuss budgets with everyone,” Campbell said. “If [you’re] looking to plan a weekend getaway, discuss how much time away those attending can take.’”
Communicate with those attending the party early on so there’s no day-of confusion or hurt feelings.
Delegate some of the lesser responsibilities.
You may want to work out the larger framework for your bachelorette ― where you’re going, the dates, how many activities you want to schedule ― but don’t be afraid to hand off some of the smaller tasks.
“Maybe you make the major decisions yourself but you should tell your friends that they can do what they want to add special touches within that framework you build yourself,” Stephenson said.
Invite whomever you want.
One of the biggest perks of taking the lead on this is you get full control of the guest list (whereas your friend might just stick to your bridal party). If you and your future spouse want a combined wedding shower as your bachelor and bachelorette parties, do that. If you want to include extra guests outside the traditional “bridesmaid” lineup, go for it, Grech said.
“A bride who plans her own bachelorette might want to incorporate her ‘bride’s guys’ and know just how to do that,” she said. “Or perhaps she has friends and family that she wants to attend, who range in age. The bride will know best who she wants there to celebrate, and then figure out the best celebration from there.”
Make it a celebration of your bridal party and friends.
Sure, this is a celebration of you, planned by you, but there’s no reason why you can’t also make it a celebration of your bridal party. Show your friends how much you appreciate their help with your wedding ― and how much they’re spending on it! ― by planning a party tailored to their interests, too.
“If you’re planning yourself, think about the wedding party that will be standing with you on your wedding day and what they enjoy,” Grech said. “Make it an all-inclusive celebration that focuses on the support and love you have for one another as a group because that’s what wedding parties and bridesmaids are supposed to be for!”