Bachelorette Party Ideas

Invitations

Basics

The bachelorette party is usually planned by the maid of honor, but any close friend can play hostess. Ask the bride to give you a guest list; it should include all the women in the wedding party and any additional close friends the bride would like to be there. Etiquette even allows inviting guests who aren't on the wedding invite list, but this can be tricky territory, and besides, keeping it a tight group (say, 10 or fewer) makes the party much simpler to coordinate. That said, if the bride and her mother are close, you could ask the bachelorette's mom (and, if you like, even her future mother-in-law) to come for part of the evening; for example, they might join you for dinner but go home before you trip the light fantastic at the clubs.

The party usually takes place a week to three months before the wedding, but the only hard-and-fast rule is not to throw it the night before. That's usually reserved for the rehearsal dinner anyway, but even if that night's free, brides typically want to stay out till late and indulge for their bachelorette parties — not ideal wedding eve activities. If the bride's closest friends all live across the country, you might have the party the night before the rehearsal dinner, but otherwise, it's often better to schedule it at least a few weeks prior to the wedding date to give both the bachelorette and her guests a break between wedding celebrations, especially if you're planning a weekend trip. If the bride is nervous about the bachelor party, consider planning the bachelorette for the same night to keep her too busy having fun to worry about what her future spouse is up to.

Send out an invitation at least a month in advance to give guests time to plan to be there — even longer if it's a weekend away. And since everyone chips in on the price of the party, specify right on the invitation how much those who attend will be expected to contribute.

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Tips

Regardless of what you have in mind for the evening, be sure to incorporate transportation into your plans. Renting a limo or minibus or taking taxis everywhere means the party moves but it doesn't stop — and ensures everyone's safety if you expect heavy alcoholic beverage consumption. If you have a designated driver volunteer and want to keep costs down, consider renting a passenger van instead. But even if you're not anticipating anyone drinking a drop, at least send someone to pick up the bachelorette and drop her off at the end of the night. That way, you preserve the veil of secrecy surrounding the proceedings and treat the bride like the queen she is for the night. If you have a few locations planned for the evening, you could even blindfold her between stops for that extra element of surprise and excitement.

When the guest of honor arrives, you might give her kooky novelty items to wear like a baseball cap with a veil attached to it, a feather boa and a light-up engagement ring (all available at party supply stores) to ensure everyone knows there's a bachelorette in their midst. Presents aren't expected for a bachelorette, but sexy gifts like lingerie, fishnets, massage oil or a copy of the Kama Sutra may add to the fun — and come in handy on the honeymoon.

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Activities

While keeping the party activities secret can be part of the fun, don't make any plans until you ask the bride for some guidelines. Does she look forward to kissing singlehood goodbye with a wild night on the town, or would she prefer a low-key evening or weekend of female bonding with her favorite girlfriends?

Once you have an idea of what the guest of honor wants, ask the rest of the guests for their say. For example, are they up for a no-holds-barred weekend away, or are they watching their wallets and hoping for a more affordable affair? After all, they'll be paying not only for themselves but also for their share of the bride's portion of the bill.

As soon as you've gotten everyone's input, start nailing down the details. For the wild child, try bar-hopping with bonus activities (just remember that it's the bachelorette's night, so don't push her if she declines some of your out-there party pranks.) For example, put the bride in a white T-shirt and ask every man you meet to sign or draw on her shirt with marker. You might also hold the traditional bachelorette scavenger hunt: Assign the bride a list of dares to complete, such as serenading a strange man, doing a body shot or getting a guy to give her his boxers. And there's always Suck for a Buck — give the bachelorette a candy necklace to put on and charge a dollar to let men nibble a piece off her neck.

Having the party at home? Try playing Toilet Paper and a Pole: Split guests into teams and tell each team leader to hold a broomstick between her legs. Have each of the other players put a roll of toilet paper between their legs and run a relay race to see which team can get all their rolls on the pole (no hands!) first.

For the mild child, try a date at the mani-pedi salon followed by a big dinner out. Or get the girls together for cocktails and trade your funniest stories about the bride in toasts around the table. Childhood chums? Throw a slumber party complete with a classic teen flick starring the bride's celeb crush back in high school. Or make a visit to your local fortune-teller, then sing your hearts out in a private room at a karaoke club.

More ideas:

  • Dancing
  • Drinking games
  • Poker
  • Pool
  • Chippendales or a private male stripper show
  • Drag show
  • Comedy club
  • Concert
  • Amusement park
  • Sporting event
  • Bowling
  • Camping
  • Casino
  • Spa or spa treatments at home
  • Weekend in Las Vegas, Miami, Hollywood, Napa Valley or New York

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Food

Start off the festivities with dinner out at your bachelorette's favorite restaurant or a hip, lively new hotspot to match the spirit of the occasion. Or if you're working with a budget, order pizza, host a potluck dinner at home with girly foods like fancy salads, fondue, quiche or chocolate-covered strawberries, or meet up after dinner and stick to just snacks. Serving dessert? Nothing beats watching a homemade penis-shaped cake rise in the oven, but if you want an X-rated cake without having to whip up any flesh-colored frosting, you can also check the Yellow Pages for “sexy” or “exotic” cakes under "Bakeries."

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Drinks

If ever there were an occasion for a cocktail, a bachelorette party is it. And Sex on the Beach may just be the best boozy beverage a bachelorette can suck down. Supplement with screaming orgasm shooters (1/4 ounce each of vodka, Irish cream liqueur, coffee liqueur and amaretto) if desired.

Sex on the Beach

  • 1 1/2 oz. vodka
  • 1 oz. peach schnapps
  • 2 oz. orange juice
  • 2 oz. cranberry juice

Shake ingredients with ice and pour into a highball glass.

Not drinking? Think pink with a juice fizz — three parts seltzer, one part cranberry juice.

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