Whether it is just an excuse to party or in retaliation for the groom-to-be's bachelor party antics, more and more brides are enjoying bachelorette parties nowadays.
Bachelorette parties can be mild and open for any age group, such as a day at the spa or a baking lesson, or they can be totally risqu? and feature strippers and sex toy shopping parties. If you are in charge of planning the event, take a good look at the bride. Is this the type of fun she would enjoy? Is she quiet and reserved or wild and experimental? Next, look at the guest list. Is elderly Aunt Edna included? If elderly or young relatives are included, it might be best to plan something sedate and easygoing.
If you are planning a sexy night on the town during which almost anything goes, it may be best to limit the group to a small (possibly only the bridal party) group of close friends and leave the rest of the invites for a fun but proper bridal shower.
Greg Jenkins of Bravo Productions says that some popular West Coast destination sites include Las Vegas, Palm Springs, Calif., and West Hollywood, Calif. If price is not a big consideration, "locations run the gamut, from Pure nightclub in Vegas, which could run you several thousand dollars, to renting a suite at The London hotel in West Hollywood -- also several thousand, including food and beverage."
The vendor specialist at EventNow offers several possibilities in varying price ranges:
--Spa weekend (range: $200-plus per person).
--Dinner out on the town ($50-plus).
--Cocktail party ($30-plus).
--Casino night ($250-plus).
--An evening away with games, drinking and fun ($50-plus).
--Wild night (strippers and drinking) ($75-plus).
--Destination party (Miami, Vegas, Atlantic City, etc.) ($200-plus, depending on destination and travel).
--Sex toy party ($30-plus).
Many bridal parties are tending toward combining the previously separate bachelor and bachelorette groups together at the end of the evening. "A more social gathering, such as a cocktail party, is recommended if one decides to combine the bachelorette and bachelor parties," Jenkins says. "Mixing a risqu? party with these two audiences is a recipe for disaster and conflict. The thought sounds great, but the reality may not be terrific. It's like bringing a fantasy into reality. In the fantasy, everyone is on his or her best behavior. But in reality, jealousy and a rather unpleasant scene are likely to happen." Jenkins adds that "combining the two can work for more mature adults who may be on their second marriages or a couple who have opted to get married much later in life."
"Bachelorette parties are 'anything goes,'" says Marta Segal Block, editorial director and "Wedding Maven" for OneWed, a wedding planning website. "They were created to bring a little equality to the 'men get a fun bachelor party with strippers, women get a boring luncheon' dynamic of bridal showers. For a bridal shower, you get sheets; for a bachelorette party, you get lingerie. One thing that brides and their party-planning bridesmaids should keep in mind is the issue of money. Friendships have been lost over unreasonable demands for bachelorette parties. It's not necessary for everyone to get a limo together or be tied to going to every single bar together."
The bachelorette party can just be a relaxing time to focus on the bride and enjoy togetherness. The day or night can be as simple as cocktails at a friend's house, a night at a favorite bar. Some fun ideas that are out there are renting a house at the beach or a mountain resort for the weekend for a group of close friends to just chill, spending the day in a spa where everyone feels revitalized and pampered, taking a baking lesson or seeing a magic show. It's whatever the bride wants to do.
Gail Dosik, owner of One Tough Cookie, says: "More and more bachelorettes are looking for a day of celebrating friendships. Our One Tough Cookie decorating classes offer a unique way for bachelorette groups to sweeten the day. We even offer a 'favors' package; the bachelorette parties spend an afternoon decorating cookies that eventually become the wedding favors. What's more fun than a day filled with friends, Champagne and cookies?"