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bachelorette party plan

Bachelorette Parties: A Planning Checklist

Maids, bust out your calendars. Here's a timeline to help you prepare for the bride's naughty night on the town.

Photo: E. Photography

Maid of honor, are you ready to rock? Whether you're mellowing out or whooping it up, here's a bachelorette party checklist to help you and the rest of the bridesmaids prepare for this infamous night. Feel free to adjust the timeframes according to your celebration style.

3+ Months Before

  • Ask the bride what she wants (or doesn't want) in terms of a bachelorette party. Will it be a night of terror on the town, complete with Jell-O shots, a scavenger hunt, and X-rated dancers? A quiet weekend getaway? Martinis at a mod cocktail lounge? A living room lingerie exchange? Pizza and pool at a local dive? Karaoke? Casino?
  • Establish her comfort levels. If she wants G-rated instead of G-string, review your options together. If she does want to walk on the wild side? Get her to define exactly what that means. Remember, while you want her to cut loose, you don't want to mortally embarrass her, or worse, totally freak her out.
  • Set the date -- shoot for a weekend night about one to two weeks before the wedding day. (If members of the bridal party are from all over and can only convene a few days before, that timing works, too.)
  • Create the guest list.

2 Months Before

  • Send out a casual "save the date" email to see if there are any major conflicts among invitees. If you're partying far away, include specific details.
  • Brainstorm possible game plans and party stunts with the maids (make it a surprise for the bride).
  • If the party will be at a hot spot or out of town (the only Chippendale's club in town, a popular tapas bar, a cabaret theater, South Beach, a rock concert, someone's beach house...), make reservations, order tickets, and deal with lodging and bachelorette party transportation details.
  • No matter what the format, alcohol and bachelorette revelry usually go hand in hand. Be responsible. Start thinking about transportation arrangements -- many ladies opt for booking a chauffeured limo, bus, or van for the evening. Call around to compare rates.
  • Research and book any talent that might make an appearance at the soiree.

1 Month Before

  • Send invitations. Emailing and calling is okay, too. Make sure your invitation politely informs guests that a contribution to the festivities will be expected and name the price.
  • If you're going with the standard pub crawl, devise the itinerary. Start out with dinner at a rowdy restaurant (you don't want to drink on an empty stomach) and map out all the establishments you want to hit plus what time you'll be popping in. Planning it out this way will help you book your transportation for the proper length of time, and it limits the carousing so that you don't overdo it or spend too much cash. Make all necessary reservations, even at bars. Ask about drink specials and bachelorette freebies.
  • Make your transportation reservation(s). Do it earlier if you live in a metropolitan area, are partying during prom season, or in the summer, when the number of pre-wedding parties tends to peak.
  • If you're partying at home, help the hostess plan refreshments and activities. Make a shopping list. Divide up to-dos among bridesmaids: games, decorations, booze-buying, stereo and/or karaoke set-up, CD duty, etc.

1 Week Before

  • Buy bachelorette party accessories such as the novelty veil or tiara, bite-me candy necklaces, and other naughty props.
  • Make a list of the games you want to play, with rules and how-tos, lest you forget after too many margaritas. Keep it handy.
  • If you're having a scavenger hunt, conspire with your maids and make a list of the mischievous missions the bride will have to fulfill throughout the course of the evening. Keep that handy, too.
  • Confirm RSVPs
  • Confirm transportation arrangements
  • Confirm the at-home entertainment

1 Day Before

  • Debrief the bride (it's okay to keep some of the details a surprise).
  • Remind guests of the meeting place and time, reiterating the address. If there are several stops planned, name the second address, too, for latecomers.
  • Re-confirm all reservations.
  • Get plenty of sleep.

-- Amy Elliott

See More: Bachelorette Parties