Wedding Planning Guide

bachelorette party planning 101

In charge of planning this pre-wedding bash? Here's how to get it right.

Bachelorette parties are all about celebrating your last single days with your closest pals, whether that means hitting the clubs, relaxing poolside, or enjoying some brunch and bubbly. In charge of planning the bachelorette party? Follow our guide to throw the bride-to-be a bachelorette bash she'll remember.


A quick primer on some of the most frequently asked questions about the bachelorette party.

What's a bachelorette party?

The bachelorette party is a celebration of the bride-to-be’s final days before she ties the knot and becomes a married woman. Unlike the bridal shower, a bachelorette party generally doesn’t focus on gifts—just celebrating.

Who usually plans the bachelorette party?

Also unlike the bridal shower, which is typically planned by her bridesmaids, the bachelorette party can be planned by anyone. More often than not, the party-planners wind up being her maid of honor and bridesmaids, but really, any close friend or relative can plan this party.

Who is invited to the bachelorette?

Feel free to invite anyone you'd like to have by your side as you celebrate your last days as a single lady—as long as they're also invited to your wedding. (It's not a good idea to invite anyone to a pre-wedding party who isn't invited to the wedding.) These will be your bridal party members, of course, but could also include any close non-bridesmaid pals (male or female), close relatives, and even your future sisters-in-law. Keep in mind that you might want to keep the guest list under 20 or so in order to keep the party prep more manageable.

Are mothers invited to bachelorette party?

That's completely up to the bride. If the bachelorette party is going to be a more low-key celebration, like a dinner party or brunch, then it's a thoughtful gesture to invite your mom (and even close aunts) and your fiancé's mother to attend.

Who pays for the bachelorette party?

Traditionally, the only person who doesn't pay for the bachelorette party is the bride. Especially for an in-town party that's a single night out instead of a weekend away, the bridesmaids and other guests will often chip in to cover the bride's share, as well as cover their own costs.

Bachelorette Party Planning Checklist

Follow our suggested schedule to make sure the party goes off without a hitch.

Three (or More) Months Before

  • Ask the bride what she wants.
  • Before you dive into the planning, ask the bride-to-be what she wants (and wants to avoid!) for her bachelorette. Maybe it's a girls' night out on the town? A flower-arranging class followed by a mimosa brunch? A weekend getaway at a spa with lots of pool time? Check in with the guest of honor—and also ask her to suggest a few dates that work with her schedule—and go from there.

  • Set the date.
  • Typically a bachelorette party happens a month or two before the wedding, but if you're looking to have a destination bachelorette, be sure to take travel into account (i.e., Cabo during hurricane season probably isn't the best idea). Also, if many guests live in different parts of the world you may want to have something small and brief a day or two before the wedding (this would be the perfect opportunity to have a spa day).

  • Create the guest list.
  • Ask the bride who she’d like to be invited and aim to keep it small so everyone can enjoy time with the bride-to-be.

  • Send a save-the-date email.
  • Shoot an email to the invitees and let them know when the event will be taking place and an estimate of what the cost will be (remember that the bride-to-be does not pay and her portion will be split amongst the group). If any conflicts arise you'll have more than enough time to try to adjust plans to accommodate people's budgets and schedules (but keep in mind that it may be impossible to find a day and amount of money that will work for everyone).

  • Book travel and lodging (if necessary).
  • If you're partying afar, once the date(s) are set, it's time for guests to buy their airfare and reserve lodging to ensure availability.

Two Months Before

  • Brainstorm activities.
  • Enlist help from the bridesmaids to plan group activities, games, entertainment, and potential group gifts for the guest of honor. (Keep in mind that gifts for the bride aren't required at a bachelorette party—especially if you're traveling from afar to attend the shindig—but some partygoers decide to go in together to buy a gift from the group.)

  • Make reservations.
  • If you’re reserving a dinner table, private tables at a club, hiring an entertainer, ordering show tickets, booking a class, or renting transportation, book well in advance to avoid any last-minute hitches in your plans. Be sure to arrange transportation or designate a driver ahead of time.

One Month Before

  • Send invitations.
  • Mail bachelorette party invitations to invitees (emailing works, too). Include all the important party details and let guests know if there’s a theme, dress code, or anything special they should bring for the guest of honor.

  • Create an itinerary and confirm reservations.
  • Plan a tentative schedule of events that outlines all the spots you want to hit, plus what time you want to get there. Double check to confirm all your reservations; don't forget to ask about drink specials, group deals, and bachelorette freebies.

  • Divvy up responsibilities.
  • If you're celebrating at home, divide up the to-dos among bridesmaids: games/activities, decorations, food and drinks, music playlists, and sleeping arrangements (if necessary).

One Week Before

  • Buy decorations.
  • Purchase any decorations and/or bachelorette party props.

  • Prep any games.
  • Make a list of the games you'll be playing and write out the rules and instructions (don't leave writing the game directions for when you're a few cocktails in!).

  • Confirm RSVPs and reservations.
  • Double-check to make sure you have an accurate headcount and all your reservations confirmed and ready to go.

One Day Before

  • Check in with the bride-to-be.
  • Give her a brief rundown of the schedule of events so she knows what to expect (but it's definitely OK to keep some of the details a surprise!).

  • Send a reminder email to guests.
  • Remind guests of the meeting place and time, reiterating the address. If there are several stops planned, name the second address too, for any latecomers.

Bachelorette Party Themes

Choose a bachelorette party theme that suits the guest of honor’s personality, but make sure it’s one that everyone invited will also enjoy. And don’t feel like you have to plan an elaborate weekend in Vegas; instead, get creative with these unique bachelorette party ideas.

    The Classics

  • Pool Party—Fun floaties and tasty cocktails are all you need to make a poolside party a splash. Just add sunshine (and colorful shades!).
  • Spa Day—The bride will appreciate pampering beauty treatments and relaxation before the big day.
  • Honeymoon—Draw inspiration from the couple’s honeymoon destination for your party’s theme.
  • Lingerie—Can be customized to suit the bride’s style, from sweet to sultry.

  • Lots of Laughs

  • X-Rated—Also a classic; this one’s all about naughty games, treats, and decorations.
  • Game Night—Invite guests to bring their favorite board game for a fun night in; or come up with wedding-themed games and activities.
  • Drag Show—Get seats near the stage and get ready to be heckled.
  • Comedy Club—If the performer knows there’s a bride-to-be in the audience, you’re sure to hear some great newlywed jokes.

  • Get Creative

  • Scavenger Hunt—Split into teams to find places and clues themed around the soon-to-be-weds.
  • Late night at a museum or gallery—Many local museums have late-night events with music, wine, and appetizers—perfect for the art-loving bride.
  • Craft night—Get your DIY on! Help the bride check things off her wedding DIY list (wedding favors, signage, etc.), or make personalized T-shirts or jewelry together as a group.
  • Drawing class—Create portraits of the bride-to-be or book a live model for a group art session.

  • Keep It Classy

  • Casino—Hit the town or set up casino tables at home.
  • Brunch—Host a potluck with a bubbly bar or reserve tables at the bride’s favorite brunch spot.
  • Glamping—For the adventurous bride, book a weekend retreat and a glamping resort (don’t forget to pack the champagne!).
  • Tea Party—Pinkies up for this tasty tradition. Make it your own with a menu of small bites and sandwiches, a variety of tea flavors, and whimsical decor.

  • Get Dressed Up

  • Western—Country brides will love a western-themed hoedown--get ready to line dance the night away!
  • Princess Bride—Make her princess dreams come true with a fanciful fairytale theme. Tiaras required.
  • Roaring ‘20s—Go glam with a Gatsby-style bash, complete with period costumes and classic cocktails.

  • For the Foodie

  • Cooking Class—Learning to cook a favorite dish or pastry is a great way for the group to bond.
  • Wine Tasting—Take a tour of local wineries, sampling their offerings and taking in the beautiful scenery.
  • Cheese Tasting—A fun and delicious way to take a tasty group trip around the world.

  • Get Active

  • 5K or 10K Run—This can be a meaningful accomplishment if everyone on the guest list is up for a group race.
  • Hike—Pack a picnic and choose a scenic route that suits everyone’s activity level.
  • Bike Ride—Cruise around the city or along a scenic trail.
  • Yoga—A group yoga class will help the whole group feel relaxed and centered before the big day.
  • Horseback Ride—Cowgirl up and book a horseback excursion for the adventurous bride.
  • Volunteer—Get together and make a difference by volunteering for a charity or cause that’s close to the bride’s heart.
  • Go Karts/Bowling/Mini Golf—Themed outfits make any of these activities even more fun.
  • Paintball—Add a bridal twist with bad bridesmaids dresses from a thrift store.


The celebration of a bride-to-be’s last days as a bachelorette should be as unique and fun as she is. If you’re planning a bachelorette party for a friend or family member, choose party games and activities she and everyone else in attendance will enjoy. Just keep the games short so guests don’t lose interest, make the rules easy to follow, and ensure any game you choose can be played with a glass of bubbly in hand. Here are some of our favorite bachelorette party game ideas.

  • Pin the Kiss on Her Crush—Print a life-size poster of the groom or the bride’s celebrity crush; add a blindfold and lip-shaped stickers for a grown-up version of pin the tail on the donkey.
  • The Soon-to-Be-Newlywed Game—Have the groom answer a set of questions about the bride and their relationship before the party; then, once the festivities are underway, have the bride-to-be guess his responses.
  • Photo Scavenger Hunt—Create clues to significant places or things in the couple’s relationship around town (first date location, where he proposed, their favorite bar), or make a list of snaps to take over the course of a night on the town (i.e., a selfie with the bride-to-be, a photo of the bride singing).
  • Bachelorette Trivia—Who knows the bride-to-be best? Write a list of questions and have a prize for the guest with the most right answers.
  • Board Games—Break out some classic board games for a fun night in. Complete the nostalgic sleepover experience with PJs, facials, and nail polish.
  • Photo Booth—Set up a photo booth with a custom backdrop and props to capture the fun.
  • Truth or Dare—A girls’ night classic; you can make this game as tame or risque as suits the group.
  • Make a Scrapbook—Each guest can customize a page with photos and mementos and leave a personal note for the bride-to-be.
  • Lingerie Guessing Game—Have each guest bring a lingerie gift in a style they feel best suits the bride-to-be; then her guess who brought each one.
  • Cooking Class—Learning to cook a favorite dish or pastry is a great way for the group to bond.
  • Wine Tasting—Take a tour of local wineries, sampling their offerings and taking in the beautiful scenery.
  • Cheese Tasting—A sampling of cheeses can take the group on a tasty trip around the world.
  • Hike—Pack a picnic and choose a scenic route that suits everyone’s activity level.
  • Yoga—A group yoga class will help the whole group feel relaxed and centered before the big day.
  • Volunteer—Get together and make a difference for a cause that’s close to the bride’s heart.
  • Go Karts/Bowling/Mini Golf—Themed outfits make any of these activities even more fun.
  • Paintball—Add a bridal twist with bad bridesmaids dresses from a thrift store.