One of the most stressful parts of planning a bachelorette for your best friend is picking a theme. After all, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime event so you’ve got to get it right! And with guests from all parts of her life who don’t necessarily know each other, choosing a theme that will be fun for everyone can feel like a nightmare.
Not to worry: we’re here to help! We’ve rounded out four steps to picking the best bachelorette party theme for your bride-to-be. Whether she wants a FRIENDS-themed party, a beach-themed bachelorette bash, or something else entirely, we’ll help you figure it out!
What is a bachelorette party, exactly?
Bachelorette parties have come a long way. While bridal showers have been around since the 1500s, the ‘last fling before the ring’ has only been something popularized by trendy brides since the 1960s. Even then, it was mostly just a second gift-opening extravaganza where the gifts could be a little more risqué. Now, the bachelorette party has evolved into a celebration of friendship, fun, and female bonding.
Based on recent surveys (and since the COVID-19 pandemic), half of engaged women say that they’re willing to spend $1,000 or more to go all out while attending a bachelorette party weekend. It’s helpful to keep this in mind while undertaking planning (but also know that you don’t have to break the bank to have a great time).
People haven’t been as free to have fun as usual, and there’s no time like now to make up for it!
Step 1: Make Sure the Bachelorette Party Theme Suits the Occasion and the Bride’s Preference
Whatever theme you choose, make sure it’s something that reflects who the bride is and what she wants to do. Remember the golden rule: if the bride isn’t having fun, no one is going to be having fun. It’s the wedding version of ‘if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.’
So, if your bride is a soft-spoken bibliophile who is deeply modest, you’re probably not going to plan a karaoke-themed bachelorette party. Instead, what about a How-To makeup appointment? Have makeup, hair, and stylist professionals come in to teach all the ladies how to highlight their natural beauty.
Alternatively, if your bride is easily embarrassed, consider doing something that doesn’t put her in the spotlight by herself. Does she love the outdoors? Take her glamping! This page has great ideas for a weekend in the woods that has all the amenities (and the champagne). Or if the bride is a fan of fashion in the 80s, you could go for an 80s-themed bachelorette party.
The main point of a bachelorette party is to celebrate the bride-to-be, and putting the emphasis on her likes and favorite things will help the party feel exciting and natural.
Step 2: Consider the Budget
No good party comes for free, so be ready to start spending (everyone else’s money, along with your own).
Setting a budget that meets everyone’s needs can be tricky. You’re going to have to communicate with everyone, so get those group chats ready. This is even more true if you don’t know the bride’s siblings, or other ladies in the wedding party well enough to know what their work and income situations are like.
Talk about it before you dive in with planning. Is everyone comfortable flying? According to Go Banking Rates, that’s where a big chunk of bachelorette weekend expenses come in. If not, can everyone stay local and afford $150 to chip in for a meal and activity, like renting out an adult bounce house course? (Seriously, you can purchase these on Etsy).
These are two extremes. There’s a wide range of options in the middle, including everything from wine and painting activities to having a grown-up slumber party with massages in a boutique hotel. At Spa Saint Louis, you can book manicures, pedicures, wraps, and facials at the same location where you can sleep over. Renting out the Premiere Suite starts at $219 a night.
Otherwise, if everyone is flush with cash, go all out on a Las Vegas weekend to remember!
If someone seems unable to attend for financial reasons, reach out individually. You may be able to pool some money to make sure everyone who should be there can be there. Remember the main goal is for the bride to have a great experience with all of her friends!
Step 3: Check the Venue
It’s true, particularly in historical venues, that many places don’t allow certain types of decor in their places of business. This Reddit thread talks a bit about that, written by a bride struggling to find appropriate decor that can be put up without any kind of tape or hooks. Her venue also had a ban on placing anything on the ceiling.
If your venue doesn’t allow you to decorate the walls, it may make certain themes impractical. That said, you can still create an atmosphere for your theme with table centerpieces, chair throws, and freestanding decorations. We really like these pretty tree decorations which are freestanding and won’t damage anything at whatever venue you choose.
And of course, if you’re hosting this event in your own home, you have a lot more flexibility with what you’re willing to do to decorate the space!
Step 4: Think About Other Elements of the Bachelorette Party
No matter what you’re doing or where you’re staying, it’s important to really express the theme and make the space (and guests) feel special. Think about the details and about what your bride will first see when she enters with all of you, her best girls!
You can, with the right planning, theme the food and drinks as well. For most of us, nothing says ‘classy’ and ‘personalized’ like a custom drink. If you’re throwing a tropical-themed or beach-themed bachelorette party, try this recipe for a coconut-watermelon martini. If you’re going for a jazz theme, try this 1920s spritzer.
But if none of these themes work for your bride, fear not. Check out this resource where there’s info on how to throw everything from Harry Potter to 80’s Dance-themed bachelorette parties.
Tips From The Party Planners
When it comes to throwing the perfect party, it helps to take tips from the experts! Here are our three top suggestions:
- Don’t overschedule the event. One pro advises that packing the schedule can be stressful. Someone is always late, and a 30-minute buffer between activities to allow for this tardiness is a great time to just kick back and hang out.
- Ask for help. Another pro notes that the planner should always feel like they can ask for help. You’re not planning a wedding. Instead, you’re getting a group of the bride’s friends and family together, and these gals will have their own strengths. If someone is a crafter, ask them if they can make up some decorations. If someone is a spreadsheet whiz, let her lay out the expected costs.
- Have several mood-based playlists ready. Another pro notes that the music sets the tone, but the tone will change throughout the weekend. Have a mix of playlists that will both get the party going and help it wind down. Include throwbacks to the bride’s childhood and teen years. Include whatever her song is with the groom-to-be. And, of course, bring a way to listen to the tunes, like a Bluetooth speaker.
Using these four tips, you can select the best theme for your friend’s bachelorette, and move on to planning the party!
A great theme will lead your party from start to finish, from location and decorations, to the food, drinks, and games involved in your bachelorette party. To help other planners, comment with the best bachelorette theme idea you’ve heard of below!
We’d love to see pictures from your trip – make sure to tag @BDR on Instagram!