This is your night (or nights!) so while you might not be the one planning all the festivities, it’s important to communicate, ideally with all attendees but most definitely with your maid of honor, so you’re all on the same page. Here are some bachelorette party basics from the brand-new book Radiant Bride (January 2016: Running Press; $22), by Alexis Wolfer, to think about and, more important, talk about, before basking in your bride-to-be fete.
1. THE TONE
At the end of the day, your maid of honor (or host of your bachelorette) is the one calling the shots, and your job is to graciously accept the party in your honor. While there is no right or wrong way to celebrate the end of your bachelorette-hood, it is important that your girls know whether your idea of the perfect pre-nuptials party involves X-rated strippers in Vegas, a relaxing spa getaway, a low-key slumber party at a fancy hotel (complete with DIY facials, room service, and movies), a dive bar with line dancing, or any combination thereof.
2. THE GUEST LIST
Other than the fact that everyone invited to the bachelorette party should be on the wedding’s guest list, there are no rules when it comes to invites. Whether you prefer just to party with your bridesmaids or want to include others, it’s your call. Do keep your mom and future mother-in-law in mind. While they probably aren’t any more interested in heading to a strip club with you than you are in having them there, if your bachelorette party is taking place at a spa or over brunch, it’s appropriate to include them. And if you are planning a big (read: boozy) night out, consider inviting them to dinner and say bye-bye before barhopping.
Lots of brides-to-be these days are jetting off for weekend getaways with the girls. And while this can be a blast, it’s important to be sensitive to other people’s budgets and to let your maid of honor (or whomever else is spearheading the party planning) know whether your priority is for everyone to be able to participate even if it means a local, low-key evening or if you’d rather go all out but know not everyone will be able to participate.
4. WHO PAYS
The only rule here is that it’s not the bride—and that everyone knows the anticipated cost prior to accepting the invitation. Typically, each attendee pays her own way and all attendees split the cost for the bride, but it’s not totally unheard of for a host to foot the bill, either, for all attendees or just for the bride.
Anything other than the night before the big day goes. (Trust me, you do not want to look and feel hungover on your wedding day!) But for most brides-to-be, planning your bachelorette at least a month prior to the wedding will help to alleviate stress and give you ample time to recover. You also don’t want to do this during the initial twenty-one Radiant Bride Detox, so plan accordingly—and ensure you have enough time to cleanse the effects out of your system before your big day.
Bachelorette parties can get crazy and leave all attendees in compromising positions! Consider buying disposable cameras (yup, they still make them) to safely capture all your memories and ensure they stay off-line, or just implementing a “No Social Media” rule (or, at the very least, a “No Social Media Without Prior, Sober Approval by All Pictured Parties” rule). Speaking of . . .
7. SOCIAL MEDIA
Whether your rule is just regarding picture sharing or anything else, make sure your girls know if there is anything you’re not cool with their sharing online.
8. PLASTIC PENISES
There are two types of brides-to-be: those who are all about the kitschy party that’s incomplete without penis-necklaces, shlong-straws, and a cock-cake and those who can’t think of much worse. Same goes for the “Soon to Be Mrs.” sash, faux veil, and rhinestone-encrusted crown. Figure out where you stand on this and ensure your maid of honor knows it.
See above. Same rules.
10. SET EXPECTATIONS
Before you and your fiancé head out on your respective night(s) on the town, it’s important to discuss expectations—and a coy “don’t do anything I wouldn’t do” doesn’t cut it. If there is anything you’d be devastated to hear your partner did, let him/her know. Also, be sure to clarify ahead of time whether you’re going to share your nights’ activities with each other or if you’ll never talk about it again.
11. BE GRATEFUL
Your gal pals spent a lot of time (and likely money!) to send off your singlehood in style. Don’t forget to show them your appreciation with a heartfelt note and small gift. Real beauty radiates from gratitude, kindness, and generosity so this is sure to earn you some serious beauty points!
ALEXIS WOLFER is the founder and editor-in- chief of the popular online women’s magazine TheBeautyBean.com as well as a beauty, fashion, and lifestyle expert. Alexis’s unique and effective beauty secrets led Access Hollywood to dub her the “Female Beauty MacGyver” and People Stylewatch to call her “The DIY Beauty Queen.” She is also a certified holis- tic health coach and the author of The Recipe For Radiance: Discover Beauty’s Best-Kept Secrets In Your Kitchen. She currently lives in Los Angeles.