How To Plan a Bachelorette Party Without Having a Breakdown

A tale of relieving the pressure to create the best bachelorette weekend EVER.
Publish date:
May 4, 2012
bachelorette party, sashes

When my best girl friend Shadiah asked me to be her maid of honor, I was excited -- but in an abstract way. Except for the one time I was a flower girl when I was eight, I don't know much about weddings. Then when I realized as the HBMIC I was supposed to plan the bachelorette weekend, I felt a creeping sense of overwhelm.

What the heck is there to do in Charlotte, North Carolina? Where could I find strippers with just the right amount of oil slathered on their abs? Did I mention that I'd be the only single gal on the trip? Yay!

Sarah was engaged to a hot Chilean, Carla was deep in the throes of new love, Chantal was engaged to Shadiah’s fiance’s brother, and Shadiah, of course, was the beaming bride-to-be. My worst nightmare? After several hours of sitting silently among my friends gushing over boyfriends, fiances and wedding gifts, I’d have a drunken cry breakdown, and everyone else would have to hold my hair while I vomited. I've been scarred by the silly-and-pitiful-single-friend trope seen in so many romantic comedies.

So like any good avoider, I put off even thinking about the bachelorette for months. Then like a good Type A gal, I freaked out when I realized there were only 30 days left until game time. So then I swung from slacker to overacheiver with an excel spreadsheet and a long bullet pointed email to the bridesmaids with tasks assigned to everyone.

I got a call one night from the bride-to-be.

“You don’t have to organize everything!” Shadiah said, before offering to help herself. Clearly word had got around that someone hadn't gotten her ish together.

But the bride-to-be helping plan her own bachelorette party? How was that supposed to work? In my fantasies the whole weekend would be the perfect blend between surprise party and kidnapping. But I was overwhelmed, and seriously how great would it be to know that Shadiah approved of everything we had planned? So I relented.

We both agreed that a great bachelorette weekend was a mix of girly quality time, drunken buffoonery, lazy fun, and delicious food. It should be planned enough to where we weren’t all shrugging our shoulders about what to do next but not so planned that we'd be speeding from one "activity" to the next.

In just ten minutes of actually talking to the bride I got more accomplished than in the four months I tried planning everything in my head. Here's what we laid out:

Have a budget.

Though we are all highly degreed, my group of friends and I are all about affordable fun. Since we were already flying in from all over the country, Shadiah pitched in the same amount we were spending to come to be with her ($400). That covered Saturday night pre-party cocktails, decoration, and food but not Sunday brunch and club drinks. As the HBMIC I was in charge of doling out the funds and everyone else bought mixers for our signature bachelorette cocktail, The Mr. Right: 2 shots of vodka, 3/4 oz campari, 2 oz pomegranate juice, 1 oz triple sec, and a squeeze of lemon juice over ice.

Agree on stripper/no-stripper.

Shadiah made it very clear that she absolutely did not want a stripper and wouldn't find it funny to be SURPRISED! with one. So I made it clear to everyone that no greasy, hard-bootied man was going to pop out of an oversized cake. I was relieved as she was. Did I tell you about the time I was asked to slather the stripper down before showtime at the last bachelorette party I went to?

Let people be as involved as they want to be.

While half of the girls immediately responded to my email, a few benevolently ignored my chipper-bossy messages. Rather than try and force people to be involved, let the enthusiastic planners step up and take the lead. Similarly, not everyone has to be in the same room starring at each other every second.

Plan activities that are fun--not legendary.

The Hangover makes a real-life bachelorette seem boring in comparison. Since Shadiah and I've been friends for 10 years, we both know exactly what's fun for our friend group and that wasn't the coolest most story-worthy bachelorette weekend. We wanted mani-pedis with wine not a tiger in the bathroom. We wanted to lounge on a grassy knoll in sundresses, scream throughout the movie Bridesmaids, go out dancing (not necessarily on tables), and Sunday brunch somewhere chic.

So with all that in mind I headed to North Carolina, not Vegas, for what would be a weekend to remembe if not the raunchiest most insane weekend in the history of the Playboy Mansion.

We had homemade nipple cookies, penis-themed decorations, free-flowing pink cocktails, and custom satin sashes for every girl so guys knew to buy us drinks. We roamed from one club to another in increasing states of drunkeness, having a dance-filled and drama-free night that ended with burgers and fries at Five Guys.

Sure it was no "The Hangover," but the next morning, we were disgustingly hung over and even that was part of the fun. After a coffee-filled brunch, we snuggled in Shadiah’s bed and talked for hours. There was lots of “I’m so in love” talk, but rather than making me feel left out, it made me excited for myself. My best girl friends had found lasting love, and I was next-ish!