Planning a bachelorette party that considers the bride’s desires and her friends’ finances can be daunting. To make it memorable, get personal. “Really think about the bride and her interests versus just what a stereotypical bachelorette party looks like,” says Emily Head, senior coordinator at Milwaukee event planning company Events to a T.
Worried about costs and uninterested in typical bachelorette mayhem, recent bride Molly Solberg nixed a trendy destination Airbnb and gathered her nine bridesmaids for a cozy weekend at her sister’s home in Whitefish Bay. Solberg loves Lake Michigan, so she penciled in swimming and a boat ride for a beachy Labor Day weekend bash.
Also looking out for her friends’ wallets, recent bride Mary Rose Black suggests scheduling the party at the same time as a local festival, for a built-in group outing (think: French or Italian themed parties to coincide with Milwaukee’s Bastille Days or Festa Italiana).
“I did not want people to be put out by the bachelorette party,” she says.
While Black’s “the more the merrier” motto (she invited nearly 15 friends) cut down on the per-person cost of their Door County Airbnb rental, invite too many pals and you’ll limit your options, as group class and boat rental capacities are usually capped at around 10 to 15.
Head says to invite only those who are particularly special to the bride. “Quality over quantity is a must in this case,” she says.
And, even for the most relaxed brides, Head says a bride-to-be will enjoy her party most when it’s scheduled at least three to four months before the big day.
Keep it Local: Get the bachelorette party started with these fresh ideas.
– If you’re looking for outdoorsy fun in the sun, you could cruise around on the river with a pontoon boat rental from Riverwalk Boat Tours, or test your girlfriends’ endurance with the 16-seat Milwaukee Pedal Tavern.
– If your party falls in the cooler months, fear not: Design a print at a private, B.Y.O.B. “Drink and Ink” party at Bay View Printing Co. Or book a “blowout party” at Drybar, on East Buffalo Street in the Third Ward, for a guaranteed good hair night.
– A great choice year-round: the uber-popular tour at Great Lakes Distillery. Or learn your lagers at a private “Bierklasse” at any of the Lowlands restaurants. “The whole myth that women don’t drink beer drives us batty,” host Kim Bell says. Lowlands’ hosts will plan and customize a laid-back beer seminar for your bachelorette bunch – for $35, each guest can drink seven boozy beers, snack on crispy Belgian frites and win coveted prizes.
Who Pays and Who Plans for the Bachelorette Party?
Once the bride narrows down her party wish list, the bulk of party planning traditionally falls to the maid of honor.
And while the maid of honor and bridesmaids typically split the bride’s expenses, there are limits, says Megan Potter, owner and lead planner of Milwaukee’s Dare to Dream Weddings.
“If plane rides are involved for a girls weekend out of state, I’ve seen the bride pick up her own tab for the major expenses such as the plane ticket, and her ladies gift her hotel room.”
Guests often bring something for the bride, from quality lingerie to comfy pajamas to gag gifts, but Potter says that if the party is more elaborate, paying for yourself and splitting the bride’s expenses is typically considered enough.