Bachelorette Party Planning Checklist (2020 Version)
Planning a bachelorette party can get a little overwhelming. Of course you want to make things perfect for the bride, but you might be surprised to find out that driving yourself crazy with the details actually is not the way to do that. Instead, use our bachelorette party planning checklist to help you create a master plan for your bachelorette party. Customizable for the type of party you are throwing, this checklist helps you get everything done on time and takes some of the guesswork out of deciding when you need to do things and what all you need to do. By taking away the guesswork, we should take away a whole bunch of stress, so that you can relax and hopefully enjoy at least part of the party planning process.
When we put together our bachelorette party planning checklist, we did so with a few assumptions in mind. We assumed that most of the bachelorette party invitees would be local to the bride, that people have relatively flexible travel schedules, and that the wedding is six months or farther away when the bride asks you to be the maid-of-honor or you decide to throw her a bachelorette party. If any of these assumptions are incorrect, you need to think about how that will impact your timeline. Are prospective guests facing their own important events (graduations, marriages, births, etc.)? Do you have the full six months to handle your party preparation? If you are planning a destination bachelorette party, are you going to want the party to coincide with a festival or other event that means it will occur significantly more quickly than the wedding? If so, make sure and adjust your calendar accordingly.
Are you planning your bachelorette party at the height of a popular tourist destination’s busy season or during a special event? If so, you may need to back this checklist up by a year or more. For some of the world’s most sought-after destinations and events, lodging, especially for large groups, can fill up pretty quickly. You may also have a difficult time securing flights, rental cars, and even booking reservations at restaurants. This is not meant to discourage you from planning an awesome Mardi Gras bachelorette party in New Orleans or the Coachella bachelorette party to remember, just to remind you that the higher the demand for your locale on a certain date, the more important it becomes to finalize plans and book things well in advance.
Bachelorette Party Planning Checklist
We outline every step you need to take to get the bachelorette party planned, then include a printable bachelorette party planning checklist at the end, to make your party planning easier.
Six Months Before the Party
Step One: Talk to the Bride
Before you start party-planning, it is essential that you have a conversation with the bride. Find out what her expectations are for a bachelorette party (give her a reality check if they are beyond the budget and time availability of your group), what she is comfortable with, the time frame for the party, and other details you need to know. Elements of the bachelorette party can be a surprise for the bride, but you want plan with her in mind, so have that conversation early!
Step Two: Get the Bride’s Guest List
Trust us when we tell you that planning a party for 3 or 4 is way different than planning a party for 20. Find out who the bride wants at the party and also ask her for details about any conflicts or potential problems in the group. This is not just about getting the tea; it is about knowing things in advance so you can plan around them.
Step Three: Pick Your Organizational Helper
Are you going to use excel, Google docs, a notebook you carry in your purse, or some other organizational method to keep you on track in your party planning? Whatever you plan to use, pick it now, so that you can keep everything organized. We are partial to Google’s suite of docs because you can share them with your party planning group.
Step Four: Form Your Party-Planning Group
Planning a bachelorette party is not a democracy; it is more like a monarchy. Pick a few trusted people to help you with the party planning process or go it alone, but, unless the party group is very small, do not leave decisions up to the guests; it makes for impossible planning. Your core party-planning group can get information from the guests that helps you shape your decisions, but the decision-making comes down to those planning the party.
Step Five: Set Up a Group Email or Website for the Party Planning
This might not be necessary for a small in-town bachelorette party, but if the guest list is long or you are having a destination wedding, setting up a way for all of the guests to keep on top of evolving details is awesome and might keep them from blowing up your phone with questions. If you are going to need to collect payment for anything, set up an easy way to collect that payment like PayPal or Venmo.
Step Six: Set a Budget
The first question you should send out to the group is what they can afford in terms of a bachelorette party. This will help you be realistic in planning a party that most of the bride’s guest list will be able to attend.
Four to Five Months Before the Party
Step Seven: Decide on What Type of Party It Will Be
Once you know the budget, you can make decisions about the party. Will it be a destination bachelorette party, a multi-day party in the bride’s city, will it have a theme, what type of activities will you check out. You do not have to iron out all of the details, but it is impossible to plan a party if you do not have some idea what type of party you want to throw. So, whether it is a mermaid-themed party in a backyard pool or a destination glamping bachelorette, pick your party type.
Step Eight: Find out Restrictions that the Guests or Bride Have
Food allergies? Weekends that just will not work? Fear of heights? Once you have a general idea about the kind of party you are throwing, send out an email asking them to tell you anything you need to keep in mind while planning the party. Make sure you clarify things that are preferences versus things that are health or safety concerns. For example, if a guest is pregnant, she might not want to go on a pub crawl because she cannot drink, but that is not a safety issue. In contrast, a guest with a peanut allergy could not safely attend a peanut brittle baking class.
Steps Nine and Ten: Set the Date and Send Out a Save the Date
Now that you know when people can and cannot make it, set the date. Once you have set the date, send out a save the date with any deadlines you have. Give them a deadline to RSVP, and give them a deadline for any payments, reservations, etc. Anything the guests will need to do to make the party happen, give them a deadline for it. Make their deadline at least a few days before your deadline, because there will be stragglers!
Step Eleven: Make a List of any Reservations You Will Need to Make
Hotel, flights, restaurants, clubs, entertainers, etc.; it you will need to book them for the party, then make a list so that you can make the reservations as soon as you have the RSVPs.
Three Months Before the Party
Step Twelve: Collect the Money
You want to collect money from people before you start spending money, unless you are flush enough to cover everyone’s portion if they do not pay you. If people need to pay for a trip over time, like with a destination wedding, and you do not want to seem like the heavy, you might want to use a travel agent’s services for the trip planning so that the travel agent is the one responsible for handling the money.
Steps Thirteen through Fifteen: Make the Reservations
You know how many people are coming and you have their money, so make all of your reservations. This includes transportation, and, if you are planning a destination party, the sleeping arrangements.
Step Sixteen: Plan Around Difficult Guests
By this time in your party-planning process, you are going to realize that some guests are more difficult than others. You might have one girl that no one else wants to room with, two girls that are not getting along, a future in-law that is giving the bride a hard time, or maybe the bride’s sister is acting like a diva. Whoever it is, if one of the guests is going to be difficult, you probably have a good idea who it is and what she might do to screw things up. This is when you need to make sure you have a plan that limits her ability to mess up the party.
Two Months Before the Party
Step Seventeen: Order any Custom Bachelorette Party Swag
While you can wait to buy party supplies later, if you need anything customized, you will want to do it at least six weeks in advance, just to make sure you get it on time.
Step Eighteen: Create an Itinerary for the Party
You know the guests, you have made the reservations, so now you can create an itinerary. You can send it out with the invitations or post it on your website.
Step Nineteen: Send Invitations and Set a Firm Date for RSVPs
Depending on the type of party you are throwing, you may need to have an absolute headcount for the party. If that is the case, make it very clear that you must have RSVPs by a certain time or guests will not be able to come. Be prepared to send out reminders.
One Month Before the Party
Step Twenty: Double-check Your Reservations and Make any Necessary Changes
It would be awful to show up to your venue and discover they had made a mistake, so a couple of weeks before the party double-check all of your reservations and make sure they have down the right number of people and the right time.
Step Twenty-One: Delegate
Are you feeling overwhelmed? Then delegate some of these other last-minute tasks to others. That is why you made a party-planning group!
Two Weeks Before the Party
Step Twenty-Two: Finish up your Bachelorette Party Accessory Shopping
Oh no! You just discovered that your favorite party supply store no longer has the stuff you wanted for the party. Not a problem, because you have given yourself plenty of time to order it online.
Step Twenty-Three: Gather up all Games or Activities
This gives you plenty of time to make last-minute purchases if you discover that you are missing something.
Step Twenty-Four: Customize Anything that Needs Customizing for the Party
We are not talking about ordering custom swag, which you did more than a month ago; we are talking about anything you need to make custom for the party, working with your handy list of things the guests can’t eat or do.
Step Twenty-Five: Fill Goody Bags, Wrap Favors, Plan Welcome Bags
Get together with your party planning group, pop open some bottles of wine, and spend a night watching chick flicks and stuffing swag bags. You think you will have plenty of time to do it before the party, but, trust us, if you get it out of the way now, you will be much less stressed as the party approaches.
One Week Before Party
Step Twenty-Six: Confirm RSVPs
We know we have mentioned confirming RSVPs a lot. We mention it because getting people to commit to a party has become increasingly difficult. You want to make sure you know who all is coming and this gives you a chance to answer any last-minute guests that guests might have!
Step Twenty-Seven: Confirm Sleeping Arrangements
While you have already gone over sleeping arrangements, if you do not confirm them, we promise you there will be at least one girl who swears that she is bunking with the bride, even if that is completely different from what you planned months ago. Deal with it now, not when you arrive at the hotel.
Step Twenty-Eight: Confirm Entertainment
And by entertainment, we mean your strippers. Adult entertainers can be a little flaky, so make sure and follow-up with the company so that you know you are on the schedule and that the dancer knows when and where to arrive.
Step Twenty-Nine: Confirm Travel Arrangements; Implement Contingency Plan if Necessary
If you are heading out somewhere, make sure that everyone knows when their flights are leaving, how to get from the airports to the hotel or rental house, what airport in places with multiple airports, etc. If you are traveling someplace and it looks like weather might interfere with your plans (hello hurricanes), this is the time to think about kicking your contingency plan into action.
Step Thirty: Buy Alcohol
Alcohol keeps longer than food, so go ahead and get the alcohol purchases out of the way. If you are heading to a destination, you can often order alcohol online and schedule for it to be delivered to your rental house once you arrive.
Three or Four Days Before the Party
Step Thirty-One: Buy Food
If you are serving anything perishable, you will probably have to wait until just days before the party to buy your food. This time-frame may also depend on your refrigerator capacity.
Day of the Party
Step Thirty-Two: Buy Ice
Don’t forget the bags of ice if you need them. You can get them the morning of the party and store them in a cooler to keep them frozen. Buy them any earlier and you will have a melted mess!
Step Thirty-Three: Arrive at Least 30 Minutes Early to the Venue
Heading somewhere? Make sure you are there early, so you can greet all of the guests, warn them of any traffic issues, and handle any last-minute problems that might arise. As the hostess, you do not want to risk being late.
Step Thirty-Four: Relax and Enjoy the Party
You have spent the last six months or so planning a great party to celebrate the bride, now it is time to relax and have some fun. Sure, you will still need to keep an eye on things and make sure the bride is enjoying herself, but make sure you take a few minutes to enjoy the awesome party you put together!
Planning a bachelorette party is not difficult, but it can get overwhelming. Our party planning checklist might be very detailed, but by breaking each part of the process down, we can help you create a great party without being overwhelmed or leaving out a critical detail. Just remember, the most important thing is that the bride enjoys the party; everything else is secondary!