The A-Z of a stress-free bachelorette party

The bachelorette party is about more than just a night on the town. It’s often a rare opportunity for many of the girls to get together and spend time with friends they seldom get to see and it’s also the bride-to-be’s last night out with her friends as a single lady.

A woman’s wedding is so much more than just one special day as a princess in the dress of her dreams – it’s a time in her life that is filled with many special events, occasions and activities.

As such, it’s as much of responsibility as an honour to be nominated as bridesmaid. In the excitement of your best friend getting engaged, with thoughts of frothy white dresses looming large in your mind, the last thing you’re thinking about is the actual logistics of what you have taken on.

And whilst it’s an honour to be the chosen one, it can be daunting, especially if you haven’t been involved in wedding preparations before so remember that a little preparation and planning ahead of time will go a long way.

  • Keep the bride in mind

This may seem like the most obvious tip of them all, but you’d be surprised at how often people forget to take the bride’s likes and dislikes into account.

Just because it’s a bachelorette, does not automatically mean it should be a wild party including loads of alcohol and a very late night. In fact, it may not even remotely be the bride’s idea of a good time. Think about what type of person she is: laid-back, bohemian, outgoing, adventurous, classy, or trendy? Whether you like the same things or not, the party is about the bride so it must be what she will enjoy. This also narrows your options considerably – which alleviates a lot of stress from the get-go.

  • Establish a budget

Yes, it’s boring but cost and money can be the most stressful parts of planning a bachelorette because once you start to add up all the items on your list, including transport, gifts, entertainment and catering, things can start to look pretty expensive.

It’s  traditional for the bridal party and bachelorette guests to host the event for the bride, so make sure everyone invited can actually afford what you’ve got planned. Be gracious when planning the financial aspects of the party, and stick to your budget. It will also save you from the additional stress of having to hound people for payments in the future.

  • Plan Ahead Before You Have to Catch Up

Planning ahead is one of the essential rules when throwing any event. Allow yourself enough time to plan for snags and make sure you have a back-up plan in case something serious happens – especially if your venue is outdoors.

This also goes a long way to ensure that you don’t forget anything crucial and it gives you time to source the best options instead of taking what’s available because you have left everything until the last minute.

  • Create a checklist

It will help you create an initial timeline of everything that needs to get done before the party. Print out the checklist and then put the various tasks into your calendar so that you can keep tabs on all your plans, guest payments and other party developments.

Consider starting a Facebook group to keep all the information in one place. This also allows the guests to get to know each other a little better before the event.

  • Delegate

Yes, as maid of honour, the bachelorette remains your responsibility but delegating not only helps you accomplish everything in time, it also helps everyone to feel involved from the get-go and brings about a sense of team accomplishment which carries forth into the actual event.

 Most of us equate the words “bachelorette party” with excessive alcohol, loud music, tacky penis straws and a LOT of cash spent. But a bachelorette party doesn’t have to fit that stereo-typical image, and many brides-to-be would actually prefer not to get fall-down drunk on this very special occasion.

The era of the alternative bachelorette party has arrived and many of the ideas are very easy on the pocket.

  • Go Camping

Instead of going to a dark and smoky night club, enjoy an awesome bonding session while you commune with nature. Just make sure you include at least one person with camping experience to ensure you set up a camp that won’t disintegrate halfway through the night. However, if you’re not keen to pitch tents or don’t even have any, then there are a couple of great places that have really cool pre-pitched tents like Injisuthi Camp in the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park and in Tietiesbaai, just north of Paternoster, the eco-friendly Beach Camp which has pre-pitched comfortable bedded Twin Tents and A-frame tents kitted out with all the necessary camping gear would tempt even those who don’t enjoy camping.

  • Book a cooking class

Another great option for the bachelorette who isn’t much of a party animal, cooking classes are great fun and a source of very useful new skills. Several schools also offer great theme classes so you can try your hand at anything form French cuisine to home-made pasta or sushi.

  • Take a road trip

There are few things quite as exhilarating as hitting the open road to explore new places, sharing an adventure with friends and creating memories to last a lifetime. The Western Cape offers myriad great destinations, all within easy driving distance. From lush green vineyards, to rugged terrain and pristine beaches, you quite literally have the world on your doorstep.

  • Go to a comedy club

Comedy clubs are the new hot thing in South Africa and all major cities and towns have great comedy venues where diverse comedians shake things up and keep you in stitches up with scathing satire, colourful impersonations, improvisation routines and open mic sessions. All in all a great, uplifting night out and if you sit near the front in their firing line, the bride-to-be will certainly be the centre of attention.

  • Wine tasting

Rent a limo or chose a designated driver and head for the winelands. Plan a route of several estates and enjoy a leisurely lunch in a tranquil setting at the last stop. Make sure to buy a bottle of the bride’s favourite wine at each stop for her to share with her partner.

  • Old fashioned slumber party

Blow up air mattresses, grab your sleeping bags, order pizza and then stay up all night watching your guilty pleasure movies, giving each other facials and getting goofy in your pj’s.

  • Opt for a health-themed party

Instead acquiring a crippling hangover and eating terribly, why not make it a day or weekend of replenishment? Book a yoga class, plan a hiking trip with a delicious picnic in a beautiful setting (champagne is not unhealthy), book a day at a health spa or hire bikes and cycle through the winelands ending with lunch at a wine farm.

Finally, just about every moment at the bachelorette is a great photo opportunity! To make them even more memorable, work in some clever decorations or props or fun activities that will either inspire drunken hilarity or serve as great backdrops for group shots. However, do not post the results indiscriminately on social media without checking with the photo subjects first as this final gesture could spoil your perfect event that took so many hours to plan to perfection.

Words by Tracy Bartlett

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