For generations of brides it’s been hailed as the last night of freedom, but exactly when do you have a bachelorette party? From a wild night out to a more tame evening with bridesmaids, the bachelorette party marks a celebration of both past memories and a new life to come. And due to procrastination or by choice, many might wait to throw this big bash until the weekend before the wedding.
And for many brides, that might be a big mistake.
Even if the bridal party is planning on going light on the festivities, when you actually schedule the bachelorette party may impact everything from your finances to pre-wedding jitters.
Sound scary? It doesn’t have to be. All it takes is a little coordination between bridal party members and a little planning ahead. Let’s look at some common concerns when it comes to planning that pre-wedding party.
Is a bachelorette party required?
The simple answer is no: everyone is different, and there is no obligation to have a bachelorette party. That said, most brides do appreciate some time, whatever it entails, to spend with their closest girlfriends and kick back before one of the biggest days of their life.
Besides tradition, why have one? For one, it gives everyone a much needed break from wedding planning stress. For another, it can be a way to get everyone to bond before the wedding (using a message board like Guestboard to plan everything means they can interact even sooner). In short, having a bachelorette party is way for everyone to stop and take some time for themselves–and hopefully, create lasting memories.
Why not the night/weekend before?
In movies, it’s an iconic scene: a wild night out before the big wedding. But when thinking about having a bachelorette party, the night before is quite possibly the worst time. The most obvious reason: alcohol. A small study by Four Loko (yes, THAT Four Loko), estimated that over 80 percent of bachelorette parties at least involved pubs and bars–and you can bet a lot of go-ers didn’t stop at a single drink.
Anyone who’s had a hangover knows it’s exactly the opposite of what you want to feel on the wedding day, and experience shared by too many brides and bridesmaids. Everyone needs to be their best on their wedding day, from the coordination and planning, to being prepared emotionally. Risking being hungover by deciding to have a bachelorette party the night before is a no-go.
On the same note: too wild parties can also result in everything from less than kind things said (and hurt feelings) to even broken bones or twisted ankles. When deciding when to have a bachelorette party, keep in mind that, no matter what is being planned, recovery time is never a bad idea.
Finally, it makes more financial sense. When you have a bachelorette party, you can expect bridal members to join together to contribute funds, and, that doesn’t always come cheap. Spreading out all the expenses that are involved for everyone makes sense, and it’ll be easier to enjoy the party.
So when do you have a bachelorette party?
Like all things when it comes to wedding planning, it’s a matter of preference. While it’s important to make sure everyone’s on the same page, 4 to 6 weeks is probably optimal.
A week before the wedding is packed with essentials like finalizing schedules, transportation, and hosting the rehearsal dinner. That’s a lot of time and stress, and squeezing in a bachelorette party just doesn’t work as well.
Too far out, though, and it may not feel as meaningful, and more bridal party members may have trouble agreeing on a date. It’s also the perfect time for the bride herself: she’s likely already taken care of the biggest headaches and is just tying up the final details, like final dress fittings and obtaining a marriage license. After a year or more of planning, everyone deserves a night to relax, and before the last minute to-do’s get crazy.
With guest lists finalized, time to plan, and time to recover, you’ll find yourself fully able to participate in the festivities–no backup plans needed.