Planning the Perfect Bachlorette Party

toastAs any of you married women know all too well, planning a wedding is time-consuming and inevitably stressful. My engagement was significantly shorter than most at six months and as I wasn’t actually back in the country until just three months before the wedding, my to-do list was immense. Finishing my dissertation and waitressing on the side didn’t help. In the end, though, everything came together and the things that didn’t hardly mattered as I walked down the aisle towards B looking handsome and nervous in his black suit.

My older sister is in this same situation now with less than three months remaining until her big day and she’s definitely feeling the stress. So I really want to make her bachlorette party as relaxing and memorable as can be. She planned such a fun and lighthearted party for me, which alleviated so much stress, and I really want to do the same for her. So, after thinking back to my bachlorette and other parties I’ve been to, I’m keeping these tips in mind:

#1: Keep it personal. Maria, my older sister, planned several personal touches that made my bachlorette special. Specifically, making me carry a Prince Harry cut-out everywhere. And I mean everywhere! She also did a brilliant job thinking of things that I would appreciate–like having dinner at my favorite lakeside restaurant, popping open my favorite bottle of Rose and creating adorably thoughtful gift bags for my friends.

harry#2: Get out of town. B went with his buddies to Chicago, but you don’t need to go that far to leave your worries at home. My girls and I went to my future in-law’s lake cabin and had a blast. There was no hotel bill the next day and we didn’t have to worry about being too loud. I plan to do something similar for my sister.

#3: Plan silly activities. A bachlorette simply isn’t a bachelorette without silly games and girls-only activities. I like to keep things classy and a few ideas I plan to use at Maria’s party include: having each guest bring a bottle of wine for a wine tasting, playing “Name the Celebrity Spouse,” creating a fun photo booth area, and (just maybe) dancing on the bar top.

harry2

#4: Have a back-up. As the host, it’s my job to come prepared. That means having a good arsenal of snacks, treats and other goodies to keep guests having a good time. I won’t disclose what time we or didn’t go to bed at my bachelorette, but! in case your guests or the bride is just too tired to stay out, make sure you have a good chick flick to fall back on.

Okay ladies, what am I missing? What do you think makes a great bachelorette party?

First photo courtesy of Her Campus

 

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What Every Bride Should Know: Choosing the Venue

wedding

I guess you could say I’m experiencing wedding fever all over again. October 27th will mark my one year wedding anniversary and my older sister, Maria, recently got engaged in Rome! With her wedding plans just beginning, my mind wanders back to this time last year when I was in the final month of planning. Calling the caterer to ensure there would be silverware. Counting up save the dates and creating wedding programs. Having those last couple of alterations made to *the dress*. Ensuring there were enough boutonnières and corsages for grandparents. Mod-podging book page table runners and counting up mason jars. Alright, so I may have saved a bit too much for that final month of wedding planning, but after all, we only had a six month engagement and five of those months were spent writing my masters’ thesis and three were spent out of the country. So! That last month was truly something out of a sitcom.

With that, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about what aspects of our big day I might have done differently and the tips and planning tricks that helped me stay sane.  With this in mind, I’m excited to kick off a new series titled What Every Bride Should Know. First up on our list?

Picking the venue!

 In my book, the venue (and groom, I suppose) is really the most important piece to set in place. After all, it’s the backdrop to your whole wedding and where guests will, inevitably, spend the most time. It influences your colors, helps you decide on a date and can set the tone and character of your special day.

In the end, the venue we chose was perfect for us: the Fargo Plains Art Museum, a historic, light-filled three-story museum adorned with natural wood floors and lovely local art. What factors helped us make the decision and lay down the deposit money? Read on.

#1: Consider the time of year. Hailing from Fargo, North Dakota, weather was a critical consideration. Brady proposed the end of April while I was in the last semester of my masters’ program and since having a winter wedding was out of the question (we didn’t want our guests getting trapped in a blizzard), we had two options. Wait until the following summer for predictable, warm beautiful weather and have a year + long engagement or be Mr & Mrs in six months.  We chose the latter.  Knowing that autumn in North Dakota can be beautiful but still cold, we knew we needed an indoor reception, thus eliminating any outdoor considerations.

The rich wood floors made our decision easy.

The rich wood floors made our decision easy.

#2: Consider the atmosphere. Since we also didn’t have a ton of time to plan, we wanted a venue that would be dramatic and sophisticated on its own. A space that reflected our interests and helped us cultivate the right atmosphere for the occasion which, in our case, we wanted to be classy and inviting. The Art museum ticked all the boxes. Not only that, but because the space was grand on its own, we could keep our décor to a minimum, saving both time and money.

The windows and brick added great atmosphere.

The windows and brick added great atmosphere.

#3: Consider amenities. Weddings can quickly become expensive, so when you start narrowing down your venue list be sure to inquire about what is actually included in the rental. In some cases, you may need to pay extra to rent out tables and chairs and even tablecloths. Our venue included tables and chairs, but tablecloths, napkins and silverware were on our own. I was glad we learned about this right away so that we could appropriately budget.

For windows like this, we we were willing to spend a little more.

For windows like this, we we were willing to spend a little more.

#4: Go with your gut. If you and your fiancé both love the place, pick it! Setting a date will be crucial to lining up the other important elements and, believe me, the relief of knowing you have a venue will be immense.

Are you married? Single? What would be or what was your dream wedding venue?