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A girl's guide to throwing a bachelorette party

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The bachelorette party is a tradition almost as old as the tossing of the bouquet. If the wedding reception is the time to honor the newly-married couple, then the bachelorette party is the occasion to toast the bride-to-be.

So, bridesmaids, before you have a chance to ruin your mascara with the tears you'll shed at your best friend's wedding, let your hair-sprayed 'dos down for one last ladies' night in honor of the good ol' days.

Here's the OMC's girls' guide to throwing a great bachelorette party:

First, pick a date for the big night out. Typically, most of these girl gatherings are done a few weeks before the wedding. It's best to select a date and spread the word a few months in advance, especially so out-of-towners can make arrangements.

Keep in mind that someone (and it's not the bachelorette) has to fork up the green for the munchies, margaritas, strippers and the snazzy ride. Tradition leaves the maid of honor with the responsibility of paying the bill, but there are more thrifty ways of dealing with the price tag. Encourage each attendee to make a contribution, or just split the expenses equally.

If you don't know who to invite, first look at the women who will be standing up at the altar. Add a few high school, college and work cohorts until you have a well-mixed crew of the bride's most loyal ladies.

"Good friends and relatives are a perfect mix," says 24-year old Sarah Spitzack. Remember, the smaller the group the easier it is to keep track of everyone.

Newlywed Kristin Bruess advises gearing the party toward the bachelorette's personality.

"If the bride-to-be has an outgoing personality, show her the time of her life on the party scene. If she is not a big partier, consider a comedy club or somewhere she will not feel like she has to reach a drinking quota."

Begin the soiree with dinner and a gift opening. If the guest of honor isn't the partying type, this can be the main event of the evening. And don't make the restaurant a last-minute decision: Make sure to call a week or two in advance to reserve enough space to accommodate your group.

Not every bride-to-be will want to paint the town red, however. Instead, organize a meal at one of the girls' homes or have dinner catered.

"It (is) nice to have a more casual dinner so more socializing can take place," says Kimmy Laabs, Bruess' party planner.

If you plan to hit the town after dinner, your best bet is to have someone outside the party to drive.

"I recommend renting some sort of transportation so that the night does not turn sour by a drinking and driving incident," says Bruess. For her night out, they rented a Lincoln Navigator limousine.

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OMCreader | Jan. 16, 2006 at 10:18 a.m. (report)

amanda said: I really enjoy and agree with the article. I also found a great free information site to plan bachelorette parties at It helped me as well! Hope it is helpful. ~Amanda Smith

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