The Bachelorette party - to do and not to do!
Ah, the bachelorette party - the bride's final "hurrah" before settling down for a life of Stepford Wife-style bliss. Okay, okay, so that's not really the case any more - every married woman we know still loves to get dressed up and go out with her girlfriends and (shock, horror!) occasionally flirt with strange, attractive men. It's all that much nicer when you know you've someone to go home to afterwards.
For this final single-girl party, the rules go out the window and there's all to play for! Unlike the bridal shower, which usually involves beautiful floral arrangements, afternoon tea and mothers (of the bride and of the groom), the bachelorette party is a totally different animal. The bachelorette usually involves some (or all) of the following: booze (drink sensibly, kids!), some kind of lewd phallic paraphernalia, games, "entertainment" of some sort, dancing and using each and every possible opportunity to make that bride to be a severely blushing one.
So we know we said there are no rules, but there are guidelines.
Do consult with your bride. It's totally kosher to embarrass the woman in question, but you don't want to bring her out on a night she'll hate or to make her uncomfortable in any way. Involve her as much or as little as you like - a surprise night out can often be really exciting - but do get her opinions on the guest list and ask for any definite dealbreakers. She may hate the idea of a stripper, for example, in which case you'll have to think of other, inventive ways to have fun!
Do outfit your bride in a novelty train / L-plates / veil or tiara / bunny ears. You need something to indicate that your bride is, well, the bride! In a two-birds-one-stone kinda way, this also offers a chance to embarrass her - plus, a dressed-up bachelorette always attracts attention, both from men and from bar staff who may just be slightly more inclined to offer a free shot (or two). Point to note: this will not work in a bachelorette-heavy bar. Those guys are sick of bachelorettes! Take your BFF to a dive bar or to her local boozer, somewhere that won't be accustomed to groups of raucous women.
Do play personalized bachelorette games. One option is to do a Mr & Mrs quiz, where you ask her Mr questions and then have her answer what she thought he answered. Confused? Say, "we asked Tom what his favorite part of your body was - did he say (a) her eyes, (b) her booty or (c) her hands?" For every answer she gets correct, all of you guys drink; for every one she misses, she takes a drink! (This is a good game to do at the beginning of the night, and with sips rather than shots!)
Do bring out old photographs. A bachelorette is a great opportunity to make a super-embarrassing tribute to your friend, perhaps made up of old pictures of you guys together, embarrassing fashion faux pas, any audio or video recordings you might have over the year - or have her groom do a special audiovisual treat for her in the form of a lip dub music video or a photo collage of his favorite moments of the two of them.
Do think about entertainment - and no, we don't necessarily mean what you think we mean! Bachelorette parties are usually made up of a group of the bride's best girlfriends, but if she's anything like most women we know, these friends will come from various parts of her life: school, college, work and more! Doing some kind of activity, whether that's a salsa class, a cocktail making lesson or, yes, a striptease from a concerned neighborhood cop, really helps break the ice!
If you haven't seen Bachelorette, a film that suffered a lot due to being that little bit too similar to Bridesmaids, we highly recommend you check it out - it includes a lot of what's on our what not to do list!
Don't touch the dress. Chances are, your bachelorette party will be hosted somewhere other than the bride's home - usually in the home of the maid of honor or one of the bridesmaids, or in a bar, restaurant or venue downtown! If, on the offchance, the bachelorette is held in the vicinity of the dress, that baby needs to be hidden away under lock and key (as many locks as possible, with the keys hidden away!).
Don't hold the bachelorette the night before the wedding. There are so many reasons for this, but first and foremost, it means no one will be the worse for wear on the morning of the wedding. Quite aside from that, the bachelorette is usually held in the bride's home town (while the wedding may be a little further afield), and gives anyone who can't make the wedding the chance to celebrate with the lucky lady.
Don't bring up old dramas or old boyfriends. We know the temptation to vent in the ladies' toilets is always there, but if you're revisiting past wounds with the bride to be when you're both three sheets to the wind and a little the worst for wear, resist the urge. No one will thank you for making the bride cry, and they'll all remember it, no matter how tipsy you think they are.