When you or one of your closest friends gets engaged, it's time to pop some bottles and toast to the happy couple. Soon, however, attention often turns to one of the hallmark wedding-related events: the bachelorette party! Whether you're the bride-to-be or a maid of honor in charge of the preparations, it's important to be thoughtful about when to have a bachelorette party within the wedding planning timeline.
Bachelorette parties have evolved over time, ranging from small gatherings the night before the wedding to full-blown bachelorette weekends in out-of-town locales. The type of celebration you choose will likely have an impact on when it makes sense to host the BACH bash, and you don't want to end up in a situation where people aren't able to come or the bride feels stressed about the timing.
So, what are all the factors you need to consider? We're here to break it down for you.
Where a Bachelorette Party Fits Into the Engagement Timeline
When someone gets down on one knee and pops the big question, it sets off a series of milestones leading up to tying the knot. According to Shutterfly, the average length of an engagement is 13 months, with most wedding planners advising 12 to 18 months.
The Road to the Altar
An engagement party is likely to take place within a month or two of the engagement itself, and once you set a date for the wedding it makes sense to work backward to map out when to have a bachelorette party, bridal shower, and any other wedding events. The consensus around when exactly the bachelorette party should fall tends to be one to four months before the nuptials, with the sweet spot around two months prior.
You want to build excitement leading up to the wedding, so having it too far in advance might lose some of the momentum. Make sure the bride has a proper chance to soak up that newly engaged feeling before getting into the nitty gritty details of the bachelorette party.
On the other hand, try to strike a balance and avoid a BACH that's too close to the wedding so the bride won't feel overwhelmed, especially if you're planning to travel for it.
Are you questioning if a bachelorette party should come before or after the bridal shower? There's some flexibility there and it's best if the planners of each event coordinate (if you're not pulling double duty on both) to ensure they don't fall too close to one another on the calendar. The bridesmaids and other loved ones who may be expected to attend both will thank you!
Save the Date
Once you have a date in mind, clear it with the bride (of course), maid of honor (if she's not planning the party), and any other VIP guests before making it official to other invitees. Some couples also like the idea of attending their respective bachelorette and bachelor parties on the same weekend, so that's another idea you can entertain.
Lastly, think about how many people might attend. A bigger guest list could mean more advance planning is required for finding a hotel or Airbnb, booking restaurant reservations, lining up activities, and more.
When to Have a Bachelorette Party Can Depend on Where You Want to Go
Destination bachelorette parties seem to have become the norm as a way to celebrate the bride-to-be, with many bridal parties planning getaways to places like Nashville, Austin, New York, Miami, and classic favorite Las Vegas.
Keeping It Local
Opting for one night on the town or a staycation in your home city means you could get away with having the party a little closer to the big day, since travel wouldn't be involved — assuming most attendees live locally. But the idea of a bachelorette party the night before the wedding has mostly gone by the wayside in favor of a rehearsal dinner that evening instead.
Road tripping can be easier on the wallet, but is most of your group within driving distance?
Going the Distance
When you choose a full bachelorette weekend, try to include a buffer of time before the wedding while also giving the guests enough notice (one to two months is ideal) to request time off of work and to book their flights. It could be easier for your babes to take PTO on a summer Friday than during a fourth-quarter crunch, so that's another thing to keep in mind.
Take into consideration who will need to travel and how far, especially if an international destination is on the table — gotta make sure everyone has their passports in order!
Some locations are more expensive to fly to than others, particularly if you're coming from across the country or somewhere without a large airport. And that's before you factor in that prices may be even higher at certain times of year.
Holiday weekends can also be tempting to book so you'll have an extra day of revelry, but that may mean added costs that not all the bridesmaids are down for. There are some weekends that are historically more affordable for travel throughout the year, so you might want to plan around them if possible.
Popular destinations are usually extra busy at certain times of year, so you just have to think about what type of experience you're looking for, how it fits within your crew's budget, and your overall time frame.
The Right Time for Different Types of Bachelorette Parties
Different bachelorette party ideas, especially the theme or main activities you're planning for, can also dictate when to have a bachelorette party.
Check the Weather
Summer weddings are popular, which often mean springtime BACH celebrations, but a mermaid-themed pool party in April might leave your best friends out in the cold.
Think about what activities are appropriate to the season or weather that you might encounter. Rainy season could be a great excuse to splurge on a spa day, sipping mimosas in robes and being pampered with relaxing treatments.
Even if you're expecting sunshine, it's a good idea to have some bachelorette party games lined up in case the weather turns inclement, but they're also a fun activity to add to any itinerary.
You'll also want to allow yourself time for various party planning tasks like booking tours, arranging transportation, and finding accommodations. Wine tasting and touring vineyards in Napa is always a crowd-pleaser, but many wineries require reservations in advance, especially for large groups.
If you're rolling with a big wedding party, it's all the more reason to settle on a date for the bachelorette party as soon as possible to maximize your planning time and get everyone on board.
It’s All in the Timing
There are so many things to consider when planning a bachelorette party, and the date is one of the most important ones. The lead-up to the wedding day is a very special time in a bride's life and her bridesmaids can help bring her wishes to life.
Ensure the best bachelorette party ever by carefully thinking through the vision for the bash and making plans accordingly. The BACH app can help you coordinate with the group, book experiences, split expenses, and more, so be sure to download it and check out more bachelorette tips on the BACH blog.