The big day is drawing near—it’s time to get this party started. Thumbtack pro Whitney Valentine, owner of A’Reve Event Production, has been planning and producing beautiful showers, bachelor bashes, and bachelorette parties for nearly 20 years. Steal her pro tips to plan your own unforgettable wedding party.
What are popular locations for destination bachelor/ette parties?
Go big or go home is the current trend. Not just for the parties, but across the entire wedding industry. I’ve noticed that weddings are getting smaller and budgets are getting bigger.
Couples really want unique, personalized experiences. Some hot spots for destination parties include NYC, Cabo San Lucas, Palm Springs, and Napa/Sonoma. Yes, Las Vegas is still a classic location, but it’s not the end-all, be-all anymore. Wherever you go, it’s important to create memorable experiences and customize everything.
Any trends in party favors you’re seeing?
Go above and beyond, but don’t go crazy. Honestly, it’s the little details that make a huge difference. Be thoughtful. If you’re wine tasting in Napa, have an engraved wine opener waiting in each person’s room. People like useful favors they can reuse and think of you when they do.
Another trend is having an experiential event and the favor is the takeaway from that. For example, art classes with wine tasting are becoming a popular party choice. The art the guests make is their party favor.
What’s a fabulous themed party you’ve planned?
Themes are really important for a great party. The more creative and specific, the better. We recently planned a beauty-themed party with a throwback vibe at a venue in San Francisco. We brought in a team of beauty students and set up fully equipped “beauty bars” throughout the space. Guests could get their hair and makeup done while drinking cocktails and mingling. It was such a fun atmosphere with upbeat, retro music like George Michael, Prince, and Madonna.
What goes into planning a wedding shower or bachelor/ette party?
When a client calls saying, “we need your help,” our first job is to uncover their vision for the event. I don’t just mean how it will look, but also what experience they want to have. To help narrow your vision, ask yourself these questions:
- What’s my budget? Classic slumber party with old school movies, popcorn, and sundaes? Or big night on the town with a party bus, multiple stops, and an after party? Determining the kind of night you want to have will guide the budget.
- What vibe do I want? Sophisticated, playful, sentimental, sexy…this will help steer activities, music, and decor.
- Who will attend? Is this a get-wild friend group, or will your conservative aunt be joining? If it’s the former, y’all can take pole dancing classes, the latter…you might want to stick to art and wine.
Once we have these basics, A’Reve creates a few event concepts from which the client can choose. From there, it’s time to start planning.
Why hire a planner instead of DIY?
- Planners remember details that DIYers may not consider. We had an event where the hostess handled everything up until we did day-of coordination. The caterer showed up with no plates. It was pretty disastrous. Those little details, the planners handle.
- Planners, 9 out of 10 times, pay for themselves in negotiating contracts or finding wiggle room in terms of pricing.
- Planners handle all the communications with vendors, guests, and arrangements. Many also offer consultations of 1-2 hours to make sure DIYers have everything covered.
One final tip?
Don’t forget the photos. You need to capture this moment in time. Come up with a personalized hashtag so you’ll have a photo feed you can always look back on and reminisce. Or, if you don’t want to do the social media route, go all-analog with a rented a photo booth and disposable cameras.
Ready to start planning your big bash?