Are you that bride who can’t stop talking about your wedding to anyone who will listen? Do you spend your entire day telling your boss you’re busy working when really you’re on wedding TikTok? Does the thought of even starting the wedding planning process already give you anxiety hives? If you said yes to any of these, you’re in the right place.
Betches is looking for 2023 brides who are just starting their wedding planning journeys to be our first-ever Betches Brides ambassadors & share their experience with us!
WTF Do I Get Out Of This?
Tons of features on the @betchesbrides Instagram feed & story. Our audience will want to get to know you and follow along for all of your wedding plans, and what better place to post way too much wedding content than Instagram?
You’re coming on the pod. Nicole will have you on as a regular monthly guest to share your wedding planning updates for all to hear. Plus, she’ll help solve any wedding problems that come up (trust us, they’re bound to happen).
Free merch for yourself and your bridal party. You’re officially the favorite bride of your friend group.
Free products from our brand partners. Literally who wouldn’t want free High Noon for their bach party? You’re welcome.
Compensation for any brand partnership collaboration moments. Every bit helps while you’re saving for a wedding.
- To choose a gown & accessories from any Justin Alexander collection, free of charge
As the lead singer in a New York City wedding band for over a decade, I have learned a thing or two about what makes—and what breaks—a bomb wedding reception. When a bride and groom hire my band, it is quite literally my job to make the most important night of your life an absolute blast and keep your friends and family reminiscing about it for years to come, and that is something I take very seriously.
While I CAN control the quality of music being played, many things are out of my control that can mess up the party vibes, but after enough time seeing the same things, I’m here to tell you to do and what not do to ensure your wedding doesn’t suck.
1. Make Sure The Dance Floor Is Near The Bar
When choosing a venue, this is key. How far is the dance floor from the source of alcohol? Think of the bar as the “kitchen” of your wedding venue. When you’re throwing a house party, people tend to congregate in the kitchen, so the same logic applies at your wedding. One night my band and I did a wedding where the bar was in a completely different room. People were waiting for their drinks at the bar and stayed there. They couldn’t even see the band, let alone hear the music, and the dance floor was essentially empty the entire time. Not everyone will cut a rug on the dance floor, but even if they don’t, they are at least congregating around the dance floor and part of the party. When you separate the bar and the dance floor, you are essentially ruining the opportunity to throw a banging dance party by dividing your guests.
2. Rethink Having A Dessert Buffet And Opt For Passed Desserts
Ahh, the dreaded dessert buffet. As a wedding singer, this is a massive nail in the metaphorical coffin of your dance party. There is nothing worse than having a jam-packed dance floor, only for the dessert bar to cause a mass exodus and completely ruin the last bit of your reception. Everyone lines up (usually in another room) to eat dessert and might be too full to return to the dance floor. The party ends, and instead of going out with a bang, your big night ends with many people sitting around in a food coma. Womp, womp.
Instead, opt for dessert hors d’oeuvres like mini cupcakes or ice cream cones that can be passed on the dance floor to keep your party intact. Don’t leave that dance floor… deserted. Muahaha.
3. Don’t Stop The Party To Cut The Cake
For the love of God, please do not stop the party to cut the cake. Once the alcohol starts to hit and you have the energy right where you want it on the dance floor, there is no greater buzzkill than stopping the music so everyone can watch you cut a piece of cake. People go off to the bathroom, sit down to rest, and the dance floor is now empty. Perhaps make an announcement for Grandma who would like to witness the special moment, but it’s simply not worth killing the vibe of the party.
4. Don’t Try To Dictate The Playlist And Let The Band Read The Crowd
I’ve dealt with plenty of bridezillas who essentially handed us a curated setlist, and they NEVER work. An experienced wedding band or DJ knows what they’re doing, and it’s best to let them do it. Some songs you love may be great for vibing out in the car but simply don’t work on a dance floor. Also, we know how to read a crowd to figure out what kind of music is bringing the energy for your guests in particular.
I have also been in a situation where the bride requested some disco music for the older crowd. We played a disco song, and tumbleweed started rolling through the dance floor. When we switched back to 90s hip-hop, the crowd was back in action. We will undoubtedly honor any specific requests you have, but keeping the dance floor pumping is our first priority and should be yours too. If oldies music isn’t quite doing it for anyone, have it played during dinner and let us decide what works for the prime party hours.
5. Don’t Have Too Many Speeches, And Make Sure They Are Under 4 Minutes
In my 10 years as a wedding singer, I have seen many speeches. NOTHING kills a buzz like a speech that goes on too long or too many speeches. You may think your MOH getting on the mic to tell everyone about how much fun you had at the sorority house, along with every fucking inside joke, is cute, but the truth is, no one cares. Have her write you a letter and keep the speeches short and sweet. The Gettysburg address was under two minutes. Don’t waste precious party time on boring speeches.
First comes love, then comes planning a wedding, then comes hoping none of your bridesmaids throw up in the middle of the dance floor before you cut the cake. Granted, there are a few other checklist items in between there, but when it comes to selecting your bridal party, figuring out which of your bridesmaids is going to get the most shitfaced is fun at best and essential at worst. I don’t know about you, but last I checked, getting sophomore spring break level of drunk wasn’t exactly part of the bridal party job description.
Still, that hasn’t stopped many (myself included) from getting super schwasty while wearing a matching gown. And depending on the type of wedding you have, there’s a good chance your day will be full of booze from morning to grand exit (or at least, it should be). Typically, wedding days begin with everyone waking up before the crack of dawn to get their makeup done, complaining about the fact that they’re going to look like shit by the time the actual ceremony starts (“It doesn’t fucking matter, Becky! It’s not your day!!!”). And if you plan to have a chill celebration that doesn’t involve murdering your childhood best friend for asking the hairdresser to redo her curls three times, mimosas are probably in order.
From there it’s just a parade of drinking, and with all that unlimited alcohol, odds are more than one of your bridesmaids is going to end up with their heads in the toilet before the night is up. But knowing who’s going to get plastered before the cake cutting and who’s going to hold it together long enough to help you bustle your dress is essential. From most likely to stay sober to most likely to vom, here’s how your bridal party members will likely stack up against the open bar.
Your Pregnant Friend
This one is a no-brainer because rumor has it alchy and pregnancy doesn’t mix (and by “rumor” I mean science). Depending on how long it’s been since you asked your bridal party to be a part of the big day, this pal probably got knocked up after they agreed to be a bridesmaid. Typically, they’d fall into one of the below categories, but thanks to the party-ruiner growing inside of them, they’re gonna be stuck nursing soda water with their feet up while you dance. At least you can count on her to tell you all what dumb shit you did at the afterparty.
Your ~Perfect~ Friend
Everyone’s got that one friend who’s just… better than everyone else. Group trip? The Airbnb’s on her card. Going to dinner? She made the reservation. And ordered the Uber. And sent everyone a Splitwise link for the itemized bill before the waiter could even run her card. As soon as you got engaged she ordered planning books and created a shared Excel sheet to help you track your budget. Whether she’s an event planner, a data analyst, or just a Google doc-obsessed Type A, this girl isn’t gonna let it slip on your big day.
Even though she’s probably the one who poured the morning mimosas and made sure the to-be-popped champagne was on ice, she was too busy making sure everyone else was taken care of to really pound ’em back. It wasn’t until after the dinner that she had her first real drink, and even then, it was Pinot Grigio so it basically doesn’t count. Whether you love her or you just keep her around because she reminds you that you need to get routine dental checkups, you can count on her to keep her shit on lock until your marriage license is mailed off and your shitty friends are no longer dry heaving.
Your Just Engaged Friend
With hearts in her eyes and a sparkly ring that hasn’t yet been insured on her finger, your just engaged friend doesn’t yet know the stress of wedding planning. She’s still in that whimsical “I can’t believe I have a fiancé(e)” stage, which means she’s actually happy for you and isn’t drunkenly nitpicking every little thing about your wedding. She’s just happily sipping your signature cocktail and whispering “this is gonna be us” to her S.O.
Without any weird competitiveness, this blissed-out bridesmaid will be too busy telling everyone she’s engaged and making out with her plus-one to get too wasted. While she’ll for sure be tipsy by the time you head up to your hotel rooms, her endless wedding chatter and mental note-taking will stop her from aggressively taking shots. Awww, to be in love!
Your Teacher Friend
In addition to crafting, curating snacks, and shaping the minds of the future generation, teacher friends (or at least, all of mine) are secretly certified pros when it comes to downing liquor. Maybe it’s because they get out of work in time for happy hour, or it could be that they’ve perfected the art of powering through an early morning hangover. Whatever it is, teach knows how to party, and she’s absolutely going to be hitting the bar hard on your big day.
Even though she’s going to have a wine glass surgically attached to her hand all night, the good news is your teacher pal probably knows how to hold it together until she at least makes it to her hotel room… especially because she’s got a stash of granola bars in her purse she can munch on before she starts getting too messy. 10/10 she’ll be rocking some oversized sunnies and a hat at your farewell brunch the next morning, but at this point, rallying is pretty much a part of her morning routine.
Your Work Friend
This is likely the friend you’ve known the least amount of time, but since you see her every GD day at work, it felt sort of weird to not include her in your party. Now that she’s surrounded by your childhood, high school, and college besties, the fact that your relationship is based around memes sent in Slack might be starting to sink in. For her, at least.
Whether she stacks up to the rest of your crew or not, your work wife is bound to toss back the extra drink or two to feel a little looser when chatting with your sorority big. And then a few more drinks when talking with your “we’ve known each other since diapers” friend. And another when your maid of honor calls her Lauren instead of Laura.
Sure, you’ve had your fair share of girl’s nights where you gossiped about Dana from accounting, but this is a whole different beast. While she might not spend the night sleeping on the bathroom floor, there’s a 0% chance she won’t wake up in the morning with a visceral need for some coffee, ibuprofen, and an Egg McMuffin. Don’t tell HR, but you can expect some sloppy dancing and multiple ass slaps from this one throughout the evening.
Your “Why Aren’t I Engaged Yet” Friend
Whether she’s just out of a relationship or has been single since grade school, there’s always that one friend in your group who low-key feels like it’s a personal affront that anyone is allowed to get married before her. Throughout your wedding planning process, she made it clear what type of dress she would wear (strapless), what type of venue she’d choose (castle, obvi), and what color dresses her bridesmaids would wear (the same color as yours, of course). And the fact that you expect her to show up to your wedding while she’s still sans ring means one thing and one thing only: She’s about to get druuuunk.
From extra mimosas in the morning to sips from a flask during pictures, her goal is to get fucked up and make out with someone off-limits, preferably while you’re having your first dance. There’s no way she’ll make it to the end of the night without crying or going home with a groomsman, so you might as well just sit back and watch the drama unfold. At least you can take it as a free pass to black out if she ever actually makes it down the aisle.
Your Just-Had-A-Baby Friend
This friend has been downing ginger ale, waddling to the bathroom, and icing her ankles for the duration of your engagement. Now that the baby’s out and a sitter’s in place, you know your new mom friend is gonna get lit. Between her now low tolerance and the fact that she hasn’t worn real clothes in over a year, this bridesmaid is going to be topping the charts in terms of drunkenness. After one morning mimosa, she’ll already be grooving, and by the time cocktail hour rolls around, she’s gonna ditch her baby monitor app for the front-facing camera so she can snap a shitton of drunk selfies.
Assuming baby’s got overnight care in place, your recently popped pal will be trying to flash everyone with her milk-filled boobs before the last dance… and will feel like she’s back in her first trimester morning sickness phase by morning. What can I say? Momma’s been without her juice for nine months. She’s pumping and dumping tonight.
Your Just Married Friend
If you’re getting married in your 20s or early 30s, you’ll probably have a friend or two who’s saying “I do” around the same time. And when it’s finally your turn to walk down the aisle, no one’s going to feel quite as many emotions as your just married friend. Not only is she comparing every single detail of your wedding to hers, but she’s doing it with a very strong drink in her hand.
Whether she’s exhausted and elated that she survived her day or she’s feeling envious and sad as the wedding blues hit, the other Mrs. is going to be hitting the bar extra hard at your celebration. The attention is officially off of her and now that her time is up, she’s sort of at a loss about what’s next. Which means, of course, she’ll drink. And drink. And drink and drink and drink. Now that she’s no longer the bride, she’ll be looking for a distraction, hence the double shots, the drunk tears on the dance floor, and ghosting in fury before the lights come up because you used the same entrance song as her. Rude, btw.
No two maids of honor are the same, but whether she was super hands-on or kinda slacked, there’s a good chance this bestie is delighted your big day is here if only to be freed from her duties. From the events to the “hey ladies” emails to putting up with your endless requests for validation, she’s been ready to block your number for the last few weeks. And now that the end is finally here, she feels the need to celebrate and celebrate hard. It’s like she just got her life back. What do you expect? Her to stay sober?
The only saving grace here is that she’ll at least keep it semi-dignified until after her speech because even the sh*ttiest MOH doesn’t want to embarrass herself in front of a room of well-dressed strangers. But once her toast is up, all bets are off. Good luck getting her attention because she’ll be mainlining vodka and avoiding eye contact so you don’t make her dance with your creepy uncle. If anyone’s ending the night face first in the bathroom covered in saltine cracker crumbs, it’s this bitch. Just try not to make any sudden movements at brunch—she’s probably still seeing double.
Here’s to hoping you picked your VIPs wisely because if not, you might be demoting a few besties by morning. In their defense, after everything you put them through this past year, a whole bunch of sh*tfaced bridesmaids seems like a pretty fair trade for a happily ever after.
Images: Gift Habeshaw / Unsplash; Giphy
I have bad news. If you already feel like at any given moment, there is some semblance of wedding content in your field of vision… it’s about to get much worse. You’re probably well aware of this if you’re planning a wedding and have already dealt with vendors as panic-stricken as Kris Jenner must have been after Kim Kardashian’s first public sighting with Pete Davidson, but experts are forecasting that 2022 is probably going to be “the biggest year in the wedding industry.” Your social calendar is about to be as packed as the front of your refrigerator is with save the dates and “we changed the date!” cards.
According to Brides, the average length of an engagement is between 12 and 18 months… but obviously, that’s not the case when you have to move your wedding due to a global pandemic, or can’t find a venue in your budget that can accommodate a date within a year of your engagement because we’re living in the middle of the most chaotic time for weddings. Although a longer engagement gives you more time to save up for the big day (and finally craft the perfect answer to unsolicited wedding advice), it’s also kind of the perfect storm for anyone who’s a little indecisive or hoping to have a really unique wedding. If you only have a year to get your shit together, you probably don’t have time to replan the elements that you’ve seen on someone else’s Instagram just so it doesn’t look like you’re having the same wedding as everyone else. But if you have two years or more… it can easily start to get messy. When you’re working with a longer engagement, there’s a very real struggle between wanting to jump on wedding planning so you can really utilize that time well and holding off in case trends change, you get bored of the choices you’ve made, or you happen to see some girl from high school post sweetheart table decor that looks exactly like what you wanted, and now you have to start the whole thing from scratch.
It’s kind of like how if you find yourself with some extra time to get ready before going out, you should get TF out of the bathroom as soon as you’re finished with your makeup. You know if you stay in there too long, you’re going to end up with winged eyeliner fit for an Amy Winehouse Halloween costume. With unlimited access to more wedding inspo than anyone could ever need and a timeline long enough to plan an Olympic opening ceremony, it’s easy to go overboard. So how do you plan a wedding with a long lead time without spending tens of thousands of dollars on stuff that will likely be deemed cheugy by the time you walk down the aisle? Step away from the toxic bridal Facebook groups you’re addicted to, because I tapped some experts for some actually helpful advice.
Know Which Traditional Planning Advice To Ditch
The internet is full of traditional wedding planning timelines and advice that has been used for decades, but there’s really no reason to get hung up on that if it just straight up does not work for you. For example, typical etiquette suggests sending out your save the dates six to eight months ahead of your ceremony, but it might help to get them out sooner. Jen Campbell, the Editor and Creative Director of Green Wedding Shoes, says it’s now best to send them out as soon as you can. “With so many weddings happening in 2022 (over 2.5 million weddings are expected next year!), you want to make sure your guests will be able to say yes to your date.”
Grill Your Vendors
JK, JK. Be nice to your vendors! But before you set anything in stone, make sure you’re really aware of what you’re signing up for, and ask important questions upfront. “I definitely recommend finding out the cancelation policy,” says Campbell. “This is one big thing we all learned in 2020… make sure you understand the contract!”
Beyond cancelation, it’s also helpful to know what your vendors will have planned for the day of. “At this point, we have so many more protocols in place to safely gather. Plus, finding available wedding dates, venues, and vendors is significantly harder to come by, so once you’ve locked in your wedding date and venue, do your best to keep it!” explains Julie Lindenman Jervis of Julie Lindenman Events. (Yup, the creative genius behind the gorgeous nuptials of Kyle Cooke and Amanda Batula from Summer House.) “Ask vendors what COVID clauses are in their contract and what their cancelation policies are. Read your contracts thoroughly! In terms of food and beverage, ask what health protocols are being followed during live events for your guests. The safer everyone feels, the bigger the party!”
Take A Little Break
I don’t know who needs to hear this… but you don’t have to be doing something wedding-related at every waking moment in the time leading up to your wedding. (It’s me. I, a girl who is still trying to lock down a venue but can’t stop scrolling through bridal gowns, need to hear this.)
“If planning with a longer lead time, lock in all of your important vendors early, and then take a breather if needed,” says Lindenman Jervis. “Planning straight for two years is a lot, that’s why one-year engagements were the norm for so long!”
If you’re feeling antsy and just can’t wait to get married, you can also tie the knot before the big day. “I’ve also heard from lots of couples that eloping or getting married beforehand eased a lot of their stress and worry. If that’s your style, head to city hall and make it official before throwing a party! It might relieve some pressure and remind you why you’re doing this to begin with.”
Add A Little Spice To Trends You Love
Here’s the thing: if it’s all over Pinterest… it’s probably already overdone. Sorry about it. “If you still love that trend, still go for it! It’s your day, so you should have a day you love. But try to put your own spin on the trend so it feels like the two of you, and like something your guests haven’t seen before,” suggests Campbell. So no, you don’t have to let go of your neon sign obsession just because every wedding on your timeline has had one. Maybe instead of lighting up your new last name, you can switch it up with a saying or lyrics that are special to you.
“If you still love that trend, who cares?! It’s your day and you should plan a wedding you both love!” Campbell continues. “I always recommend finding inspiration on social media, but make sure your wedding speaks to the both of you. If you love giant dried palms, and that is the trend now, go for it! It’s your day.”
Have A Few Seating Options Ready To Go
Ah, the dreaded guest list. With venue capacities, guests getting invited to literally millions of weddings, and the COVID uncertainty of it all… it’s probably a good idea to gear up for the mess that will be creating a seating plan.
“Couples seem to revisit their guest list more than usual now. We’re still dealing with so many unknowns, so it’s much harder to predict response rates before those RSVPs roll in,” says Lindenman Jervis. “As a result, seating can be more challenging. Plan for your ideal scenario and have a few back ups ready with your planner.”
Say Yes (And Then No Thank You) To The Dress
If you’ve spoken to any brides who have seemingly been planning since Vine was still around, you probably know that something that happens when you’ve been working on your wedding for the gestational period of an elephant is that you may start to get tired of your dress. There’s so much pressure to know that the gown you’ve chosen is *the one*, but according to Campbell, it’s not that deep.
“If you aren’t truly loving your dress, I would recommend getting a new one,” she says. “You can sell the dress you didn’t wear on a resale site and hopefully get most of the money back. You should LOVE what you wear for your wedding day.”
If reselling isn’t something you’d like to take on (if you’ve ever gone through the fresh hell of selling something on Poshmark, I see you and I hear you), there are other options. “Can you alter it to make it something you love? I also love the trend of a second reception dress,” added Campbell.
Whatever happens, try to remember that the point of wedding planning is to… plan a wedding. Not to outdo every wedding that has gone down in the history of the world. Obviously, it’s never great to feel lame, but if you still go hard for middle parts and skinny jeans, you can probably live with the knowledge that your wedding was full of stuff you love (even if it wasn’t totally innovative).
Image: Brooke Cagle / Unsplash
After a year of putting wedding plans on hold, brides everywhere are finally ready to dust off their dresses and take that walk down the aisle. And while nuptial celebrations these days might look a little different, there are still time-honored traditions that you can uphold without violating CDC guidelines, like stealing the spotlight from your sister, the bride. Considering that she stole your senior year prom date (and your parents’ affection from the moment she was born) she definitely has it coming. Since the most important day in a woman’s life is the day her younger sister gets married before her, we created a step-by-step guide to help you make your little sister’s wedding all about you.
Step 1: The Headpiece
Now, the most obvious way to upstage your sister on her wedding day would be to wear white, but since you’re her maid of honor (if she knows what’s good for her), and therefore already have an assigned dress, you’ll have to take a subtler, less cliche approach. Insist on wearing a headpiece! Whether you end up with a flower crown, a tiara, or even a veil—it doesn’t matter, as long as you threw a tantrum at a David’s Bridal along the way.
Step 2: The Dress
According to Heteronormative Brides Weekly, most brides have been dreaming about their wedding dresses since they were little girls. But it’s not about what makes the bride feel beautiful on the most important day of her life, it’s about what you want, so be sure to let your opinions be heard! If there was ever a time to throw shade, it’s now, so be sure to make a snide remark about whatever dress she chooses. Remember, you want that comment to linger in the back of her mind all night long! Here are some examples of what to say when your sis says yes to the dress:
“No, I like it too! I mean, you wouldn’t want to upstage the groom.”
“If you love it, we will learn to love it.”
“I just think your skin is too pasty to pull off lace, but what do I know?”
“If YOU think you look good, then that’s all that matters!”
“It’s so brave of you to go strapless!”
Step 3: The Date
Bring your sister’s ex as your plus-one and then gaslight your family into thinking that that’s not inappropriate. “Why would it be weird? Brian and I have always been close. He’s practically family!”
Step 4: The Borrowing
Traditionally, no bride’s outfit is complete without something borrowed, and since your sister has been borrowing your stuff since the 90s, this is the perfect opportunity for you to re-insert yourself into the spotlight. The plan? Lend your sister your diamond tennis bracelet, or something equally flashy and expensive, and then bring it up incessantly. After all, your sister’s wrist looks beautiful today because of your generosity, and you deserve credit for that. When Aunt Judy says your sister looks beautiful? Mention the bracelet. When they cut the cake? Mention the bracelet. When you give your speech? Mention the bracelet! Hell, you can even stir up some sisterly drama while you’re at it with a comment like, “You better not wreck my bracelet, like you did my car in high school.” Passive-aggressive is the new black!
Step 5: The Speech
While we’re on the topic, the wedding speech is the one moment where everyone at the wedding will FINALLY be paying attention to you, so you’ll need to milk it for all it’s worth. This is your Super Bowl. My advice? Cry an inappropriate amount. Like, way too much…
Once you’ve succeeded in making all of the guests and groomsmen uncomfortable, proceed to tell an embarrassing story about your sister from her slutty college days and incorporate as many of her ex-boyfriends as you possibly can. It doesn’t matter what story you tell as long as it makes your sister look like a drunken, hot mess. “Good thing that dress is off-white, right sis?” If her in-laws aren’t googling “annulment” by the end of your speech, you did it wrong. Also, if you had Covid over the past year, definitely mention it. This is your special day, after all, you deserve all the attention you can get.
Step 6: The Dinner
You’ve most likely been drinking on an empty stomach all day long, so by the time dinner rolls around you should have just enough drunken confidence to feign an allergy to an obscure ingredient on the menu! Pretend to have a scratchy throat as you walk around telling guests that your sister doesn’t care about your coriander allergy because she’s a self-absorbed bitch! Leave her guests wondering, “is the maid of honor slurring her words because she’s drunk or because she’s going into anaphylactic shock?”
Step 7: The Dance
Choreograph a dance and dedicate it to your sister. Blow her guests away with an overly sexualized interpretive hip-hop performance about sisterhood and ultimately, marriage. Guests and in-laws will be too busy talking about what a freak you are that nobody will be paying attention to your sister! Score! Totally worth it!
Step 8: The Bouquet
After a long day of champagne and sabotage, you might think it’s finally time to just relax and enjoy the reception that totally should have been yours. That’s where you’d be wrong. The biggest part of your night is still ahead of you: the tossing of the bouquet. For centuries, the tossing and subsequent catching of the bouquet has been considered good luck, and superstition tells us that whoever catches the bouquet will be the next to wed. Considering that this should have been your wedding to begin with, you need to catch the bouquet AT ALL COSTS. I don’t care how many grandmas, flower girls, or bridesmaids you have to hip check to make it happen. This is not the time to show mercy, this is the time to take out your aggression about your sister getting married before you on all the single women in the room. Take. No. Prisoners.
Step 9: The Hail Mary
If you tried steps 1-8 but were still unable to upstage the bride, then there’s one more trick you can pull out of your taffeta sleeve, but it’s not for those with a weak stomach. Seduce the groom. Just kidding! Unless he’s hot… then use your own discretion, girl. If that doesn’t work, make sure you get proposed to. Doesn’t matter by whom.
Well, there ya have it, ladies! My tips and tricks that are guaranteed to make you the star of your sister’s wedding. Join us next week to learn How To Steal the Spotlight at Your Niece’s Bat Mitzvah!
Image: Leah Flores / Stocksy.com
Planning sucks, and bachelorette parties are a ton of work. So we’re taking all the guesswork out of planning a bachelorette party by breaking down top bachelorette destinations. Our guides will tell you where to stay, eat, party, how to get around, and give you a sample itinerary that you can follow. You’re welcome.
Scottsdale, Arizona is quickly becoming one of the more popular bachelorette destinations on the scene and with good reason. I mean, how many times can you celebrate in Vegas or Miami? Talk about redundant and a waste of money. This desert town has tons of restaurants, bars, and pool parties to fill an entire weekend and then some, which is why we suggest heading here on a holiday weekend like Memorial Day, July 4th, or Labor Day.
At the center of the party, you’ll find Old Town, the downtown hub that features a strip of bars and restaurants that are walkable from one another. And if raging 24/7 is not your scene, Scottsdale offers some of the most beautiful and relaxing spas in the country. But chances are, relaxing is the last thing on your group’s mind.
How To Get There
With direct flights from the Northeast, arriving at the desert is pretty easy and if you’re flying from the west coast, it’s even easier. A flight out there will cost anywhere between $400-500 depending on the time of day you choose to fly, which, sadly is “reasonable” when it comes to bachelorette flights. You’ll fly right into Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, which is only a quick 20-minute drive to the heart of Scottsdale. Since you’ll be three hours behind (east coast time), you’ll really be able to make the most out of your first day, especially if you leave first thing in the morning.
Where To Stay
The size of your party will help to dictate whether you choose an Airbnb or a hotel. For groups of 8 or more, we highly suggest renting a house. You can get a lot for your money and the
houses mansions are enormous. To put it in perspective, the house I rented for mine in Scottsdale was next door to Michael Phelps’ house, cost each girl $390 for a total of three nights, and we had leftover beds. These houses, located outside the downtown area, are located in Paradise Valley, a quick 10-15 minute Old Town.
If you’re feeling a hotel then we suggest staying at the W Scottsdale. The W is smack in the middle of all of the action so won’t need transportation to get to the bars or clubs since everything is within walking distance. Home to Sushi Roku, Shade Lounge, Living Room Lounge & Bar, and WET Pool Deck, you honestly could spend the entire weekend without actually leaving the hotel.
How To Get Around
How you’re getting around is totally dependent upon where you are staying. If you’re staying outside of downtown Old Town, you’ll be using Uber to get to and from your house when you’re going out or going to dinner. If you’re staying at say, The W, mostly everything will be within walking distance. Scottsdale is known for having golf cart-like taxis that will take you around the downtown area for just $5/person. The beauty of the city is that regardless of where you go out to at night you can walk to any other bar or club because everything is in one central location making it the ideal place for groups. Because of this, barhopping is so easy, which will allow you to experience more places than you would in most other cities.
Where To Eat
Okay now that the logistics are settled, let’s focus on the important shit: where to eat and drink. Scottsdale has a ton of options, so it’ll depend on the vibe of your group of what type of dining experience you’re looking for. For brunch, we suggest: The Montauk, Breakfast Club, Morning Squeeze, or The District and for dinner, Sushi Roku at W Scottsdale, The Mission, Sumomaya, or Olive & Ivy. As the name suggests, The Montauk features a lively beachy atmosphere with fun American food. If you’re looking to get fancy for dinner, you need to hit up Sushi Roku, a swanky sushi restaurant located in the lobby of the W hotel. The Mission and Sumomaya are both Mexican inspired restaurants whose environments boast party vibes, making them ideal for large groups. Depending on the size of your party, you may have to do a Prix Fixe menu—but at least that makes splitting the bill at the end of the night that much easier.
Where To Party—During The Day
Similar to Vegas, Scottsdale has a pretty wild day scene. Between the SHADE Lounge at W Scottsdale and Maya Dayclub, your days under the sun will be filled with bottles and booze. Maya Dayclub is known as being the biggest Vegas-style pool party in Arizona, making it a must during your bachelorette party. When it comes to DJs, Maya Dayclub draws in international talent like Chromeo, Fedde Le Grand, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, and more. SHADE Lounge is a bit more upscale but equally as fun, so you can’t go wrong if you’re only hitting one of the two pool parties over the weekend.
Where To Party—At Night
Maya Dayclub is the gift that keeps on giving because at night it’s transformed into Maya Nightclub, also bringing world-class entertainment right to the desert. Celebrate in style with a table to get your own space at this rowdy club. This is the perfect place to kick off the weekend festivities because who doesn’t want to start the trip by dressing up? Other clubby options in Old Town include: The District, Dakota, El Hefe, and Riot House. When it comes to the bar scene, you’ll want to check out Living Room at W Scottsdale, Dirks Bentleys Whiskey Row, Bottled Blonde, Bevvy, and AZ 88.
Thursday, Day 1:
Pro Tip: If you’re traveling from the east coast, take advantage of the time difference and aim to arrive as early as possible to allow for an entire day of indulgence.
- Arrive at hotel or Airbnb
- Before you even have a chance to be hungover, hike Camelback Mountain—it’s not as hard as it seems, offers beautiful views, and is a must-do Arizona thing
- Get ready for dinner on the earlier side to hit the bars before dinner to get a lay of the land
- Dinner at The Mission
- Bop around to the bars on the strip, like Bottled Blonde, Dirks Bentley, Dakota, and The District
Friday, Day 2:
Pro Tip: Fight off that hangover with a big brunch before embarking on any type of bar tour.
- Brunch at The Montauk
- Make a reservation with Arizona party bike where you’ll ride around town on a group bicycle while getting on and off, bar hopping around downtown
- Dinner at SumoMaya
- Hit up Maya Nightclub with or without a table
Saturday, Day 3:
Pro Tip: End the trip with a bang with a Vegas-style pool party and leave the rest of the night up in the air to allow for some much-needed bachelorette spontaneity.
- Order in and have breakfast at your house or pick up a casual breakfast near your hotel
- Pool party at Maya Dayclub or SHADE Lounge W Scottsdale
- Dinner at Sushi Roku
- Head back to the strip to bar hop between the bars you didn’t make it to on Thursday night like Bottled Blonde, Dirks Bentley, Dakota, and The District
How about them 2020 weddings, huh? Thanks to the Virus That Must Not Be Named, celebrations of all kinds look different this year. With state regulations and new reports coming out each day about hotspots and sick celebs, it’s clear COVID is not only here to stay, but it’s here to f*ck with your big day for a long time as well. Because for couples getting married during a global pandemic, pre-wedding stress is at an all-time high.
Not only do engaged folks have to budget for things like gloves, makes, and hand sanitizer, but chances are they’ve had to postpone their events (multiple times, in some cases) and the end results don’t look anything like the celebration we all dreamed off since watching Bride Wars when we were in middle school. There are a lot of aspects that majorly suck, but one of the biggest is the fact that some of your closest friends or family might not get to be there on the big day.
Whether they’re high risk, morally opposed to big gatherings during a pandemic, or can’t risk catching anything due to work or their general love of being alive and not ill, odds are there will be a few VIPs who have to change their RSVPs from “hell yessss” to “uh, actually. No.” As someone who’s recently faced a lot of “you’re the worst” backlash after RSVPing “no” to every wedding in 2020 (with plenty advance notice, mind you—I’m not going texting the bride the day before saying I can’t make it), here’s how to deal when your guests decide that your big day just isn’t worth it rn.
Remember: There’s A Literal Pandemic Happening
Not to state to obvious here, but like, the whole coronavirus thing is still a big deal. As bars, restaurants, and sex clubs open back up, you have to remember: It’s not because we’re any safer. It’s because places need to make money. Your friends who are diligent about avoiding crowds, keeping their distance, and staying home when possible aren’t being dramatic. They just like, you know, want to stay alive and want to keep their friends and family alive and healthy. While it might seem like a personal affront for them not to risk their safety to watch you marry some guy you drunkenly met at a college bar, it’s not. It’s a literal matter of not wanting to catch or spread a potentially deadly disease. Keep that in mind before giving them the cold shoulder after they give you the news.
Keep Your Cool
Yes, your guests choosing not to go to your wedding is upsetting. But the thing is, they’re not wrong here. Having an event—any event of any size—is a risk right now. Your guests wanting to stay home aren’t in the wrong here. While people always have the option to RSVP “no” to weddings, the whole virus excuse is a really good one—and the fact that they’re courteous enough to (hopefully) politely tell you they can’t attend without lecturing you about safety practices is a win. Remember: They could send you pages of data about why having a wedding rn is risky, so consider yourself spared.
So, instead of bitching out your friends who don’t feel comfortable attending, trying to remain calm. Tell them you’re bummed but understand (assuming you understand, of course) and take some time to mourn. It’s a really hard time to be getting married, but creating strife in your relationships won’t make things any easier. Be kind and compassionate and chances are they’ll still send you a gift.
Offer Virtual Options
I know Zoom weddings seem sooooooo summer 2020, but not only are they still a thing, but they’re a great option for guests who don’t feel comfortable celebrating in person. Make sure to set up virtual links so anyone who doesn’t feel great about being in crowds can still be a part of the big day. No, it’s not ideal, but as someone whose maid of honor couldn’t be at her wedding pre-COVID due to pregnancy complications, the event can still be just as special. Make cardboard cutouts of your non-attending VIPs. Set up multiple Skype stations that guests can access so they can see different parts of the party. FaceTime any besties who can’t make it as you’re getting ready. This way you can still feel the love, and your guests can feel included from home.
Keep Your Priorities Straight
I know I’ve said this before, but if you’ve scrolled through Instagram, chances are you’ve seen people living their lives like a virus isn’t still running rampant through America. Yes, weddings are about dresses and flowers and attention, but mostly they’re supposed to be about marrying the person you love. Well, that and getting a KitchenAid mixer, of course. The point is, it sucks that this once-in-a-lifetime event is happening during a pandemic, but you still get to get married (something generations of people in interracial or same-sex relationships didn’t have the option of doing), you still have friends (unless you’re a total monster to everyone who says they can’t attend), and you’ll still get to rock that overpriced diamond band. If you can make it out of this with your relationships intact and your romantic bond strong, you’ll be able to get through anything.
Plan An Event Post-COVID
It won’t be the same as having the giant wedding you originally planned, but let’s be real: The world is going to look different after this. No one is used to going into an office anymore and we haven’t worn real pants in forever so like, yeah. That ship has sailed. With so many couples having to downsize their weddings, vow renewals or post-wedding parties are 100% going to be a thing in a year or two (just like how babymoons became something to do). If you shun everyone who didn’t come to your covid wedding now, you won’t have nearly the guest list you’d like when there’s a vaccine and you can have another party.
The point is: Yes, this sucks, but your friends aren’t bad people for not coming to your wedding rn. Don’t be a d*ck and hopefully, we can all go back to grinding on the dance floor to “Get Low” while our grandparents watch in horror someday soon.
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Image: Analise Benevides on Unsplash; betchesbrides / Instagram
We know you probably never want to hear the words “coronavirus,” “quarantine,” and “unprecedented times” again, but unfortunately The Rona is still among us. Corona brides across the world are lost when it comes to what to do now that their wedding has been postponed or canceled. The days of saying “I do” in front of friends and family and taking shots with your bridesmaids at the open bar seem so distant, but we’re hopeful that the investment towards celebrating this new chapter in your life is worth the wait. For those of you that have officially made the decision to share your vows with your S.O. in 2021, you’re probably wondering WTF to do with all of your plans now? Don’t freak out, because we’ve gone ahead and asked the experts to share their thoughts on what couples can be doing in the meantime to ensure that all t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted before the big day.
Yes, you probably had everything planned out perfectly, right down to your personalized stationery before the virus happened, but now that your plans have changed, there’s some tricky re-thinking to do. “It goes without saying that trying to navigate the postponement of a wedding is mind-boggling, and it can be hard to know where to start, or better yet, figure out an organized way to keep track of your progress and your remaining to-dos,” says Lisa Bowser, Founder of Brite Lite, a company that makes LED neon signs. “Lists on lists on lists can be quite boring to look at, yes?” Um, yes! Bowser recommends the acrylic dry-erase Goals Calendar to eliminate your wedding stress. Bonus: you can still use it in your home after your wedding planning process is (finally) over.
Read Your Contracts
I know we’re all programmed to click “accept terms and conditions” without a second thought, but with circumstances constantly changing as our world adapts to the virus, it’s essential that you and your future spouse have your contingency plans up-to-date. As AJ Williams, Founder and Creative Director at Boston-based event planning company AJ Events, recommends, “When reading your contracts, make sure you have your planner and vendors develop a rescheduling contract or addendum, and to change the Force Majeure to include pandemics and decreased capacity due to government mandates.” This way, you won’t have to scramble to make things work any more than you’ve already had to.
See What Safety Precautions Your Vendors Are Taking
When you do end up walking down the aisle, you want to be sure all possible measures are put in place to ensure that your guests stay happy and healthy. AJ Williams reports that for all future events, his company “will require cleaning/sanitation measures from our vendors and venues working on our events and add sanitation efforts plus add supplies at attendee check-in to protect the safety of our work environment and your attendees while allowing us to continue to service our clients.” He adds, “We have created branded plexi walls on our bar and catering stations, adorable customized face masks with your favorite quote or funny message or emoji icon to include your signature style. Get creative while keeping safe.” So make sure you check with your vendors to see how they’re adapting to these (my brain: don’t say it don’t say it don’t say it) unprecedented times.
Enjoy Your Engagement
Though you’ve (understandably) been mentally designing your reception place cards since the moment you got a ring on your finger, take this unique opportunity to sit back, relax, and enjoy this extra time of being engaged to the love of your life. Of course, says Taylor Waxman of L.A.-based event design and production company KED & Co., “Changing your wedding date can be emotionally draining. Managing your friends and family travel plans, rescheduling your vendors to make sure everyone is available on the same day and overall reimagining a new date in a new year—you’ve been through it.”
When adjusting your wedding planning timeline, though, staying sane is essential. “Don’t over plan,” advises Waxman. “It’s very easy to focus on your wedding during this time, but our biggest advice is: don’t. Once you have your vendors and location rescheduled and all guests are alerted of the new date, take a step back to enjoy your engagement. Spend quality time with your partner, schedule outdoor picnics or Zoom dinners with family and friends, take this time to reconnect and appreciate what is around you.”
Make The Process Fun
Now that you’ve got some extra time to plan things out, you and your partner can hone in on achieving the wedding of your dreams. Sarah Kuhlberg, Creative Director at Colette’s Catering and Events, suggests that you “Cast aside what might be typical wedding traditions, and do what YOU really, truly want for your wedding. Explore bright colors, beautiful seasonal menus, wine flown in from your favorite winery, book a unique outdoor venue, mix and match your linen pattern choices, custom built backdrops from local artists, neon signage, etc. Now you have the time to really customize!”
While it’s easy to get overwhelmed with pressing health concerns on top of your color scheme choices, “Making the difficult decision to postpone your wedding should be the hardest part. Once you’ve done that, try to make the rest of the process fun,” advises Matt Ramirez, Senior VP of Marketing at Generation Tux. “Look at new wedding trends, new seasonal colors, and opportunities to update your wedding plans! Everyone in the wedding industry knows this is a tough time for couples, and we’re here to work with you. Take this time with your husband to design the look of your wedding suit or tux again, order some free swatches, and get a free home try-on delivered to the groom.”
If you want to get creative without overloading your plate, Taylor Waxman suggests designing your own thank you notes online, finding custom postage for your wedding invitations, registering for gifts, working on your wedding website, finalizing your guest list, and choosing meaningful songs to be played during your ceremony. She also suggested pulling inspiration images (as if you needed an excuse to add to the wedding Pinterest board you’ve had since college.). “Focus on your style and look, try not to go too deep in detail,” she recommends. “Keep this light and fun.”
Can’t Wait? Go For It!
As Nike says, “Just Do It.” If you and your S.O. are itching to get married ASAP, Sarah Kuhlberg suggests having a mini wedding and eloping in your backyard, and then scheduling a reception for a year later so you can celebrate your first anniversary with friends and family. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box and feel free to “Create your dream celebration and know that this new wedding style is something we are all getting used to.”
Images: Natasha Fernandez / Pexels; Britelitetribe.com; @betchesbrides / Instagram
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