Bachelorette Parties – HOT! HOT! HOT!

Given the fact that this has been one of the hottest summers in history with more triple digit temperatures than ever, ( and it’s not over, yet) this might be time to  have a really COOL  bachelorette party. Here are just a few ideas on how to deal with the heat and use it to your advantage:

Pool Party – Plan a beach themed pool party, complete with Hawaiian leis, tropical drinks with little  paper umbrellas, and all the accoutrements. Hula contest, pinata, and much more can help bring your tropical bachelorette party alive. Bring food out to the event, or have a bonfire so that everyone can participate.You can still have the raunchy male stripper if you want (or not).

Magic Movie Night– Speaking of male strippers. Magic Mike is the latest GNO (girls night out) pleasure and is great fun for ladies of all ages. The movie is okay. JUST okay . But, the fun that surrounds it, the speculation, the abs, the whole theater-that-serves-food-and-drinks experience along with the abs ( did I say that twice?) makes this  one of the best girls nights you can have. The best part- chatting with the ladies after the movie deciding who was the hottest. Manganiello – hands down! Oh yeah, there is a plot, too (whatever). It’s Raining Men …. WORTH IT!

Sleepover Party – Maybe it sounds tame by comparison, but, a good sleepover with pajamas, pillow fights, doing each other’s hair and nails can be a lot of fun. Book a room at a great hotel with great air conditioning, order room service and stay up all night. If you need something a little more raunchy, you can use this as an opportunity to host a ‘sexy party’. Whether it is lingerie or adult toys, you are guaranteed 50 shades of fun when the ‘big guns’ come out!!!

Ladies, it’s going to be a long, hot summer so start planning your bachelorette party, now!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago


Bachelors and Bachelorettes Gone “Not So WILD”!

I’ve heard that Bachelor parties can get wild. I also know that  Bachelorette parties can be very tame compared to their male counterparts. I also know that the movies that represent this rite of passage are less than accurate.  From “Very Bad Things” to “The Hangover”, I laugh at so many parts that I usually have to watch again and again to see what I missed but, I laughed knowing they were just movies…. written to be absurd, ridiculous and hilarious. There was a brief scene in “The Bridesmaids” that eluded to some level of debauchery but it never came close to killing a hooker or pulling your own tooth.

Three things you need to remember about Bachelor/ Bachelorette Parties:

-The night before your wedding is the absolute worst time for this party. You do not want to be hungover or even tired on your wedding day. It will show in the pictures.

-This event is not the time to be engaging in questionable activities with the opposite sex. If you haven’t sown enough wild oats before you got engaged, there is a problem.

– Booking a Limo is the absolute best way to move everyone from one place to another. Drunk drving is bad enough to be illegal – Oh wait… it is. The bonus is that a lot of Limo companies offer packages.

If your best man or maid of honor doesn’t have any restraint or has issues with crossing the line between good and bad taste, there is hope. The new trend in Bachelor/ Bachelorette Parties is  getaways. Whether it is local or low-key, skydiving, white-water rafting, golfing or taking in a spa package – you can have a great time with no regrets. Sure, you might not have an iconic story of a night of wild abandonment but, spending the entire weekend relaxing and re-connecting with your dearest friends is a lot more exciting than it sounds… and you can put the pictures on Facebook.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

The Bar is Open

Believe it or not, alcohol is one of the biggest expenses at your wedding reception and the bar tab can sometimes exceed the cost of dinner considering that the estimate is $10 per hour per guest. If you are serving top shelf liquor and above average wine or beer, you will find yourself scratching your head and wondering how everyone drank so much. Of course not everyone drinks, not everyone overindulges and not everyone will drink the same amount. Allowing 3 alcoholic beverages per hour ( the average) seems like a lot to me. I can honestly say that I could barely drink  3 glasses of wine over the course of the entire evening, much less per hour. Of course, this an ‘average’ number so you have to factor in the guests who can drink 6-8 glasses (easily) in the course of the evening. 6-8 glasses if wine equals 2 entire bottles.

So how do you decide what and how much to serve your guests? Most of the time, the catering manager will be able to help you calculate your ‘spiritual’ needs. There are also scores of party drink calculators online. There are also several different routes you can take to tackle the cost of the bar tab.

Cash Bar – Is where the guests pay for their own cocktails. The upside is that when guests pay for their own drinks they are less likely to overindulge and become heavily intoxicated. Less likely – not entirely out of the realm. The downside is that you may seem like a cheapskate. Some of your guests may have traveled a great distance to be at your wedding and at great expense plus a gift and hotel room and now you are asking them to pay for their own drinks? If you choose this option, make sure it is clearly defined on the reception card so guests will know to bring the cash with them. If your budget allows, providing wine at the tables is a nice touch.

Limited Bar – There are different ways to handle a limited bar. The first is to have the bar open during a cocktail hour before the reception and then after dinner is over, serving up all different types of alcoholic refreshments. During dinner guests will be served wine (usually) and nothing else. Another type of limited bar is where you serve only  wine, beer and a small selection of hard liquor. Either of these is a less expensive option but, it is still important to go over the numbers with your catering professional.

Open Bar – This is where all drinks are paid for by the couple and guests can order a seemingly limitless supply of alcohol. Of course this is the most expensive option but, it doesn’t have to break the bank entirely since you can cut back by not serving top shelf liquor or expensive wines and beers. For a very formal reception, drinks should be served by watstaff and your guests should never have to wait in line at the bar. Make sure you have adequate waitstaff since waiting over half an hour for a drink can be quite frustrating for even a lightweight drinker like me.

Even better  – you can customize the alcohol portion of the evening any way you see fit.  Offer a particular fancy beer that everyone loves, serve wine only with customized labels featuring a picture of the two of you, create your own signature drink (one that matches your color scheme) to be served during cocktail hour or only serve champagne or champagne cocktails  during this time…. be creative!

Of course you can also omit alcohol entirely. If no one in your party is a drinker, why offer it? I can neither condemn or condone this. But, I will say that I do like a glass of wine from time to time and particularly at a wedding where I would be very disappointed to have to toast the couple with sparkling cider.

No matter which option you choose when serving alcohol, it is always important to ensure eveyone’s safety. I am not suggesting a breathalyzer at the door but check to see if the bartenders or waitstaff are trained to cut someone off when they have had too much to drink. It might be a good idea to have someone who is a light or non-drinker as the ‘designated doorman’. This person will politely and firmly remind guests when they have had too much to drink in order to drive or when they have become out of control or belligerent. Nothing spells disaster like a drunken guest and you don’t this to be what people remember about the evening.

The point of having a drink or two is to loosen up and have an enjoyable evening… not to wake up the next morning in a hotel room with Mike Tyson’s tiger and a missing tooth.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago