Vegas is incredibly fun for an all girls trips, which makes it a perfect location for a bachelorette or birthday. On any given day, you will see hoards of girl groups in uniformed attire with a standout girl as a focus, most likely wearing a sash. It’s a bachelorette! …or a 21st! or a dirty-30! ….or the lesser known just-got-a-promotion-girls-trip, a graduating-soon-seniors-sorority-girls getaway, a girls-only babymoon, a newly-single retreat, a recently-divorced party (seriously, this is real)…whatever excuse there is right?
This post will focus on some tips to organize your festive Vegas trip! Although this is bachelorette focused, the same suggestions can apply to almost any organized bash with a person of honor! Here are my 25 steps for planning a Vegas celebration.
First Steps in Planning Your Vegas Bachelorette / Birthday Bash!
1.) Pick a date. This sounds a heck of a lot easier than it really is. As much as the media has promoted the idea of a 3 day weekend blowout for a bachelorette party or 21st, it is a huge chunk of time. Life happens. It might not be feasible for all those who are invited to come, but giving ample notice and trying your best to coordinate schedules will help. Also, the big 3-day weekends like Labor Day, Memorial Day, and EDC weekend have its drawbacks: they are 3x as crowded and expensive. Keep that in mind. Girls are still free, but feeling special won’t be as easy — especially when there will even be a long line at LAX nightclub (at Luxor); that’s a bad sign. Interested in seeing a specific DJ or determined to visit a pool party? Make sure you are coming during the right time. If you’re going in winter, it is definitely less crowded, easier to get VIP treatment, and you can still day club in winter.
If sending out a group message is not ideal for your group (large group messages can get overwhelming really fast, especially if not everyone in the group knows one another), let technology pick the date for you. Check out Doodle. Assuming the bachelorette or guest of honor narrowed down a few weekends, other guests can narrow it down from there. It’s super quick, free, and easy for everyone to use.
Here’s an example:
2.) Get to know the other ladies going and decide on budget. It isn’t mandatory to get to know the ladies beforehand since your group’s focus should be making sure the guest of honor has fun, but it avoids unnecessary drama if you can start on a good foot. Reach out individually because people often avoid responding in group messages if they think their opinion strays from the group. Get an idea of how comfortable people feel regarding money / activities.
If you know the bachelorette MUST-SEE the $200 Britney concert or stay in a penthouse, then give girls a heads up about how much they will be spending. If the bachelorette does not have any big requests, then throw out some ideas and see how comfortable people are with splurging on a limo ride or a show. Also, if possible, try to keep numbers to a manageable size. 6-8 is the perfect range. It’s big enough to get a complimentary host table and make a presence, but it’s also manageable enough when it comes to splitting up cars/rooms/logistics and making sure everyone is on the same page. Big groups are definitely possible, I have seen girl groups of 20+. Just accept that the group will often split up when the numbers get that high because 20 girls together in a mob for 48+ hours are bound to either have drama or be incredibly indecisive, which is annoying. Attempt to cap it at 12 girls: the perfect size for 3 taxis. Also, LYFT is now a PERFECT ride app for groups of 6!
3.) Book a hotel. I highly suggest booking directly with a hotel and simply using one of the many available promocodes. Try SmarterVegas, use your AAA card, or check the homepage of each casino; they usually have tons of promotions. Booking direct with the casino is also important because, with any large organized trip, your number of RSVPs might change. Canceling a room when you book through the hotel is a breeze and much easier. It’s also easier to possibly score a free upgrade.
When booking suites, make sure you have a big enough bathroom(s), and keep in mind that equal distribution of beds might not be apparent. Someone might be on the couch or pull-out. Will your group of girls be okay with that? When all the girls know each other, they are more likely to be fine with putting 4 girls on a king bed. When they are a bunch or strangers, it’s less likely that girls will be okay with being in cuddle-proximity. My go-to favorite suites are the penthouses at Vdara and Elara. Venetian and MGM are good too when they have a promotion. My favorite budget-friendly places are Flamingo, Excalibur, and The Linq. Note: Always put 2 guests per room when booking online, even if there are more.
4.) Calculate Fees and Prepare Easy Payment. When keeping girls updated on how much the weekend should cost, don’t forget to calculate for resort fees, taxes, and even a small tip per room for housekeeping. You can call the hotel and ask them for your total including resort fees/taxes in advance. If you know you’re going to take a limo at least once, watch a show, or do an activity, then estimate all the totals in advance. The last thing you want at the end of a limo ride is to try to get each girl to give exactly X amount in small bills. Make it easy for people to pay you back. Paypal, Venmo, mobile bank transfer setup, etc. People generally don’t want to owe people money, but they sometimes forget. Have options.
5.) Buy things for the guest of honor. Get a crown. Girls love crowns. Maybe I had too many memories of uncomfortable crowns digging into my scalp when I tried to be a fairy princess that one year in elementary school, but most girls love crowns. Even Laura, my cousin at A Little Bit Vanilla, who did not want to be the center of attention or “wear a tacky crown” was glad she did for her 21st weekend because there comes perks with being the guest of honor. Spring for crowns, tiaras (I think there’s a difference right?), sashes, buttons, sunglasses, veils, bridal tank tops for the pool, whatever. There are even full kits available if you’re unsure of what to get.
Once the hotel is booked…
6.) Contact your promoter. Once your dates and number are set, you can contact your favorite Vegas promoter. If you don’t have one, I highly recommend Kevin & Shawna. Yes, it’s free. It’s always free. They have worked in Vegas for years, and he – and his network – will set you up the entire weekend. There are plenty of promoters. Heck, if you have a public Instagram or Twitter and even hashtag #Vegas – even if your caption was “I HATE #Vegas” – you will still get a mass reply from at least one new promoter who wants you at his club. It’s important to pay your dues, so any promoter you encounter in a casino or on the strip begging you to come to their club under their name to help make their “girl quota” is doing just that. Most of the time they are going to be very nice and pull through. However, they also try to tempt you with promises they often can’t keep. “I can guarantee a comp table for all of you ladies right near the stage with Calvin Harris tonight!” in the day can quickly change to “It’s swamped right now, but use my name to get in free, and I’ll meet up with you!” at night.
My friend also told me an instance a few years ago when her group was scammed by a fake promoter for entry. It does happen. Don’t ever pay someone on the street for guest list or tickets, no matter how sharply dressed and charming they are. There are also tons of “bachelorette packages” available from different companies. It can definitely be the easy choice, but you can do it all a heck of a lot cheaper and better on your own. Paying for a limo and getting entry to 3 clubs is not worth $100/girl, especially when the clubs are LAX, Chateau, and Life. You can get club hop options (for the top ones in Vegas) for free, and splitting an hour limo rental is surprisingly cheap when you book yourself in advance (see #13).
To set up for your entire trip, contact Kevin’s partner, Shawna, directly: Text her at (760) 238-7788 or e-mail her at ShawnaWeng@gmail.com with the following info: Full Name (the one on your ID that you will use at club), dates you will be in town, phone # to receive text-messages the weekend you are in Vegas, and # of girls. Once she confirms, you will hear back from them the Monday/Tuesday before your big weekend with all of your options –and I mean, all of your options. Their list is very thorough and will include the headliner at each club, drink ticket options, genre of music that night, etc. I send them all of my blog contacts, and they are always taken care of. You can even say Tracy of Travelgasms sent you! 😉 They can also arrange strip clubs if that is your cup of tea. It will even include a free limo pick up from whatever club/hotel you are leaving! Just remember to tip your limo driver.
7.) Prepare decorations. Don’t go too crazy. You’ll want to have easy clean up for yourself and the cleaning staff. Bring an empty trash bag and clean up yourselves as best you can. It’s good karma. Decorating does not automatically mean there needs to be hours of pinterest-hunting. Some nice touches include providing SNACKS, a banner, and balloons. I also love writing a special note to the person of honor on the mirror as a border with dry eraser; it looks cool, is a nice surprise, and most importantly – is easy to wipe down.
8.) Make a kick butt playlist. Your hotel may or may not have an auxiliary hookup or iHome, but you can definitely invest in a small speaker. This small cube is my favorite, and it is super affordable. I always bring an aux cord too just in case. A hotel room may promise an ihome or aux cable, but it may not be present or working. An aux cord is also handy to have for a limo (those blue tooth connections are sometimes really fickle) or even the taxi! Invest in the small $6 cable.
Preparing getting-ready or limo music to pump everyone up and get in the Vegas mood is a nice touch. Figure out the favorite songs or genre of the celebrated, but also throw in some fun classics. Girl groups love some throwback Britney, TLC, Spice Girls or the ridiculous cheesy pop songs of the year (this generally works best when they are already mildly intoxicated). As much as I don’t think Ke$ha can really sing, something about her songs while doing make-up definitely get you in the mood. You can also pump up your group by playing whatever genre/DJ/artist you will be seeing that night.
9A.) Organize some games. Even though games are more traditional at a bachelorette than a birthday party, it doesn’t mean you still can’t have fun games for the group in either scenario. Don’t worry about printing adorable things on Etsy that will end up in the trash. Some easy ones include a groom trivia game, a panty guessing game (guests bring a panty gift that represents their personality), ex-charades, and a photo scavenger hunt.
9B. Prepare for a Photo Scavenger Hunt. For the photo scavenger hunt, you can be elaborate and get a T-shirt checklist…or you can do what I did and just mass text an image to all the girls. I typed up some favorites and then texted the screenshot to the ladies. Rather than buying a pre-made one, you can steal ideas from multiple sources and create one you know your bachelorette will have fun with. Note: If you require the bride to take a photo with one of the many people dressed in costume on the street, be sure to leave a small tip. They aren’t dressed up in a Yoda costume for their own enjoyment.
In addition to doing a photo scavenger hunt for the bride, you can also organize a bachelorette photo shoot! My cousin, Diana, over at Paperie Lane arranged for a downtown Vegas photoshoot during the day. This is especially great if your group is full of Vegas veterans who would enjoy getting off the strip. You can see the rest of the bachelorette party photo session here.
10.) Get matching anything. I was never in a sorority, but bachelorette and the big birthdays in Vegas always make for prime opportunities to play matchy-matchy. Don’t ask guests to fork over $30 for an unflattering t-shirt they will wear a few hours. Be strategic with the matching. It can be as simple as the same color, headband, or bow in their hair. If you want to buy something matchy for the group, invest in something easy like buttons, sunglasses, or glowsticks. It’s essentially for one picture that you’re all in and unfortunately some will toss the item immediately after. Don’t overthink it.
11.) Arrange a daytime activity. Day clubbing is fun, but for most people after a night out, it’s simply not doable. During the day is also most likely the time your group will split off and do other things. Some might just want to stay in and recover from the night before. If going out in the day is a must, there are plenty of day activities other than a pool or day club. Walk the strip, check out old town Vegas, visit the neon boneyard, ride the roller-coaster at New York New York or the Thrill Rides at the Stratosphere, take a stripper class, shop, gamble, or get a spa pass at your hotel. The options are endless, but make sure your group overestimates on time. Packing in too many activities will leave you rushing at night. The recent GO explorer Vegas pass is a surprisingly good value compared to other GO passes I’ve seen. It’s worth the look to see if your group is interested!
12.) Arrange a show or review option. If your group would love to see a show, make it happen. They have day-of show tickets for great deals, but if you’re going on a busy weekend and with a large group, it makes sense to buy it early. Waking up early after a night out to get in line for Tix4Tonight can be a pain. Ask your bachelorette if seeing a show is something she really wants to do and talk with the rest of your group. Cirque du Soleil shows are very popular and some have discounts; the comedy shows almost always have deals too. If you’re interested in a male review show, Thunder from Down Under is probably the most popular and highest ranked. Also, the GO Vegas pass I mentioned earlier (that’s almost always on groupon btw) also have a few variety shows, that although aren’t worth full price, are definitely worth the 3 for 1 activity deal.
Before the big weekend…
13.) Arrange a ride. Contrary to popular belief, there are not tons of options for 5 person cabs in Vegas. There are only specific taxis that allow 5 girls and sometimes it can be a wait in the taxi line for those. If you know a limo would be a worth while splurge on one of your nights, do not wait until you are already in the taxi line. The door man will see your big group of girls coming and say something along the lines of :
“Ladies, how many you got tonight. 7? 8? That will be 2 taxis. Where are you going? XS at Encore? That’s way at the end! Traffic is bad on the strip tonight….that meter is going to run you way up. You might as well grab a limo! I can get it for your group for… $65! Flat! (This won’t include tip.) This guy gets a cut each time he gets one of his limo/shuttle guys a group. For one Vegas trip outside the Linq, I recall a group of 10 of us, and the limo we were offered for the $65 didn’t even fit everyone. If you want a limo ride, arrange in advance for the best rates.
A taxi down the strip – as long as your taxi man is taking side streets when possible – will never cost you more than $20, including tip. Even that is. 2 or even 3 cabs will always be less than what you get quoted for a one-way limo that will be 15 minutes or less. Like I mentioned previously, you can also check out LYFT for bigger groups too and get 2 SUVs! $65 for 7 girls would not be horrible for a ride, but you can actually rent one for an entire hour for close to the same price (It will even come with complimentary champagne!) if you reserve in advance. My favorite company is Presidential Limo; they also have great reviews on Yelp. They have videos of their fleets and great rates. If possible, I always try to go with one size up if you are already at the maximum number of seats to make sure there is enough room. With your hour rental, you can request your limo to swing by the Bellagio fountains, which go off every 15 minutes on weekend nights and stop by the famous Las Vegas sign. Note: Stay communicative with your driver about what you want and don’t forget to include gratuity. Try to reserve it an hour before you need to be at the club and on a day where you would have to inevitably take a taxi anyway. You can pre-game and pre-party in the limo and really make you bachelorette feel VIP.
14.) Finalize guest list picks. For all you fellow type A people, waiting until the week-of to finalize your day/night club options might seem nerve racking, but it will all be fine. You can start looking up individual club calendars if you’re super eager, but they sometimes change. Celebrity hosts or special guest DJs may appear on the calendar unexpectedly. When you get your options, notify your host which clubs you would like and they will give you directions if you’re interested in a table. NEVER pay. Even if Zedd or Calvin Harris is in town, you can still get in free. You might have to arrive a bit earlier, but you will be fine. Getting a table is less likely during a busy holiday or for a big DJ, but it’s still possible. Even if it is not prearranged, your group of girls might grab the attention of someone who will snag you to a guys table. Regardless, you will have a blast. Don’t stress out over it.
15.) Prepare favors girls will actually use. In addition to something in the matching realm, you can also have favors that everyone will take advantage of. Hangover kits are great and they don’t need to be elaborate. Heel cushion soles are amazing for the heels, these Foldable Flats are even better for the girls who can’t do heels a whole night, and shot glasses or drinking cups come in handy. Emergen-C, Tylenol, band-aids, are good things to have on deck too. I
16.) Tell girls what to pack. Yes, they are adults but a little reminder won’t hurt. Will bathing suits be needed? Are you giving certain themed gifts? Are you playing the panty game? Are you all wearing black or neon or whatever one night? Are you seeing a show? Should certain girls bring drinks or decorations or anything specific other than themselves?
17.) Get snacks! Half your group may have gone on a diet to fit in their Vegas outfit, but when you place salt and carbs on the hotel room table, they are all over it. I am vocal about my love for Cheetos puffs, cheez-its, and Chex Mix, but Vegas – and alcohol – gives even the strongest-will-powered-gluten-free-health-addict-non-artficial-cheese-eating-girl the munchies.
18.) Create a hashtag. Brainstorm and create it in advance so even as people are preparing their trip or are already on their way for the weekend, they can start sharing the love of the epic weekend via social media.
Once you’re in Vegas with all the ladies…
19.) Have everyone exchange numbers. I don’t care if you are positive you will never wander from the group. Get the number of everyone in your group, including that girl you know you don’t like already because she’s been complaining the whole first day about her chipped nail and you will only ever be in the same room with her again at the bride’s wedding. It doesn’t matter. Phones die. Phones get lost. People get lost. People swear they won’t get drunk. People get drunk. People get thrown out of clubs. People have fights. People get locked out. It’s a vicious Vegas cycle that is fully possible. Have her number too. Just in case.
20.) Have enough hotel room keys. I have seen girls sleep in hallways. It is not pretty or fun for anyone, except for maybe the security team who is probably watching from the multiple cameras on every floor. Did you know they can make announcements to the floor hallway?
“ATTENTION! Ladies. You need to go to down to the lobby to get a key. You CAN’T sleep in the middle of the hallway.” This is real. A room is allowed to have up to 2-4 names under the room, depending on the casino. You can call in advance or let them know the names at check-in. Give keys to girls who DO NOT have their name under the room. If those girls who are under the room ever get separated from the group, they can easily go to the front desk and use their ID for a new hotel room key.
21.) Create a plan for sharing photos. In addition to a hashtag, there are bound to be tons of pictures that stay in the vault. I personally love dropbox for sharing photos, but for most iphone-centric groups, iCloud photosharing is perfect.
22.) Get water. With all the “Woohoo! We’re in Vegas!” going around…girls tend to focus so much on the decorations, night festivities, and alcohol that they completely forget water and necessary liquids. If you’re flying in, it is easy to prepare snacks. Liquids — not so much. First thing is to get your pre-game liquids down, as well as your recovery liquids. Water is your friend. Fill that ice bucket up as soon as you get in the room. Brought a water bottle?! Even better. Fill that thing up with ice and it will be all nice and melted by the time you need to chug it later. If you’re stopping by the Walgreens on the strip or any ABC type store, invest in a large water.
23.) Organize a dinner. This is difficult with large groups. Overestimate your time because ordering, service, and that bill will take longer than you anticipate. If possible, arrange a dinner at or very near the hotel you are staying at or near the club you will be going to later that night. Ask your concierge for suggestions or check yelp (but make sure to go by GPS tracking distance and not by best match. Low stress options include going to a nice buffet. Yes, there are some nice buffets in Vegas.
24.) Have a celebratory drink in the room. Kick off your night with a group toast/shot before going out. If possible, get the alcohol at one of the many ABC stores or Walgreens on the strip. Ask when you check-in or your bell man where to get the best bang for your puck on alcohol. It won’t be the hotel 24-hour convenience store. Don’t forget chasers and cups. Your room probably has 2-4 cups. Maybe.
25.) Take a ton of photos. My girlfriends know that I am notoriously paparazzi-like when in Vegas with a camera, particularly with alcohol. Why not? Take tons of candids for your guests of honor and if you see one of the professional guys with the camera around, snag a professional picture too. Try to take pictures at the beginning of the night when girls still feel good about themselves. There’s something about the lighting in the bathroom or taxi line that make pictures come out better. It could be the level of soberness too.
Things to keep in mind:
Nobody likes a Nazi.The soup Nazi is only cool in Seinfeld. Things inevitably won’t go as planned and girls will have different agendas. Stay positive. Even though you want to make the guest of honor feel special, trying to put focus on someone for an entire weekend is exhausting. Don’t put too much pressure on things going flawlessly or trying to keep everyone together during the day or even during casual meals. It will be fine.
Friends don’t let friends forget their ID! Ask the group before you leave the room. Every. Time. Girls like to accessorize and move from the daytime purse to the night time purse to only the cell phone with ID case.
You are definitely not the only bachelorette or birthday in town. Make nice with all your fellow Vegas girl groups you see. Make nice and be happy that you can all celebrate in sin city!
I hope you enjoyed my guide, and I hope it’s helpful!!! Don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or comments! Did I miss some important things? What do you think every bachelorette planner should know before going to Vegas?
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