Aug 20, 2013
Brides to Be
Courtney Culey, Digital Engagement Editor

Creating an at-home affair

The economy is in a slump – it’s no secret. It’s slowly picking up steam, but the lack of economic stability is taking its toll on the party industry.

Customers are opting for stay-at-home affairs and buying on a budget. Birthday parties are becoming less extravagant, and weddings are being made simple. Bachelorette parties are changing, too.

Instead of planning a weekend trip to Las Vegas or a night out on the town, brides-to-be are opting to have their special gathering at home. Why? Because the price is right for the bride and her friends, decor is much cheaper than an airplane ticket, and nothing beats the comfort of home.

The Convenience of Home

Everything costs money – some things cost a lot of money. A night at a five-star hotel can total more than $200, and plane tickets are upwards of $500. The memories may be priceless, but money doesn’t grow on trees. Because travel is so expensive and brides have a checklist of items to pay for, brides are saving a little cash and celebrating their future nuptials at home with their closest friends.

“The economy has played an important role in bachelorette parties,” said Warren Berkowitz of Forum Novelties. “Destination parties require major travel costs to all women attending, therefore, more brides are opting for parties close to home.”

But at-home bachelorette parties are for more than saving money. Theresa Escobar, an account manager at Eldorado, said brides are opting for at-home parties for a number of reasons.

“At-home bachelorette parties are gaining momentum for the safety-conscience brides and bridesmaids who want to party on a budget,” she said.

Escobar added that at-home affairs help brides control the outcome and craft the gathering to fit their personal needs. Brides can showcase their unique style before gearing up for their wedding day.

“Women can cut loose with their friends without others barging into the party,” she said. “They can get as crazy as they want yet party in a safe environment.”

It’s also about comfort.

“Many times you see the bachelorette party paired with a lingerie shower, and women feel more comfortable doing that at home,” said Amy Robinson, owner of The Paper Market. At-home parties are more conducive to games and gift giving, too.

And don’t forget guilt, Robinson added.

Weddings are expensive and bridesmaids are asked to hand out cash for multiple accessories – dresses, shoes, travel, you name it and bridesmaids usually pay for it – so penny pinching is appreciated and most brides are conscious of that.

All About Accessories

Got decor? You’d better because some brides-to-be are asking for it.

If you can’t travel to Vegas for your bachelorette party, why not create the look at home? When big-budget parties are out of the question, put emphasis on accessories and create your perfect look.

“A major difference is that parties done at someone’s home tend to use more decorations and party games,” Berkowitz said. “It’s not as easy to play role play or other party games in the public setting. Having parties in the private setting gives the women more chance to let loose.”

That being said, Forum Novelties has seen increased sales in games like Bachelorette Bingo, Adult Pin the Tail on the Donkey and various drinking games. But don’t shy away from having a full stock of boas, tiaras and sashes. Although wearables are popular items for destination parties, they can be worn at home, too.

Sue Chasteen, owner of It’s Party Time!, said sashes and tiaras are still popular in her Highland, Ill., shop. In fact, they sell better than bachelorette tableware.

“All of our products can be used for at-home parties and going out on the town,” she said. “We have koozies, specialty drink glasses, beads, flashing buttons, boas, balloons bridal party name tags, some X-rated items and more.”

Robinson agreed: wearables sell best. “We can’t seem to keep enough of the bachelorette sashes and crowns in the store,” she said. Her Monroe, La., store markets tasteful products and anything wearable.

Variety is key, but it’s not the only component to the bachelorette industry. A price-conscious stock is essential.

Because It’s Party Time! is the only party supply store in Highland, Chasteen said she caters to all budgets. She stocks the shelves with low- and high-end items to fit any bride’s needs, which Berkowitz said is important.

“Be aware that your customer has a target price in mind to spend on a party,” he said. “Offer them a good selection at a realistic, fair price and you will maximize your profit.”

But at-home affairs aren’t always the case. As Chasteen pointed out, some brides pay the price for a night out on the town with their closest friends, so make sure to have a variety of products in stock. Have a plentiful supply of decor, but also carry the ever-popular wearables. If brides of all styles and desires can be pleased, profit is inevitable.

And don’t be afraid to mix and match. Escobar said Eldorado has supplies that can overlap and be used at any bachelorette party, no matter the location. Remember, tiaras and sashes can be worn at home and games can be played out on the town.

“With an active imagination and a wall full of products, the average retailer would be able to advise any party planner of all the uses and fun to be had with these products,” Escobar said.

Whether it’s a night out or a night in, don’t let brides leave your store without the items they need to make their bachelorette party a night to remember.

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