Spring in the Lowcountry means two things: a freakish amount of pollen and an outrageous number of weddings. Bachelorette parties become a regular part of the Charleston bar scene through the onset of winter, and they range from jovial to wild to downright creepy.
The light-up tiaras, oversized penis lollipops, and risque dare games are classic bachelorette party fare and great entertainment at first. But the next thing you know some wasted bridesmaid is giving your guy an unwanted, overzealous lap dance while simultaneously trying to sip your drink through a neon-pink, dildo-shaped straw. Awkward.
Ladies, everyone wants you to savor your last night of spouse-less freedom, but after a few body shots and flirtinis, walking the line between celebratory and obnoxious can be tougher than a sobriety test. Let loose, get buck wild, but remember that a little bit of etiquette and discretion can go a long way among your fellow barflies. So how's a girl to get rowdy without causing ruckus? We've got a few dos and don'ts to help single ladies party it up one last time before putting a real ring on it. —Reese Moore
DO plan ahead. Some downtown hotspots, like Chai's, will serve between eight and 12 bachelorette parties on a given weekend in addition to the regular rush. If you've got a particular destination in mind, try to give the place a heads up before making your grand entrance as a boa-adorned party of 14. The staff will be better prepared to accommodate your needs, you'll be served faster, and your night will get off to a stress-free start. No one likes a bridezilla-to-be.
DON'T cause drama. "Don't harass men with girlfriends," warns Wet Willie's Assistant Manager Christina Altland. Backing that ass up on a man and his date is uncomfortable at best and going to result in a black eye at worst, so do yourself a favor and just don't do it. Your makeup artist will thank you.
DO know what sort of party your bachelorette wants. Does she want to get a few drinks with her friends? Or does she want to end the night dancing on a table clutching a bottle of champagne? Henry's House and NV Lounge love wild bachelorettes and even treat parties of 10 or more to a free bottle of bubbly, and Mad River encourages bridal parties to take body shots off a studly bartender (ask for Christian), but this behavior won't fly at every bar in downtown Charleston.
DON'T forget there are other patrons in the bar. This one is important. "A bachelorette brought in a blow-up doll and smacked into a girl who wasn't with the party," Mad River Manager/bartender Sean Conner recounts. "The other girl was so mad she stabbed the blow-up doll and deflated it, and then we had to ask her to leave." Bachelorette games and antics can be a very fun way to get the party started, but they can get really annoying really quickly to everyone around you. Keep your inflatable man candy's hands to yourself.
DO love your bartenders. They work hard, take care of you, and even play along with your bachelorette task lists, so seriously, people, pay up!
DON'T be a hot mess. If you're not a little sloppy during a bachelorette party, you're probably not doing it right, but try to keep it at the post-college level. Few things are as terrifying as watching a barefoot maid of honor lurch into oncoming King Street traffic holding a slice of Gilroy's pizza in one hand and a tiara in the other and trailing magenta boa feathers in her wake.
DO have a designated driver. Please err on the side of being responsible. Setting up your mode of transportation in advance eliminates any chance of dangerous behavior. "If you're going to splurge on some aspect of your bachelorette party, splurge on getting safe transportation," advises Chai's Manager Trina Topping. Limo, rickshaw, cab, whatever; party hard, get home safe, and make it to the church on time.
DON'T cheat on your fiance. Get tipsy, get sloshed, get crazy, but don't get skanky. Bubba in the tight jeans and guido jewelry may look delicious on the verge of a 'til-death-do-us-part commitment (and after five mojitos), but thou shalt resist. Coming home with an atrocious, head-splitting hangover may be acceptable; coming home with a raging case of crabs is not.