FOR ANYONE WHO has been asked to be the maid of honor in a wedding, you know that it’s both an honor and a temp job. You have probably Googled ‘maid of honor responsibilities’ for the full job description. All lists agree: the bachelorette party is up to you.
When my sister designated me as the maid of honor in her wedding, I ran through the list of “to-dos,” daunted. I tackled the fun part first: speech writing. The scary part was next: dress shopping and fitting. Finally, I was faced with the most time-intensive item: party planning.
My sister had seen photos of the citywide photo scavenger hunt that I had organized in Spain, and she hinted at the fact that something similar would be fun for her bachelorette party. I agreed with the idea of going for something a little more creative and ‘gameified’ than the typical crazy night out on the town. The planning process began:
At a bachelorette party, you are all on the prowl. You are huntresses. Think of something that makes sense for a group of ladies (one of them unmarried for only a few more days) to search for. Form a brainstorming committee with the other bridesmaids and some happy hour drinks. I got together with two of the girls for an ideas session, and we were sure of two things: 1) we wanted to have some sort of hot costume item 2) we wanted to be on the lookout for something that you can only find on men.
We decided on the ever-clever mustache-on-a-stick as a costume accessory to ultra-feminine hot night out attire. Then we figured that it made sense to search for types of male facial hair. The Great Beard Hunt idea was born.
2. Make the clues
If you’re going for a scavenger hunt, think about the people, places, or things that need to be found. Think in images. The best way for people to gather clues is to take photos of them.
For The Great Beard Hunt, we went with a printed clues sheet of all the different kinds of facial hair you can find on a guy. Good resources for this are the beard type chart on dyers.org and of course the beard styles guide from authoritative beards.org.
3. Set the rules
Figure out some guidelines for the scavenger hunt. Will there be teams or is it each woman for herself? How much time will they have to complete the mission? What is the territory? What bars are the start and end points? How will you determine the winners? Will there be a prize?
For our hunt, we had these rules: 1) Form teams of two or three. 2) Make sure each of you has a mustache-on-a-stick. 3) Find guys with the facial hair types on the front and back of this page. 4) Then take a photograph that includes all team members, with mustaches on, and the bearded or mustachioed man.
You will have three hours to gain as many of these photos as you can. Yes, there is a prize for the winners!
3. Plan the costumes
A good way to coordinate costumes is to go with one accessory that you can supply for everyone. Wigs, tutus, coconut bras, tattoos, bicycles, phallus-wear if you really must go there, or whatever coordinates with your scavenger hunt theme. Make something distinct for the bride-to-be.
4. Figure out a prize
If your game or hunt has a winner, then there should be a prize. The less competitive type might be asking “why?” Why turn a fun party into a contest or a competition? Does there really need to be rivalry and prizes? But a game helps bring together a group of women who may only have the bride-to-be in common. Think cheesy bridal shower games gone wild. You get creative control over all the design aspects. It will make the night more memorable in the long-run, plus it’s a good distraction from thinking about what the guys are up to over at the bachelor party.
For our Great Beard Hunt, the budget was already spent and I had nothing left for a prize. I got resourceful by canvassing a donated bottle of wine and looking around. I wrapped up the like-new book I had just finished reading, Sex at Dawn. The book takes a fun anthropological look at hunter-gatherer sexuality, and makes a perfect read for today’s unwed female.
5. Go hunting
Let the game begin. Hit your city’s downtown with your group of women on a mission.
Coordinate transportation and meeting points, then go nuts. If some of the girls aren’t into it, let them do their thing — no prize for them. Your top priority is to make sure that the bride-to-be is having fun.
6. Declare a winner
If your scavenger hunt is a photo hunt, then the judging processing might require some downloading, perusing, uploading, and score-keeping. Enjoy the night, don’t worry about it right away, and save this step for after the party. Post all the photos on Picasa or somewhere online where everyone who played can see them. Declare the winner at the wedding reception. In the case of a tie, take the showdown to the wedding dance floor.
In the end, our manhunt turned into more of a collaboration than a contest. Between the four total teams, we managed to locate almost all of the targeted beard types. We spotted the elusive ‘pencil,’ the increasingly popular ‘handlebar,’ and the douchebag-style ‘soul patch.’ There was even a poorly-groomed ‘chin strap’ that started following us around for awhile.
Winner for best photo: Laura, who managed to find a real cop with a real cop-stache at 7-11 who was game for a photo with her.