Girls Night Out

A professional planner creates customized bachelorette parties.

by HCTG Staff Writer Patrick Totty, Most photos by Studio Wonderland

Girls Night Out width=  In the old days, say, five years ago, here’s how a bride-to-be might have gotten together with her best friends for a last fling: A few nights before her wedding day, they’d put on their high-heel sneakers and head out to party into the wee hours. Maybe they’d hit a hot bar, then shift over to a dance club, and then wind up at an all-night diner to gorge on chocolate sundaes.

If the bride was lucky, a friend might take care of some of the arrangements beforehand, and even throw in a nice set of wheels, like a limousine. But all in all, she and her buds were on their own in terms of figuring out where to go and what to do.

These days, thanks to a one-time debutante who’s been planning parties since her stint at Sarah Lawrence College, brides all over the U.S. can sit back and relax while a professional planner creates their customized bachelorette party.

Girls Night Out  The former deb, Pamela Yager, is a stand-up comedian who might as well have an advanced degree in event planning. Her Los Angeles-based company, Arc Entertainment, has been pioneering “pre-wedding party planning” for several years. “There’s no real category yet for what we do,” she explains. “The industry is so young the Yellow Pages haven’t figured out where to put us.”

Yager’s parties are soup-to-nuts affairs. She organizes the theme, food, venues, personalized gifts and transportation, as well as an entertainer to serve as the host. Usually the entertainers are comedians, but other options are available, including a fabulous graphologist (handwriting analyst). “First I find out what the bride and her guests are like, and then I match them up with the perfect entertainer,” Yager says. “Comedians make great party hosts because they create a relaxed atmosphere in which everyone feels free to have fun and be silly.”

Her most popular party is “Bride’s Night Out,” which typically involves whisking a bride-to-be and her friends off in a limo to one or more party sites. Riding along with them is the professional host, who puts everybody in a party mood. At the destination, the festivities involve not only themed food, drinks and games, but a roast or monologue by the host. “We can also provide a party boutique that’s a lot like a bridal expo,” says Yager. “Much of the stuff we offer isn’t available to ‘nice’ girls—at least not in places they’d want to go looking for it.”

Girls Night Out  While some of Yager’s clients don’t fancy a glitzy Hollywood-type party, she’s confident she can create the right atmosphere for any bride. “We planned an event for one conservative group from Minnesota, and held it in Long Beach rather than Hollywood. Our comedian warmed everybody up so well that even the bride’s mom wound up helping dress a male blow-up doll.” Some bachelorettes prefer the “Bride’s Night In” bash, where the party is held at a private residence. In the comfort of your (or someone else’s) home, you can get your guests into the swing of things with Flamenco or belly dance instruction, or pamper them with a manicure and massage. Whether you want a Victorian Hat Party or a private chartered jet to fly you and your girlfriends to Las Vegas, Yager is game to plan a customized fling for you. She’s also up on one of the newest trends: brides and their engaged friends combining bachelorette parties and bridal showers.

Although her home base is in L.A., Yager’s take-care-of-everything approach works long distance. Last year, Natalie Phillips, who lives in Northern California’s Lake County, wanted to throw a bachelorette party for her soon-to-be sister-in-law in Woodland Hills, 500 miles away. She found Yager’s website and made a query. “I needed somebody who could make all the arrangements for me and come up with a theme,” she explains. “Pamela suggested a Sizzling Salsa Night, which was perfect for us, and we all had a great time partying at a dance club on Universal City Walk in Hollywood.

Would-be clients are often surprised that Yager doesn’t do traditional wedding planning, but has instead developed her own specialty services. Besides pre-wedding party planning, she interviews brides and comes up with gift suggestions for their friends. “It takes a lot of the work out of the whole gift-giving process,” she says. She also does bridal showers, but is quick to distinguish between them and bachelorette parties. “A bridal shower celebrates the new union, so I approach it differently. There are more relatives involved, and though you play games and make jokes, they’re not as sexy or risqué as those of a “Bride’s Night Out” party. A bachelorette bash, on the other hand, is the bride’s ‘last night’ to be single, and an opportunity to go a little wild. By spending time with her friends and laughing about old romances, she can purge the past and re-confirm for herself that she’s making the right choice.”

Girls Night Out  Yager’s innovative business is enjoying success for good reason. “Most women don’t know how to go about doing this,” she acknowledges. “They’re not into the club scene, and they have no idea where to go. Also, most of them are busy working.” In addition to having a mastery of party logistics, Yager uses her intuition to personalize each event. Dana Pentoney, who lives in Maryland, wanted to organize a bachelorette party for her sister, Jessica, in New York City. After a friend found Yager on the internet, Pentoney gave her a call. “The first thing Pamela did was try to get a feel for my sister’s likes and dislikes; then she started offering lots of ideas about things to do.” The party Yager designed was a hit. “All 13 of us were welcomed into every club we visited with no cover charges. We even had our own VIP section at one of them.” Pentoney says the evening was the essence of what a well-planned party should be—smooth and easy. “But the best thing about Yager’s services was this: they left me totally free to focus on fun.”

For more info, contact Pamela Yager:
ARC Entertainment
[email protected]

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