The spring and summer months in Las Vegas is wedding season. And while many people are tying their nuptials at one of the drive through wedding chapels or exchanging vows in one of the hotel/casinos, it’s the party before the party that most people think of when they think of a Vegas night out. That’s right, I’m talking about the bachelor/bachelorette party! I’ve noticed a huge influx in photo shoots for these parties and I’m often asked a lot of questions about how to book them by people coming from out-of-town and also about where to get great photos from these events so I thought now would be the perfect opportunity to write about bachelor and bachelorette parties in Vegas.
Having lived here my entire life I’ve noticed two different scenarios as to how these tend to play out. Bachelor parties tend to be planned somewhat conservatively and wend up being really wild and the ladies at a bachelorette party talk a big game but often end up being pretty relaxed. Having been a hired photographer for both these activities, I’ve noticed that guys tend to want a photographer tag along less because they are always afraid of "the evidence" whereas women see a bachelorette party as something wind and fun but not too wild and fun, and as such, they will tend to want memories of the event more than the guys will. I’m basing this not on any real scientific study, but I’ve noticed as a professional photographer I’m booking over the last few years about 10 bachelorette parties to every 1 bachelor party so I’m going to base this blog mostly for the ladies.
So what kinds of photos does your average party-goer take when they are in Vegas in a bachelor/bachelorette party? Generally, your average party of this nature goes through two phases through the evening. The first part of the evening is all about getting a few drinks, roaming around on the Strip, getting some killer souvenir photos of the evening and then ending at some destination which moves into phase II of the night which typically end up at a gentlemen’s club for the guys (or even sometimes the ladies!) or a male-review show for the women. Sometimes the evening may conclude at one of the many awesome nightclubs here in Sin City.
The thing is, this is probably going to be a once in a lifetime event and while it’s fun to take cell phone pictures, ultimately photos of close friends on a trip to Las Vegas are ones you want to keep. The photos on your mobile phones will be ones to laugh at and post to Facebook, the ones you want to have as a real memory in a photo album or on your wall, you will want professionally shot. As such, I tend to book a lot of photo shoots for these parties and the same questions generally are asked when people are inquiring about hiring a photographer for their party night so I thought I’d address a few of them here to help make your bachelorette party a fun and memorable one:
Q: What about transportation? Vegas is a big place…should we walk or take a taxi?
A: There is a lot of things within walking distance but if you’re trying to cram a lot of activities into a short evening, you want to hire transportation. While taxis are plentiful, you should definitely want to look into renting a limousine. For a group of people it’s the best way to go and you would be shocked at how cheap it is to rent one for just a few hours. It’s also a great feeling knowing that your personal driver is just a moment away from wherever you are and you’ll feel like a big shot everywhere you go and you and your friends step out from a giant Hummer limousine. It’s a blast, and for the price, you can’t beat it. Best of all, you’ll get some killer memories and photos of your posse’ cruising around Vegas in your own limo…how cool is that???
Q: Is there anything we should bring for our bride-to-be to make sure she has fun?
A: ABSOLUTELY. I suggest stopping by a local party supply store back home before heading out to Vegas. Better yet, plan a short trip to one of the many adult boutiques near the Strip as part of your party. When I’m shooting a lot of these parties where a limo is inYou’ll want to get a tiara for the bride, a sash, and any other miscellaneous items to make the night a blast. Heck, if you want one-stop-shopping, just order from AMAZON.COM!
Q: Where can a photographer go with us and where can’t he?
A: Most casinos are fine with you taking a photo or two in a casino with a small camera or cell phone but they tend to get more aggressive at groups with a professional photographer. So while you may get a few photos inside the casino of everyone pulling the handle of a slot machine, generally it’s a good idea not to do it. Nightclubs don’t allow professional photographers at all unless you’re willing to spend some serious $$$. Here, you’ll be relegated to using your cell phones or point-and-shoot cameras. Most of the clubs have staff photographers they use for their own purposes and those guys get very defensive when they see another person roaming around with expensive gear. Showrooms are another no-no and no professional or sometimes even amateur photos are allowed at any of the many famous clothing-optional pools in Vegas either (yes, I’ve been asked this several times as crazy as that sounds). There are a few other exceptions but that’s pretty much it.
Q: What part of the bachelorette party is best to book a photographer for and where should we go to get shots?
A: It’s the first part of the bachelorette party where you want your photos. A typical bachelorette party shoot for me will consist of meeting the group at one of the landmark properties on the Strip, getting some photos there and then hopping in a limousine to a few different destinations that make for fun, "girls night out" photos. The Bellagio is a must, the volcano show at the Mirage is always fun, walking on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas is always a favorite for bachelorette parties, and the evening wouldn’t be complete without some great souvenir photos of the Welcome to Las Vegas sign. Even just walking as a group on the Strip is always going to yield some fun photos. The best part is, when you have someone tagging along to get them, you can just unwind and have fun.
Most importantly though, plan out your evening and don’t stress about it. What I always tell bachelorette party planners is to reverse-engineer your evening and schedule things around major events. If you know you are going to wind up at a 11 PM show, know you will be out around 12:30 AM so if you are planning to go to a nightclub afterward, know you are going there during prime-time hours and will probably wait in a longer line, especially on a weekend. So if you know your show starts at 11:30 PM and you want to do some roaming on the strip either by foot, limo, or taxi, give yourself plenty of time. I shot a bachelorette party a few nights ago and I remember when I was speaking with the Maid of Honor who booked the shoot back in February, she asked me how much time should we budget for photos at their hotel (Casesars Palace), walking to the Bellagio for photos of the fountain show and a few other properties and then end up at the Vegas sign. I told her it would be easily be 2-3 hours. I had to explain that a group of women walking around in heels is not exactly fast-paced. It turns out that after all was said and done we were right at the 3 hour mark. Activities take time, so plan accordingly. Do some research and find a good limo company and book them far in advance. While there are many limo companies in Vegas, demand can be higher than the supply so if you think you only want a limousine for 3 hours, book it for 4. Traffic and activities can take longer than you expect or could plan for and chances are your limo driver will be picking up their next client immediately after they drop you off so if you’re running late in your evening, extending your time may not be possible.
Most importantly though, when you are planning your bachelor or bachelorette party in Vegas, make it an experience, not just a "get together". Remember, this is VEGAS, BABY! Every time I’m booked to shoot a bachelor or bachelorette party I’m told that by having a professional photographer around for just a few hours made the entire night just so much better, plus you get professional quality photos to remember it by…at least the family-friendly parts of the evening anyway. 🙂 So if you are planning a bachelor or bachelorette party in Las Vegas and would love to have your own personal paparazzi for the night, give me a call at 702-204-1740 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for availability, questions, and booking. Mention you read this blog and from now until September 30th, 2011, and receive 10% off your bachelor or bachelorette party booking plus another special gift so contact me today as I tend to book quickly. Here are some kind words from one of my recent shoots…