[Nights on the Circuit]
Memorial Day weekend tests Light Group’s bachelorette-party director’s mettle
Thu, May 29, 2008 (12:01 a.m.)
At this hour, Jet looks like a closed movie theater. The dreaded velvet ropes and stanchions line up inside like soldiers, with none of the club’s darkened stillness hinting at the crazy scene soon to overtake it. Thanks to Light Group’s promotional team, Bachelorette Party Director Jeannette Ivy and her colleague Kokie Abebe will be juggling 300 girls—up from yesterday’s 250—over Memorial Day weekend. I catch up with tiny blonde Ivy at Stack where tonight’s groups (65 ladies in all) are fueling up.
At Stack’s long communal table, 21 Asian women chatter: Wendy in a white veil, her ladies in black cocktail dresses. It dawns on me that I’m surrounded by bachelorettes: a top hat, a crown-wearing Hawaiian, a sombrero and two more veils! Every table in the front of the restaurant—it’s like window-dressing—is occupied by women commemorating their “last night of freedom.” Side note: Guys, you would be stupid to eat anywhere else on a Saturday night.
We cop the last available table, and Ivy divulges the tricks of her trade. Comfortable shoes, wedges preferably, a wristlet purse with just the essentials and a tiny printout of tonight’s game plan entered neatly into an Excel spreadsheet. Yesterday, in Ivy and Abebe’s diminutive cubicles, lined with hulking binders of menus and calendars, Ivy showed me just how she makes the magic happen for anywhere from two to 380 women each weekend, from the initial e-mail to a comprehensive information packet through the follow-up phone calls and booking. Oh, then there’s the big night, the endless texting, the panicked calls, the shots … It’s quite a process.
Ladies are more price-sensitive, observes Ivy, who has very recently begun testing the waters of bachelor and birthday parties as well. Girls can book a dinner and then be escorted into any of Light Group’s clubs or book bottle service. Dressed in everything from casual to out-of-control costumes and coordinated colors, the women enjoy free shots at every turn and the hand-holding of Ivy and Abebe from minute one. And boy do they need it—pregnant women, inter-party drama, the sudden appearance of men in the bachelorette party (“They have to pay cover”) and disappearing brides—it’s all par for this course. “I would love to put them on GPS!” I wonder if she’s seen The Wedding Planner.
Ivy, whose twin sister Jennifer works at Moon nightclub, sips politely at her cosmo but keeps a watchful eye on her parties. And suddenly, we’re off! Whoosh! In a flurry of black fabric, “Wendy’s 21” takes off for the male revue at Sapphire. Swish! We’re leading the Hawaiian group to Mist at T.I. even though the cro300wned bachelorette is MIA. And thud! “Top Hat” and her crew are exhausted from last night’s escapades at The Bank and are therefore heading back to the Palazzo to “relax and freshen up.” They are never to be heard from again. En route to Mist, Maureen (Veil No. 2: “I’m tying the knot, buy me a shot”) is right on our heels. Once settled, the ladies are on their own, and in a flash we’re neck-deep in tourists outside Jet. This is merely the start of the high season for Ivy and Abebe; it will drop off abruptly at the beginning of October.
First comes Laney (Veil No. 3) and party. Ivy grabs ’em, and they’re in. A promo party from TheKnot.com materializes. “One girl’s late. Oh, and we have seven guys with us.” Groans from me, saint-like patience from Ivy. Aaaaand they’re in. Shots all around! Next up, a party of eight. “Thank you so much! Jeannette, you’re so nice!” Aaaand they’re in, too. After an all-too-brief pause, we’re slammed like a high school locker: Maureen (Veil No. 2), the Hawaiians (bride recovered), the sombrero, a group of 10, a group of seven and finally, just before 12:30 a.m., Wendy’s 21. “The bachelorette had to get a lap dance.” Okay. “That’s how it happens,” says Ivy, brushing it off. “It’s quiet for a moment and then bam bam bam!”
By 1 a.m., it’s all over. I’ve done about 10 laps into and out of Jet; Ivy more like 30. We’re saying our goodbyes when someone cruises by and says, “Hey Jeannette, there’s some bachelorettes in line. They might be yours?”
Xania Woodman thinks globally and parties locally. And frequently. Email her at email@example.com