“Planning a Bachelorette party is a piece of cake!”said no bridesmaid ever.
See, bachelorette parties can either be some of the best memories of being a ‘maid…or the worst. All the Google searches, excel spreadsheets, group texts and e-mails can get real old real fast, especially when it comes to the big question of location. And destination bachelorette parties are in high demand these days. Places like Mexico, Miami, Nashville, New York and Chicago are flooded with sashes, feather boas and girls in high heels stompin’ around during peak wedding season.
But to plan these trips well is to think in advance, especially on part of the bridesmaids and maid of honor. If heading to a different city, it’s customary to give the bride, fellow maids and those invited to the bachelorette party at least 3 months notice. So you have to be organized. As a recent destination-bound bridesmaid, I’m here to share my experiences, tips and hopefully a few major lessons learned. Here are some tips for planning an out of town soiree.
5 Steps in Planning a Destination Bachelorette Party
1) Agree on Date – The most important part of planning a destination bachelorette is locking down a date that works for the key parties. Start by getting the bride’s schedule, then coordinate with the bridesmaids. After that, figuring out a date where the most people can attend will be a piece of cake. Once you have the date, you have a headcount and the rest will fall into place.
2) The Budget – After you figure out the group’s availability, it’s time to get those budget conversations out of the way. Yes, it’s time to panic because you almost always will be spending a boatload of money on this trip/weekend/day, whatever. But in all seriousness, coming to terms with budget as a group should be a top priority. And as a bridesmaid, it’s your responsibility to ensure everyone attending the bachelorette party is comfortable with the expense, within reason. While flights are usually a fixed cost, activities like meals, lodging and transportation are more flexible. Plan out a quasi-budget in the beginning, so everyone knows what they’re dealing with before they fully commit. The good news is that you are planning several months in advance, so Sally Savings can start setting aside some cash now for the big trip.
3) Location, Location, Location – Once the budget and the dates are figured out, it will make it much easier to shop around for the perfect location. But before you start, take into consideration from where the people in the group are traveling. If you’ve got four girls on the East Coast, two in the midwest and three down in Florida, it doesn’t make the most sense to plan a bachelorette party on the West Coast, unless people are willing to fork over serious $$ for a plane ticket. Once you know where you’re going and when, the planning conversations can commence.
4) Don’t Over Plan – If we could give one piece of advice to fellow bridesmaids planning a destination bachelorette party it would be not to over plan your weekend. By stuffing event after event into an itinerary can take the trip from a fun weekend away celebrating, to a militant and inflexible event. Always ask the bride if there’s anything in particular she’d like to do and go from there. Use Google to see if there’s anything exciting or unique happening in the city while you’re there, or crowdsource on Facebook for tips of where to go. Walk around. Take a trip to the local candy store and take photos in front of a giant ice cream cone. Sneak in a mini bottle of Baileys to brunch, save yourself a few bucks and kick off the morning right. The best times are those that happen organically, naturally and totally without a plan.
5) You do you – At some point during the bachelorette weekend, there may come a point when not everyone in the group wants to do the same thing. Imagine this: it’s 2:30 p.m. on a Saturday and you’ve got some time to kill before dinner. You just spent a good chunk of change on a boozy brunch and yes, it was awesome and worth it but now you’re totally exhausted. Three other girls want to go shopping. Two more want to explore the downtown tourist attractions and the bride is going to take a much-deserved nap. Don’t feel obligateded to spend every waking moment with the whole group during such an action-packed crazy weekend. So what do you do? Whatever the heck you want, girl!
Wherever you go, whatever you do and whoever you’re with, try to have fun while you plan the festivities. Despite all the crazy hours spent reading and responding to group emails, the end result will be worth it and it will forever be a weekend you’ll look back on and laugh about. Maybe you’ll even grab a glass of champagne and make a toast at the wedding to that time at the Bachelorette party when the bride….Wait. What happens on a destination bachelorette party, stays with the destination bachelorette party.