Having just returned form a whirlwind weekend in NYC to toast a college friend, I started to think about all that goes into the modern-day Bachelorette, whether that’s a mechanic-bull-style bar crawl or a spa-and-sun-fueled weekend in South Beach.
Brides are increasingly looking for a night or 4 to remember, according to the New York Times, which adds that “the movement toward 5-star getaways may be due, in part, to people marrying later.” Makes sense. Most women have considerably more money than in their early 20s (as well as rewards points to pay for flights) and few have children yet (allowing for an extended stay).
So whether you’re the maid of honor, a childhood friend, or the bride-to-be herself, here are a few things to keep in mind when planning your last hurrah together … to make sure that fun is had by all.
Have an itinerary. This need not be formal, but even the closest of friends might have differing budgets (maybe it’s their 7th bachelorette this year) or activities in mind. Whoever is taking the lead on planning (likely the maid of honor) should send out as many details upfront as possible. This helps with packing and allows for out-of-town guests to check out menus and dress codes. And remember, downtime isn’t necessarily a bad thing, everyone will appreciate an afternoon nap or time to explore on their own.
Be flexible: This goes for everyone. Obviously the bride’s wishes come first, but be mindful of everyone’s dietary restraints and other preferences when booking reservations and activities – especially if you don’t know each other very well. This is basically a friendly reminder to have a good attitude. An itinerary has been planned with the bride-to-be in mind; everyone knows exactly what they’re getting into.
And for the bride, keep your friends’ wishes in mind, too. If her feet are killing her and she’s jetlagged, let her go home before the rest of the group without grief. Keeping things light and some things optional will ensure everyone has a great time.
Get to know each other: Wedding events tend to bring together people from all walks of the bride’s life (childhood friends, coworkers, cousins, etc.), therefore there’s a good chance some guests won’t know each other very well. Brides can take away any awkwardness by making intros and/or suggesting who might want to room together.
$$$: This is the big one as it determines where you’ll go and how you’ll spend your time — some bachelorette extravaganzas can cost into the thousands. Unless the bride is dead-set on a location, first float out a few options and date rages to the potential group. Once everyone is on board with the big stuff (approx. flights and rates per night) discuss specifics on a separate thread. With the ease of Google docs and PayPal, no one should be out money or confused about cost breakdowns.
Start an email chain without the bride. Sure, the trip is all about her, but this will help guests coordinate the details (often from various parts of the country) and even plan a few surprises. This is also the best place to discuss money and specifics: Are you splitting all of the brides costs? Taking turns paying for activities or meals? Bringing gifts for a surprise lingerie shower? Coordinating outfits? Make sure everything’s discussed ahead of time and everyone’s onboard.
Alcohol. There’s a good chance that the bride (and the group) will be imbiding more than usual – it’s a celebration after all. But large bachelorette parties can attract (unwanted) attention, so keep tabs on your drinks — and your friends — and when in doubt, uber. Better safe than sorry.
Now that all of that’s settled, the big question is where to go? If you’re in need of a little inspiration check out our best bachelorette party destinations. Or if you’re thinking more of a Bridesmaids-style Vegas trip is in the cards, see the 5 most popular bachelorette destinations below:
Know more helpful tips when planning a big bachelorette bash? Share them in the comments.
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