Are you getting ready to plan a bachelorette weekend getaway? A destination bachelorette party can be a great idea and a lot of fun, but it definitely requires a bit more upfront planning in the months leading up to it.
But it doesn’t have to be stressful.
I’ve compiled some things to keep in mind when it comes to planning where you’ll go, how to find the right location to stay and how to find some great bachelorette activities to do.
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First things first: what the bride wants
Before you even begin to plan things out, talk to the bride-to-be. Ask questions like:
- What does she want for her destination bachelorette?
- Is there a particular place she wants to go?
- Is there a specific theme or activities she had in mind that will determine the location and itinerary?
- What dates work best for her?
- What kind of activities does she want to do?
- Does she want a wild weekend, like a Vegas bachelorette, or would she prefer a more quiet weekend at a world-class spa retreat?
- What’s the budget? Are the other bridesmaids going to be able to afford a weekend away?
- Will airfare be required?
Timing is everything
If you’re planning a destination bachelorette party, it’s VERY important to talk to the bride early, especially if extensive travel will be required that requires airfare, hotel/accommodation reservations, etc. If you’re going to a popular party destination, you’ll definitely want to start booking months in advance to ensure you have secured airline tickets, hotel reservations and booked any popular activities you might be doing while you’re there.
Talk to the other bridesmaids
Once you’ve talked to the bride, make sure all the bridesmaids talk about expectations and realities. Is everyone able to get the time off work? Can everyone afford to do a getaway? Will you all be splitting all or some of the bride’s costs? It’s important that you have an honest and frank conversation about everyone’s realities to try and accommodate as many people as possible.
Find the ideal location
Sometimes, the bride knows exactly what she wants for a bachelorette weekend; other times, the bride is super laid back and lets her bridal party do all the planning. If you find yourself in this situation, keep these things in mind:
- Major cities and resort areas will have more places to stay and more activities to do, so this might make planning a little bit easier
- Keep the bride’s interests in mind: if she likes to party, Vegas is perfect; if she’s really into music, Nashville or a music festival might fit the bill; if she’s a big fan of wine, Napa Valley may be calling her name…you get the idea.
One thing I highly recommend is checking out Trip Advisor for all your planning and booking needs. I use it every time I’m planning a trip so that I can find the best places to stay, restaurants to book and activities/tours to do in the area I’m visiting. Plus, it includes thousands of honest reviews from real people who have stayed at the place you’re looking at, eaten at the restaurant you’re considering or booked a tour or activity through the companies you’re looking at.
With destination bachelorette parties, you want to make sure you give as much notice as possible so that people can save up for the weekend and make arrangements to take time off as needed. Give your guests 3-4 months’ notice and send your invitations out early. Even if you don’t have the full itinerary decided yet, send out an invitation with the pertinent details and update guests on activities as needed. We have many bachelorette weekend invitations and itineraries in our Etsy shop.
The guest list should come from the bride. The bachelorette guest etiquette is much more easy going than the etiquette around inviting guests for bridal showers and weddings. Check out our post on who to invite to the bachelorette party for more information and tips on making your bachelorette guestlist.
Once you’ve decided on your destination and figured out where you’d like to stay, contact the hotel first to see if you’re able to block rooms until you have guests confirmed. If you are able to block rooms without a reservation payment, your next step is to decide whether guests should RSVP to you or a member of the bridal party and one person makes the reservations for all confirmed guests, or decide if guests will be responsible for making their own arrangements. Again, I highly recommend going through Trip Advisor to research and book your accommodations so you find the best location to stay at for your bachelorette party.
A word of caution on making reservations on behalf of the entire guest list: make sure you collect money from guests upfront before making the reservation and be clear about any timelines for cancellations. If there are penalties after a certain date for cancellations or if rooms/airfare, etc., are non-refundable, be VERY clear about this with guests so that you aren’t on the hook for any costs if a guest cancels at the last minute.
Sometimes, it is better to book as a group to receive a group rate or discount, and if you’re splitting a hotel room, it makes it easier for one person to organize reservations.
Cutting down costs
Don’t be afraid to ask for group rates or discounts! This is one of my #1 tips. Often, airlines and hotels will give you a special rate if you have a certain amount of guests attending, so don’t be afraid to ask! Same goes when booking activities or restaurant reservations – sometimes, venues will offer a group rate for activities or restaurants will do a special menu with a flat fee that ends up being cheaper than buying individual dishes.
Plan for getting decor, swag and items to the destination
If you’re going to be bringing decorations, bride tribe swag and other things with you for the weekend, make sure to account for the room you might need in your luggage to bring everything! It may be easier, if you’re going to a major city, to buy things when you get there, rather than lugging a bunch of items with you in the suitcase. However, if you plan to buy a bunch of items in advance, make sure the members of the bridal party set aside some room to bring them along.
Develop a detailed itinerary
If you’re going away for an entire weekend, your guests will want to know what kind of activities will be planned (and what the costs for those activities may be). A lot of major cities have tourism guides and even bachelorette party guides that you can look into if you’re not sure what kind of things are available to do in a specific location. And don’t forget to check around on wedding websites, like The Knot, for popular bachelorette destinations and activities – there’s a lot of helpful websites that have already done the sleuth work for you so you have an idea about where to start when planning your itinerary and activities.
Keep travel times in mind – on the days that you’re arriving and departing, bear in mind that there can sometimes be flight or travel delays. It’s a good idea to keep things easy and light on those days just in case an unexpected delay throws a wrench into your plans.
Tell guests what to pack
I can’t stress this enough! Make sure your guests know what you’ll be doing in advance of the weekend so they pack the right things. If you’ll be lounging by the pool, tell guests to bring their swimsuits and sunscreen. Wanting to do a night on the town in a little black dress? Make sure guests know to pack their favourite LBD.
Bachelorette weekend timelines
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