It seems like Bachelorette and Bachelor (or Stag & Hen) parties have moved from a night out to a much looked forward to vacation for the guest of honor and their closest friends. I can’t say I am upset about it either – I love any excuse to travel. I recently planned my sister in laws Bachelorette Party with her other Maid of Honor to Destin, FL and thought it would be fun to tell you my best planning tips. Originally, I was planning on doing this with my Destin Florida Travel Guide post, but it was just way too much information!
When it comes to planning parties, I got it from my Mama – no really, no one can plan a party like her! No detail gets overlooked or missed and everything is done to perfection – she was extremely helpful to have during my wedding planning. I try my best when planning a party to do it just like she would. So continue reading to hear my best Bachelorette Party Planning Tips.
Tip 1 – Research
Whenever I am traveling I always start by doing a ton of research. There are two major factors when doing your travel research for a bachelorette party – price and the brides preference. Thankfully brides are not shy about telling you their preferences – some may tell you exactly where they want to go while others will tell you something they want to do. For example, a bride may say she wants to go to Key West or just say she wants to do a winery tour weekend. Now taking these preference into consideration the second most important thing – price, comes into play.
My sister in law really wanted to go to Key West, but unfortunately due to the price not many people would be able to attend. Knowing my sister in law and that she would care more to have her friends and family with her, we were able to find Destin, FL a more affordable option with a Key West feel! If your bride gives you just a general idea, such as a winery tour you can really run with that and find a great location at the perfect price point for everyone.
When traveling within the United States vs. Internationally my research tends to look a little different. I tend to be a little more relaxed with travel within the US because it is my home, my comfort zone. I can be pretty certain of transportation requirements ( ie: car rental age, uber/lyft in the area, mass transportation), but research this more extensively for international trips. Transportation in another country can be a bit scary for some when there is a language barrier so researching beforehand can be very useful.
Also, don’t be afraid to research the safety and crime rate of areas – it’s important to be safe! Something I do for international trips especially, since we tend to hear more US based news daily is I go to google type in the area I want to visit and hit the “news” tab. I will scroll through checking for recent crimes etc. This may be a bit much, but you can never be too educated.
*Don’t forget a lot of US states now require passports for domestic travel on an airline, this is definitely something to check into for your group early on.
Tip 2 – Destination
Once you have researched and picked your destination it’s time to really focus in on that area. Things to do, places to go, attractions, restaurants and everything in between. I am a planner – I like to have a plan, but also like to “go with the flow” so I call it more of a suggestion list. I find that when you ask a large group of people what do you want to do, no one will agree on anything and you will spend more time trying to decide what to do rather than doing anything. This is why I like to come up with an itinerary. Pick some restaurants, a few activities and places to visit. If things change (and they will) that’s okay!
Funny example – we had restaurants picked out for dinners during my sister in laws bachelorette party and didn’t go out to dinner once. We had a pool and hot tub at our house and were having so much fun we ordered in and cooked every night. But, one of the restaurants we had picked for dinner we went to for lunch one day. Perfect example of how things can change based on the group, but finding places before hand was still helpful.
Always think about what does the bride want to do, don’t pick a skiing destination if the bride wants to lay on the beach – I know this is an extreme example, but you get my point. Find things to do you know she will love, for example we did a spa day, aerial yoga and brewery tour, all things my sister in law really enjoys. The best thing about having a group is a lot of places really tailor to them and can accommodate/specialize things for you.
Tip 3 – Accommodations
Looking into hotels, hostels, B&B’s and AirBnb/VRBO can be overwhelming! I tend to find being in a rental home to be more cost effective for a large group. Also, it gives you a bit more freedom – let’s face it if you’re traveling for a bachelorette party with a large group it may get a little loud. We rented a house through VRBO and it was perfect. Like I said before we spent a lot of time in the pool and hot tub – these were musts for us, as well as cooking at our house.
Find what type of lodging fits both your destination and group best. Hotels are great because they can be luxurious, have restaurants in them provide cleaning service etc. but having a large group of girls trying to get ready and not enough bathrooms could be an issue. We had 3.5 bathrooms to split between 8 girls in our house and it worked out great. If you are traveling with a smaller group 3-4, a hotel may be the way to go.
Location of your lodging is super important to look into, don’t just pick something that looks amazing or is very cheap. It may be extremely out of the way from everything you want to do, see and visit. Which in the long term can take up a lot of your time and be an issue depending on your transportation situation. If you rent a car you have more freedom, but if you are going to be drinking won’t want to be driving back and forth. If you are relying on public transportation be aware of where it is in location to your accommodations. Also, finding out if Uber/Lyft operate within the area.
Tip 4 – Theme
This is my favorite part of the planning – picking a theme! Having a theme really makes the party. I love having cohesive decorations, shirts, cups, goodie bags .. any and everything on theme that I can get makes me happy. For my sister in law we chose a mermaid theme. We had matching shirts that said Mermaid Bride/tribe we had mermaid wine glasses, tumblers, decorations, pool floats, bags with mermaids on them filled with all the essentials for a hangover and bought my sister in law a mermaid bikini. She was so happy and excited about it.
Etsy and Pinterest are amazing to use when coming up with a theme. I have a Cricut machine so I was able to make the shirts and cups for us which is really cost effective. I have pictures below of everything – also, FYI this was my first time using the Cricut, so it is super user friendly, don’t be intimated by it!
This is the part of the planning that is so much fun, but can be a lot of stress because it is a lot of little things. Ordering off of Etsy and Amazon really can make it easy. Also, bonus you can order off Amazon pick your delivery day and have your items such as decorations sent to your rental home so you aren’t flying with streamers, pool floats etc. We left our pool floats at the house after the weekend instead of trying to bring them home.
*In the mermaid bags were our “hangover” cures – lots of Vitamin C tabs, hydration powder for water, ginger chews, gum, mouthwash, makeup removers etc. They were so cute.
Tip 5 – Preparation
Make sure everyone who is coming is fully aware of the details, this includes price. We made a payment schedule – and made sure everyone knew what costs would be and what was and was not included. For example we split the house based upon the amount girls (minus the bride) and requested half up front for the deposit and the other half a few weeks before. We also told the girls the activities we would be doing like aerial yoga & the spa had them send us that money as well so we were all prepaid for these.
All of our schedules are a little different so myself and the other maid of honor (who was such a wonderful person to plan with) booked our flights for us and the bride and let the group know. This was really the best option because it allowed flexibility to let others travel and take off work as needed.
It’s impossible to prepare for everything, but when you have done your research like I mentioned in the beginning I find it really helps to prevent any uncertain things that can pop up. Here’s a funny example of something we could of researched better- as I said we did a brewery tour. Now, call me old fashioned, but when I think brewery tour I kinda assume it will be 21+ but, one of the breweries we went to was extremely family friendly. There were A LOT of kids there. Now I am just going to give it to you straight, really paint the picture here. A group of 8 girls from NJ (we’re not known for being quiet) walk into a brewery after brunch with unlimited Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s – and pretty much immediately I was directed to the sign that said no cursing to which I immediately said “What the %^#$” you can fill in whatever word there you would like. After the Jersey girls had some beers, made enough of a scene we quickly realized it was time to move on to the next. It’s a funny story, but something we could have prevented if we knew beforehand.
Tip 6 – Have Fun
This is the absolute most important thing I can tell you. Coordinating and organizing a trip for a large group especially when you are trying to make someone happy (the bride) can be a ton of work and stressful. Don’t forget to have fun! Enjoy every little thing you worked your tail off to plan. Things aren’t always going to go exactly as planned, things will go wrong (we had no hot water the first night of our trip, and your girl was climbing through the bushes at night trying to reset the boiler – yeah, that happened) it is no big deal! Just enjoy your time with this great group you will be with, make lots of memories, laugh a lot and have fun!
I hope this guide was helpful, let me know what your best tips are for planning a destination bachelorette party in comments!
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