By Rebecca Padgett Frett
As a 2020 bride, many aspects that related to my wedding didn’t go as planned. One of the wedding-related festivities I was most looking forward to was having all of my best friends in one place for a weekend. When my bachelorette was cancelled due to COVID-19, I was devastated.
Although I got married in December of 2020, my girls weren’t letting me skip my bachelorette. Unconventionally, I had my bachelorette after the fact. I was a wife not a single lady, but my girls weekend could not have been more special. Outside of my wedding weekend, it was one of the most meaningful and enjoyable weekends of my life. I have my maids of honor and the other seven women in my life to thank.
Based off of their input, my input and observations from both my own and other bachelorettes I have attended, here are some tips for planning an unforgettable bachelorette experience.
1. Decide Who Will Plan
Typically, the maid of honor takes on the role of planning. As we know, it’s 2021, and anything can be adapted. The maid or maids of honor can ask to enlist the help of the bridal party. As far as the bride’s involvement goes, it’s split. Some like to be involved, others want to be as hands off as possible. I found that I fell in the in-between. There were certain activities I wanted to do and places I wanted to go, but I did not want to be involved in the logistics. As a bride, decide what your capacity for involvement is, and express this to the planners.
This brings us to communication. If the bride hasn’t already specifically expressed it, as planners, you should gather some details to ensure the weekend is exactly what she wants it to be. What location is she thinking? How many days should it be? What does she want to do? What does she not want to do? Remember, above all, the bride’s experience is what matters.
3. Determine Details
Once you’ve spoken with the bride, it’s time to get down to the details. Gather the contact information from the guest list, which could include the bridesmaids and any other guests the bride wants to include. I advise having their phone numbers, emails and addresses. Think about where each guest lives and what travel will entail to get to the destination. When the destination is decided upon, research the best times of year to visit and align that with your timeline. Have a few date options in mind that you can present to the group. From there you can look at flight and car rental prices for those who may need it. You should also have a basis for about how much a hotel or rental home may be. Doing this creates a tentative budget that you can approach guests with.
4. Send Invites
I would advise reaching out to each guest individually or in a group text to tell them the location, possible dates and a tentative price. Once they have responded, you can follow up with an official invitation.
Here is where the planning really comes in, the logistics and details that make the trip. As the planner, you will be in charge of making the hotel or rental home reservations. It is important to know the distance between where you are staying and the places you want to go. Do you want to be within walking distance of downtown? If you decide to stay on the outskirts of a city or not within walking/biking distance, you will need to either have willing drivers arranged, factor in Uber/Lyft costs or hire private transportation. Do make sure a driver can get to your location, ahead of time. You will want to make reservations for most activities, whether it’s a pedal tavern, a winery tour or a brunch reservation. For peace of mind and to secure your spots, these tasks should be completed three to four months in advance.
6. Set Deadlines
With the housing, recreation and dining booked, you will need to let each attendee know how much money they owe. I advise making some form of a spreadsheet that lists out each cost and providing a deadline for payment. If someone expresses concern over payment, if you can, try to be flexible in working out a payment plan so they don’t miss out on any of the fun. Whether on time or with a payment plan, do be firm and clear when money is involved. Another deadline you should set is for expressing travel plans, this way you aware of who is arriving when and by what means, making the weekend easier to schedule around arrivals and departures.
7. Make Lists
I’m a chronic list maker, but making lists especially helps when trying to decide what you need to bring along or who is in charge of bringing what. I advise making a “To Bring,” “To Borrow” and “To Buy List.” To bring includes items you already have; to borrow is enlisting someone else things that they will be in charge of transporting; and to buy can include items you need to buy and bring with or buy once you arrive. Much of this will depend on how you’re travelling. If you don’t have access to a car, it would be wise to have the groceries delivered or see if you can have items shipped to where you are staying. If you are giving favors, consider ordering them one to two months in advance. While lists are a constant, I would suggest finalizing them no less than a week before.
8. Share The Itinerary
At least two weeks before, send out an itinerary to the group. Whether the weekend is jam packed or more laid back in nature, the attendees should know what they are in for. This way they can plan ahead for what to pack and wear, let you know if they have any hinderances to activities and have a general idea of when to be where.
9. Have A Point Person
This is typically the maid of honor or person who planned the event. They are there to ensure the itinerary stays on track while also always encouraging that the party is never dull. They are there to answer any questions that the bride, guests, drivers and activity hosts may have. Extra points if you have on hand just what people might need, which could include water bottles, pain medicine, Band-Aids, hair ties, etc.
10. Have Fun
I won’t pretend that planning a bachelorette party is a breeze. You are depended upon to research, plan, navigate, educate and delegate. You may not be able to please everyone that weekend, but all that matters is the bride is having fun. That being said, if you are the planner, ask yourself, “Do I really need to be doing dishes right now?” or “Should I really be worried about running 10 minutes behind schedule?” Take time to enjoy the weekend you helped make incredible.