I recently attended my friend's bachelorette party in Nashville, TN. Unfortunately, it was a minor train wreck for a variety of reasons... mainly because the two bridesmaids who planned the weekend created an itinerary catered to their preferences instead of the bride's. My friend (the bride-to-be) hates museums yet somehow we ended up at the only one in Nashville. We had free breakfast included at our hotel yet brunches were arranged for each day. The list could go on and on. If I had the superpower to turn back time and re-plan the weekend, here is what I would have done differently to ensure that it went perfectly.
1. Consult the bride: The months leading up to the wedding are quite busy and stressful for the bride-to-be. Thus, bothering her about whether she wants a sash or a tiara for your nights out would likely send her into a tizzy. Ask her about critical details like does she want to go to a location with either warm weather or cool weather? How long does she want to spend traveling to the destination? Does she want to stay in a hotel, Airbnb, or a campsite? Remember: the weekend is about the bride-to-be! Make sure you account for her opinion without pestering her about the details.
2. Plan fun activities: It is very likely that bridesmaids will meet for the first time over the bachelorette party weekend. To establish a great dynamic among the ladies, plan fun activities that will allow them to bond and get to know each other. Take a class--an exercise class, cooking class, and pole dancing class are all good options. Group activities are a fantastic ways to connect and make meaningful memories beyond breaking bread at dinner and dancing the night away in the club.
3. Create a budget: There are tons of small charges that add up throughout the weekend. From activities, to food and drinks, to transportation, to the hotel, your credit card will undoubtedly get a solid work out. Whoever is planning the weekend should be up front about the budget. Go into the weekend making sure you are comfortable spending the estimated costs. Keep in mind that asking for separate checks at meals is 1000% OKAY. If you order a kale salad and a water and other ladies are throwing back shots and eating three course dinners, don't feel either embarrassed to pay for what you ate. Aim to be fiscally responsible without being cheap.
4. Collaboration is key: Have at least one or two bridesmaids who take the reigns on the planning. However, establish a dynamic where all bridesmaids are welcome to contribute ideas for the weekend festivities. If someone is a big foodie, then let them be in charge of the restaurant selection. If another person is super creative then have them come up with fun games or a scavenger hunt. Create a Google Doc, accessible to all bridesmaids, so everyone can stay up to date on the itinerary. Bottom line, participate in whatever capacity you can and allow everyone to feel included.
5. Research, Research, Research!: Get your bearings for the city you will be visiting before you arrive. Understand where you will be staying within the city. Are your accommodations at the center of the action or on the fringes? What is the transportation situation like? Figuring out logistics is critical since you might not offset the costs of staying further away from the main attractions once you see the cab/uber bills each time you want to go into town. Don't feel obligated to go to every hip place if they are far from where you are staying. Try to pick restaurants with good reviews that are walk-able or accessible via public transportation so people don't always need to pay for cabs/ubers. Once you know what activities you want to do and the neighborhoods where they are, then you can plan a coordinated and seamless day and evening.
There you have it ladies... 5 foolproof rules to abide by when planning the bachelorette party. Test 'em out and let me know how they work!
Image via Getty