Wedding Series: How To Plan The Perfect Bachelorette Party!
Lauren + I have been talking about her wedding for years, so when Zach asked me to go with him to pick out a ring for her last August, I was beyond excited! After keeping the secret for months (seriously, SO hard to not tell your sister + best friend she’s about to get engaged!!!), I was thrilled when he finally popped the question on New Years’ Eve. Lauren + I have always known we’d be each other’s Maid of Honor, but when she did ask me officially, it was a truly sweet moment that I will treasure forever (followed by a tequila tasting that did not give me the same feeling…). Ever since she asked me to be her MOH, I’ve been in planning mode to give her the ultimate + perfect bachelorette party. I thought there would be no better next post in our Wedding Series than to share all of my tips on planning a flawless bachelorette party for your BFF!
For Lauren’s bachelorette party, we will be heading to LA over Veteran’s Day Weekend in November, but for your perfect trip, here’s everything you need to know!!
Talk With The Bride
This should seem like a no brainer…but there is a lot that you need to discuss with the bride before you jump into planning. Here are some questions you may want to discuss with her to get the ball rolling.
Who is invited? Some people want just the bridal party to attend, whereas others want to invite friends that aren’t a part of the bridal party. This is important to clarify to avoid any awkward moments when you start sending out information. If she does want to invite friends from outside of the bridal party, be sure that she gives you a list of names. You don’t want to make any assumptions + include someone that may not even be invited to the wedding.
Where does she want the bachelorette party? Bachelorette trips have become increasingly popular + it’s likely that the bride has an idea in mind of where she wants to go, or at least what kind of bachelorette party she wants (i.e. beach vs. city). Remember, this is her party! You may be excited to throw a club-filled Vegas weekend where she may want a low-key spa weekend in Big Sur. While it’s nice to have surprises during the weekend, you want to make sure that it’s actually something that the bride will enjoy.
Does she plan on paying? This might be an awkward conversation, but it’s an important one + will impact what you can + cannot do. While a lot of people assume it’s traditional for the bridal party to split the cost of the bride, some brides don’t want that financial burden to fall on their friends (thanks, Lauren)! It’s important to discuss what they are willing to pay for. For example, Lauren told me that she wants to pay for her accommodations, flight + activities for her bachelorette party.
When is she available? Again, seems like a no brainer, but obviously you need to make sure that the bride is available for the dates you choose! I’d recommend agreeing on 3-4 weekends that work for the bride in the months leading up to the wedding. That way it gives the bridal party some options to choose from. In addition, this will give you an idea of when you need to start planning + looping in the rest of the group. I’d recommend 4-5 months out for an out-of-town party + 3 months out for a party happening closer to home.
Does she want anyone else to plan with you? Most responsibilities typically fall to the Maid of Honor first, but the bride may have 1-2 other best friends that she would like to give the opportunity to get involved as well. Confirm this with her before you jump full steam ahead.
Talk With The Bridal Party
Once you’ve talked to the bride, now it’s time to get input from the bridal party + any other invited guests. Here are some questions you may want to discuss with the bridal party:
Helpful Hint - With a large group of people it can be hard to coordinate plans. For the following questions, I put together a Google Form + emailed it out to the group, along with a deadline of 10 days to complete the form. This avoided the dread of never ending reply all emails + allowed ample time for everyone to express their opinions. If you haven’t heard from everyone, send a reminder a day before the deadline hits. After doing so, once the deadline arrives, it’s fair to move ahead with just the responses from the rest of the group.
What are they comfortable paying? I asked this question twice - once for accommodations + once for activities. The bridal party already knew that we would be going to LA for the bachelorette party, but if they hadn’t, adding the location is an important detail to include here. This helps to provide context for how much someone’s budget should be. In addition, knowing the location gives them a rough idea of how much the flight or transportation could cost and will , ultimately, impact what they’re willing to pay for accommodations + activities.
When are they available? Using the available days/weekends the bride gives you, list out the options + ask the party to select their first + second choice. I also included a question to see if there was a weekend option that absolutely did NOT work for them. Doing this made it really easy for me to see which weekend worked best for everyone.
How long can they stay? This may not be applicable for your party, but is important to consider if you’re going away for multiple nights. Lauren’s bachelorette party is over Veteran’s Day Weekend in November, so I made sure to ask the bridal party if they wanted to stay for 2 or 3 nights. Again, this is a question that is important to ask not only so that the guests can budget, but also to help you plan when booking accommodations.
Do they want to help plan? This question isn’t necessary, but can be helpful to include! Chances are, the other bridesmaids want to help plan in some way. There can be a lot of details in the planning process + knowing you have a few other people to help you plan can take some stress off of you.
Set a Budget + Start Planning
Accommodations: Once you have the responses from your Google Form, you should have a good idea of how much everyone wants to spend. You can now use this information to help you find accommodations. Depending on people’s budgets it may dictate whether you book an Airbnb or a hotel. I double checked with all of the girls in Lauren’s bridal party to see if they were comfortable paying for accommodations in one lump sum or in smaller increments. Airbnb lets you pay 50% up front + the remaining 50% closer to your stay which makes it easy to work with everyone’s budget. Make sure that the bridal party knows when you’ll be booking + how you plan to collect payment. This will help to make sure you get paid in a timely manner + aren’t left trying to make up the cost.
Before You Book: Have a rough idea of what activities you plan on doing during the bachelorette party. Try to book your accommodation close to where you’ll be. Assuming you’ll be drinking, you want to avoid expensive Ubers.
Helpful Hint: Once people have agreed to attend + accommodations have been booked + paid for, treat that money like a deposit. If someone backs out at the last minute, there’s no reason for you or the other attendees to have to take on that financial burden. This is just a general rule of etiquette for any group trip or activity. Your change in plans shouldn’t affect other people. It’s respectful for the host to try to find someone to take your spot - if the bride is comfortable with another person joining - but, otherwise, you shouldn’t expect a refund.
Flights: If you’re going to be flying for the bachelorette party, set a flight notification on both Hopper and Google Flights. We suggest both as certain airlines are not included in both services. For example, Hopper does not track Delta flights. This will give you a good idea of when you need to book. For Lauren’s bachelorette, we aren’t making everyone fly together. This helps to accommodate people’s work schedules + budgets. We sent out an email when we found the flight Lauren + I were going on so that people could book it if they wanted to. If they wanted to fly a different airline or wait to book, at least this gives guests an idea of what time they should be looking to arrive + depart.
Activities + Restaurants: Start looking into any activities (such as wine tasting) that you may want to do during the bachelorette party. Then, start creating an itinerary for the weekend + make reservations. Considering you’ll probably be a fairly large group, you want to make sure to make reservations in advance. When doing so, it’s smart to look into transportation. If you are doing something like wine tasting, you may want to look into renting a private van to transport you. It could very well work out less expensive than doing multiple Ubers. If you’re booking restaurant reservations, it’s polite to consider any dietary restrictions (especially if they’re the bride’s!). For example, Lauren is gluten free + dairy free, which takes a little bit more planning to ensure she always has something to eat.
Swag: It’s very common for bachelorette parties to have some kind of swag (a t-shirt, swimsuit, hat, etc.) to wear during the bachelorette party. Decide if this is something you want to do + if it is, start designing your item. If you’re ordering from a company, I’d recommend putting the order in 6 weeks in advance just to ensure that it gets to you on time. Before you order, make sure the rest of the bridal party is okay with covering the cost of their items, or if you plan on covering this yourself. This is something that you may want to ask another member of the bridal party to help you with.
Games: Decide if you’ll have time dedicated to some kind of bachelorette party games. Some games require for some planning in advance, whether it’s asking the groom questions about the bride or their relationship, or each member of the bridal party bringing a pair of underwear or lingerie, you want to decide with plenty of time to make sure you can give people time to prepare. This is something that you may want to ask another member of the bridal party to help you with.
Packing List: Once you’ve planned the itinerary, it’s important to let the other guests know what they’ll need to bring. Do you plan on spending a day by the pool? Do you have a reservation at a nice restaurant? Are you planning on going to a club? These are all important things to share with the members of the bridal party so everyone has what they need. Additionally, start thinking about things the group as a whole will need, such as a speaker, AUX cord, pool floats, face masks. These items will depend on what kind of bachelorette party you’re planning, but chances are someone in the bridal party will have them + be willing to share for the weekend.
I am SO excited for the bachelorette weekend to arrive + can’t wait to share a complete itinerary with more details about our trip, but for now, I’m trying to keep most everything a surprise! If you have any ideas of fun games, activities, themes, etc., I would love to hear them + add them to our itinerary!! Stay tuned for our next post in our Wedding Series. I’ll be sure to post a complete itinerary of our LA stay once we return of all our best eats, drinks + activities!