Destination bachelorette parties are the ultimate celebration of an upcoming marriage. Whether you're jetting off to Vegas, Nashville, or New York City, the bride-to-be will spend the weekend surrounded by her closest friends in a fun location, sipping on cocktails, and relaxing before her big day. Planning an unforgettable weekend vacation can be tricky, so we're sharing eight tips to ensure the festivities go off without a hitch.
Consult the Bride
Traditionally, the maid of honor takes on the bulk of planning responsibilities for the bachelorette party, whether it's a destination celebration or not. The first step is consulting with the bride one-on-one to understand her vision. Ask if she has a desired location or if she's keeping an open mind—in which case you should get a sense of her ideal weekend before picking a place. Is she looking to party, or does she want to relax with a couple cocktails on the beach? You should ask the bride about her schedule, so you can prevent any timing conflicts.
Put Together a Guest List
Since the bachelorette party revolves around the bride-to-be, she should have full control over the guest list. She'll likely invite her closest friends, bridesmaids, and some family members. Try accommodating everyone, but remember that traveling with large groups of people is a logistical nightmare.
Work with Everyone's Schedule
After finalizing the guest list, create a Facebook group, email list, or text message chain with all invitees. Work together to determine the best time for the vacation, understanding that not everyone will be able to attend because of scheduling conflicts and financial constraints. Try choosing a date about one or two months before the wedding, and make sure everyone has sufficient time to find a pet sitter, take off work, coordinate travel plans, and complete other necessary tasks.
Try to Accommodate Budgets
Let's face it: Being a member of a bridal party isn't cheap. After dishing out cash for the bridesmaids' dresses and other pre-wedding activities, some women won't be willing or able to foot the bill for an expensive vacation. Talk to each invitee individually to determine her desired spending amount, then plan a getaway that best accommodates everyone's finances.
Everyone has their own schedules and commitments, so avoid planning a vacation that's longer than a weekend (unless everyone agrees upon it beforehand). You should also be mindful of how long it takes to travel to your destination—anywhere that's too far will mean you spend half of the weekend traveling and the other half with jet lag.
Split Costs Accordingly
Although it's traditional for guests at a bachelorette party to split the bride's expenses, most women do not expect their 'maids to foot the bill for her destination event. In that case, everyone could chip in for something else for the bride—say, pay for part of her accommodations or surprise her with a special bottle of bubbly by the pool. Figure out a plan that works for your group of ladies.
Find Ways to Save
As a courtesy to guests, find ways to save as much money as possible during the weekend. Research all-inclusive destinations and check if your hotel offers group discounts or special packages for large parties. You can also inquire about free or budget-friendly activities, and consider incorporating any of these into your itinerary. There's no need to book expensive concert tickets, for example, when you can watch free live music at a local venue.
Research the Destination
Never been to the destination before? Take some time to research the best restaurants, bars, and local activities, which will help you create the ideal itinerary. Run your tentative plans by the bride before booking reservations, and let guests know about your plans ahead of time, so they can pack the appropriate clothing and accessories. Now all that's left to do is create unforgettable memories!