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How To Throw The Best Bachelorette Party - Ever.

Over the past two years I have had the pleasure of being involved in five bachelorette parties, three of which I planned almost single-handedly. Over this time I have come to find a few best practices and tips to help execute one heck of a bachelorette party. Not to say they will all be perfect, but as long as you plan everything and communicate, it'll be a weekend you never forget.

1. Ask the Bride
    There are many ways to go about the planning process. But almost always, the best place to start is going to be with the bride. The four main questions I ask are the following:

“Where would you like to go?” – I once had a bride that wanted to go to Mexico, and as much as that sounded amazing, it just wasn’t in any of our budget. She ended up changing her mind and let me take over the planning from there on out. If you have a bride that is set on going somewhere that may not be the most budget friendly, try seeing if she has a backup. More times than not, the bride would rather have the company than the experience. I would suggest getting about 2-3 locations and choosing from those.

“When would you like to go?” – Although this may change depending on everyone else’s schedule, it’s imperative to check with the bride first. Some brides may want the weekend before the wedding to finish planning and relax. I’ve had a few brides celebrate a full month before the wedding, it really depends on when she doesn’t want to celebrate, and hopefully everyone else is available.

“How involved would you like to be?” – If planning a wedding wasn’t already stressful enough, planning the bachelorette party can be just as crazy. Pretty much all of the brides knew the location of the party, but all of the details, plans and activities were kept secret. (one bride didn’t even know where she was going until she got there – how fun!) Ask simple questions like if there is a theme she wants, or if there is anything in particular she wants to do (strip club, lingerie shower, etc.) Knowing how involved the bride wants to be from the get go can help alleviate any miscommunication down the road.

“Who would you like to invite?” – Almost everything is going to be contingent on how many people are going. It will determine where you stay, where you go, and what activities you can plan. The bigger the group, the more you can afford, but keeping up with that many people can become tiresome. Pros and cons to both but I would say 9-12 people is usually the norm.

2. Communication
You’ve got your list of invitees, possible locations, and the green light from the bride to get started. Even if the wedding is a year away, the optimal time to start planning is now, or at the very least – 6 months. I have found great success in creating a private group on Facebook specifically for the bachelorette party and starting the communication there. I have had a few girls who didn’t have a Facebook, so I made sure to keep them up to date through email. Once the group is created, add everyone to the group that the bride would like to attend. Start off with a post about the possible locations (if one has not been decided) and the possible dates.
One of the first questions from everyone will be how much they can expect to spend. This is hard to calculate before you have a head count and location determined. Even in the most expensive places, it will all depend on how many people come. Let them know that ahead of time so that you can focus on getting a head count.

3. Location, Location, Location
The next step may seem obvious, but what is almost as important as choosing the destination, is booking wherever you plan on staying. Once you have the dates and a solid head count, start researching where to stay. Almost everything else can be planned months later, but if you are going somewhere that is popular enough on its own, like Vegas or New Orleans, time is not your friend. I personally start off with AirB&B.com or HomeAway.com, especially if you have a big group, this will keep you all in the same place, with plenty of space. Not to mention, you can find some pretty cool places to stay, and sometimes for less than a hotel.
If you don’t have a lot of people, or you want to be closer to the action with a hotel, I would suggest GoSeek.com, it’s a website that helps locate the best rates on travel sites such as Hotels.com, Expedia.com and Orbitz.com.
Warning of Caution: On many of the websites, including AirB&B, there is an option to pay when you stay, or pay a deposit now, and the rest later. As much as that may seem convenient at the time, there is a high probability that it will come back to bite you. In pretty much every bachelorette party I have been involved in (7 total) there has been someone who has had to drop out for one reason or another. It's life, it happens. Not only does that change what each person owes on accommodations, it pretty much effects everything, especially if you are pretty far into the planning process. But nothing is a bigger headache than trying to re calculate accommodations when someone drops out. The solution I have found for this is to have everyone pay up front. And let them know that it is non refundable. (You also get a better idea of who is really committed.) I have had girls drop out and they still paid their portion, and I’ve had girls ask for a refund, but if you let them know up front, you shouldn’t have any issues.
When looking at places that tend to book quickly, remember to allow time between finding a place, and asking for everyone to pay. You're looking at spending an average of $100-$200 per person, which can take some people a few weeks to save.

Rule of Thumb: When you know you're going to be involved in a wedding, or even just the bachelorette party, START SAVING ASAP.

4. Transportation
   If you plan on driving, this step can be discussed down the road, but this is mainly important if you plan on flying. I have only flown once for a bachelorette party, but it worked out pretty well. We flew Southwest because one, you get two free checked bags and two, you are allowed to sit together as a group on the plane even if you didn't buy your tickets together.
Depending on where you are flying to, waiting to buy your tickets may be your best bet. Kayak.com has a great price predictor and you can sign up for alerts for when the prices drop or rise. Hopper.com and AirFareWatchDog.com are other great resources for watching the price of a flight. (If you are in the Houston area, EscapeHouston.com often has great deals, but you’ll have to act fast.)
Another thing to decide, is if the bride plans on paying for her flight or if you want to split her cost among everyone. We split a $200 ticket between 9 people and only paid $22 each. Not that bad when you look at it that way. I would also suggest having one person purchase all the flights to ensure everyone is on the same flight. If you have people flying from different locations, make sure to let them know when you plan on buying and what your arrival time is. Communication is key!

5. Planning
  Now the fun starts, and I mean that truthfully. It can be stressful in the beginning, trying to get a head count and decide where and when to go. But once all of that is decided on, the rest is pretty exciting.

•Itinerary. This is a must. When you are dealing with a group of people, knowing where and when to go is the only way to ensure there is no chaos. I have both co-planned and planned on my own and I will say, planning on my own was the easiest way to go about it all. Nothing was misunderstood or planned wrong and I knew exactly what we were doing and when. Of course I kept everyone in the loop and asked their opinion on certain topics, but I have found people are usually more than happy to let you take over.
This is going to sound silly, but plan every minute. I mean it. Even if it’s just time to travel, plan it. Time to walk from point A to point B, plan it. Not everything is going to go according to plan and some things may take longer or shorter than anticipated, but if you have every minute planned, you’ll never have to say “What do we do now?”

+ TIP: My favorite planning tool is Travefy.com. There is an option to “invite” everyone to see the itinerary but I found it easiest to plan on there and then share the link once the trip is complete. I could go on and on about this website but mainly, it allows you to plan day by day, including how much things cost, reservation times, links to restaurants and places you plan on going, transportation and hotel details. There is a map viewing mode too so you can see how far away things are from each other. Seriously, the best. (and it’s mobile friendly so you can check everything when you get there)

•Reservations. Even if the group is small, reservations help keep you on schedule and make the most of your time there (no waiting for the next open table or spot.) When researching on where to eat, I use a combination of websites. I start with Thrillst.com and Eater.com. From there, I cross check with Yelp.com on reviews and prices. Sometimes I’ll take it one step further and look on Pinterest to see if there are any listed in someone’s blog or article. If I see a place mentioned multiple times, I’ll usually try and check it out. And last but not least, Groupon.com. Groupon is great for many things, one of them being a resource to scope out places you are about to visit. You may get lucky and find one for a restaurant you plan on going to.

•Activities. Every destination is going to have its own unique experiences and you may feel overwhelmed with how much there is to do and how little time you have. Just remember – you won't be able to do it all. Instead – focus on the bride and what she suggested. Ghost tour? Book it! Pole Class? Ya betcha. Then look into the time remaining and fit in some local favorites. (best bars, festivals, landmarks, shopping.) I usually use Groupon and Pinterest to research and see what events are going on when we’ll be there.

6. Don’t Forget to Rest
This is the easiest thing to forget. When you are out and about with all of your friends, waking up early to drive/fly, going out late, you’ll blink and realize it’s the next day and you’re running on zero hours of sleep. (it’s happened more than once.) So when planning, make sure to incorporate “rest” time, whether that be just extra time to get ready before dinner/going out, or a mid-day nap time, at least have that option available because you may not be tired, but someone else probably is.

Rule of Thumb: The more people, the longer it takes to get ready, so plan time for that. (ie: start getting ready at 5:00 pm for a dinner at 7:30 pm.)

7. Misc. Goodies
I am a huge fan of favor bags for everyone. I try to include items everyone will end up needing, such as a hair tie, Advil, hand sanitizer, make up remover and dry shampoo, to name a few. These temporary tattoos are also super cute and easy to use. T-shirts have become pretty popular and can be a cost efficient way to remember the weekend, plus matching is still a thing, right? You can go all out, or keep it pretty simple. Whatever your budget allows.

8.  Misc. Expenses
Speaking of a budget: There are a lot of small expenses that add up, but if you plan for them from the get go, you can save time and money.

  • Party favors: As I mentioned, they are a great aspect to the weekend, but they are not a must. A t-shirt and some candy are a great idea for someone trying to ball on a budget.
  • Decorations: Hotel room or rented cabin, either way, you may want to decorate, and those banners on Etsy do not come free. Look online and at stores around town for different options on decorations and ideas. DIY is going to be your best route, buying pre-made bachelorette party supplies are a money pit.

  • Transportation: Not only am I talking about the cost to get to your destination, but the cost of getting around once you’re there. If you are driving, you’ll have the cost of gas, car snacks and beverages, etc. If you fly, you might have to pay to check your bags, and then there’s the transportation to and from the airport. I have found the best luck with finding a transportation deal on Groupon, and sometimes contacting the company directly will get you an even better deal. Once you are there, Uber is pretty common, (you can fare split) or check and see if they have any public transportation available.
  • Brides Expenses: As a rule of thumb, Brides shouldn't pay for anything. Unless you have a different agreement, more times than not, the group splits all of her expenses. This can be done two ways. 1. Guesstimating how much her expenses will be and have everyone pay up front and then use that amount on her throughout the weekend. 2. Having everyone take turns paying for meals, drinks, etc. Personally, Option 1 is the best route to go. You can even calculate the cost of the decorations and party favors and have everyone pay one lump sum. (Don’t forget to include the cost of any activities you have planned. Even if you don’t have to pay until you get there, it makes everything more smooth.)

Every bachelorette party is different, as it should be, and more times than not, things will not go as planned. But as much of a planner as I am, I have learned to let things go and have my main concern be the bride. As long as she’s having a good time, that’s all that matters. Especially if she doesn’t know all the details, she won’t know when something goes wrong. Just remember to relax, have fun and be safe!


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