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When it comes to bachelorette parties, these days it seems that weekend getaways are all the rage.
If you’re looking to throw a fun weekend party but don’t know where to begin, check out my step-by-step guide so you don’t miss any detail.
I was so thrilled to have the opportunity to plan and host a bachelorette party this summer for one of my besties and am excited to share my planning process, including choosing invitations, how to keep the cost low, choosing the perfect location, DIY projects, and considering the guest list.
*These tips are for the bride and the person planning it, so be sure to pin this post for future reference.*
What’s your ideal bachelorette party? What tips and advice do you have? Everyone is different, so be sure to share your ideas and experiences below!
How to Plan a Bachelorette Weekend Getaway
Sit down with the bride and discuss the guest list. For a weekend getaway, it’s best to keep the guest list intimate, including the bridal party only or the bridal party and a few of the bride’s other closest friends. Aim for a guest list of between 5-10 people, and if the bride cannot keep the list low, suggest having the small getaway and then a larger more informal get together at a bar for dancing or a movie night that’s easier to include a larger list.
An intimate list works well for a weekend away in terms of lodging accommodations as well as scheduling events and working around schedules. A dinner party for 10 is manageable but with any more, the party feels overwhelmed and disjointed, not to mention getting 10 girls prepped and primped for activities can be a feat all on its own.
choose the location
Choosing a location depends on a variety of factors. Some things you and the bride should consider are the following:
- What kind of destination does the bride want?
- Is she open to ideas or set on one specific place?
- Where do your guests live? Do you wish to consider their location for convenience of traveling?
- What is your budget and how much do you think your guests can afford? If you want to include everyone, considering their budget is a must. Otherwise, don’t get your feelings hurt if someone cannot attend and instead suggest a low-key get together with just the two of you.
- House or hotel – the amenities of hotels are great, but do any of your guests have a house you could use to save on cost? If not, a destination home rental is still a great way to save on cost – with a home rental, you’ll have access to a kitchen to save on food and beverage costs and you can have all of your guests stay in one place instead of several hotel rooms.
set the date
Once you have your location, you can set the date. Ask the bride what weekends work best for her and if she would like you to reach out to the guests to propose a few dates to try to choose the best one. You may not be able to accommodate everyone, and that’s okay. Set the date well in advance, especially if it’s a far destination that would include a long road trip or booking plane tickets.
After the date is set, it’s time to send out invitations. At this point, the guests may already know the date, but it’s still good to send detailed (and cute!) invitations at least 6-8 weeks in advance to allow time for questions, RSVP’s, and ample planning.
I recommend working with Kailey from Chasing Prints. Kailey worked with me to create a customized bachelorette party invitation, and she executed my vision perfectly. You can even check out my exact invitation and customize your own here. My invitation included a simple and visual timeline of the weekend so guests had an idea of what I had planned for them.
set the menu
If you’re hosting the party at your home or a rented home, you have the benefit of cooking in with the option of eating out for some meals – very convenient and a money saver. Talk to the bride about her food preferences (likes, dislikes, musts, eating in vs. out) and ask the guests if there are any dietary restrictions. Set a tentative menu by writing out each meal at home so you can make a grocery shopping list, and make any restaurant reservations in advance.
Aside from your set meals, make sure to allot for plenty of snack and beverage options (alcohol and non-alcoholic). I put a little goodie bag of the bride’s favorite snacks separate from the group’s snacks next to her bed.
discuss the vibe
What kind of party does the bride want? Low-key and beachy? Sophisticated and pretty? Wild and racy? I am very partial to sophisticated and pretty parties…think flowers, striped paper straws, and champagne vs. phallic decor, suggestive straws, and shots.
I created a Pinterest board that I used for inspiration and checked with the bride to see if we were on the same page – our visions fit perfectly, no surprise there. If the bride is open, then feel free to choose the vibe based on the bride or pick a fun theme.
plan a schedule
Write down a tentative schedule for the weekend, including when guests will arrive, what meals will be at home vs. out, record reservation times and phone numbers, and include any activities you have planned. I say tentative because depending on the vibe of the weekend, you might want to keep the plan loose and flexible to an extent.
Make a separate schedule for yourself or whoever will be helping you prepare the meals and behind the scenes prep for activities; while the rest of the group may be on pool time schedule, your schedule may include coming in early to prep for dinner or get the personal shower ready.
touch base with guests
Send an email to the guests to let them know a general overview of the weekend so they know how to prepare and pack.
Here are some things to consider adding to your email:
- What, if anything, do you want guests to bring? I hosted the party at my family’s home and requested guests to bring their own bath and pool towel to cut down on laundry. You may set a list of food or beverage items for each girl to bring also.
- What is their cost, how will they pay, whom will they pay?
- Transportation, parking, and directions
- If there is a theme or nights out, what is the attire?
I prefer a weekend that’s more relaxed with lots of downtime and freedom, but feel free to plan scheduled activities throughout the day such as spa treatments, nail appointments, wine tasting, tours, boat rides, etc.
For this party, I planned on a small personal shower at home and a Bachelorette Scavenger Hunt for one of our nights out. The scavenger hunt was a HUGE success and wildly fun – it brought together drinkers and non-drinkers, single ladies and moms alike for a hilariously fun event.
To download and print your own game, click on my It’s Simply Lindsay’s Bachelorette scavenger hunt . I suggest printing it on card stock, and feel free to mount it on colorful or metallic paper for more impact. Here’s a preview of the game! Trust me, you’re going to want to play it.
prepare in advance
Whether you’re hosting the party at a hotel or home, make a list of the tasks you need to do before the guests arrive. I arrived at the home the night before the guest’s arrival to do the preparations, such as grocery shopping, food prep (I cut and prepared all the food items for the meals I would cook ahead of time), decorating, assembling the party favor table, and getting the rooms ready.
Ask for help, too! All of the girls were so eager to help, so don’t be shy to ask for specific tasks to help with.
I don’t think favors are necessary, especially when you’re hosting the party, but they can make a sweet little touch. Here were some of my affordable and DIY favors:
- Lipstick: I bought an assortment of pretty lipstick colors from the Dollar Store – they were very creamy and pigmented; I was so impressed! Each girl chose a lipstick, and on our night out, I had them each kiss a piece of white paper and sign their name below to frame for the bride.
- DIY creaseless hair ties: Once you see how easy and affordable it is to make these creaseless hair ties, you’ll never buy them again!
- Step 1: *Optional* Print off the It’s Simply Lindsay To Have and To Hold Tags and poke however many holes you’d like to have hold the ties. Make the hair tie by putting the elastic through the hole before tying it.
- Step 2: Purchase fold over elastic. My exact elastic patterns can be found here: Mint & Gold fold over elastic. Other selections: Everything Aztec Bundle , Solid Fashionable Colors, Black with Gold Arrow , Blue/Teal Gold Foil , Mint Floral, Aqua Silver Arrow, Silver & Gold Foil Printed Variety.
- Step 3: Measure out and cut elastic into 9 inch pieces. If you don’t have a ruler on hand, you can do what I did and use the longer edge of a standard piece of paper.
- Step 4: Tie the ends of the 9 inch strips into a firm knot (I double knot mine).
- Step 5: Realize how easy this is and wonder why you’ve been paying wayyyyy too much money for these.
- Personalized sunglasses: Everyone loves some good, cheap sunglasses, am I right? These black wayfarers come in a bundle and are actually good quality (not cheap flimsy plastic).
The arms are wide enough to write on, so I wrote everyone’s names with a paint pen for a personalized touch.
- Candy: I bought cute lollipops, gum, Twizzlers, chocolate-covered raisins, and yogurt-covered craisins for a sweets table (all from the Dollar Store).
- Chocolate-dipped marshmallow pops: I slightly modified my friend Esther’s, over at The Cuteness Blog, ‘recipe’ for these yummy marshmallow pops! Follow her instructions and see her adorable pops here.
- Design your own wine glass: Another frugal DIY here! I picked up these stemless wine glasses (although I’m never clear as to what makes something a stemless wine glass and not just a glass…) at the Dollar Store. I opted for the stemless version because some of us are non-drinkers, so this was good for everyone. I left my glass decorated out as an example along with a tray of the glasses and paint markers for everyone to decorate.
If everyone is best friends attending the bachelorette weekend, assigning rooms may not be necessary. However, assigning rooms can be a great way to alleviate any drama or stress when the guests arrive. Talk to the bride and ask for her suggestions and preferences, and then make little tags with each girl’s name on it and put it on the door to each room.
When guests arrive, give them the lay of the land so they’re comfortable getting their own snacks and drinks and such. Leave the wifi password out for convenience as well.
This may vary based on your preference, but you should know that the bride will not be paying for anything, so factor in her costs as you decide how to split the bill.
I think the easiest way to divvy up the cost is for one person to incur the cost up front and then split it evenly. For an at-home location, some expenses to include are: groceries, beverages, cleaning service, decor, and favors. Any restaurant or bar tabs should be split evenly (minus the bride).
Another way to do it is to split up and assign items. This is a great way to take all the burden off of you, the hostess, but it’s more difficult to keep everything even. As the hostess, it’s very easy for little additional costs to add up and fall on your shoulders, which is why I suggest the first option.
If you’re staying at a hotel, you will know the lodging fee up front and everyone can pay for her own room. The rest of the costs – decor, food, and drinks – you can either split the fee or assign girls to bring.
While it’s not necessary to have an extravagant weekend getaway for a bachelorette party, if that is how you or your bride want to celebrate, these tips should lead to a stress-free, fun girls’ weekend!
How did you or would you celebrate your bachelorette party? You can read about what I did in this post about Wedding Planning Traditions to Reconsider.