As soon as I was asked to be the maid of honor for my best friend’s wedding, I started dreaming and planning her bachelorette party. Bridal showers are fun to plan too, but a bachelorette party is really important as it serves as the “last weekend of singleness.” Even though I knew Melanie wouldn’t want anything crazy or scandalous, I took a lot of time to think of what she would want and how to make it special. Immediately after we talked about it, we knew having a weekend away would be perfect. I wanted the weekend to be memorable and fun for her and affordable for everyone else. If you’ve been in a wedding before, you know how crazy expensive wedding festivities can get. Having a weekend out of town to celebrate can definitely add up quickly, but after throwing one the year before, I learned some tricks on how to make a bachelorette weekend affordable and memorable!
Here are a few steps you can take to start planning a bachelorette weekend:
Pick a Location
The first step in planning a bachelorette weekend is to talk to the bride to be and make sure you understand what she’s wanting. Find out if she wants a weekend away or is okay with just an evening spent wherever she lives. If she wants a weekend (which seems to be the trend nowadays) start researching appropriate places. For this situation, we had two girls living in NC and five living in VA. Melanie and I looked at various places and decided that a weekend in Raleigh would be a perfect halfway point for everyone.
Pick a Date
The second step is making a list of people. This will be helpful for any other step in the future! Have the bride come up with a list of people she wants included (unless you can create this list yourself). This will usually include all bridesmaids plus a few friends who are close to the bride. After you have a list, choose a date and check in with the girls who are invited to see if it works out. You probably won’t be able to accommodate everyone’s schedules but if you can, make sure at least all of the bridesmaids can attend. The weekend?doesn’t have to be the weekend before the wedding!! It can be as early as the bride wants it to be and sometimes it’s best to have it spread out away from the wedding so that everyone is not tapped out from wedding festivities all at once.
Find a Place To Stay
This usually is the hardest part of the planning! Usually, I love using Airbnb (use this referral code for $25 off your first stay!). I have always enjoyed staying in a home rather than a hotel?especially for these types of events! I had a super hard time finding a place big enough for 7 people that was within our price range?and close to downtown. I ended up finding a hotel suite that was plenty big and ended up being really affordable!
Because we had a bridal shower and bachelorette weekend, we decided to combine the bachelorette weekend with a lingerie shower for Melanie. This is one of my favorite parts of a bachelorette weekend because it’s a fun time to help the bride to be stock up on lingerie for her honeymoon and also a super easy way to plan games around an activity. We decided to play the game where Melanie had to guess who gave her each outfit of lingerie. We hung the lingerie around the room and had her guess who had given her each outfit. Let’s just say it wasn’t her strongest game 😉
If you’re staying at a hotel or rental home, be respectful of the space and don’t damage anything with your decorations. You can easy place decorations on tables or get creative with ways to hang things without damaging anything. Spencer’s has a slew of bachelorette themed decor (those not all of it is PG). It’s really fun to decorate as much as you can though and really sets the mood for the weekend! Just take a look at Melanie’s reactions after seeing the decorations!
Find & Plan Activities
The key to a successful weekend (in my opinion) is having a perfect balance of planned activities and free time. If you plan every second out you’ll be disappointed if something can’t be done or always stressed about getting to the next event. For us, I planned a few time sensitive things but the rest were things that could be shifted around how the day or evening went. One of the activities Melanie and I decided on was doing a wine & painting class. It’s something we had both always wanted to do and decided it would be a perfect day time activity for us all!
Aside from our class through Wine & Design, I also picked out restaurants to go to for lunch and dinner on Saturday. Friday evening we just ordered pizza which was perfect because our timeline for the evening was a bit unpredictable with people traveling. Flexibility is key when it comes to planning meals because you can’t always plan exactly for them. We were able to bring snacks and our own drinks to our wine and painting class, so we didn’t know if we’d want to have lunch afterwards. Lucky for me (and my pregnant appetite) everyone else was hungry too after our class, so we did end up going out to lunch at a favorite spot of mine downtown, Busy Bee Cafe.
My biggest recommendation is to?make reservations for dinner.?This should be done a few weeks ahead of time, just to be sure you can get them! Unfortunately we weren’t able to go to Busy Bee Cafe for dinner like I had originally planned because it was already booked. So be sure to plan ahead when it comes to dinner. This is the one thing you can have a definitely plan for! Luckily, we chose another southern style restaurant (that also happened to be a favorite of mine), Tupelo Honey. If you’re not a big foodie, be sure to check for recommendations for local restaurants. Be sure to keep the bride’s tastes in mind!
Tips for Going Out Over a Bachelorette Weekend
One of the fun parts about a bachelorette weekend is getting to show off the bride to be! Again, I knew we wouldn’t be doing anything crazy over the weekend, but we decided it would be fun to go to a few bars and have a good time dancing. I asked some friends who knew the area which bars would be the most laid back for people who want to enjoy their time out but not be getting really drunk. We ended up with a list of four or so to try out if time allowed. It was a fun way to get to parade around the bride to be! Even though I wasn’t drinking at all, we decided to still get an Uber for the evening. It was really inexpensive to do so and no one had to worry about driving after drinking or being too tired. We also would’ve had to take two cars to be able to fit everyone, which would’ve meant someone else would’ve had to abstain from drinking completely.
Instead of buying a bridal sash at the store, try making your own! To make Melanie’s, I bought a wide piece of ribbon, silver fringe (the kind used for curtains!), iron on letters and a slightly tacky flower broach. It took me just a few minutes to pull the whole thing together and definitely stood out among the other bachelorettes out that weekend. You can also get a bachelorette crown or other decorations for the bride to wear. Melanie was a great sport and wore her crown the whole time we were out, though we told her she didn’t have to!
Be sure that everyone is drinking lots of water and making sure to eat! The?last thing you want is for the bride to be to be puking on the bachelorette weekend. It’s easy to lose track of how many drinks someone has had so it’s super important to make sure everyone is staying hydrated. Even if you aren’t a pregnant maid of honor, I highly recommend drinking the least of everyone. As the person planning the weekend, you should make sure that you are coherent the entire time and aware of situations!
Goodie Bags and/or Survival Kits
One of the most fun parts was everyone opening their goodie bags at the start of the weekend. Two of the amazing bridesmaids helped me put these together by getting small bottles of champagne for each girl, gum, Tylenol, hair ties, hand sanitizer and other small goodies. Using my Silhouette, I made each girl a monogramed plastic wine glass. Each bag cost us less than $10 and gave the girls something fun to take home! You can also add a few extra goodies to the brides bag!
Ask for help!
Luckily, I didn’t have to ask for help because I had the best team of bridesmaids helping me! They were each so willing to help me with all of the details of the weekend. I’m not a control freak but when it comes to events, I have a hard time letting others help me, but in this case, I had no choice but to let them help ;). This includes helping plan and execute the weekend?as well as help cover expenses. The first time I was a maid of honor, I thought it was my responsibility to pay more than everyone else did for the weekend and I only got $50 from each girl to cover a weekend bachelorette weekend. This was no where near enough and I ended up spending hundreds on my own. Figure out the per person cost for any food, lodging, gifts and decorations and ask for each girl to help pay. As long as you are up front about these costs and also explain what each girl needs to cover additionally (their own food and drinks while out), you shouldn’t have any problems. There may be some girls who can’t attend because of cost but that’s okay! Be mindful in your choices throughout the planning and the girls shouldn’t be shocked by the amount an entire weekend will cost them. I believe the weekend ended up costing around $150 each. I also had each girl bring a bottle of wine and their favorite snack, so we had tons of alcohol and snacks for at the hotel room.