As maid of honor, planning my sister's bachelorette in San Diego has been, truly an honor lol. If you are currently planning a bachelorette party, you get it. From the beginning, it's decision after decision, almost like planning a mini-wedding.
I will say, bachelorette parties are quite intense these days. So much pressure to make every moment an Instagram-able moment. Of course, it can be so special to spoil your bride, but always be considerate of the group as a whole. Through this process, I enjoyed planning meticulously and frugally, I wanted to balance saving money and having a good time.
Let's break down the process I followed to streamline and make sure things went as smoothly as possible.
ONE: GET THE BASIC DETAILS FROM THE BRIDE
Who is invited?
Where do you want to go?
What's the ideal trip look like? (activities, going out, drinking, games, etc.)
The answer to these questions will help you narrow down what the itinerary will look like and where you're going to stay. Be realistic with the bride. Her loved ones have varying budgets and ideas for a good vacation. Which I think is what makes these trips so hard to plan. I am all about making this all about the bride but it defeats the purpose if her group is resentful or just plain not having a good time.
TWO: SET A BUDGET AND START A GM
Starting a group message as soon as possible is KEY. I don't care if it's an entire year in advance, people need to plan accordingly. Noting here, the bride should not be in the group message. Apparently, it's expected the group pays for the bride's entire trip. Including her share of the Airbnb, the decor, the goodie bags, the groceries, her meals, and her drinks. Which I personally think is a little much but nonetheless, sticking to the expectations here. If you're a bride, be considerate of your loved ones spending this money to celebrate you!
Ask people if they are interested in attending or not right out of the gate. Otherwise, you're searching for an Airbnb for 10 people when in reality 5 will actually go. Maybe all 10 say they're "so excited and so down!" but once the money starts coming up, people will decide whether they can attend or not.
So I suggest setting the overall budget up front so everyone understands what they're agreeing to, and can save for it.
Inevitably, someone still may have unforeseen reasons to no longer attend but hopefully, it doesn't create a financial issue for the whole group.
In the group message, mention these 3 things:
THREE: BOOK YOUR STAY
2-3 months out
Okay, this will be the first massive decision that will be a huge load off the to-do list.
First, based on the activities your bride wants to do, check the weather, available activities, etc. in the areas she wants to go.
Sometimes you gotta be real with the bride and let her know some things won't be realistic. For example, tanning on the beach in the middle of February, probably not going to happen.
Things to consider before booking:
Rules (quiet times, cameras, parking)
Distance from activities
Total cost (after taxes and fees)
Additional fees (jacuzzis/pools, AC/Heating, firepits, deposits)
The obvious (# of bedrooms and bathrooms, kitchen appliances/utensils/ seasonings, dining table size)
All this assuming you will be staying in a house and not separate hotel rooms or at an all-inclusive resort.
The party I planned did not really require me to coordinate extra travel outside of road trips/ carpooling. Everyone had different travel requirements to get to the final destination. At this point, people should also be booking flights, driving down to meet others, etc.
Okay, so now you have found the place you want to book. Before booking, confirm in the group message that each person is okay with the price. At this point, depending on the place you plan on booking, charge the group half or in full by a certain date. I think it's fair to give them some time before expecting an upfront payment.
Now that you're creating fees, I recommend everyone download Splitwise and the Bach app.
I didn't really use the Bach app toooo much as I preferred texting as the best form of communication BUT finding some activities was great here!
I personally booked it before confirming because the cancellation policy was really flexible. I ended up moving through 3 different houses before booking our final one.
FOUR: CREATE A SPREADSHEET/ DOCUMENT TO PLAN
2 months out
This is where you can start getting down to the nitty-gritty. Which is also the fun part, believe it or not.
First I got on Pinterest, Etsy, and Amazon to save all the things I thought would add to our experience, like decor and goodie bags.
Next, I looked into places that offered the activities we wanted to do. In our case, we were considering:
Hot Tub Cruisin'
Bar Hopping Tours
Lastly, I considered groceries and what we would need based on the tentative itinerary.
Then I decided what was needed and what wasn't, based on our budget. Personally, I found this super helpful so I could further help the girls know what to expect in terms of spending. The more we know up front and what we need to save, the better.
FIVE: BOOK ACTIVITIES AND BUY EXTRAS
1-2 months out
So at this point, you should know what activities fit in the budget and the itinerary.
When planning the itinerary, don't forget travel times and prepare the room/hotel with decor.
Also, if possible, let your group know the cost of the activities before booking those. Even if it is still in the budget, you may get someone whose situation has changed over a couple of weeks or months. Most activities will be non-refundable, from what I have experienced.
Also, make reservations at any restaurant!
Start ordering the extras you have planned so you don't have to rush anything or wait until the last minute!
SIX: SEND ITINERARY AND THINGS TO KNOW
1 month out
If you want to be extra I highly recommend using Canva to make a cute custom itinerary and include any additional information.
For example, we did BYOB because it makes the most sense. Buying a ton of alcohol for several different people is a risky game to play. Plus everyone has different preferences and tolerances.
I also went ahead and made games custom to our theme. f you want to see some pictures of how our whole trip turned out check out this post, Bach in SD!