Gone are the days when the bride-to-be sat at home while her fiancé went out for one last hoorah with his friends. These days, the ladies put together a bash of their own, and often, that means a destination get-together that gives the girls a full weekend of fun. The maid of honor usually takes the lead in planning the trip, and you and the bridesmaids should pay the bride's way. Once you've set a maximum budget, use these tips to walk you through the rest of the planning process.
1. Choose a destination. Use the bride's hobbies and interests for destination ideas. Does she love the beach? Wine tasting? Antiquing? Research several themes, and put together preliminary costs and itineraries. Present the best two options to the bridesmaids for a vote.
2. Set a date. Most bridal groups plan their bachelorette getaways to fall a month or two before the wedding. Closing than four weeks from the wedding date is too close, because the bride and groom have their hands full finalizing their wedding and honeymoon. Further out from the wedding date is fine if your destination is a seasonal one, such as the beach, and you want to be there during a peak time.
3. Assign everyone a task and a deadline. There's plenty of planning to go around. Tasks might include:
- Purchasing props such as sashes, tiaras or t-shirts
- Booking accommodations
- If you're flying in as a group, arranging for a taxi or airport shuttle to transport you to your accommodations; if the bride is flying solo, reserve her transportation
- Compiling a list of must-do activities
- Making reservations at a restaurant for at least one special group dinner
- Sending out invites
Check out resources like http://www.broadwaycab.com for more information on transportation.
4. Make a guest list. Although you may want to make the trip for the bridal party only, it can also be fun to invite the bride's and groom's moms if the destination is parent-friendly, as well as the groom's sisters and any other friends or family members the bride is especially close to.
5. Surprise the bride. Plan an informal get-together for the bride and her bridal party, and use the occasion to surprise her with the bachelorette plans. Alternatively, keep the destination and guest list a secret—just tell her when you're going and what to pack.
The bachelorette party should be fun and budget-friendly for the planners and attendees, and special and hassle-free for the bride. Careful planning will help ensure that your trip provides the opportunity to create memories the bride and the women closest to her will cherish always.