Dear Journy, My best friend recently asked me to be the maid of honor at her wedding in November and while I'm super excited to help her with her special day, I am totally freaking out about planning her bachelorette party! She told me that she wants a destination weekend and to visit some wineries. Any advice on where to go and how to plan this weekend to make sure it's a success? -- Befuddled Bridesmaid
Dear Befuddled Bridesmaid,
It's a good thing you’re starting to think about it now because the golden rule in organizing bachelorette party (destination or not) is to PLAN AHEAD. Caps necessary. Inevitably finding a weekend and itinerary that works for everyone is a headache, not to mention finding accommodation and restaurants for larger-than-average groups. We normally recommend starting to plan at least two months in advance, though three or more is ideal.
Since your bride wants a destination weekend, start by choosing a location that offers easy access to the activities you want to do. Our clients have had great experiences in Sonoma, New Orleans and Charleston.
If you want to do a vineyard tours, we recommend keeping them to about two per day. While you could rush to fit in three, a bachelorette weekend is really best when it's about bonding between the bride and bridesmaids. Everyone will welcome that little extra bit of time to relax.
In general, avoid over planning. Especially if it's a larger group, coordinating schedules and budgets becomes a full time job. Limiting activities takes the pressure off of everyone.
When choosing a place to stay, think about when you'll be arriving, how you'll be getting there and what you'll be doing during the weekend. If you're renting a house that's a distance from your activities, budget time and money for ubers and taxis. That being said, we generally advise choosing cabs or public transport over having a designated driver, that way no one has to sit out of the festivities!
It may seem frivolous, but you'll also want to keep in mind how many bathrooms will be in your accommodation. We've heard stories of bachelorette parties with 10 people and two bathrooms—that means a long time waiting for everyone to get ready! Of course, keeping a lean schedule of planned activities will take some of the pressure off if you end up in this situation.
Finally, it's never fun but being super clear on the budget and what you expect everyone to pay will make a world of difference. Don't even attempt to try and split the check ten ways at the restaurant, have one person pay and sort out the difference later (if you're the one paying, just think of the bonus credit card points you'll rack up).
A few final points: make sure all dietary restrictions are addressed early on and communicated to restaurants ASAP to avoid any last minute headaches or guests going hungry. Also, while it might seem like fun to have group planning sessions, we've rarely (if ever) heard of this being successful. The best option is just choosing one person to be the ultimate decision maker.
And have fun!
Thanks to founder Susan Ho, who contributed reporting to this article. Have a question you'd like our concierge to answer? Email us at [email protected]