Last night I returned from Miami where my first of two bachelorette parties took place. The Fiance and I are certainly not cutting ourselves short when it comes to this time honored tradition: He went to Vegas two weeks ago with 10 of his closest friends, while I went to Miami with nine of mine. In June, he's also having a cabin weekend getaway with all his buddies, while I have a night out with all my girlfriends here. The bachelorette party has been an interesting scenario for me, because if you haven't determined by now, I'm a bit of a control freak. I've got the art of planning a bachelorette party down to a science (see below), so I inevitably take the reigns whenever I'm involved in a wedding. Therefore, the planning of my own bachelorette party was quite interesting. My maid-of-honor did an amazing job keeping me completely in the dark as to what the plans were. I left for the weekend on Thursday afternoon with a suitcase filled with dresses, swimsuits, shorts, and a smorgasbord of other warm weather outfits. I knew nothing.
But the weekend was a huge success. It was the perfect combination of relaxation, wild nights out, some time-honored bachelorette traditions, and quality gal pal time. We started the weekend on Thursday night with a low-key dinner and drinks out on the town. Our hotel was right on Ocean Drive in Miami, across from the beach, right in all the action. Friday morning, the girls managed to surprise me with a shower right in our hotel. They showered me with a few key essentials for the honeymoon. (A game suggestion: With each nightgown that I opened, we gave it an entertaining name. The plan is to give the list of names to The Fiance on the honeymoon and he can decide from the list of name what I wear to sleep each night.) Friday afternoon we enjoyed Miami shopping (oh, Zara, please come to Minneapolis) and then we spent the afternoon at the pool. Friday night we hit the town in a limo and danced the night away at LIV nightclub in the Fontainebleau Hotel. The night ended with all of us back in the suite, jumping on the bed—who says you need to be mature to get married? The rest of the weekend was equally adventurous and included a lot of dancing to Carly Rae Jepsen and a collection of comical quotes from throughout the weekend. Come Sunday, I was happy to return home to The Fiance with just a few mysterious bruises and a slew of pictures and memories from what I can only consider to be a perfect weekend. My next plan of attack is to collect all of the pictures (perhaps destroy a few) and put together a picture book to remember everything. If you have yet to plan your bachelorette party, here's my advice for you (or your MOH). Happy planning! Send an e-mail months—I'm talking six, seven months—out trying to solidify a date. Not everyone will be able to make it, but it's important to give everyone fair warning about when you're thinking and where. Introduce people who may not know each other over e-mail and ramp up excitement as best you can. If you're getting away for a weekend, start to look into accommodations about four months out. On the save-the-date, ask everyone to weigh in if they need a room and let them know that the cost will be split with the group. (Note: When you're making hotel arrangements, make sure there's a BED for everyone. If people are paying to stay in a hotel, they don't want to end up on the floor.)
As the date nears (about a month or two out) send another e-mail with more definite plans. You'll want to make dinner reservations at least a month in advance, especially if it's for a large group. Leave room for recovery, but also make sure there's a timeline in place. Make sure your plans correlate to what the bride wants. If she's a low key girl, she won't want to hit the clubs, but if she loves to dance, nightlife would be the perfect choice. Just be true to her interests, not the planner's. About two weeks before, send an e-mail with a specific schedule. I always like to let everyone know what, generally speaking, you plan to wear. The No. 1 question is always what to wear. A few days before the weekend, make sure everyone is on board so you have enough hotel rooms. Determine the cost of the hotel rooms and let everyone know in advance, so they can bring the planner a check or cash. In my experience it's always best to work out the monetary details BEFORE the event, rather than after. During the party, make sure everyone feels included. Often times, there are groups of people from all walks of the bride's life, and it's the bride and the planner's job to make sure everyone feels like a part of the group. Remember, this weekend is all about the bride having fun. So on top of everything, make sure there's NO DRAMA! And more importantly. Have fun. Always have fun.