I wanted to end the week with a really fun post—some tips for planning a bachelorette party! As I’ve shared here and on Instagram before, I’m co-MOH in my best friend Lauren’s wedding with our mutual best friend Molly. The day Lauren asked us to stand up there with her on her special day, we started quizzing her about how we could bring her dream bachelorette party to life. The three of us settled on Nashville as the destination almost immediately—for the country music, the food, the relative close proximity to the DC area—and, most importantly, the bride loves it there. After that key detail, Molly and I put our marketing and PR professional skills to work in our personal life and started planning the party of the year. (Besides the actual wedding that is!)
I could not have asked for a better co-MOH than Molly when it comes to planning this bachelorette party! Because we don’t live in the same town and often could not meet in person to party plan, we set up a shared Google Spreadsheet with tabs for a task list, items to purchase, attendee details, a grocery list, an itinerary, and money. We then had a call about once a week for an hour or so to cover off on any of the items we worked on independently throughout the week, brainstorm together, and come up with our next set of tasks. Having everything in our master Google Spreadsheet made the planning process so easy, as did having a regular cadence of calls. I’d adopt that workflow in the future in a heartbeat!
Today I wanted to share a little bit about what we planned for the bachelorette and what we learned along the way since I know a lot of others in the stage of life are on the bachelorette party circuit. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out in the comments below or email me at email@example.com. Always happy to help!
(Also, as an aside, I’ve written about bachelorette parties before here! I wrote that post after I went to my cousin Christina’s bachelorette in Chicago. My cousin Ali, who I mention below, planned it and did such an amazing job—I took a lot of what I learned from that party and applied it to this one!)
We had ten attendees coming to the bachelorette party, so we decided the most fun and economical way to host everyone would be in an Airbnb rather than a hotel. While I am normally a hotel gal, for bachelorette parties, I love having a house for everyone. It makes it easier to cook meals, get ready together, and just bond in those downtimes in a way that’s hard in separate hotel rooms.
Our goal was that no one would have to share a bed with more than one person, so we looked for houses that comfortably slept ten. We then looked at the check-in/check-out times, read the reviews, and researched the neighborhood. One of my best friends from college lives in Nashville, and she was an invaluable resource as we were vetting Airbnbs—she steered us away from a few neighborhoods that weren’t the safest choice. So if you can, definitely leverage a local friend for their input!
One trend we noticed—which might be unique to Nashville since it’s such a party town—was that some houses were very clear they didn’t want bachelorette or bachelor parties renting from them. When we reached out to our host, we were careful about how we framed the weekend so that we could show them we would be responsible, weren’t planning on throwing any wild house parties, and wouldn’t be a nuisance to the neighbors.
DECOR + APPAREL /
Molly really was the visionary of all of our decor and apparel, the centerpiece of which was a balloon arch. We bought this kit on Amazon, and it took us both working on it about 90 minutes to blow up all the balloons and assemble it. For the price, you can’t beat it! We also bought these streamers in champagne to hang as a backdrop. To top it all off, we picked up a custom balloon from Vroom Vroom balloon in Nashville, which was a great idea Molly had—we loved how it turned out. We could not have made this balloon arch work and kept our sanity without this automatic balloon pump—our kit came with two, so we each had one, and it helped us blow up balloons so fast. I have a feeling I am going to be getting a ton of mileage out of this balloon pump in the years to come.
Here’s a list of all the other decor items we bought that really complimented the interior design of the Airbnb we rented! (Pro tip: rent a cute place, and you have a lot less decorating to do!)
- Bride Tribe Tattoos
- Nashville Matching Tanks
- Novelty Straws
- Bride Sash
- Custom Confetti
- Mimosa Bar Signage
- Engagement Ring Balloons
FOOD + DRINK /
For our party, we knew we wanted to have a mimosa bar with some of the brides favorite cheeses and crackers to have the first afternoon since guests were all arriving at slightly different times. We also wanted some late night chips and salsa on hand at home as an homage to our college tradition, breakfast food for obvious reasons, and a taco night one night to cut down on restaurant costs. (And heck, since we ad such a cute house we really wanted to enjoy it!)
I did all the grocery shopping, which is ironic, considering I am the one that cooks the least! We made a grocery list ahead of time for all the things we’d need, but we definitely overestimated. Not a bad problem to have, but hard when you’re flying home and can’t take the leftovers with you! Here’s the quantities I would recommend buying if I were to do it again for a group of ten—which is about 25% less than what we actually bought:
- Mimosa Bar: 7-8 bottles of champagne, 1 quart of orange juice, 1 quart of grapefruit juice
- Snacks: 2 boxes of crackers, 2-3 types of cheese, 2 bags of chips, 1-2 jars of salsa, 1-2 jars of guac, 1-2 containers of fresh fruit
- Taco Dinner: 2.5-3lb of ground turkey, 2 cans of black beans, 1 box of Mexican rice, 1 small container of sour cream, 1 bag of shredded cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion
- Breakfast Food: 1 sleeve of bagels or English muffins, cream cheese, 3-4 greek yogurts
- Alcohol: 1-2 bottles of wine, 2 cases of white claw, 1 fifth of tequila, 1 bottle of marg mix
We ate and drank well when we were out of the house, so when I was at the store, I definitely overestimated how hungry and raring to go we would be.
We wanted to make sure we planned a good mix of activities and just hanging out and enjoying our cute Airbnb. On Friday afternoon, when guests arrived, we had mimosas waiting, a playlist on Spotify everyone could add to, and fresh biscuits from local favorite, Biscuit Love. Once everyone arrived, we wanted to go out and do something fun before coming back and getting ready at the house, so we went shopping in the Gulch. We then all got ready and went out for a nice dinner before going out on Broadway. Then we came home and ate those late night chips and salsa!
On Saturday, we built in time for a lazy morning, and then kicked off the day with brunch. After, we had several activities planned—the Nashville murals, wine tasting at City Winery, and bowling at Pinewood Social. After, we spent a night at the house doing taco night, showering Lauren, and playing a few games. (You can get more information on all the specific places we went in Nashville in this post!)
On Sunday morning, we had breakfast at the house, packed up, and cried about leaving!
SPECIAL TOUCHES /
Our bride was amazing and wanted to give everyone a little gift bag when they arrived. She also bought us all custom cups to drink out of all weekend long, which were both cute and practical. We also enlisted my cousin Ali to make everyone monogrammed tote bags to put everyone’s goodies in. She’s got an Etsy shop and makes all sorts of custom totes, t-shirts, sashes, bags, banners—you name it! Definitely reach out if you ever need anything custom done for a party and she can help you out. You can check out some of her past work on Instagram!
Molly has a mobile polaroid printer and was kind enough to bring it for the weekend. We bought film for it, a photo album for the pictures, and photo tabs to affix the photos. On our last night in town, we had everyone star their favorite pictures in our shared iCloud album and Molly printed out all the photos for the album. We then wrote notes to Lauren in the album using silver sharpies and gave it to her as a nice takeaway from the weekend. We had my cousin make a custom decal for the front of the album to top it off.
For our night on Broadway, we made Lauren a scavenger hunt of things she had to do—similar to the 21st birthday lists—like find someone to help her practice walking down the aisle or find another bachelorette/bachelor party from DC. For our night at the house, we had her fiancé answer a ton of questions on video about their relationship and see if Lauren could match the answers. If she was right, we all had to drink, and if she was wrong, she had to drink. That game is always a highlight of bachelorette parties for me—and I’d soooo recommend doing it if you’re planning one!
We had few bachelorette party invitees who couldn’t attend the party treat Lauren throughout the weekend, which is something I am definitely keeping in mind for the future should I ever not be able to attend one. One person bought champagne for the table at our nice dinner out and another bought the cutest cake for taco night.
We charged everyone for the bachelorette twice. The first payment was for the Airbnb only, which Molly fronted, so we had everyone pay her directly.
The second payment included everything else after the party concluded. To keep things easy for that tab, I fronted the majority of the money when we were in Nashville, paying for all group dinners, the groceries, the rental car—basically anything that everyone would be splitting. Of course, there were times when others fronted money for Ubers, drinks, the like—so at the end of the party, we had people tell us what they fronted and for who, and we divided everything up in Splitwise. (If you’ve never used Splitwise, I would highly recommend it—it makes splitting money up between various people in groups super easy. I’m planning on writing a whole post about it soon!) Molly and I had both fronted some money for the decor between the time we charged them for the Airbnb and when we arrived in Nashville, so when I got paid back from the attendees, I paid Molly out for her decor purchases.
In the end, doing it this way made settling up was easy, and it was nice we could split the burden of fronting money. I will also say—no one complained about how much the bachelorette cost, and I think that’s partially because we’re all a little bit older now and making more comfortable salaries than we were four or five years ago. We also did have a great mix of splurging and being frugal (though I’m biased!), which kept the costs reasonable for everyone overall.
In terms of what the bride pays for vs. what she doesn’t—I think that’s really up to your bride! You know your friend and what’s she’s comfortable with. We just made it an open dialogue, which made it very easy to navigate.
At the end of the day, our main goal of throwing this bachelorette was to make sure our best friend had a great weekend, which I think should be the goal of any bachelorette! These trips are such a great way to bond everyone before the wedding, and even though they get a bad rap sometimes, I really enjoy them—and am not going to lie, am excited to plan more in the future.
My favorite moment of the whole weekend was when me, Lauren, and Molly woke up on Saturday morning and all hung out in the same bed for an hour or so, recounting the night before, nursing our hangovers with chips and crackers, just like we did back at UVA.
Here’s to the bride! x