Like almost everything wedding-planning related, organizing a bachelorette party looks different this year due to COVID-19. A big girls’ trip to a sunny or glitzy destination, with days and nights packed with relaxation and revelry, may not be in the cards right now. But, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t still plenty you can start to think about, nor that it’s impossible to have an equally meaningful gathering, whether in person or virtual. Here’s how to start bach-party planning amid COVID-19.
For many, the pandemic has provided the opportunity to do things differently, or at least to reassess how important (or not important) it is to do things in the way they’ve always been done. That includes the bachelorette party, which is traditionally held shortly before the wedding.
Now, you can do whatever feels right for your timeline, including a bachelorette party long before your wedding (who knows when your dream venue will open up again) or well after your official celebration or microwedding (whenever travel and larger gatherings will be greenlighted again). As long as your party is planned with safety in mind, you can be sure that your besties will be ready to celebrate, no matter when you choose.
If your heart is set on an in-person bachelorette party, be extremely mindful and discerning about your guest list: Now is not the time to invite more distant friends or acquaintances to an in-person gathering. Pare it down to just your nearest and dearest. Remember, the more people, the greater the risk. Mitigate the risks by asking people to quarantine in the weeks before, then make sure that all partygoers test negative before you get together. Furthermore, be considerate of those who are at higher risk for COVID-19 or who are frequently in contact with high-risk people—think about doing a virtual gathering for them if they’re a part of your inner circle so that they don’t feel left out.
It’s more important than ever to make sure that your guests are on the same page and comfort level. Gone are the days when a few bridesmaids would draw up the entire itinerary, including surprises.
Now, you should gauge guests’ comfort level for all the planned activities, or make sure that there are fun options for everyone, because the last thing you want is for anyone to feel anxious or uncomfortable with the risk involved. (And there’s a good chance that there will be some level of risk involved.) The outdoors is a great place to start: hiking, a decadent picnic, a day at the beach or lake, surfing or paddle boarding, lessons, sailing, or stargazing are all great options. Work through the schedule together and keep everyone informed about the plans well in advance.
Seek out locations within driving distance, and look at renting a house with lots of outdoor spaces, such as a deck, patio, garden, lawn, pool, and/or hot tub. A property that’s outside shouting distance of neighbors is also ideal. See if you can plan a bachelorette party that’s mostly spent at the house, thus reducing the number of times that you cross paths with people outside of your group.
In pre-COVID times, most of the guests’ budget would have been spent on travel, accommodations, dining/entertainment, and drinks. Now, you can reallocate the funds that would have been spent on a big night on the town toward stocking the house with higher quality snacks, wine, and liquor, setting up a decadent dessert bar, or hiring a private chef. Or, book an alfresco meal at a nicer restaurant. But, don’t forget to include rapid-testing costs.
Goodbye matching T-shirts, tiaras, and personalized martini glasses; hello, cozy slippers or PJs and custom face masks and hand sanitizer. Going the extra step for health and safety will be a smart move for a while.
Clubbing and bar-hopping may be out of the question for now, but you can still look for activities with a similarly festive tone. Explore a local wine region or book a visit to a brewery or distillery. In warm-weather areas, look into private boat tours for a day of sun and sailing, or consider a night of dancing under the stars.
Remember, even with COVID-19, there are plenty of fantastic, and more importantly safe, ways to have an unforgettable bachelorette party, as long as you keep in mind testing, group size, social distancing, and activities that everyone feels comfortable enjoying. Still better is if you can hold out until next year, when hopefully there will be even more, and improved bachelorette party options.