When it comes to the wedding planning to-dos, helping to plan a bachelorette party can be slightly overwhelming, which is why we suggest starting with a comprehensive checklist to stay organized (and sane) throughout the process. Whether the party planning is assigned to the maid of honor, close friend, or bridesmaid, it's important to have a bachelorette party checklist to make sure that your weekend getaway goes off without a hitch.
From picking a destination and setting a budget to ironing out the details, we’ve got a breakdown of some of the primary tasks and considerations that you’re going to want to prioritize for your upcoming bachelorette weekend.
One of the first steps is to sit down with the bride (or brides!) and chat through possibilities. This is the fun part, as it’s always exciting to brainstorm possible places, activities, and bachelorette party themes, whether you’re considering a staycation or a destination bachelorette trip to Costa Rica. Let the bride guide this conversation, as it’ll give you a good idea of the type of experience that she’s looking for. While a traditional Vegas bachelorette might seem like a lot of fun, maybe your bride-to-be is hoping for more of a relaxing weekend on the beach—so make sure that you hear her out. Once you have a solid list of ideas, that’s when you can start deciding what’s feasible, both financially and logistically.
Though you might feel like you want to save this conversation for later, don’t. Setting an estimated budget will not only help you narrow down destinations and details but will also help you address any issues that might come up far before they do. For example, if it’s most important for the bride to have the entire wedding party attend, then you might ask them to consider regional destinations or mid-points that are easy to access for the whole group.
Talking through some of these things right in the beginning not only helps take some of the financial stress off of the planning process, but also helps you make sure that the bride’s biggest wishes are fulfilled. You might even decide to have this conversation before chatting about destinations, particularly if you think that the bride might be leaning toward a more lavish escape.
Once you've locked in a location for the bachelorette, it's time to lock in the guests. Typically, the brides closest friends and family (including the bridal party) are invited the the bachelorette party—but who you ultimately invite will depend on a variety of factors. For example, if the bride is having a casual night out on the town, you may invite a larger group of friends and wedding guests to celebrate—but if you're planning a destination bachelorette party, you might narrow the guest list to bridesmaids and besties, and reserve the larger, more inclusive guest list for other wedding-related events (like the bridal shower or engagement party).
Talk to the bride and find out who she wants to invite to her bach party—and make sure to get their contact information so you can reach out with event details.
Once you have the basics figured out, lock down a date with the bride and start sending out invites. Depending on the location of the bachelorette and how much travel is involved, you’re going to want to send out invites at least two to three months in advance. For international destinations, give the group at least four or five months’ notice.
Though a formal invitation isn’t usually necessary, you might consider an email with a memorable graphic or evite to build some hype. Most importantly, make sure that you give invitees a timeline or time frame to RSVP so that the rest of the party planning isn’t put on hold. The sooner you start letting people know, the sooner you can start securing flights and lodging.
Once you’ve finalized your guest list and walked them through the plan (including estimated costs), it’s time to make reservations for accommodations and transportation. In many cases, hotels will offer the option to reserve a block of rooms, although this might not be necessary if you’re holding a smaller party. For groups of 10 or less, an Airbnb or VRBO might be the most reasonable option. Just make sure that you talk through sleeping arrangements (and read through the cancellation policy) before you book anything.
Depending on your destination, you’re likely going to need to book some form of transportation as well, whether it be flights or a limo to take you winery hopping. This should be booked around the same time as lodging, or as soon as you have a date and destination. If you’re going to be footing the bill for most of the upfront costs, make sure that you collect some of the money in advance. This works as a sort of “insurance” policy so that you don’t end up financially strapped if someone has to bail at the last minute.
Now that you have the group confirmed and the big reservations out of the way, it’s time to walk attendees through the details and set a more concrete budget. One of the easiest ways to do this is by creating a shared spreadsheet that has a breakdown of all the major costs involved, as well as a section for some of the bachelorette party activities that you’re considering. Try including a few activities that vary in price for the group to choose from, including meals and excursions—and add some fun, free options as well, like bachelorette party games.
No matter how you do it, it’s important to keep everyone in the loop as you make budget-related decisions. That Jeep wine tour might sound like a lot of fun, but if it’s going to be $500 per person, it’s better if every member of the group knows that before committing to anything.
This is a big one, as planning an entire bachelorette party on your own can often become more work than it’s worth. Pick a few tasks that you don’t mind delegating, such as brunch reservations or afternoon activities, and ask a couple of the bride’s trusted friends to help you out. More than likely, the people who are most excited to help will offer up their time, so keep them in mind as you start ironing out the details. You’ll also find that it’s nice to have others to bounce your ideas off of when it’s time to make some decisions.
Budgets have been set, tasks have been delegated, and you’ve got a rough idea of what the weekend (or evening) is going to look like. With the help of your designated “task force,” it’s time to make a loose itinerary. We say “loose” simply because you’re going to want some wiggle room, especially if the bride has been kept out of the loop. Having a bit of breathing room is not only helpful if something goes wrong, but it will allow the bride to weigh in on any activities she might want to fit in at the last minute.
As much as we want everything to go smoothly, you’re going to want to have a contact sheet with key phone numbers and emails in case of emergencies. This also includes making sure that everyone has a copy of their IDs and/or passports. No matter where you’re celebrating, it’s important to be informed about pickpockets in the area, as bachelorette parties are common targets for petty theft. It’s also a good idea to have a designated “party steward” who is opting to stay sober to make sure that everyone gets home safely.
The day before the bachelorette party, it's a good idea to check in with all the attendees and make sure they don't have any last-minute questions and that they have everything they'll need for the celebration. If you've tasked guests with bringing things for the bachelorette (for example, drinks, food, or gifts), this is also a good time to shoot out a reminder and double-check that they have the items packed and ready to go.
Need some more bachelorette party ideas? Here are a few additional tips to help plan the best bachelorette party for the bride-to-be:
No matter the size of the bash, there’s a lot that goes into planning a bachelorette party—and this checklist is here to help!