Bridesmaid  Getting Ready

Photo: Kari Dawson Weddings

Hi, my name is Caitlin Krebs, and I'm a senior editorial associate here at WeddingWire. Last year, I planned my own September wedding, and now, my best friend is planning her October wedding! I have gone from bride to matron of honor in a matter of months. The first event I had to execute was Emily’s bachelorette party.

Here are 13 lessons I learned while planning my friend's bachelorette party.


Look for a location that suits her style

How many times in your life do you get to have all of your favorite friends in the same spot for an entire weekend? Only once! I decided to pick a place that not only suited the bride’s personality but also was a surprise. Sneaky, sneaky, right? Since she is super low-key, I booked the cutest little cottage on the water in St. Michaels, Maryland.

Email threads are lifesavers

I sent an email to the entire bridal party at the beginning of the year. I would suggest creating a thread sooner rather than later because everyone leads busy lives. This helped me keep tabs of who had and hadn't chimed into the conversation. Plus, it was easily accessible in my Gmail thanks to my color-coded labelling system.

Decide on a date first and foremost

When deciding on a date, always, always, always provide options for the whole group. Summer is a go-to season for vacations, so I wasn't shocked when I received some responses that said, "I can't do that weekend." After a lot of back and forth, July 31
  • August 2 was chosen.

  • Everyone may or may not be able to attend

    There was only one person in the group that lived on the opposite coast, and I thought that the bachelorette party would be too much traveling for her for such a short stay. However, I was wrong. She purchased a roundtrip ticket and flew across the country for the event.

    Someone may be under 21

    Emily’s sister was only 30 days (yes, 30 days!) shy of being the BIG 2-1. She was such a trouper when she was asked to be a designated driver, but that didn't stop her from having fun. She loved being our DJ and played our song, “Shut Up and Dance” by Walk the Moon, on repeat.

    Prepare an itinerary

    From wine tasting to ferry boat riding, there was almost too much I wanted to accomplish in a single Saturday. It was better that I had brainstormed ideas beforehand. Otherwise, I would have felt like I was winging it.

    Everyone needs to feel involved

    Even though I was the event planner, I made sure everyone felt like they played a part at making this trip a total success. Emily wanted almost everything and anything to be a surprise, so bridesmaids wrote clues for each pit stop on our schedule. For example, “Forgive me for being cheesy, but every time you visit you take a piece of me with you.” This clue was associated with dinner at a pizza parlor.

    Someone may forget a necessity

    I am such a mom that I constantly reminded each and every girl to not forget a pillow. sleeping bag, bath towel, etc. Lo and behold, someone forgot to pack a toothbrush.

    Come up with a hashtag

    Emily is obsessed with her cat, Tiger, so #emilygetsmeowied it was!

    Gift her goodies

    No matter how often the guest of honor said she didn't want silly (and potentially scandalous) stuff, I couldn't resist giving her some traditional gag gifts, even if they went in the trash post-party. The three most important things I also wrapped up in pretty paper boxes tied with bows: a picture frame, sash, and temporary tattoos.

    It's okay to have downtime

    I couldn't control the weather. It was a scorching 90 degrees. Too hot! We all got maybe a bit red due to our lack of sunscreen, but that just meant we got to take a nap in our PJs at around four o’clock. Hey, not every bachelorette party likes to party hard, right?

    End with a bang

    Of course, I secretly stashed wish lanterns in the back of my car for us to send off into the sky. It was nothing compared to fireworks, but it still ended the night with lots of “happily ever after” thoughts for the soon-to-be newlyweds.

    Say thank you

    Once we the weekend was over, I made it an effort to individually thank the bridesmaids. Such a small gesture goes a long way. And I know they are excited for the bridal shower up next!