What to Know When Planning a Destination Bachelor or Bachelorette Party

I sat in the car — where we had been sitting for hours — and the cars started honking. All we could do was laugh. No, it wasn’t traffic; it was intermission at the old-fashioned drive-in.

For my bachelorette, I wanted to have a low-key weekend with my friends. I’m from Boston, so we decided to zip up to a cute little farmhouse in scenic Woodstock, Vermont. We said hello to our neighbor’s horses, lounged by a swimming hole, and ordered wood-fired pizza. We popped champagne and went to the drive-in for a double feature, stopping at a local ice cream spot for maple creemees afterwards. It was the perfect weekend — and it was totally my kind of bachelorette party.

My sister (and MOH) nailed the planning for the kind of getaway I needed after months of hectic wedding planning. If you’re in the same situation for a bachelor or bachelorette party, there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a destination:

Define your budget

My friends and I headed up to Vermont partly because of our budget. Paying for our wedding made it hard for me to want to shell out for flights to Miami or Charleston, and I was already asking a lot of my grad-student friends to come to our destination wedding. Woodstock, Vermont is an easy three hour drive from Boston and we found a vacation rental for $75/night in the middle of nowhere — which was just what we wanted.

Certain destinations are more expensive than others. Have an honest heart-to-heart with your bride or groom and any key members of their party to make sure your idea for the perfect blowout weekend is the same as theirs.

Your ideal destination doesn’t have to be Insta-perfect

This sounds so simple, but trust me, it’s easy to get caught up in what a bachelor or bachelorette “should” look like. If you don’t want to don matching “bride tribe” swag, don’t. If you don’t want to take the boys on a “Hangover”-style Vegas trip, then don’t. 

It’s that easy.

If you do want to do those things, great! But talk to the bride or groom first — if they hate country music, they won’t have fun in Nashville, even if that’s where “everyone is going.” Think about what they love to do, whether that’s hiking, surfing, or eating, and narrow down destinations from there.

Let the party do the talking

It’s easy to be swept up in the travel part of the destination bachelor or bachelorette party. The key word in that phrase isn’t destination; it’s party. 

My husband took his friends camping for a woodsmen-style competition (fire-making and canoe races included!). I’ve attended aerial yoga classes, wine tastings, food tours, spin classes, art museums, spa days, and more. It’s all about what the ideal celebration is for your bride or groom — the destination will come later!

Maximize your calendar

Another friend of mine did her bachelorette as part of a spring break trip her friends were already planning. It took the pressure off for the perfect bachelorette and instead it was just a special night of the trip. My husband coordinated a surprise bachelor party for his friend while he was in New York City on business — so you can think beyond the specific “weekend.” 

Plus, flights and hotels are usually much cheaper during the week, if you can take the vacation time.

Need more inspiration? Here’s a quick list

If you need a little inspiration, here are some great bachelor- and bachelorette-party domestic destinations:

  • If you like jazz music and food, go to New Orleans.
  • If you like hiking, go to Salt Lake City, Jackson Hole, or Burlington.
  • If you love the beach, go to Miami, Hilton Head, or Los Angeles.
  • If you like colorful seaside cities, go to Charleston or San Francisco.
  • If you like BBQ and music, go to Austin or Nashville.
  • If you like food and theater, go to NYC or Chicago.
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