Jessye of City Tonic here, and when my best friend first asked me what I wanted to do for my bachelorette party, the streets of my neighborhood in South Boston were covered in about six feet of snow. I told her I didn’t care, as long as it was somewhere warm. Since many of my closest girlfriends have migrated to the West Coast in recent years, we decided on a relaxing weekend in Palm Springs!
As a designer, I’ve always wanted to visit Palm Springs for its midcentury-modern architecture and chic hotels (ones I often find myself longingly stalking via Instagram during the winter months) and the opportunity to check it out AND celebrate with my best friends was seriously magical. While staying at the Avalon Hotel in Palm Springs, we met San Franscisco-based photographer Liza Gershman, who captured some bachelorette fun during the weekend.
After experiencing such a perfect getaway, I put together a few tips for making the most of your party. Now, as a disclaimer: I’m a pretty low-key person – and, while I do like to have fun, I’ve never been much of a club-going/out-all-night kinda gal. So I understand that a relaxing weekend full of good food, bike rides and poolside hangouts might not be everyone’s idea of a good time. But to anyone who’s planning a bachelorette (or having one planned for them), here are a few things to think about:
Keep it Intimate
Big groups are fun, but there’s definitely something to be said for a smaller celebration with your closest friends. If you’re planning to go on a “destination” bachelorette, everything from cab rides to dinners is easier with an intimate group of girls (we were a group of seven). I saw my bachelorette party as an opportunity to reunite with some of my best friends who live all over the country. We don’t get to see each other often, so a small group also meant that I had a chance to really catch up with everyone individually. My favorite thing was seeing how easily my different friend groups got along when we were all together (many of them were meeting for the first time). We’re all in our mid-to-late-twenties — dealing with busy work schedules and not a ton of expendable income — so it felt like an extra special treat to spend the weekend with everyone.
Talk to the Bride
Everyone loves a good surprise now and then, but if you’re planning a bachelorette party (especially one that spans a full weekend), it doesn’t hurt to at least find out what the bride feels like doing. You might love the idea of going out on the town with the whole group in matching t-shirts, but does the bride feel comfortable drawing that much attention in public? (Trust me, I have been to plenty of bachelorette parties with matching t-shirts, and loved it – I’m just using this as an example). And if the party is close to the wedding date, make sure you don’t go too crazy. Sky diving, white water rafting – even dance-offs in five inch heels – can be recipes for disaster! (I mean, no bride wants to hobble down the aisle with crutches, right?)
To Plan or Not to Plan
Extensive planning might be necessary with larger parties, but there’s definitely no harm in going with the flow and gauging the collective vibe of the group when it comes to activities. Not everyone will want to go to the yoga/salsa dancing/pole dancing/SoulCycle class that you have on the itinerary. Alternatively, not everyone will want to lounge by the pool for hours drinking cocktails. You don’t have to do everything as a group – it’s totally fine if a few people go check out the vintage market down the street one morning while the rest of the gang hangs back at the hotel. As long as you’re all together for celebratory dinners and meaningful moments, the little departures here and there are no big deal. Plus, isn’t it better if everyone’s enjoying the weekend, rather than feigning excitement for the bride’s sake?
Get the Guy Involved
This is no revolutionary concept for bachelorette parties, but one of my favorite moments of the weekend was when my MOH surprised me with a really cute “newlywed game” when we were all hanging out (and eating Trader Joes snacks) after the pool one afternoon. She had asked my fiancé, Kevin, a list of questions ahead of time – and I had to guess his answers. With prompts like “What’s the cutest thing Jessye does?” and “What one thing of yours would Jessye most like to throw away?” it ended up being a hilarious and sweet little activity that somehow made me feel even closer to Kevin.
And, for the bride-to-be: let your friends know how much you appreciate them for celebrating with you. Bachelorette parties can be pricey – especially with travel and hotel costs involved – so think of it as an amazing pre-wedding gift and thank everyone appropriately!