How Do I Plan a Bachelorette When My Friends Live Everywhere?


This is the real world, so we’re on budgets

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Q: I  have a bicoastal wedding party, and I’m not sure how to handle planning a bachelorette. Half my bridesmaids live on the West Coast and the other half live on the East Coast (myself included). The wedding is going to be in Vermont, which is technically a destination wedding for everyone involved.

As a bride on a budget, I know I am already asking a lot of my friends to take time off work, fly all the way across the country, and find their way to my semi-rural wedding location, so I feel guilty asking them to spend any money on a bachelorette party. However, I rarely get to see all these amazing ladies together at one time and would really love to celebrate with a fun, low-key, outdoor-ish, boozy, bicoastal bachelorette party.

How do I handle this? Do I choose somewhere in the middle of the country? Should I say fuck it and do whatever I want? Do I travel west since the maids on the East Coast are all family? Help please?

ANSWER FROM THE EDITOR:

We’ve discussed the options of having alternative bachelorette parties at APW before. Who’s to say that you can’t have a low-key, budget-friendly get together before your big day? Do what you want, and if some people in your wedding party can’t make it don’t take it personally. They simply may not have the time or the funds to accompany you at your outdoor-ish, boozy bachelorette party.

Is it asking too much to make your entire bi-coastal wedding party travel to your bachelorette party? How do you accommodate everyone while sticking to your budget? Do you go ahead and just do what you want?

 If you want the APW community’s two cents, send it to QUESTIONS AT APRACTICALWEDDING DOT COM, and we’ll do our best to crowdsource you some answers!

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  • mousey

    why not just do it a couple nights before the wedding? Like the night before the rehearsal dinner. Or even the daytime leading up to it (with the amount of extended family in one place, may be worth pregaming it anyways! hahaha)…… people can talk all they want about having a ‘Skype bachelorette’ and whatever, and it’s a nice sentiment if there are truly no other options but there’s really nothing like enjoying each others company in person. Rent an airbnb near the Vermont wedding location with a private hot tub and a pullout couch for a night and have your girls arrive a day earlier than everyone else. Or do a spa and champagne day before the rehearsal dinner. Just make it part of Wedding Weekend TM

    • Another Meg

      I was thinking the same thing- that might be the easiest.

    • That’s (sort of) what we did, [except we actually just did it at my parents house which has a pool and kicked them out for the night (their suggestion) ] just had a big girls night two nights before the wedding and hung out and made churro/waffle ice cream sandwiches and stuff. We wouldn’t have been able to make an extra trip (a lot of people were just getting into the country right before the wedding).

    • jem

      We did this for my bestie’s wedding and it was amazing and so much fun

    • sofar

      Exactly what my bridesmaids did for me. None of them lived remotely near each other, me or the wedding location. We had a chill night at a concert.

      I get that a lot of people don’t want to have the day-before or 2-days-before thing because you can only get so crazy on a Thurs night or right before you need to look good in photos. But, if the goal is just to be around your bridesmaids, that may have to be the solution.

      In fact, as my friend circle has moved all around the world, the day-before bachelorette party has become increasingly common.

      • CarolynDoe

        Isn’t the day-before bachelorette party not only common, but more “traditional”? I was under the impression that the more lavish, traveling was the fad and not the other way around.

    • idkmybffjill

      Not to be the downer, but too many events immediately before the wedding can sometimes lead to…. celebration fatigue. Also, adding another event the day prior to other events = another vacation day/possibly another night of accommodations. So know your crowd!

      My bach was the week before the wedding and it worked out great! But it was all local people (except my MOH who’d already planned to come up early), and just one evening. A friend of mine’s was the Wednesday before her Saturday wedding, with events every day in between and a brunch that Sunday and it was….. exhausting.

      • Abs

        Ha I remember back when I was in college, my mom hosted a bridal shower for a family friend the day before the wedding, right between the bachelorette and the rehearsal dinner. She had bought all this beer and wine, but everyone was so hungover that they just lay around drinking water, so we were drinking the leftovers all summer.

    • AmandaBee

      This is more or less what my friends did. Since we had an early rehearsal (lunch, not dinner) my bachelorette was dinner and a hotel room the night before the wedding. It was nice to say eff it to wedding prep and just hang out with my friends right before the wedding, actually.

    • nutbrownrose

      This is exactly what I got, and wanted. I knew (since we’re all about 25) they were all pretty broke, and could only afford one flight, and that had to be for the wedding, obviously, and I live on the west coast, 2 live in the midwest, and one in NYC. So I asked all of them to come in on Thursday instead of Friday for my Saturday wedding, and even though the MOH got in late (Chicago was flooding that day) and so she and I were both kinda late, it was a marvelous time. I’m a very chill person, though, so my idea of a marvelous time is staying up drinking wine and playing games with my besties. And they knew that, so that’s what we did.
      All this to say: It is possible to have a the party you want without an extra trip for everyone. Now-Husband was surprised it wasn’t after the Rehearsal Dinner, honestly. So it’s a recent thing to have big go-away-together bachelorettes, and if that’s not what you want, this is permission to not do it. (But you do you, obviously).

    • MeganElizabeth

      This is what I’m thinking. A low key night out with my girls in the town where my wedding will be, then a grown up slumber party.

  • Rose

    I think the key thing here might be the tone in which you talk to people about it. I don’t think it’s fair to try to “make” your wedding party travel for the bachelorette. But if it’s phrased more like “There’s going to be a party at this place on this day! I’d really, really love to see you there (but it’s ok if you can’t)”, that seems perfectly reasonable to me. If I were a member of a wedding party and I got that kind of invitation, I’d be excited and try to make it if I could, and I wouldn’t resent spending the money. If I couldn’t make it and that was cool, that would also be fine with me. The resentment would only come in if I felt like the person getting married was really trying to pressure me into spending time/money when I said no.

    If I were a West Coast friend planning to attend a wedding out east, I might be particularly touched if the person getting married planned the party so as to be easier for me to attend, but I don’t think it’s necessary.

  • theteenygirl

    All of FH’s friends live on the west coast, so he has given up on the idea of having a bachelor party with everyone. It’s just too hard to organize. Instead, his friends are flying in two days before the wedding and they’re going to have a low-key “lets watch soccer and drink beer at a bar” day. Basically, they’re just tacking another event on to the wedding events we’re already having!

  • Tolkien Gay

    I had a destination wedding and also had people coming in from all over. I did what Mousey is recommending and asked them all if they would be open to coming out a day early to have the bachelorette party then. Everyone loved the idea and was very grateful to have this budget friendly option. We went on a hike, had BBQ, and swung by a local distillery before meeting up with my fiancé and her bachelorette party for a group house party. Everyone had a blast and if i had to do it again I wouldn’t have done anything differently!

    • jem

      That’s sounds amaaaaazing

  • Lisa

    We had a joint bachelor/ette weekend in Chicago (with spouses/partners) and most of our wedding party was able to come, but we totally understood if some couldn’t. We also kept the activities cheap – pizza for dinner, boating on a borrowed boat, a baseball game, etc. We rented two hotel rooms (6 beds total) for anyone who wanted to stay there. Others could stay where they wished. And of course, we paid for our share ourselves.

    • Kate

      We want to do this but we’ve been getting push back from his side of the wedding that a joint party is going to cramp the boys style and I must be insisting on it because I don’t trust FH (eye roll).

      In reality most of our wedding party is married to each other and this would just be cheaper and probably more fun. But I hate that I’m being made out to be a controlling shrew by his friends when he’s all for it.

      • penguin

        Wow they are rude. My fiancé and I are having a joint bachelor/bachelorette party since our friend groups almost entirely overlap. We’re renting a summer house for a weekend and we’re going to play games/drink/roast marshmallows etc. I’m pumped, and so are our friends.

        • Abby

          That sounds delightful! Have so much fun!

      • Lisa

        That totally sucks. I think that’s a situation where your fiancé really needs to be the one agitating for it and speaking to his friends, since anything you say will just reinforce their biases.
        If you do decide to go this route despite the push-back, two options worth considering: having a second bachelor party for just the guys at some point (there are no rules against having more than one event, after all) or setting aside an afternoon/evening during the joint weekend for gender segregated activities (or just two activities and everyone can choose what they are interested in). We also made sure that both sides were involved in the planning. So B’s brother picked a restaurant/bar for Friday night, my bridesmaids figured out most of Saturday’s events, the groomsmen wanted the ball game on Sunday, and we chose a restaurant for anyone still in town Sunday night.

  • Amy March

    Traditionally a bachelorette party is something that is offered to you, and I think you need to approach stepping in yourself gingerly. Do you think your friends want to fly for this? Do you routinely do weekends away together? Have they traveled for other bachelorettes? Have they mentioned wanting to do a bachelorette or, alternatively, complained about the expense of travelling to your wedding?

    I think asking if they are able to come out a day early for bachelorette festivities is a reasonable solution, as is just having it on the west coast and telling family they are off the hook, as is skipping it entirely, as it Chicago or Denver. But the key thing is really buy in- it sounds like your priority is people, so talk to your people!

    • Amandalikeshummus

      These are very important questions! My friend’s bachelorette party ended up only including her high school friends because they do things one way while her college friends don’t do the traveling away for a bachelorette thing. It was a bit of a culture clash.

    • sofar

      Yes. This is something a lot of people don’t consider. Ideally, a bridesmaid will approach you, get your ideas and then confer with the rest of the bridesmaids so they can see what they all can/want to do.

      And, if everyone can’t manage to travel for another event (in addition to the wedding), you have to accept that.

      • Abby

        I agree this is ideal, but unfortunately sometimes doesn’t happen, for a variety of reasons. In my circles, planning has run most smoothly when the bride designates a specific bridesmaid as bachelorette planner. It’s an extra fun honor (as long as you pick someone who likes planning parties!) and it allows them to be a point person to take the pulse of the group with a touch more emotional detachment than the bride herself. Some circles might find this tacky, but I’ve always really appreciated having someone in the party (who’s not the bride) having the authority to wrangle and make final calls.

    • idkmybffjill

      This was my first reaction as well. ‘You do not throw your own bachelorette party, done.”

      • Leah

        Kind of, except kind of you do. at least in my world. I’d lived in my current city for 5 years when I got married, and had a good circle of friends, but my bffs (aka the wedding party) were all far away (plane-flight distance). We chatted about what to do for a bachelorette, they weren’t able to fly out twice (and I wouldn’t ask them to), but I asked them if they could fly out on the Wed before my Saturday wedding, and they all could. So we had a casual girls night with my local friends and 3 besties from out of town on that Wednesday. But, to a pretty large extent, it was my call when/where/if it happened.

        I feel like that’s been the process for most of my friends’ weddings, since many of us live far from each other.

        • idkmybffjill

          Hmm, okay! It’s definitely the etiquette to wait for to be offered…I think this is because, honestly, it’s a good way to make sure your girls have the capacity to make something happen. Many of my friends are spread out across the coasts as well and there’s always a person? So I guess it just depends on the crowd.

          • Anne

            I think this is not always clear-cut. For example in my case, there were a lot of bachelorette hypothetical plans thrown around by my wedding party without specifics throughout our engagement, so it was definitely something they had expressed interest in. But because none of them really know each other and I don’t live near them or near the wedding, it was up to me to kickstart the actual planning by providing some concrete details on when something could happen. I tried to be as non-demanding as possible and just mentioned at the end of an email that the evening 2 days before the wedding could be a good time for us to hang out together. I have very low expectations and they definitely know that. I did feel weird about it though.

          • idkmybffjill

            For sure. It can definitely get tricky! Maybe the MOH is very bossy and seems like she’ll be in charge but doesn’t get it together, maybe there isn’t an MOH, maybe your bridal party aren’t the type to either a) know this is a thing or b) be inclined to offer.

            Mostly my advice was to the end of….if this is a stressful thing to figure out, it’s not meant to be the bride’s job to figure out.

          • LAinTexas

            My best friend also planned her own bachelorette. I live halfway across the country now, as does one of her other bridesmaids (we actually live in the same city, coincidentally, but we’re not really friends), but everyone else lives in the same area as my BFF or within a couple of hours. Her sister was her MOH, but her sister is also pregnant currently…and somewhat self-centered/selfish. So, BFF wasn’t expecting her sister to be very involved or helpful (and she wasn’t). I told her repeatedly that it’s really the job of her maids to plan and offered a couple of times, even though I live so far away, and she just…continued to plan it herself. It seemed to turn out exactly how she wanted it, so…I guess that’s good, because that may not have happened had someone else planned it. But, I also thought it was unusual that she planned it herself. It’s in the past now, so whatever!

    • Abs

      Sure the traditional etiquette is that you don’t even bring up your own bachelorette party, but in the real world you need to tell your people if that’s something you want. And most of the time you’re the only one who knows everyone, so it’s going to be up to you to figure out where and when it should be, even if the actual planning is done by others.

      • Amy March

        I think it’s fine to help out with figuring out where it should be and to mention you’d like it, but that you need to do so understanding that, apparently, none of these women have offered to throw this party or asked your opinions about it or inquired about what might be happening, so the answer might be that it isn’t happening.

        • idkmybffjill

          Yeah this. IMO, if it hasn’t been mentioned they maybe don’t have the capacity for it.

    • Abby

      I agree – definitely talk to your people. This is a key time to remind yourself that your wedding (and any related festivity) is not an imposition, and that your bridesmaids are adults who can decide for themselves how to spend their vacation days and/or hard-earned cash (and may be as excited for a boozy outdoorsy bachelorette party with you as you are!)

      When I was in (almost exactly) LW’s situation, I let my bridesmaids decide, and they wound up picking an opposite-coast weekend a few months before the wedding. A few my-coast people couldn’t make the trip, and they were missed, but living closer to them I met up with them for one-on-one girls’ nights instead, and that was lovely too.

      There is no ideal solution here (some people would rather spend vacation days but only fly once, some people are fine dropping the cash but will be hard-pressed to take time off for, say, the Thursday before your wedding, and some people can’t do either), but whatever you and your people pick together will be fantastic.

  • Amandalikeshummus

    It sounds like the two coasts are two groups of people. Would it be possible to just have two gatherings?

    • idkmybffjill

      THIS. Then you’re the only one traveling!

    • JR

      This is what we did – my sister and sister-in-law planned a party in my hometown for family plus one close friend (dinner, then wine tasting the next day), and a close friend from college planned a weekend at her parents’ house (in a fun town) near where we and a few other good friends lived, with couple friends coming in from farther away (but not cross-country).

  • hannah turner

    Wow, I’m literally in this exact same predicament! I’m from Oregon, live in Connecticut, and am getting married in Vermont! I opted for a low-key bachelorette party in NYC (we’re attending a cooking class and then going out afterwards) with east coast friends attending. In the end, I felt like with a destination type wedding it was too much to ask for my friends on the West Coast to fly anywhere else- and honestly I’m okay with not having everyone there (and they are totally okay with it too!) You could also do two mini bachelorette parties.

    • idkmybffjill

      I really think this is the best option!!

  • Just Me

    I’ve traveled from the west coast to the east coast for a bachelorette party and had a blast. I’ve also been part of a group trying to plan something in between all interested parties and that broke down pretty quickly. For the one I attended, it was completely optional but I had some airline miles that helped cut down on the cost. I still paid for food but the local group opened up their homes and/or helped rent a few hotel rooms so those of us traveling didn’t have to pay for lodging. Yes, everyone ended up paying some to attend, but it felt pretty even and the lack of obligation meant everyone involved was comfortable with what they were spending.

    The mid-country destination didn’t happen for a different friend’s wedding because everyone was going to have to pay for flights AND hotel rooms AND eating out AND festivities. Since we were all on a budget it was hard to swallow spending that much money and then traveling again for the wedding.

  • NolaJael

    I went to one bachelorette party where everyone did fly in to the middle of the country from all directions for a weekend. What made it doable was that the only other cost was a proportional share of a big cabin and groceries. Honestly, it was a lovely, low-key event where everyone got to actually relax and get to know each other. It’s one of the only “girls weekend” type things I’ve ever done and it was really fun.

  • Transnonymous

    My husband and I talked through this separately with our spread-out wedding party members – we lived in a different city than everyone else – and ended up approaching it differently. Here’s how it shook out:

    For me, it was important for me to have a bachelor(ette) party of some sort, so my maid-of-honor was the ultimate rock star and organized a group chat and kept tabs on flight sales to the city I was living in at the time. All of the members of my bridal party who could make it crashed with either me or a family friend and we went out for a very cheap dinner and did dive bar karaoke until 2 in the morning. It did require time and effort on everyone’s part, but it ended up being a ton of fun and fairly inexpensive for all involved. I was also clear that I wouldn’t be offended if anyone couldn’t participate due to expense.

    On the other hand, my husband’s best man was living in Europe at the time, and they decided they’d rather just have a brief catch-up a couple of nights before the wedding and not necessarily do a big bachelor party. And we were both perfectly happy with our separate outcomes. Another instance of how both knowing your people and keeping communication open just works.

  • Elizabeth

    When I was a bride, I had mine two days before the wedding, so my people came in a bit early and it was awesome.

    When I was a MOH, I sent around a survey to see what each member of the bridal party was willing to do/spend with a list of possibilities and triangulated the best place for a weekend getaway based on the answers. We got an Airbnb at a very reasonable rate and went to a city that was basically in-between all of us (closer to the people who were willing to road-trip there, but with a big airport so people who were willing to fly didn’t have to spend as much). It was also awesome.

    I found if people are able to meet you half-way, they are eager to do so. It’s just that nobody wants to be forced into things

  • Jan

    I have friends and family sprinkled across the country, and there was just no good way to ensure everyone could make it, and that it would work for everyone’s budgets. Thankfully I have a great sister and a great friend who are planning something for me, and it will be two days before my wedding. We’ll be keeping it super low-key: going to dinner then having drinks and listening to music back at my house (fiance is clearing out for the night). Most of my closest friends will be coming in the day of the party and a few can’t make it– that sucks, but it’s okay! It’s just one night and we have all hung out plenty! Anyway, I’m saying all this as a way to say: don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good; do the best you can, and maybe ask a friend/family member to be the point of contact and communicator of plans, so it takes some of the “include everyone” pressure off of you.

  • NotMotherTheresa

    My bridesmaids and I weren’t quite as drastically spread apart, but we still all lived at least several hours from one another, so it’s not as though we could just plan an easy weekend that wouldn’t require any serious travel or budgeting.
    Ultimately, one bridesmaid’s parents were generous enough to offer up use of their beach condo, and I made it clear to everyone that attendance was 100% optional. Not everyone could make it (even without having to pay for a hotel, traveling 8+ hours just wasn’t in the cards for some people), but those of us who could make it had a lovely time. As an added bonus, by making it clear that nobody should feel *obligated* to be there, I feel like the overall mood was better than most bachelorette parties I’ve been to, where at least two or three people are inevitably stressed/resentful about having to be there!
    My best advice is to just kind of feel everyone out. Who really wants to go on some sort of bachelorette trip, and who would rather save their money/time off for the wedding itself? (Obviously, give your friends room to be honest on that one–it helps to talk to each person individually, so that nobody feels pressured to say what they think the group is expecting to hear.) Of those who do want to do ~something~, what does their time/money situation look like? (Again, individual conversations are your friend.) Once you have those individual conversations out of the way, THEN you can get everyone together to try to work out a plan that suits everyone.

  • Abs

    The two days before bachelorette party is great if the priority is having all your people there, but in that case you probably want to make sure your families get a chance to spend time together before the wedding. For us, our parents had met once, and none of our (small, close) extended families had met, and so the couple of days before the wedding were all about gathering that group together. Having a whole separate friends event would have been way too much. I was in a wedding where the families knew each other well, though, and the bachelor/bachelorette party two days before worked great.

    Basically, weddings are about bringing your people together, which is what makes them awesome, but your attention is limited in the immediate leadup, so figure out where it needs to go.

    • Amy March

      Eh or you don’t care about bringing your families together because they’ll never hang out again?

      • Abs

        Or that!

      • Amandalikeshummus

        I’m sort of befuddled by the people whose wedding goal is for all their people to get to know each other. I always enjoy being a guest at weddings most when I’m hanging with my crew, rather than making small talk with someone I’ll never see again.

        To each their own. But it’s not a goal I generally have.

        • Jenny

          YES! I was profoundly sad than when a friend broke up our college group across three different tables and interspersed (I’m sure lovely people) in with us. Like, we get to see each other once a year, and for the last 5 years it’s been at various weddings because that’s the season of our lives right now, and dinner is such a nice chance to get to talk. I really don’t care about getting to know x y and z.

          • Amandalikeshummus

            Agreed. Observing the other people is a different story, though. “Ohh, so his family is just like him. I get it now” is pretty fun; but from the safety of my crew’s table.

          • Henri

            Oh, this is a really good point. I am totally guilty of pre-planning seating arrangements based on common interests, and your and @Amandalikeshummus ‘s comments are making me reconsider.

          • Amy March

            If people don’t know each other common interests are a great way to do it, but if there will be people there they know that’s probably the preference.

          • Lexipedia

            Agreed. FI is thinking about mixing together which people would make friends with each other, whereas I’d rather make a whole table of my school friends so that they can catch up! Like, new friends are cool, but none of us live in the same city and weddings are a way we can all hang out without extra flights.

            I get that it’s not the most considerate, but at the last wedding we were at we totally traded with two other guests so we could sit with another group. It was a buffet and didn’t have assigned seats, so I didn’t feel too bad. But, like, splitting up FI and his long-distance bestie wasn’t very nice!

        • penguin

          Same. My soon-to-be in-laws are apparently positive that the whole point of a wedding is to bring our families together. Um, the point is for my fiance and I to get married, and have our family and friends there to witness it. Considering that the in-laws can’t even be kind to us or their own families, I’m not exactly chomping at the bit to “join our families together”. Blech.

          • Amandalikeshummus

            Yeah, “Here’s more family to be mean to” isn’t a great wedding goal. I getting the joining families thing as far as parents. They have a vested interest in the relationship. But cousins? Unless you think your cousins and your partner’s cousins should date or network for career reasons or something, why?

          • Eh

            When I was younger, my mom’s family would hold BBQs every summer and my dad’s family would be invited too. Invitations would also be extended to the families of my aunts/uncles who had married into my mom’s family. I loved hanging out with my cousins and their cousins. We were really one big family and it was awesome, but that worked because we all lived in the same city.

            I have no interest in the work that it would take to join our families because they live 7 hours a part (and that’s just my dad and brother; my aunts/uncles/cousins live 1800+km away). We have been married for four years (they met at our rehearsal) and they have seen each other once since then (my dad and step-mom came to visit us and we visited with my inlaws for a bit). They are friends on FB though. Also, I’m not sure I would want the families combined. My inlaws are narcissists and there is lots of drama (my dad is very shocked by my stories of my FIL saying racist things at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner). Interactions with my family are much less stressful. Also, my SIL has tried to have joint events with our inlaws and her family, and my inlaws don’t like it because they get less time with the grandkids since their are more people, and things aren’t done the way they are used to (because my SIL does things the way her family does it).

        • rg223

          I wouldn’t say it’s ever my “goal,” for my wedding or someone else’s, but I actually LOVE when I get a chance to meet my friend’s family and other friends at their wedding. Not so much during the reception, when there’s so much going on. But I’ve been to rehearsal dinners and destination weddings with additional events that allowed for time to meet new people, and because those events were more laid-back, we could get beyond the small talk a bit and actually get to know each other.

          • Abby

            This is why I love all the related wedding festivities (bachelorettes, showers, and when possible full wedding weekends with other activities besides the wedding itself)– I really enjoy getting to know my friends’ other best friends! But I agree, for the reception itself it’s nice to just be with your people sometimes, especially if your crowd doesn’t get together all that often.

    • NotMotherTheresa

      Also, not only is your attention limited in the immediate leadup regarding family stuff, but it’s also limited in the sense of there being a lot of things that have to get done ~somehow~.

      This is a Know Thyself (and Thy Wedding) issue–if you’re a pretty hands off person who has super organized relatives and/or a dedicated wedding planner who can make sure all of the boring moving pieces come together, you’re golden! Go have fun!

      On the other hand, if you’re doing your own flowers, baking your own cake, and you have no wedding planner/400 vendors, you’re honestly going to be too busy picking things up from 14 different rental places and calling to confirm the band to have much time to enjoy a bachelorette.

      • Eh

        I agree that it’s a know yourself/wedding issue. I had my bachelorette two days before our wedding because my friends and sister (MOH) were all coming from far away. I knew I had to have everything done and organized before my bachelorette. We got back from the bachelorette and had to set up the reception venue (one of the many reasons we had minimal decorations) and go to the rehearsal.

    • Eh

      People have different family dynamics and priorities.

      I liked having my bachelorette two days before my wedding to get away from some of the family stuff. Everyone knew not to bother me during that time and I got to have fun with my friends (the text started to fly when I got back from my bachelorette). My family was coming from out of town (we got married in my husband’s home town – my dad and brother live 7 hours away but the rest of my family lives all across Canada). Most of my family wasn’t arriving until the day before the wedding for the rehearsal (the only person who arrived earlier was my sister for the bachelorette). Our families met at the rehearsal and got to know each other at the rehearsal supper and the brunch the day after the wedding. I asked my sister and a couple and friends to take an extra day off work for the bachelorette, but I wouldn’t asked our families to take more time off so they could spend more time together to get to know each other.

  • sofar

    I think the most important part of this advice is “Don’t take it personally if not everyone can come.”

    My best friend had to miss my bachelorette party. And I had to miss hers.

    It sucks when all your best friends are scattered about, but such is life.

    • Amy March

      And a great reminder to try and make local friends!

    • Jan

      Yes! Both my childhood best friends have to miss mine. I think they’re taking it worse than me.

    • Engaged Chicago

      I need to remember this! It’s hard to hear certain people can’t be there when you know they’ve traveled for other friends.. But timing matters. And it won’t stop the bach from being fun without them

  • cupcakemuffin

    I was in a similar situation, and did a low-key party the night before the wedding (after the rehearsal dinner). It might not work for everyone, but for me it was the right compromise between wanting to hang out with friends but not wanting to impose a big extra time and money cost on them (and me). Honestly, it was also a great way to distract from pre-wedding nervousness! Obviously you cannot get super drunk if you go this route (you don’t want to be hung over at your wedding!) but that’s not me anyway so it worked out.

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  • Lu

    As someone who has been a very budget bridesmaid, and is now a somewhat budget bride, I’d say. . . having a bachelorette party in advance of wedding weekend is a very very bad and even unkind idea if everyone is flying in for your wedding. I would caution against even implying you’d like everyone to fly to be together for that (unless your friends are knee deep in expendable income somehow!).

    I completely understand wanting to do it, but it is too much to ask of your friends (in my opinion). Too much money, and all flying to the middle of the country won’t fix it. That’s still really expensive. Do it a few days before the wedding, Thursday night Bachelorette! that’s what I’ve done twice now for weddings as a bridesmaid and it’s been great both times (although not too raucous, more like, slumber party vibes). Just carve out the time and defend it from family and planning anxiety, it’s the most wonderful opening to wedding weekend.

    If that’s for some reason undoable, yeah, you could fly across the country and have two informal parties on either coast, that could be really fun and also set an awesome tone for when they come for your wedding.

    I dunno if having two small things, or just having one small local thing and not putting pressure on west coasters to come, or having everyone together for a Thursday Mischief Night makes the most sense. I also have my best friends all around the world right now and am also kind of mourning the loss of nice prolonged togetherness time.

    good luck!!!! i’m sure whatever you do will be great!! <3 <3

  • If someone has a big enough house and is willing to host everyone sleeping over at their place, that’s one way to cut down on costs. im sure people would be willing to sleep on couches if it means not paying for hotels on top of plane tickets.

  • Eh

    I asked my friends to come in a day early for my bachelorette. When I made that decision, I knew that not everyone would be able to come. I saw lots of comments on other wedding websites about how its a bad idea to have it that close to the wedding (because how busy you will be or how long you will need to recover). My bachelorette was an evening at a Nordic spa (hot tubs and saunas) and a night of playing CAH and drinking at a cottage. I am also a planner so I just planned to have everything done before the bachelorette so I wasn’t stressing about it.

  • Lexipedia

    On the “planning it yourself” thing, all I’ve gotten was a list of optional cities and been asked to pick one. FI and I discussed the fact that many of our friends will be traveling for the wedding – his entire side is traveling to the wedding location – so we wanted to minimize other costs as much as possible. So since both of us have been roped in to destination parties we are going to pay for all the other costs ourselves – dresses, menswear, make up and hair, etc. and leave people to spend any money they would like to spend on completely optional “fun things” that they would enjoy doing. We also only have four people on each side, so paying for their things isn’t a huge extra cost for us – I calculated it at $1500 total for the eight of them because the guys are wearing their own suits and the dresses we’ve suggested are pretty reasonable.

    This isn’t possible for everyone, but something to think about if you are really excited about a Vegas (please god no, but this is what FI’s brother is planning) trip then see if there are other “required costs” you could help out with.

  • Pterodactyl111

    This is basically my wedding party, except also 3/4 bridesmaids have children under two years of age. We’re having the bachelorette party the day before the rehearsal dinner at the wedding destination. It’s gonna be fun, but easy and affordable. Probably homemade champagne-spa day. And most importantly to me, everybody can make it! As a bonus, my fiancé’s bachelor party is the same day so we’re probably going to meet up with them in the evening for a joint celebration.

  • T.O.Bride

    I had a similar problem, since my Bridesmaids lived in three different provinces, pretty widely dispersed. My sister similarly had a wedding in Nova Scotia, but Bridesmaids from Toronto (me!) and Alberta. My sister was lucky that her bridal party all grew up in Nova Scotia and was happy to make a trip home for a week, so we had hers the weekend before the wedding. I had mine on the Thursday before the wedding. It was a lot of fun, without being a tonne of extra money for my travelling bridesmaids and friends. I think everyone was happy to have a chance to have a slightly smaller party with just our close female friends before the big event, since it can be hard to find time to actually catch-up at a wedding.

    You know what else I did? I asked my friends if that would work better for them and told them explicitly that I’d be having other local events (dress shopping, a bridal shower, …) which I would invite them to, but would not expect them to attend. A couple friends did travel for these smaller events, which was wonderful, but it was important to me that they both feel included and not pressured to spend all of their money and vacation time on my wedding. I think they appreciated it.

  • Amie Melnychuk

    I planned a Bachelorette party in Halifax, from outside of Toronto, with half the guests coming from all over Canada and the other half coming from all over the USA. You can do this.

    Our night was a progressive supper, where we split apps and wine/beer flights at a couple trendy spots in the city, and brought party games with us. We ended the night at a pub popular with undergrads and felt amazing getting ID’ed. ;) It was a great budget-friendly night, where we ate a good variety of food and learned a lot about each other.