Valentine’s Day surely spurred the usual barrage of romantic proposals that propels a fresh flock of brides-to-be into wedding planning frenzy. So…MAZEL!
Now that we’ve gotten the congratulations out of the way, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. The wedding, of course, is crucial. However, there are a few ancillary events that should be addressed and most definitely not overlooked.
Planning a wedding is both exhilarating and exhausting. What better reason to plan one last getaway with your girls? After all, these are the women who have agreed to be your sounding board, style consultant, and therapist all undrr the title “Bridesmaid” or “Maid of Honor” or even “Mother of the Bride (or Groom)”. As you enter the final stretch of your wedding planning days, a day or two away from it all is just what the doctor ordered.
Let’s be clear; this is not the bridal shower nor is it the bachelorette party that your bridal party will plan for you. This is your way of saying “thank you” to those women who play such a valuable role in your life. While you could combine the aforementioned events, in order to really drive the message of your appreciation home, keeping this event separate is recommended. It is the bride’s gift to her bridal party.
Depending on your budget, you can have such a weekend without breaking the bank but still offer a gesture of appreciation toward your bridal party. This weekend can be as simplistic as a road trip to a nearby city or a quick jet to the Caribbean.
As the bride, if you know this is how you would like to thank your girls here are some tips to make it happen:
Consider your bridal party’s time and financial situation: Unless you can afford to foot the bill for the entire weekend (travel to and fro, accommodations, food and beverage) you should pick a location and accommodations that will ensure that everyone can afford to attend comfortably. By this point, they’ve already purchased their wedding attire and are acutely aware of any other ancillary money they’ve had to shell out since they accepted the position.
Timing of this event is equally as important. Once you become committed to the idea of having such a getaway, allow ample time for your party to make whatever accommodations necessary for them to attend. Be it childcare, pet care or time off from work or other commitments, allow the group enough time to make the arrangements. You don’t want anyone to feel left out!
You can either send out save the dates 3+ month’s away from the desired date or you can simply come up with three to four dates that you think may work for everyone and find out which dates actually work best for the group as a whole.
Make it clear to the attendees what you are covering vs. what they are responsible for: No one knows your bridal party better than you do! That’s why each of them is serving such a special role, right? You know who can afford to go where. Remember, this is not your honeymoon, just a quick getaway with the girls. Decide before you send out the invitations or save the dates what you are comfortable covering financially.
If you are not in a position to cover the entire weekend, you may want to cover the cost of the hotel rooms for the weekend. Should this be the case, I highly recommend that you make this a short road trip weekend to a nearby city no more than four hours away. This way everyone can cover their own meals and not have to worry about transportation costs.
If you are working with a limited budget and your wedding party is willing to contribute to the accommodations equally, then you can offer to cover dinner one night or brunch one morning or you can also cover spa services either in the hotel room or in the hotel spa. This is probably the only instance in which I would suggest that you may want to combine your bachelorette party with this weekend. This way, no one feels imposed upon.
Choose a destination that fits your group and then PLAN: Whether you choose a location near or close to you and your attendants, be sure to choose a place where you will have fun! A vineyard, a popular city, or a beach getaway, are all great ideas. Just pick a place that everyone will walk away having experienced a great weekend. Even if you choose to have a relaxing time at a beach house for the weekend, be sure to have some special events planned (i.e. a clambake, a group dinner, etc.). This shows your invited guests that you really did put some thought into making it special for them!
Have fun with the concept! Just keep it fun and light.
BUDGET SAVVY HINTS:
- If you are having your wedding and/or reception at a hotel, contact your representative and ask them whether or not they have any “sister” hotels at your desired location. If they do, they may lay the ground work for you to receive a favorable rate for your group. Of course, if you don’t mind having A Girls Getaway at the same hotel where your event will take place, based upon availability, the hotel will happily take on more of your business for this event as well.
- If you are having a destination wedding, plan on arriving to your destination a day or two earlier to incorporate some quality time with the girls. Speak with your hotel contact and let them help you make this part of your event extra special!
- Look for cities like Washington, D.C. in which the weekend hotel rates are generally lower than the weekday rates.
- Look for hotel rates outside of your destination’s peak season. For example, one can generally find better than decent rates in Florida and the Caribbean June-August.