Traditionally, when you think of bachelorette parties, they often evoke images of women decked out in matching rhinestone ensembles, ‘bride to be’ sashes and groups of ladies stumbling out of a limo and into a club. While I definitely enjoy letting lose every now and then, I was not looking for this ‘traditional’ bachelorette experience. What I really wanted was to have an opportunity to bond with my girlfriends. I wanted a rejuvenating bachelorette weekend, where 20 of my closest friends could relax, let loose a little and just enjoy each other’s company. Yes, I said 20. Cyn had me repeat it too … as my Maid of Honor (and only 3 weeks to plan!), she seriously had her work cut out for her on this one.
I also am a gal who knows what she wants, and so I didn’t leave the bachelorette weekend completely in Cyn’s hands. I had a pretty good idea about what I wanted for the weekend, and my sister was amazing enough to execute it.
As we get older, we have friends from all stages in life, and I wanted to bring everyone together and have a weekend that was something similar to a giant slumber party where we could get out of our comfort zones, relax and be silly.
I’m happy to report, the weekend turned out to be so unforgettable! I’m sharing the details in hopes it will inspire you to put a rejuvenating twist on a traditional bachelorette weekend!
1.Say goodbye to the ‘last hurrah’ concept
Instead of the notorious “last hurrah” mind set, I recommend making it a priority to center your weekend around pampering and female bonding. I wanted to curate an experience where my girlfriends and I could get to know one another on a deeper level, be surrounded by nature, and have just enough fun and silliness thrown in. What’s better than plastic penis straws, strippers and screaming over techno music at a nightclub you ask? My answer is: getting outdoors, drinking great wine and of course, superhero costumes! (deets below)
2. Sun + convenience
If the climate’s right at your destination, I recommend planning outdoor activities with your girls as much as possible. Luckily, my bachelorette was in June, so by staying in Southern California, we couldn’t go wrong. It didn’t sound fun to just stick around LA, so a weekend in Santa Barbara was the perfect fit for the LA-based folks, and affordable for out-of-towners. Think about having your bachelorette during the spring or summer months to maximize your ability to spend time outside, and find somewhere that’s not too far of a drive from a big city, so airport commutes are minimal.
3. Sleep in affordable elegance
Depending on the size of your party, if you have four girls per hotel room, you can choose more upscale accommodations since you’ll be splitting the room. The Fess Parker Four Seasons was conveniently located for us, and since my friends are on different budgets, we found the cost for the weekend to be reasonably priced for everyone. On top of the impeccable amenities and location, the property itself was gorgeous and definitely created that whole rejuvenation vibe I was going for!
4. Yoga kickoff
Morning yoga at a bachelorette? Yes, please. As you can tell, Cyn and I love getting our fitness on, and so do my friends. Cyn arranged for her long-time friend and local yoga teacher Lauren Hopper to come and teach a private class on hotel grounds for us. Starting the day with yoga set the tone not just for the day, but for the weekend. Having the class taught the first morning was grounding, centering and was a cool way to get the group acquainted with each other. Even the non-yogis took the class, and Cyn said as she looked around, she could see the beautiful support system I have built from all my girlfriends. I could literally feel the love and light being sent to me — It was a powerful morning I won’t forget. Highly recommend!
5. Local cuisine and activity
No matter where you go, make sure you dive in to your local surroundings! What was once a sleepy California town, Santa Barbara is now a vibrant coastal city with eclectic restaurants and adorable little bars. I was determined to take advantage of the local cuisine, and embrace the wine culture. We decided on a mixology class at Test Pilot which turned out to be informative and a total hit with the group — everyone had a blast! As far as restaurants, I would recommend thinking ahead and reserving someplace that has a more private setting for a group, and offers a good prix fixe menu. In Santa Barbara, we loved dining at (and would highly recommend) Lark as well as Loquita (where we sat on a private outdoor patio with a stunning fireplace).
6. Become a super-goddess
Some sort of costume or theme adds an extra element to any girls trip, and for a bachelorette, it's pretty much a right-of-passage. After all, it’s the perfect excuse to act a little silly and outrageous (lots of wine doesn’t hurt either). When we were set to hit the Funk Zone wine bars Saturday afternoon, I decided on a super-goddess theme for our costumes, so we could all channel our inner wonder women. Dressing up with your girlfriends is such a good excuse to laugh and embrace the ridiculous, and with costumes, everyone gets into it. No one is worried about their outfit being fashionable, instead you’re trading fishnets, plastic glasses and funky t-shirts everyone brought to share. Playing dress up definitely brought the group closer, and it was a great conversation starter for the ladies who didn’t know each other — And boy did locals get a kick out of us. On top of the costumes, my girlfriends all put on paper masks that adorned an image of my fiancé’s face, and when I walked into one of the wine bars there were 20 Adams staring back at me!
7. Document everything
Instead of relying on receiving everyone’s iPhone pics, we hired a local photographer, Blue Gabor for a couple of hours. Totally worth it! The photos will hold memories that will last a lifetime for me!
My intention for this bachelorette party was to have a fun-filled weekend with my sisterhood, and laugh as much as possible. Mission accomplished.
My friends from all walks of life came together, and since I probably will only get small conversations with each of them on my wedding day, this was an opportunity to really spend some quality time with them. Rather than looking at the weekend as my last chance to get wild, I looked at it a great chance to reconnect, and I can’t recommend this outlook enough. Celebrate the next phase of your life by bringing together your friends who are your valued support system, and who play a special role in your life. Added bonus for me, my girlfriends from Junior High in Florida, Sweet Valley High days and Los Angles locals will all be able to spot each other on the dance floor come my wedding!
The Sweet Life By Brittany + Cynthia Daniel