An intimate dinner party in a glamorous Chicago apartment was the perfect night out for bride Nancy before her destination wedding in Cancun. The bride’s girlfriends—and one close guy friend—hosted her Chicago bachelorette party at DL Loft, a stylish apartment event space in the heart of Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood decked out in Parisian chic decor, including twinkling chandeliers and fluffy white throws. The guests arrived early to have their hair and makeup done, and then enjoyed delicious appetizers and dinner prepared by a private chef. The friends shared old stories and their favorite memories of the bride over flutes of champagne, while Angela Garbot Photography captured a few snaps.
You know what really brings a group together? Adorable bachelorette party tanks, that’s what! Here are a few of our favorites from Etsy.
My favorite thing about these Champagne Campaign tanks is that they’ll get plenty of use post-bachelorette. This is your new brunch uniform.
Warning: Bride May Contain Alcohol. These tanks are too funny!
Aloha Beaches! This is another tank that your bridesmaids can wear again. We love the ones that work after the bachelorette party!
For all your fiesta bachelorette party needs, these Fiesta Siesta Tequila Repeat tanks are too perfect.
Perfect for a beach bachelorette: these Bride’s Mermaid and Mermaid of Honor tanks! They’re also available in a huge range of colors to match any theme.
For the Harry Potter loving bride out there, these House Bride tanks are too cute. I should know—I actually bought one for my friend Jae’s bachelorette! So I can tell you first-hand these are really flattering and cute!
This bachelorette packing list isn’t just about what to bring—it’s about how to pack smart so you have everything you need, but aren’t weighed down by tons of luggage. I just took a five-day trip to Belize for a wedding and carried on my luggage (including four pairs of shoes), so let’s just say I know what I’m doing. Carrying on your bag has so many pluses! There’s no risk of losing your luggage and no time spent waiting at the bag carousel. Plus, you’re going to be sharing a hotel room or house with a lot of ladies, so keeping the amount of stuff you are lugging in there to a minimum will be greatly appreciated by all. You’ll stay more organized and keep your temporary roommates happy too.
You can also download a printable PDF of the Ultimate Bridesmaid bachelorette party packing list.
Step 1: Know your itinerary
Before you start packing, it helps to have an idea of what’s planned for the weekend. For example, you may be spending Friday night at your rental house making dinner and playing drinking games, while Saturday will be party night on the town. That makes a difference in what outfits you’ll want to pack. Is there beach time involved? Hiking planned? Yoga class in the mix? Have a basic idea of your itinerary so you can pack smart.
Step 2: Pack neutrals with one accent color
Next, and this tip works for any trip, try to pack neutral colors with one accent color. That way, everything you pack will go together and you’ll have a lot more outfit options. Blue counts as a neutral in this equation because, hi, jeans, so your colors would include blue, black, grey, white, navy, brown and tan. You can safely throw both gold and silver in there too. Then pick your accent color based on what’s in your closet, the season and what you’re loving right now.
Step 3: Pick your travel outfit
Remember to set aside the outfit you’ll be wearing during travel! I always wear my bulkiest shoes on the plane so that I don’t have to waste packing space on them. Wear any jacket you may need to save space as well.
Step 4: Lay out your outfits
Lay out all your clothes on your bed and count through each day. Envision two outfits for each day—it helps to even line them up—one daytime look and one evening look. Remember that might just mean changing your top and shoes, but still wearing your jeans. Factor in bathing suits or special activities. Once you have those outfits laid out, if you still have space, you can add two extra tops and one extra bottom to give yourself a few more options. Be brutal with your choices though. I often end up eliminating a dress or top rather than adding. Packing light is only hard if you aren’t willing to make cuts in your clothing options. Commit to your favorite pieces and be OK with leaving things behind.
Step 5: Roll it up
Make sure to roll your clothing—it both saves space and keeps your clothes from wrinkling.
Wear during travel:
- 1 pair of dark blue jeans
- 1 T-shirt
- The bulkiest shoes you want to bring (tennis shoes, boots)
- A jacket
In your carry-on:
- 1 pair of dark blue or black jeans (if you aren’t wearing them during travel)
- Your favorite pair of shorts or a skirt (2 pairs if you aren’t packing any other bottoms)
- 1–2 going-out dress (I recommend an LBD)
- 1 sundress (especially if there is a shower planned)
- 3 T-shirts or tops you love (2 casual, 1 fancy)
- 1 pair of heels or wedges (choose a pair that can go with both your fancy dress and fancy top + jeans)
- 1 pair sandals or flats
- 1 pair pajamas
- Underwear for each day, and a few extras, just in case
- Bras: Think about your outfits when choosing which bras to bring. Do you need a nude one to go under a semi-sheer shirt? A strapless one for your dress? Wear one of the bras you’ll need and pack one extra in your suitcase.
- Socks and/or tights
Pro tip: Pack your underwear, bras, bathing suits and socks in the top mesh portion of your suitcase. This makes it easy to find these small items during travel.
- Small clutch/purse for going out
- Flight001 travel bags: I love these and always carry one with me when I travel. They are great for wet and sandy beach things. I also put sandy/dirty shoes in them, or fill them with my dirty laundry to keep the other clothes in my suitcase smelling fresh.
- Hair dryer, curling iron and/or straightener: Try to be selective about how many of these you need. I can get by with just a hair dryer. You can also buddy up with a friend. Tell her to bring her curling iron and she can use your straightener.
- Makeup bag + makeup removal wipes or face wash
- Liquid toiletries. You’ll need: Shampoo, conditioner, hair spray, lotion, sunscreen, body wash, face wash, bug spray. If you use a loofah in the shower, put it in the same bag as your liquid toiletries. Now you have all your shower things in one place.
Pro tip: Add all your liquid toiletries to a Ziplock bag, seal it well and place it in the OUTSIDE zip pocket of your suitcase. This way, if something explodes and leaks, it will not get all over your clothes. Make sure to get 3 oz. travel-size items of everything (samples are great for this too—great way to try out those Birchbox items you have lying around).
- Non-liquid toiletries: These go in a separate bag from your liquid toiletries. They include deodorant, toothpaste, floss, nail file, nail scissors/clippers, tweezers, etc.
- Medicine: I always carry a separate ziplock bag filled with medicines I might need while traveling. Mine includes stomach medicine like Tums, a painkiller like Advil, an allergy medication like Claratin and band-aids. If you have prescriptions, be sure you include them as well.
- Jewelry: Accessories are an easy way to jazz up a simple outfit without adding bulk to your suitcase, so you get a little more leeway with this. Find a small jewelry tote (I like this one) and fill it up with your favorites.
- A lint roller and Tide pen
- Any gifts or party favors you need for the weekend
If you’re going to the beach, add:
- 2 bathing suits (they’re small, so you get 2)
- 1 pair flip-flops
- Foldable beach tote
- 1 beach cover-up
- Foldable beach hat (like this one)
In your purse:
Your purse is your second carry-on. Choose a big one for your trip. You’ll need:
- Cell phone
- Cell phone charger, including power cord and TK.
- Portable solar charger: I love these. We use them all the time on trips. When your battery is dying and you’re moving from place to place, these are a life saver.
- Small umbrella
- iPad or Kindle
- Lip gloss or lip balm
- Cash!: I know a lot of people don’t carry cash. But a bachelorette weekend is one time you should make a special trip to the ATM. Cash will come in handy so often when you are trying to split bills, pay some one back for a drink or pay for a taxi. It can’t hurt to have it! I recommend taking out $100. You can always redeposit it after the weekend if you don’t spend it!
- Checkbook: Likewise, if you owe the host a good bit of money for lodging or bachelorette activities, writing a check may be the simplest option. That, or see if the host has Venmo (more about that below).
- Passport or ID: Whichever you need for your destination.
- Small mirror
- Snack: I love Larabars and always have one in my bag. Way better for you than airport food!
- Printouts of your boarding passes and itinerary
Venmo: If you’re not a cash person, Venmo is a great way to pay for things as a group.
Lyft, Uber or another ride-share app: Super handy for getting rides in a city you’re not familiar with.
Enable iCloud Photo Sharing and create a shared album: The best and easiest way to share photos from the weekend with the group instantly.
Etsy is my go-to for bachelorette invitations. These amazing artists are so much more creative than the invitations I see at most wedding stationery retailers. Oh my goodness, bachelorette invites that aren’t black and pink and covered in cheesy illustrations of heels and lipstick?!? It’s a revelation! Here are just a few of my recent favorite finds.
I love the modern graphic design and the contrast of glittery gold and soft pink in this girls weekend invite from Fine and Dandy Paperie. So chic!
The illustrations on this invite from Cake Print Shop are adorable, but what really won me over is the itinerary. Girl, you know I love an itinerary! OK, and the glitter. I do love glitter.
Speaking of itineraries, hi, this one is adorable. Kreativees has designs for tons of popular bachelorette destinations, including the Charleston one seen here, as well as themed invites perfect for a ski weekend or a beach getaway.
Maybe you’ve noticed I’m obsessed with pineapples recently. Maybe you too are obsessed with pineapples. Maybe you have to have this invitation from Boo Bean Design!
I love the beautiful floral patterns on this invitation from Kate and Jane Designs. The watercolor effect and mixed typography makes for a gorgeous statement invitation.
OK, just one more. Because there are so many good ones! But I love the concept of this spa party invitation: Mimosas, Manis and Mischief, Oh My!
For this tropical bachelorette bash, the ladies headed to Wekiva Island, a riverside oasis just outside of Orlando, Florida. With kayak rentals, private cabanas, a sandy beach and a waterfront bar, this location is the perfect place to spend an afternoon with your girlfriends. Heart and Arrow Event Planning decorated this cabana with pineapples and flamingos and served the ladies refreshing watermelon popsicles and pineapple mango salsa. We love the laid-back vibe of this tropical beach party and the gorgeous moments captured by Tara Libby Photography.
When it comes time to plan the bachelorette, step one is deciding where to go. Think about what you want out of your weekend: Do you imagine yourself lounging on the beach? Partying in the club? Around a campfire under the stars? At a music festival? Enjoying spa treatments and dips in the pool? Once you know what kind of weekend you want, consult our list of the 25 best bachelorette destinations to find the perfect fit. And yes, Vegas didn’t even make the list—because we know you already thought of that one.
A note: We admit, these bachelorette destinations focus on destinations in North America—sorry international readers!
With delicious cajun cuisine, swamp air boat tours, late-night jazz sessions and beads galore, New Orleans has so many diverse offerings that you will find something for just about any type of bride. Indulge in an afternoon treat of beignets and coffee at Cafe du Monde, take an aphrodisiac tour with Witches Brew Tours and hit up Frenchman Street for a night of jazz and revelry. Find our full guide to a New Orleans bachelorette here.
Savannah has so much to offer as a bachelorette destination. The city has an almost ethereal charm, from the quaint oak-filled squares and colonial mansions to the scrumptious Southern cuisine and friendly locals. Book a ghost tour to learn about the most haunted city in America (we like this one because it involves drinking). Speaking of which, did you know Savannah has no open container laws? Which means you can take your party to the streets as you stroll Savannah’s squares with your to-go cup. Find our full guide to a Savannah bachelorette here.
Southern charm with a modern twist (and gorgeous beaches just fifteen minutes away), Charleston has a little bit of everything. You can spend one day strolling the walkable historic downtown and another at the nearby Isle of Palms taking in the sunshine. Dine on fried chicken at Leon’s or upscale Southern cuisine at Poogan’s Porch, then stop in for craft cocktails at the Gin Joint before getting your dance on at Trio. Find our full guide to a Charleston bachelorette here.
Amelia Island, FL
Looking for a beach getaway without the crowds? Amelia Island is a hidden gem on Florida’s northeast coast. Rent a house or beachside cottage, spend the day exploring Big Talbot Island where you may spot egrets and spoonbills, then pop over to nearby Fernandina Beach to watch the sun set over an oyster po’boy and cold beer at the Salty Pelican.
Asbury Park, NJ
With legendary concert venues like The Stone Pony, pristine beaches on a historic boardwalk and lots of trendy bars and restaurants opening in the past few year (we like the Asbury Festhalle), Asbury Park will surprise you with how much it has to offer. Much more low-key than nearby Atlantic City or Seaside Heights, we love this artistic beach community for a bachelorette getaway. Plus, Asbury Park is a midcentury modern mecca—stop by Flux Modern to stock up on vintage glassware and art deco jewelry.
Bar Harbor, ME
You guys know I love Maine. And Bar Harbor may seem like an out-of-the-way choice for a bachelorette party. But for my ladies in the northeast, this could be just the relaxing and refreshing getaway you’re looking for, especially for the outdoorsy bride. Spend the day hiking in Acadia National Park or charter a boat for a sunset cruise around the Cranberry Islands. Toast the bride with blueberry beers and a lobster roll at Beal’s Lobster Pound and bar crawl in quaint downtown Bar Harbor (hit up Side Street Cafe for pitchers of margaritas at happy hour!). Find our full guide to Bar Harbor here.
New York City
I’m a New Yorker, so obviously I have a few suggestions for spending a weekend in my home city. See the Metropolitan Museum of Art in a new light with Museum Hack’s bachelorette tour (spoiler alert: you will look at plenty of nice, sculpted butts) or catch a discounted Broadway show with Today Tix. Take in the city with a stroll on the High Line or over the Brooklyn Bridge and add a New York slice to your itinerary (see our NYC dining guide here). Find our full guide to a New York City bachelorette here.
Nashville is the bachelorette capital of the midwest, and for good reason. Downtown is a constant party, with live music at every venue on the strip—we like Tootsie’s for the bands and Robert’s Western World for the line dancing. Rent a house in East Nashville to see a different side of the city and stop for hot dogs at I Dream of Weenie and drinks at The Treehouse. Pinewood Social is our favorite stop just about any time of day—it’s a restaurant/bar/bowling alley/pool party.
San Luis Obispo, CA
San Luis Obispo makes the list because of one very unique hotel: The Madonna Inn. Each room in this throwback inn has a theme, like the Bridal Falls suite with its rock waterfall or the rococco Austrian suite that will make you feel like a princess. Its rose-patterned pink carpet and bright pink interior just scream girls getaway. Spend a night out in downtown San Luis Obispo and an afternoon wine tasting in nearby Paso Robles. Check out more from this Madonna Inn bachelorette here.
The Florida Keys
While Key West gets all the fame and glory, we love the idea of island hopping to some of the quieter keys as well for a balance of low-key island vibes and party time. Book a night at Cheeca Lodge on Islamorada where you can swim in the saltwater pool, relax in the sun or take a snorkeling trip. Then head to Key West for a night out on Duval Street or the all-day pool party at Dante’s. Find our full guide to a Key West bachelorette here.
Spend an afternoon strolling on South Congress Street to get in a little vintage shopping. Afterward, make sure to stop by Gordough’s Food Truck for a sweet treat (we love the strawberry shortcake donuts!). For a night out, Rainey Street is the place to go, with quaint old houses that have been transformed into a street of bars with backyard games and live music. Or time your visit to coincide with one of the many festivals that Austin hosts throughout the year.
Palm Springs, CA
Whether you’re there to relax poolside at one of the many gorgeous rental homes in the area or hike in nearby Joshua Tree National Park, Palm Springs is a revitalizing destination with a balance of trendy eateries and gorgeous natural sights. You could even plan your getaway during festival season and spend a day at Coachella for the music-loving bride.
San Clemente, CA
Make your bohemian bachelorette dreams a reality with a stay in the 1960s vintage trailers at beachside The Holidays in San Clemente, California. Swing by MRK Public or Board and Brew for an after-beach meal. Then cook out on the campfire and stargaze with your favorite ladies into the night (get more camping bachelorette ideas here).
Each of San Francisco’s diverse neighborhoods has something to offer, meaning you’ll be on the go your whole weekend. Go ahead and check off must-sees like a walk over the Golden Gate Bridge and a trip to Fisherman’s Wharf, but then venture outside of the norm to see all SF has to offer. We recommend you rent a surrey in Golden Gate park, take a street art tour in the Mission District and shop the trendy boutiques in Hayes Valley. Find our full guide to a San Francisco bachelorette here.
Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada
Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada, has been on my list of must-see destinations for awhile. The gorgeous lake in Banff National Park is a year-round destination, with skiing, sleigh rides and dog sledding in the winter, or rock climbing, hiking and canoeing in the summer. Stay at the iconic Fairmont on the lake’s shore, or rent a rustic cabin at Baker Creek Mountain Resort. See a winter girls getaway to Lake Louise here.
A classic girls getaway, and for good reason, Napa Valley will intoxicate you (both literally and figuratively). Stay in downtown Napa so that you can walk to bars and restaurants in the evening (you’ll be tired of driving after a day spent traveling between wineries). We like Angele for seasonal fare with a French flair and Goose and Gander for a swanky cocktail or two. Want to make the weekend even more special? Consider booking a Classic Convertible Wine Tour to get your group around in style.
Glacier National Park, MT
With gorgeous lakes, breathtaking waterfalls and miles and miles of trails to explore, Glacier National Park is an idyllic getaway perfect for the outdoorsy bride. Accommodations range from rustic campgrounds to luxury resorts, or somewhere in between. We love Glacier Under Canvas for a glamping getaway or Bar W Guest Ranch for its classic Western lodge feel.
San Juan, PR
Get the feeling of an international vacation, minus the passport. Lounge on the white sand beaches, take a cave tour or book a tasting at the Barcardi distillery. Try dinner at La Perla Restaurant to enjoy oceanfront dining in an utterly striking setting. Club Brava is the place to be for nightlife.
Disney World, Orlando, FL
With great restaurants, stunning pools and hotels and world-class entertainment, Walt Disney World has a lot more to offer than princesses and talking mice. Travel around the world at Epcot Center trying a different food and drink at each country’s showcase, or embrace your inner child with a fun-filled day at the Magic Kingdom. We love the idea of theming your outfits with T-shirts or custom magic bands. Check out our full Disney bachelorette guide here.
Tulum has all the beauty of the Caribbean, minus the crowds. Stay at Be Tulum, a gorgeous boutique hotel on the beach that features over-the-top suites with natural stone walls and private plunge pools. If you can pull yourself away from the crystal blue waters, take a day trip to the Mayan ruins of Tulum.
The Catskills, NY
Plan a mountain weekend in New York’s Catskills region. Take a day hike to the top of Overlook Mountain to explore an abandoned hotel or wander the fields of Storm King Sculpture Park. Check in to one of the luxury lodges hipster New Yorkers are opening up throughout the area (Scribner’s looks pretty idyllic) or rent this renovated barn outside Tivoli that I am mildly obsessed with. See our full guide to a Catskills bachelorette here.
Bordering North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville is an eclectic city with a local craft beer scene and a downtown arts district filled with galleries and museums to explore. Tour the Biltmore Estate’s gardens and do a wine tasting at their winery or go tubing on the nearby New River.
Start your day by stocking up on flowers at the iconic Pike Place Public Market. Rent a boat and cruise the harbor or take the water taxi across Elliot Bay and grab fish tacos at Marination Ma Kai. The Museum of Pop Culture is a unique stop and located right next door to the Space Needle and Chihuly Gardens, a must-see for art lovers. Dine at Westward on Lake Union to enjoy the best of the Pacific Northwest’s seafood.
Sedona is perfect for a zen bachelorette getaway. The city is known as a place of spiritual healing thanks to its energy vortexes, but whether you believe in its healing powers or not, you’ll love hiking amongst the gorgeous red rocks or taking advantage of the many spas that cater to those in search of peace and tranquility. Book treatments at the gorgeous Mii Amo spa, nestled in the red rocks the region is known for. To take the weekend over the top, take a hot air balloon ride!
Guys, I’m a little bit obsessed with Dunton Hot Springs, a ghost town turned resort where you can go glamping in a luxury tent, explore the Colorado Rockies on foot or by horse and relax in the mineral hot spring.
For this laid-back beach bachelorette party, the ladies rented a house in Newport Beach and decked it out with pineapples and palm leaves from Paper Source for their tropical beach theme. Bridesmaid Audrey of Love Always, Audrey crafted the sequined floppy hats herself (you can DIY the Life’s a Beach, Out of Office and Do Not Disturb hats with this tutorial). The goal of the weekend was to get in some serious relaxation time at the beach, with the help of a few oversized pool floats, matching T-shirts designed by the MOH and personalized mason jars created by bride Danielle. Audrey’s advice for planning a beach bachelorette? “RELAX. The whole point of a beach bachelorette party is to just lay in the sun and enjoy it, so don’t worry about the small stuff. Instead of going out to a super-fancy dinner, order in pizza to the house. Sleep in a little bit. Make this the beach vacation everyone wants!”