The thing that they don’t tell you about getting married is that aside from the obvious benefit of uniting you with your soulmate for eternity, it also brings you closer to the women in your life. From texts and emails about the wedding to the special events dedicated to celebrating with your girlfriends, the process of getting married can be a celebration of female friendships as well as romantic love, with fun events like bridal showers and bachelorette parties helping you stay in touch with your girlfriends on a deeper level.
Like a lot of modern women, many of my closest girlfriends do not live in the same city as me. I’ve been working my way up the East Coast for the last decade and leaving close friends in my wake, from my oldest friends who I’ve known since grade school to my college girlfriends who I’m still close with almost ten years after our graduation (eek!). And now that I live in New York, life is just an exercise in watching friends move away. People leave the city all the time and in-person friendships become long distance in an instant. Which is to say that many of the relationships that matter most to me are long distance, and keeping up with them takes work. And I’d be lying if I said we all didn’t look forward to our next friend getting engaged as an excuse to see each other. YES, now we can plan a totally fun girls getaway weekend! Oh yeah, and we’re so happy for you too… But more importantly, bachelorette!
But what happens after everyone gets hitched? As I enter my early 30s, I’ve seen the last of my single friends start to get engaged and many of my friends start families. And I’d be sad to see those girls trips disappear in the process. So what’s a girl to do? Here’s how to stay in touch with your girlfriends by throwing a yearly girls getaway. It’s just like a bachelorette—just with a different name!
Keep Throwing Bachelorette Parties (You Can Call Them Girls Getaways If You Want)
Call it whatever you want—the intent is the same. You’re getting together to spend time with your best girlfriends. No bride is necessary, but you’re still allowed to have matching tank tops, themed parties and a weekend hashtag. Whatever you think is fun, do it—fancy brunches, gift bags, pool floats, wacky tours, whatever! The schedules you’ve dreamed up for bachelorette parties in the past work just as well for a girls getaway and you don’t need a life event like a wedding to justify them. Tell your girlfriends you want to throw a TK party once a year.
Make It a Yearly Tradition
If you’re like me (aka a crazy person), you plan out like all your vacation time at the beginning of the year. If I have a spare day, I will plan a trip. So planning to host your yearly girls trip around the same time each year will help ensure that more people are able to go. Weigh the pros and cons of holiday weekends (you don’t have to take time off of work and can always reserve that day so more people will be conflict-free, but prices may be higher, destinations more crowded, and some people may have family traditions that take precedence). Pick a month or holiday (spring break, Labor Day, the second week of June) and try to make your trip happen around that week each year. Developing routines helps make things a reality.
You Don’t Have to Go Big
If you’re able to spend a weekend in Paris or book a Fijian getaway with your favorite ladies, congratulations! I envy you! But you don’t have to travel internationally or break the bank. Thinking big can be intimidating, so sometimes doing something familiar makes it easier to actually make it happen. Suggest an area you’ve visited before and loved. Take turns visiting each other’s home city to save on costs. Rent a cabin in the woods, visit an area known for its wineries or pick a quiet local beach town and discover its charms. Make a shortlist of cities you’ve wanted to visit and work your way through them. If friends live on opposite coasts, institute an alternating coast rule—one year pick an East Coast destination and the next go west, which will help mitigate flight costs over time. Doing something is better than doing nothing, so don’t put up roadblocks.
Be a Leader
Chances are a lot of your girlfriends feel the same way you do—they want to see you more often but someone has to take the first step. Sometimes vocalizing something is all you need to do to get the ball rolling. Even if you know you won’t have the time to spearhead the entire weekend, taking a concrete action, like emailing out a cool AirBnb listing that’s caught your eye or floating a free weekend as the perfect time to meet up, may be all that’s needed to make this trip happen.
Just Go…Even If Some People Say No
Life is busy and not everyone is going to be able to commit to a yearly girls trip. Everyone has different priorities, and going on girls trips may not be in the cards for all your friends—maybe they’ve just had a baby, are on a tight budget after purchasing a home, or just don’t have enough vacation days to spend that year—and that’s OK. Don’t let a few no’s from the group keep you from saying yes. Go with the girls who want to and are able. Not having the whole group may seem like a bummer, but an even bigger bummer would be not doing anything at all.
Photo by Tara Libbey Photography.