If your favorite bride isn’t into club hopping and boozing it up but still wants to go to a party town, you can all totally still have a fantastically crazy good time without going to a single bar in Nashville. Back in November, I coordinated a Nashville bachelorette party for my cousin with the extremely busy Maid of Honor. Our bride is not a huge partier but she did want to have a great time, whatever we did. I mean, it is a bachelorette party.
Step 1: Figure Out Your Bride’s Tastes and Party Style
Our home base being in Mississippi, there’s not much of a nightlife that doesn’t revolve around drinking and bar hopping. And if we’re being completely honest: We all wanted to travel. I mean, I have created a travel blog, after all.
On top of that, a couple of weeks before I got married in September, she along with my other bridesmaids hosted my bachelorette in New Orleans. So, I was doing what I could to ensure that it wouldn’t be a replica of my own. Besides, the bachelorette parties should be tailored to suit the bride but still be a good time for the attendees as well.
Side Note: If you’re here looking to get ideas for your own bachelorette planning and are currently considering Nashville or anywhere in Tennessee, it is important to point out that the entire state of TN will not in any way allow anyone under 21 into a bar. However, other states like mine, you can be 18 to get in but you’ll get a stamp or armband saying you’re not old enough to drink. TN doesn’t do this at all. Underaged designated drivers aren’t welcome in this sense. We experienced this first hand, as the bride’s sister was only 20 at the time when we were in Nashville. If you have younger people in the group but still want to drink a glass (okay, a bottle) of wine, go to a restaurant.
Lucky for us, as stated earlier, the bride really didn’t want to be out drinking at all hours of the night. So, we’re in a party town and we’re not visiting bars at night. What in the hell are we going to do?
Step 2: Do Your Research on Nashville Nightlife that Appeals to the Bride
Yeah, this is definitely a “Duh!” moment but you’d be surprised by how many people don’t really take the individual guest of honor into consideration. Needless to say, this is where my love of planning and research came into play. I created a multi-answer questionnaire for the bride to fill out and email back to me. I included regional (read: short & easy to drive to) locales that would be of interest to any of us. I think I listed about 7-9 getaway locations and asked her to pick her favorites.
By the way, I’m not going to be upset if you borrow ideas from the questionnaire I emailed my bride (recently, I found out there are tarot and palm readers in Nashville, although that was intended to be something to do if we ended up in New Orleans on Jackson Square).
Now, the hard work came when thinking of interesting activities not involving bars and still not overrun with kids everywhere. Luckily, because I had already done some preliminary research on fun activities (or included some that I had been interested in doing on my own but never got around to doing), I listed those. Of course, I also paid attention to what some of the other bridesmaids were suggesting that would be fun to them.
Listed activities included evening cooking classes (I’m big into cooking, while my cousin was still learning the ropes), mystery dinner theater shows, sightseeing tours (I love learning new things!) and a nice array of other things and interests. I knew she wasn’t a big drinker/partier but I included the options just in case she actually wanted to get a little crazy with all her favorite people.
If you look at the questionnaire, clearly she really didn’t know where she was going to be except one of the places in the form. She got to make her preferences known without being in the know until we got there. By the way, it’s extremely difficult to keep those secrets – especially if you know months in advance!
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Step 3: Get the Timing Right on Choosing the Party Weekend
When you have a bride that’s an educator and half the bridesmaids are also educators, you can pretty much guarantee that you’ll be traveling during school district-designated holidays. Which, for our December bride meant she’d be a November bachelorette.
We strove to do it sooner but she’s a band director and every weekend in the fall is basically a no-go due to necessary attendance at football games. Hell, we almost had to reschedule because her school’s football kept winning! Luckily, they lost and didn’t go to the championship games (sorry, boys). So we obviously ended up going up to Nashville on Thanksgiving weekend.
I mention the holiday weekend because so many places offering cooking classes would only have one on our weekend if we agreed to pay for a private event (read: $175+ per person for casual food that you cooked yourself). Needless to say, this stifled the big night plans. I had my work cut out for me for designing our fun time Saturday night.
If you think there’s a possibility of having the bachelorette party during a national holiday, please start making contact with all the various activities to make sure they’re up and running during your timeframe. I mean, seriously, I started the research in July and still had trouble. Luckily, in a big city, there are still options if you look hard enough, which I’ll discuss further in Part 3.
Just don’t forget to make sure you have a home base for your group! Speaking of which…
UP NEXT: Picking your lodging in How to Throw a Bachelorette Party in Nashville without the Bars: Our Airbnb Experience