Let me tell you something: planning a wedding in the middle of a pandemic sucks. In addition to uprooting all of our wedding plans, the public health crisis meant that both Mr. V and I missed our bachelor and bachelorette parties, respectively. He was supposed to spend a weekend on Maui; I had a fun trip planned to New Orleans. Like I said: not getting to go on these trips really sucks.
Luckily, the internet has helped us re-connect in so many ways. This includes offering the chance to plan a virtual destination bachelorette party or bachelor party. It won’t replace those in-person trips, but it will help the bride or groom feel loved and supported by the bridal party and wedding guests even though you can’t be together in real life.
With the help of my bridesmaid who planned my virtual destination bachelorette party – and based on my own experience helping plan a similar virtual destination bachelor party for Mr. V. –, here’s how to make one happen for the bride or groom who will have a virtual party of their own.
(Note: While my title is focused on planning a virtual destination bachelorette party, these tips will work for a virtual destination bachelor party too!)
How to Plan a Virtual Destination Bachelorette (or Bachelor) Party
This is my great friend and bridesmaid Kerri! She made my New Orleans themed virtual destination bachelorette party possible in May 2020. I asked her for advice on how she made the whole magical (and admittedly a little bit messy) day happen – and here are her suggestions.
Step 1. Start Planning as Early as You Can
When you try to start planning a virtual bachelorette party or virtual bachelor party, you should start planning as soon as you know it’s going to be a virtual event.
“Even though it’s virtual, you still have to think about shipping times if you want to order something,” Kerri advises.
As you’ll see, you’ll almost assuredly want to order some things for the event. So, if you’re in charge of planning this virtual event – get started now! (Actually, you’re reading this article, so good work – keep going!)
Step 2. Get the Whole Party Involved
Kerri says she enlisted the rest of my bridal party right away to help plan my virtual destination bachelorette party; I reached out to Mr. V’s best man to have him coordinate with the groomsmen to make his virtual bachelor party happen.
The reason you want to get the whole party involved is so that they can help you plan – and so they can attend the virtual event, just like they would for an in-person bachelor or bachelorette party.
Step 3. Pick a “Destination”
You have a couple options when it comes to picking a “destination” for a virtual bachelorette or bachelor party, you have two options:
- “Hold” the event in the same city you had originally planned to visit, if your plans were supposed to be in-person and you’ve had to adjust your travel plans.
- Pick a new destination to explore virtually. I’ve put a list of 10 popular bachelorette and bachelor party destinations that work well for a virtual party at the end of this post. Each one has a special vibe that’s a little bit easier to re-create at home.
No matter what destination you choose, start thinking right away about decorations for the bride/groom’s home, what everyone can wear, food and drinks from that destination, and music to set the scene. (Like I said, the 10 at the end of this post are pretty easy to do this, and I provide suggestions for each!)
Step 4. Reach Out to All the Original Invitees
If you’re rescheduling from an in-person to a virtual bachelorette or bachelor party, be sure to invite everyone who was on the original guest list. Hopefully, even those who might not have been able to attend an in-person destination bachelorette party or bachelor party can make it to a virtual (aka super-budget-friendly) one.
“Send resources to everyone invited ahead of time, like links to Zoom backgrounds, recipes, where they can buy decorations, playlists, etc.,” Kerri also suggests.
Step 5. Buy Decorations, Supplies & Costumes Online
With the “destination” set and the guests invited, it’s time to make sure everyone can get in the mood – including the bride or groom.
Since you’re organizing this virtual party, you will want to take charge to ship all of the things the guest of honor will need to participate in the day’s activities. (Kerri mailed me banners, Mardi Gras beads, fresh flowers, and a bunch of bridesmaid swag for my NOLA virtual bachelorette party.)
“Find decor/favors on Etsy and support small business! I found this shop that does decorations for virtual parties with lots of different themes. If we had more time, we could have ordered little care packages for all the attendees and sent them out, but we only had time to get you stuff,” Kerri also suggests.
Step 6. Assign Party Duties to Attendees
Just like an in-person bachelorette or bachelor party, you can and should ask attendees to help out. Someone should be in charge of RSVPs, care packages for attendees, and coming up with other activities for the day.
Kerri asked my friend (and fellow bridesmaid) Marissa from Postcards to Seattle to be in charge of games for the virtual party.
Step 7. Arrange Day-Of Food & Drinks
For my own virtual destination bachelorette party, Kerri made sure it was all New Orleans for the day. “Look up the most popular items for the destination. In our case, we sent Mr. V the Hurricane recipe for your drink and ordered the King Cake from Goldbelly,” she said.
“For other destinations, you could also cook the local cuisine at home. You could even make the cooking part of the party and get everyone in their individual kitchens,” Kerri concludes.
I’ve provided for food and drink in some of the destinations on my list below – but you can easily search the internet for other options, recipes, and ingredients everyone will need to get in advance to participate.
Step 8. Have an Epic Time with the Bride/Groom!
“In a real bachelorette, you’d have places to go and see and do,” Kerri reminded me. “but virtually, if you don’t have a plan, it’s going to fizzle pretty quickly. Marissa found some online bachelorette games that we could play.”
These games can be some of the common ones from bachelorette/bachelor parties – I did one that required me to guess Mr. V’s answers to questions, and during Mr. V’s virtual bachelor party they played “Would You Rather.”
“We also thought it would be fun to still “visit” our destination, so finding a virtual tour also broke up the games and kept people engaged,” Kerri suggested. This tour was one of the highlights of the whole virtual destination bachelorette party – so I provided suggestions on virtual tours on each of the destinations below!
Beyond that, it’s all about having a good time. Even though you’re not together, you can still have make the bride or groom feel special and supported as they approach their big day.
Popular Bachelorette/Bachelor Party Destinations to Re-Create at Home
As I mentioned above, some destinations are easier to re-create at home for a virtual destination bachelorette or bachelor party. If the original destination the bride or groom had chosen isn’t on this list, that doesn’t mean you can’t do it – but if you’re looking for a new “destination” for the party, consider one of these popular places.
If you decide to go with The Big Easy – you’re in luck: it’s one of the easiest destinations to recreate at home! Grab a colorful NOLA background to hang on the wall behind you and ship everyone some Mardi Gras beads. You can order a King Cake online or have everyone try making Beignets at home. For drinks, the Sazerac, Hurricane, and Pimm’s Cup all come from New Orleans!
(This is what my bridesmaids did for my virtual destination bachelorette party!)
Suggested Virtual Tour: NewOrleans.com
Picture Hawaii in your mind and you’ll be halfway to understand what you need to pull it off. Decorate with bamboo fencing and tiki lights, and encourage everyone to wear Hawaiian shirts and leis! For food, snag a poke bowl at the grocery store – or go a little bit more local with a can of SPAM for everyone. Good drinks include the Mai Tai and Blue Hawaiian cocktails, or everyone can enjoy coconut water at the end to recoup.
(This is what I helped pull off for Mr. V’s virtual destination bachelor party!)
Suggested Virtual Tour: Tour de Force 360
I’ve been to Scottsdale and it has a great food scene. To recreate it for the bride or groom and everyone else attending, make sure to stock up on tequila and try doing an online taco-making class. Everyone can sport sunglasses and shorts to get in the desert vibe.
Suggested Virtual Tour: Experience Scottsdale
I live near Napa and know it’s a great destination for wine and food. To recreate it at home, splurge on Napa county wine and fancy foods like oysters or a chocolate tasting. Put on a playlist of artists that are on this year’s Bottlerock lineup, or put together one from artists the bride loves from years past. Napa is especially great for bachelorette parties, where the bride and guests can wear Instagram hats and pretty dresses, and dream of swirling among the vineyards.
Suggested Virtual Tour: Visit Napa Valley (Wine Tastings!)
Nashville or Memphis
Nashville is one of the country’s most popular bachelorette destinations, but grooms who love country music and (HOT) chicken sandwiches will also love recreating it at home. Blast some twang and have everyone try to make Nashville hot chicken – then see who can actually handle the heat!
My maid of honor lives in Memphis, and I’ve been lucky to visit her there. I thus know that Memphis is known for two things: blues music and barbeque. Put the two together with some of Memphis’ popular cocktails for the bride or groom that’s looking for a different southern vibe.
Austin is also a popular destination for bachelorette and bachelor parties – and pretty much combines some of the best elements of other destinations on this list. Put on some country music or dance music (depending on whether the bride/groom is more Lone Star State or SXSW) and have the crew make tacos or nosh on BBQ ribs. Everyone can wear a cowboy hat too – Austin is Texas, after all.
Suggested Virtual Tour: Visit Austin
If the bride or groom was dreaming of penny slots, bottomless drinks, and a few stories that should “stay in Vegas” even though you weren’t actually there, try recreating Sin City for everyone at home. Many of the big casinos offer online ways to play (or gamble), and you can drink fancy cocktails at home (like the Cosmopolitan or Cable Car Martini) while swapping unforgettable stories you can’t repeat elsewhere.
Suggested Virtual Tour: Las Vegas 360
Miami is a multicultural city, and that means you can interpret it a ton of different ways when trying to recreate it at home for a virtual bachelorette or bachelor party. If you want to lean deep into the classics, put on dance music (salsa or Miami Bass), have everyone try to make a Cuban sandwich at home, and try making one (or all) of these Rum Runner cocktail recipes.
Suggested Virtual Tour: Miami & Beaches
If the bride or groom is feeling like they want a more international party, London is a great option. Everyone can don fascinators (those funny little hats Brits wear to weddings) or top hats, sip gin cocktails, and nosh on scones and tea sandwiches. To set the scene – depending on the bride or groom’s preference –, try putting on punk, Britpop (hello, Spice Girls!), or Dubstep.
Suggested Virtual Tour: VisitLondon.com
Iceland is an alternative international destination that’s increasingly popular for destinations bachelorette and bachelor parties. For the bridal party, have everyone do mud masks a la the Blue Lagoon; other ways to set the scene include trying to find Brennivin (an Icelandic spirit) and Skyr (a yogurt-like food that goes great with fruit) in your grocery store’s international food section and put on some outstanding Icelandic artists like Björk and Ásgeir.
Suggested Virtual Tour: Iceland 360 VR
Have any other questions about how to pull off a virtual destination bachelor or bachelorette party? Let me know in the comments!