As a rite of passage, the bachelorette party has long gotten a bum rap. Stereotypes persist of the bride’s night-before-the-wedding gathering as a ladies-only version of the raucous bachelor party. Yet the truth is, a growing number of brides crave a tasteful, relaxing and deeply personal send-off for their single days.
In fact, a relaxing getaway ranked high as an ideal bachelorette party for 59 percent of brides-to-be in the Ultimate Bridesmaids Census. Sixty-seven percent wanted dinner, dancing and time spent with their closest friends, and 23 percent wanted something non-traditional that really reflected their personal interests.
“Bachelorette parties are as unique as the women they celebrate,” says Michael Belot, general manager of Destination Kohler – home to AAA five-diamond and Forbes five-star hotel that hosts scores of brides, bridesmaids and weddings each year. “We’re seeing an emphasis on relaxation for the bride and companionship with her friends in today’s bachelorette parties. Brides want to spend their special night – and often an entire weekend – in a soothing, stress-free atmosphere before the hectic pace of their wedding day.”
So what are the things that brides and bridesmaids tell the Destination Kohler team they must have for their bachelorette soirees? Belot points to five in-demand elements:
1. Spa time
Whether it’s a group mani-pedi, a yoga class or a lunch of delicious, healthful spa cuisine, bachelorette groups crave spa time. Parties are looking for spas that offer a comprehensive list of salon services, familiar and new massages and body treatments, and easy access to luxury accommodations. For example, at Destination Kohler, bachelorette groups often book rooms in the Carriage House, which is located above the Forbes five-star Kohler Waters Spa. Participants can spend the day in their spa robes if they choose. “Kohler Waters Spa is by far the most popular request and activity among bachelorette parties, and is often the center of the trip,” says Garrett Mersberger, manager of Kohler Waters Spas. Playing to this trend, many resorts have created female-centric spa packages like the Girls Getaway.
2. Great food
Forget the pigs in a blanket, deviled eggs and other de rigeur finger foods long associated with bridal showers. Modern bachelorette groups are looking for dining options that are luxurious and delicious, or that accommodate lifestyle needs such as gluten-free or low-calorie diets. Spa fare often fits well with this preference. Resorts with multiple dining options afford bachelorette guests the opportunity to dine lightly for lunch and then enjoy a more indulgent dinner.
3. Bonding activities
Hitting the bar and dancing the night away are no longer the only bonding activities for bachelorette groups. From yoga classes and golf outings to wine and chocolate pairings, brides-to-be are looking for more diverse, sophisticated activities they can do with their girlfriends.
4. A location “away from it all”
Nearly a third of respondents in the Bridesmaid Census said they didn’t want to go crazy for a bachelorette party, they just wanted to enjoy time with their friends. Perhaps it’s because their lives are about to change dramatically. Maybe it’s a need to reaffirm the girlfriend bond that has seen them through life’s ups and downs to reach this happy point in their lives. Whatever their reasons, a growing number of brides are looking for a bachelorette experience that transports them and their closest friends far away from their daily routines. Some fulfill this wish by choosing a resort location far from home. Others may choose accommodations that are more intimate. At Destination Kohler, bachelorette parties can also opt to stay at Sandhill, the resort’s luxury private cabin that sits on 350 natural acres just a 10-minute drive from the resort.
Twenty-three percent of surveyed brides said they wanted a bachelorette party that was deeply personal and tailored to their individual tastes and interests. For some, that’s a spa experience. For others, a golf getaway. Even when they’ve booked a bachelorette package, brides and their bridesmaids are looking for ways the resort can customize their experience. Add-ons are popular, from spa treatments to wine tastings.
Bachelorette party experiences are becoming as individual as the brides they celebrate, Belot notes. “Brides are not cookie cutter, so their bachelorette parties shouldn’t be either.”