Nikki Clause, founder of bachelorette party planning company Fling Before The Ring, shares her expert tips for managing your bachelorette party plans during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the past few months, thousands upon thousands of brides-to-be have had to cancel or postpone their weddings, bridal showers, engagement parties and bachelorette parties due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only is this heartbreaking for a bride, it can also be incredibly stressful to make plans when the future is still so uncertain.
We sat down with Nikki Clause, founder of bachelorette party planning company Fling Before The Ring to get her expert advice on how to navigate planning a bachelorette weekend during this time. Fling Before The Ring is a creative party planning company that specializes in destination bachelorette parties and small events. They have been featured in The New York Times and Cosmopolitan and have planned parties across the United States, including top bachelorette destinations like Austin, Miami, Charleston and Nashville.
PLEASE NOTE: The COVID-19 pandemic is changing rapidly and the information shared below may be out-of-date. Please consult your local government and the CDC's recommendations before making any decisions about your party.
Nikki’s Tips for Rescheduling Your Bachelorette Party
Q: My bachelorette party is in May/June/July/August/September/October. Should I reschedule?
A: This is such a difficult question! We have shared a breakdown of our recommendation for the upcoming months below, but overall, this decision is highly dependent on both your destination and your group. Is your destination in an area with a high number of cases? Does the majority of your group need to travel by plane or can they drive? After taking this into consideration, monitor the CDC's guidelines for your party destination and pick a date to make a decision on whether or not the party needs to be postponed. For context, Fling Before The Ring is only accepting new clients for travel dates after August 1st. I know it is a super hard call to make but if you are able, my best advice is to push your party out as far as you possibly can. This will give the group peace of mind and prevent anyone from being concerned or nervous about getting sick.
MAY PARTIES: Reschedule
JUNE PARTIES: Reschedule
JULY PARTIES: Possible reschedule. Monitor the situation and make a call on whether or not to postpone at least 30 days out from your travel date.
AUGUST PARTIES: Continue planning as normal but pay attention to vendor cancellation policies. Do not book anything that doesn't offer a full refund.
SEPTEMBER PARTIES: Continue planning as normal but pay attention to vendor cancellation policies. Do not book anything that doesn't offer a full refund.
OCTOBER PARTIES: Continue planning as normal but pay attention to vendor cancellation policies. Do not book anything that doesn't offer a full refund.
Q: Not all of our itinerary and party plans are final yet. Should I keep planning as normal?
A: Keep planning... but with caution! There is no harm in moving forward with reservations as long as you don't risk a financial loss if you need to cancel or reschedule. It's a great time to find travel deals for flights and lodging and many vendors are now offering flexible cancellation policies. Another bonus: booking reservations during this time is also a great way to support businesses in the travel and hospitality industry that have been hit hard!
Q: We had to cancel and aren’t able to get all of our deposit back. How do I handle this with our group?
A: First and foremost, it is important to give everyone grace during this time. These are unprecedented circumstances for businesses, so try to give them the benefit of the doubt that they are navigating this situation as the best they can. With that in mind, we recommend pushing back on the vendor to see if a different solution can be reached. A couple tips:
- Ask vendors if they can offer a travel credit in leu of a refund or losing a deposit. Many vendors will be happy to accept your business and work with you for a later date.
- In some cases, your group might qualify for a cancellation based on an extenuating circumstance. Does anyone in the group have a job or existing health condition that would prevent them from traveling during this time (immune disease, is pregnant, etc.)? With valid reasoning such as this, you might be able to find a loophole.
If you've tried all of the above and not succeeded, the best thing to do is be honest with the group. Remind them that this is a difficult situation for everyone, especially the bride to be, and losing a deposit may be trivial compared to the stress she is feeling. If anyone in the group is absolutely unable to pay their portion, ask them to contact you directly so it can be worked out. It may be that others are willing to help cover this person's portion if needed.
Q: We are now on a tight budget. What tips do you have to plan a fun bachelorette and still be cost-conscientious? Where should we cut costs and where should we splurge?
A: Simplify! Maybe that means reducing the length of the trip to two nights instead of three. Or booking an awesome rental property so there is no need to book expensive activities. Spend time relaxing by the pool and cooking a homemade feast for dinner rather than eating out. Try bunking up to save on accommodations and splurge on a winery tour or experience that the bride will love and remember forever. I'm a firm believer that when you're with friends you don't have to spend a lot to have a lot of fun so it really depends on the group's style.
Q: We have had to reschedule the party a few times now. How can I get the bride excited about her weekend again?
A: Plan a few things that will be a complete surprise for the bride. If she thinks the plan is to have a casual pool day at the hotel, surprise her with a rented cabana and bottle service for an elevated experience. Have some down time during your weekend? Have the group chip in and schedule a private massage for her to escape for an hour. After all the stress she's most likely endured, it's safe to say she deserves it! Our party concierge services are another great way to add that extra special touch to your weekend. Have our team setup a customized balloon installation or champagne bar to welcome the girls upon arrival and ensure that the bride feels acknowledged!
Nikki’s Tips for Hosting a Virtual Bachelorette
Q: What ideas do you have to make a virtual bachelorette party fun?
A: Find a virtual experience that fits the bride's personality to keep the group connected. Try something creative like hiring a local bartender to host a virtual cocktail class or florist for a make-your-own bouquet tutorial. How about a virtual workout class to burn off all those extra banana bread quarantine calories? Or my personal favorite... a virtual lingerie shower! Have all the girls anonymously send a garment to the bride and grab a glass of wine while she takes turns opening them up and guessing who they are from. Make sure to send the bride a few bachelorette party accessories to wear on the call, too!
Nikki’s Tips for Hosting a Hometown Bachelorette
Q: We are still so uncertain about traveling that we decided to have the bachelorette party in the bride’s hometown. What can we do to still make it special?
A: Plan to incorporate all the bride's favorite things. If it is safe to go out on the town by the time the party date rolls around, create a bar-hopping bingo scavenger hunt and include all of her go-to spots around town. If you are more comfortable staying in, then order take-out and margaritas from her favorite restaurant and watch her all-time favorite 90s rom com. Stag & Hen shares some other great tips for a hometown bachelorette party in this blog post.
Q: We are moving the bachelorette party to a friend’s lake house. Any ideas to make it more fun?
A: Go crazy with decor and favors! We hear our friends at Stag & Hen have quite a few options to choose from, including an entire Lake Life party collection ;) This will help make the weekend feel special. Another idea is to hire a private chef, yoga instructor, or palm reader to come to the house for a fun group activity that you wouldn't normally book for a typical girls trip to the lake.
Nikki’s Tips for Planning a Post-Wedding Bachelorette
Q: Is it lame to have a post-wedding bachelorette? How do we make it fun and not weird?
A: Absolutely not! It's a fling after the ring! Remember that hundreds of thousands of brides are having to cancel and postpone their bachelorette parties and weddings, so I believe post-wedding bachelorettes will actually become the new normal, for a time. Several of our clients have opted to go this route to avoid the stress of a last minute cancellation. With a few changes to the theme and decor, your party can still go off without a hitch and be a memorable, fun weekend for the bride. #coronamademedoit
There you have it! Nikki's expert tips for planning a bachelorette party during the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope this advice helps you navigate your next steps during this difficult time. If you haven't already booked your bachelorette party, make sure to check out the amazing services Nikki's company, Fling Before The Ring, offers.