Photos courtesy of Shannon Smith
By: Kate Bartick, Jessica Jones, Shannon Smith
In ten days, Tori Ivanovich will marry her high school sweetheart. There are final dress fittings, menus to review and music to select. Yet last weekend, her bridal party had only one concern—relieving her wedding stress and giving Tori a weekend she would never remember.
Years ago, the bachelorette party was a celebratory girls night out, a last hoorah for the bride-to-be. But more recently, this definition has morphed into something much much grander. Why celebrate one night, when you can celebrate the entire weekend?
For Tori, this meant a trip to Austin, planned by her sister/maid of honor, Ali Girdley. With endless food options, live music and the chance to spend a night on the revered 6th Street, Girdley said Austin was the “obvious choice”.
And she’s not the only one that sees potential in Austin. Last year, The Travel Channel awarded Austin a spot on their Best Bachelorette Party Destinations list. Around 10,000 parties will come through Austin this year, according to local party planner Mandy Fortin.
This influx of pre-wedding tourists has given rise to businesses solely dedicated to planning these weekend-long celebrations.
Fortin, a party planner at Austin Detours, personally plans about 55 bachelorette parties a year. She is responsible for arranging lodging, booking meal reservations, organizing city tours and coordinating rides. However, these planners do not come cheap, with prices starting at $335 per person for the most minimal weekend package.
Even without a professional planner, destination bachelorette weekends can quickly add up. Typically, the costs for the weekend are split evenly among the women. Pricing will obviously depend on what activities the group chooses to do.
Popular activities include visits to 6th St. and Rainey St., pub crawls, food truck crawls, city Segway tours, wine tastings and scavenger hunts.
Already familiar with Austin and with the help of Pinterest, the maid of honor was able to create a unique weekend for Ivanovich, complete with personalized shirts and matching outfits. According to the bridesmaids, they spent around $300 each on the weekend, despite having their main activity, ziplining, cancelled due to rain.
Even if costs can be steep, bachelorette party weekends allow the bride a great opportunity to relax before the stress of the impending wedding kicks into high gear. Austin, a hotspot for these events, allowed for Ivanovich and her bridal party to get in some much needed down time before her big day.
“You’ve got to come to Austin, there are so many fun things to do here,” Ivanovich said. “You’re always entertained, Austin is definitely the place to be.”
Tori’s bachelorette party theme was Great Gatsby. Below you can see the weekend’s itinerary, created by her sister/maid of honor, Ali.