Girls' Night Out: Bachelorette Party Ideas
Sending off your single days in style can mean an epic evening at the bars or one of many creative alternatives that meet the tastes of any group of ladies. “Planning the perfect bachelorette party is all about knowing your bride,” says Stephanie Johnson, wedding and event planner at Table 6 Productions. “If she loves the club scene, then by all means rent the limo, book the hotel suite downtown and hit the clubs! But if your bride is a homebody, give her an old-school sleepover with mani-pedi time, classic ’80s chick flicks and champagne in your sweats. It’s really just about celebrating the bride.”
From makeovers to weekend getaways, the Twin Cities (and beyond) offer plenty of options to honor any bride as she bids a memorable farewell to the single life.
Good for: Visiting a different part of the state and escaping from the daily grind.
A bachelorette party is the perfect excuse for a weekend getaway with girlfriends. Those looking for a chic, urban experience can spend a night in the heart of downtown Minneapolis at a luxury hotel, like Graves 601, which is nestled in the city’s theater district amid bustling restaurants and nightlife, or Le Méridien Chambers, which has an outdoor ice bar, ice sculptures and a roaring fire pit in its courtyard each winter.
Further north, Grand View Lodge (pictured above) is nestled among the pines on Gull Lake in Nisswa, the perfect setting for a cabin-style retreat. In the summer, the lakeside resort offers water-skiing, pontoon rides, paddle-boating, kayaking, yoga, golf and tennis. Between activities, ladies can enjoy weekend wine tastings over long, leisurely meals or book a treatment at the Glacial Waters Spa.
“It’s just an exquisite area, with a quaint feel, yet not too far removed from the Twin Cities,” says wedding sales manager Maggie Mellby. “We have something everyone can enjoy.”
For a day trip, a bride and her friends can glide across shimmering Lake Minnetonka on a charter boat from Al & Alma’s Supper Club and Charter Cruises. The company offers private cruises for lunch or dinner, as well as public cruises with events like wine tastings or a “martini and manicure”-themed cruise. The captain can chart a course to a secluded island cove with panoramic views of Lake Minnetonka.
Paint the town
Good for: Hopping from one bar to the next and showing off the Twin Cites to out-of-town guests.
The bar-crawl is a soulmate to the bachelorette party, but choosing to fashionably travel between venues in a limousine adds luxury and heightens the festivities. Ladies out on a “hen night” can skip the lines at clubs and enjoy reduced cover charges when journeying in a luxury vehicle from Renee’s Royal Valet. Limos, Hummers, and trolleys escort small or large parties (up to 22 people) around the city while enjoying customizable tours such as the Cocktail Safari—a fine-dining experience at three destinations, complemented by cocktail flights and appetizers at each stop.
For those who’ve had their fill of the bar scene, Renee’s offers seasonal alternatives like a wine tour amid autumn leaves in the St. Croix River Valley or a Holiday Lights circuit, featuring the area’s best light displays, festive music and a stop at the Holidazzle Parade. As a bonus, couples who book one of Renee’s vehicles for their big day get 10 percent off bachelorette and bachelor parties.
For the laid-back crowd that prefers to bar-hop in tennis shoes and T-shirts, PedalPub is an interactive open-air option. As the name implies, the traveling bar runs on wheels—powered by you and your guests. It can carry up to 16 passengers, who bring their own beverages and food and, over the course of a couple hours, make two or three stops around hip neighborhoods like Dinkytown and Northeast Minneapolis. Since it’s popular in the summer, co-owner Eric Olson advises party planners to book several months in advance, especially for weekend nights. “The girls who have the best time enjoy being active, being outside and having fun,” Olson says. “You’re going to get exercise, and you’re going to break a sweat!”
Good for: Breaking the ice with interactive experiences while breaking bread over delicious cuisine and wine.
Lifelong friendships are formed and deepened over great food, and at Cooks of Crocus Hill in St. Paul and Edina, bachelorette parties can both prepare and indulge in creative dishes. An experienced chef works with participants in a three-hour private-group session, as they prepare a customized menu that can match any theme. One bride’s Caribbean-themed menu, created for a bachelorette party before her destination wedding, was so popular that it’s now a staple at Cooks of Crocus Hill. Stagette groups can choose to spend the evening cooking a full meal, or make tapas and cocktails for a happy hour that kicks off the night.
“Food really brings people together,” says director of culinary events Susie Tucker. “When you’re at a party, everyone seems to gravitate toward the kitchen anyway. So our kitchens are just a little bit larger!”
Wine lovers will find a myriad of flavors to wet their whistles on a customized tour of Minnesota wineries by Vintage Ventures. The Greenfield-based business can organize a customized wine-tasting tour in any part of the state, carefully selecting wineries for a full day of sampling and sipping. Vintage Ventures will also do the legwork to find dining, transportation and overnight accommodations for parties that wish to luxuriate in the romance of Minnesota wineries for a few days.
“The wineries allow visitors to walk around in nature, and they have beautiful landscaping and patios,” says owner Kristi Kowal. “The wine just adds to the festive celebration. It’s an experience not many have had before.”
Booty and beauty
Good for: Feeling sexy and silly with your girlfriends, or pampering the bridal party before the big day.
A stagette crowd that loves flirty allure can master the arts of pole dancing, chair dancing and even the strip tease at Knockout Bodies in Minneapolis. “Pole dancing is a novelty thing,” says Knockout Bodies owner Jen Cichon, “one of those fun, flirty, kind of sexy bachelorette activities.” The party includes an hour-long dance class followed by a reception in the studio lounge. Ladies can also strike their best poses for funny pictures on the pole, with optional costumes for themed bachelorette parties. Certified fitness instructors teach the classes, but anyone can participate in the dancing. “We had our first grandma-of-the-bride at a party!” Cichon says. “She was in her 70s, but she was pole dancing.”
For a more traditional workout and body R&R, a bride and her girlfriends can spend a day at the Ivy Spa Club in downtown Minneapolis. The spa offers private yoga classes, bootcamps and dance lessons. After working up a sweat, the group can relax together in the whirlpool or sauna, indulge in a massage or use Ivy’s luxurious locker room to get ready for a night out. Many bachelorette parties also take advantage of the spa’s nail suite, getting manicures and pedicures as they sip champagne and munch appetizers in a fun group environment. “They can really make a whole day of it,” says marketing manager Mandy Multerer. “They don’t have to be out and about, dealing with the city. They can stay in a comfy robe and sandals. A day of relaxation—that’s what they get here.”
Whether out on the town or sitting around a bottle of champagne and games at home, bachelorette parties should be low-pressure and fun for everyone. Planning a few different activities for the party helps ensure all guests will find something to their liking.
Emily Muirhead, a newlywed who had a scavenger hunt in Uptown Minneapolis for her bachelorette party in August, says that the best way to please guests is to go with the moment. “Plan different events throughout the night, but gauge where people are at in terms of having fun,” she says. “If people are starting to look bored, move on to your next planned place or event. But if people are having fun at a certain place, don’t force them to move on just because it’s what you had planned. Be flexible!”