- Parking was confusing and limited at the ferry. The front lot by the actual Ocean Beach Ferry was for season ticket holders. We had to park across the street.
- When travelling between towns, utilize the water taxis vs. hoofing it. There's no cars on the island, so there's really no other way to get around with your beach load.
- I would have liked to check out Flynn's in Ocean Bay Park. They supposedly have a killer happy hour.
- The bars are open until 4 AM ... danger.
- No need to dress up. The dress code is fairly lenient. Save yourself the pain and ditch the heels as this is beach vibes all the way.
Fire Island New York is low maintenance fun. It's perfect for my tri-state compadres seeking a beach vacay without forcing all guests to jump on a plane. It's unique, because it's only accessible by boat - no cars allowed. You're encouraged to wander the island in your flip flops and just unwind. Plus, they are not strict about props. Kudos and gracias to the bride's future sister-in-law for planning this one. Ultimate Fire Island Bachelorette Party Getting There: We took the ferry from Bayshore Long Island to Ocean Beach. It was an enjoyable 45 minute ride soaking in the sun. Hotel: The Palms I heard the hotel rooms were tiny... luckily we didn't even see them because we got UPGRADED. Woot woot! We stayed in "The Cottage" which was basically like renting a house in the most convenient location ever. It was much nicer to celebrate in a common area or the back patio vs. cramming into a hotel room. Plus, we had a full size fridge to store all of the alcohol in. There are some additional perks to staying here. They provide hotel guests with beach chairs, wagons to lug everything around, towels, umbrellas and even bikes. They also include a free continental breakfast. If you plan on staying here, make sure to book well in advance as they fill up quickly and jack up the prices. The biggest downside is that there is no pool. Plus, we saw a little Peppino running around. (That's a mouse, in case you were wondering). The Day: We spent the days at the beach. On the first day, we went to Ocean Beach which was a few minutes from the hotel. This beach was super strict about having food or beverages. While I saw a few people munching on sandwiches, I wouldn't recommend it. No one wants a ticket for something that dumb. The next day, we hauled our booties to Ocean Bay Park. It was a decent walk - at least a half hour. This beach had more of a party scene and we stopped at a store nearby to grab some beer. Make sure to keep it covered though when entering the beach, because technically it's not allowed. The bride also brought a giant swan float and pump. It made for the biggest bachelorette prop to date and served as a great conversation starter. Though, I can't believe they took it in the ocean and managed not to drown! I wasn't having any part of that. On our departure date, we strolled the town to check out the shops. There weren't any noteworthy stores but they're all kind of charming and cute in their own way. Dinner: On Friday night, we ate at Island Mermaid. We had planned to do a prix-fix menu, but it wasn't worth it since we didn't have a full crew. We did however purchase a wristband for a $5 Rocket Fuel. The drink normally costs $14 and is deadly with the Bacardi 151. However, these are big on the island and you should try one while you're there. The food was meh. I think it's more of a seafood place so I didn't care for the menu. Then, we stayed after dinner expecting it to turn into the island's best dance party. However, it too was mediocre at best and we swiftly left. Plus the owner/manager was totally creeping us out. Another night, we wanted to stay late at the beach so we just ordered in pizza. This was clutch and I highly advise a casual pregame pizza party with silly bachelorette games. Nightlife: Ocean Beach in Fire Island is made for bar hopping. However, many of the places charged covers but this appeared to be waived for bachelorette parties. We particularly gravitated to Sand Bar. On the first night, they had a countdown to midnight as if it was New Years Eve. It was hysterical and complete with confetti and napkin throwing. We also liked the music, there was a stage to dance on, and it was big enough. I'm told that this place can be super young. However, we went at the end of summer when most of the college kids were back in school so we got to avoid that. Albatross was a tiny bar but worth the stop. Randomly, they had a luau theme complete with leis and limbos. On another note, you're encouraged to spin the lamps above the bar. Then there was some late night bar next to Albatross. I am already blanking on the name. But don't even bother trying to go there before 1AM because you'll be the only people in the place. Afterwards though, it's so much fun! Botch and Learn – Avoid a Botch-lorette in Fire Island:
I've been in my fair share of weddings. The first and the last one were polar opposites because I've learned so much along the way about being a perfect bridesmaid. Here are my tips for you:
- Bachelorette parties do not require strippers. For my first bachelorette party, we went to a Hunk-o-mania copycat show. We paid $40 to get in and it was the most unpleasant, disgusting experience for all of us. Haven't included one of them since, and they've been 10x better.
- It's not about you. I missed my sisters first wedding dress appointment. She's super spontaneous - booked the appointment without consulting my availability and ended up buying a dress that day! I was so pissed at first that I wasn't a part of it. Then I realized, it's not about me.
- It's okay to say no. Being a bridesmaid = spending a whole lot of money. You need to buy a dress, pay for alterations, gifts up the wazoo, contribute to the bridal shower, and shell out cash to ensure a kickass bachelorette party. It isn't a cheap commitment. If you're not the best of family/friends or can't afford it you can graciously decline.
- You can't research a Maid of Honor speech. Well you can, but it's not going to get you very far. I spent countless HOURS watching speech after speech on You Tube. I was inspired by the wedding parodies, funny one liners, etc. However, the speech needs to come from the heart. You won't know what to write by researching those who have come before.
- You are responsible for starting the party! If that dance floor is not started, it is your duty, to shake that booty.
- You're about to get a whole lot closer to your BFF. That's right, you'll be taking field trips to the bathroom together, holding up her 40 pound dress and listening to her tinkle (if you're lucky).
- There's a proper way to hold the bouquet. Man, I am on a rhyming kick today. In all seriousness though, if you don't want to f' up the pictures then hold your bouquet right in front of your lower belly with the pretty flowers pointed outwards not in towards you. Oh, and be careful of drips! Ruined a few pictures with water stains from the flowers. My bad.
- Props are necessary at a bachelorette party. I don't care if the bride to be doesn't want a penis straw. You should always have them. It marks your group as a bachelorette party and people are a lot nicer, outgoing, and forgiving when you act a fool. Just make sure you're not whipping them out at family friendly restaurants.
- Get those alterations done ASAP. It gives the bride one less thing to worry about.
- Divide and conquer - You can't do it all, nor should you have to. The bride picked a lovely team of people who would do anything for her - so let them. Everyone can contribute to ideas, party stuff, and fun!
New Orleans is a fun place to have a bachelorette party! The city definitely has that "I don't give a f***" attitude. We took advantage of the numerous bars, live music, and good old cajun restaurants. This is a strange city. I'm not sure why Austin gets the tagline "keep Austin weird" because I think New Orleans' weird factor is astronomical. Either way though, it's super fun and you don't really need to have a plan before you go. Just walk outside and you'll stumble upon fun. Hotel: We stayed at Harrah's it was far enough from the chaos of Bourbon Street (a 15-20 minute walk) and close enough to delicious restaurants. The rooms and bathrooms were big, always necessary for a bachelorette party. The casino was actually quite large and seemed to wrap around endlessly. I put in $20 into the slots while I waited for everyone to arrive and walked out nearly $300 richer. Safe to say, I like this place 🙂 Must Try Drinks: There are a few drinks you must have in New Orleans. Brace yourself for the high state of intoxication these induce and the headache to follow. Drink plenty of water since these are ridiculously sweet.
- Hand Grenade - a melon like drink served in a grenade shaped cup served at Tropical Isle
- Hurricane - Pat O'Briens made these famous. I'm not a fan since they taste like medicine... but when in NOLA you can't leave without one
- Jester - This frozen drink also packs a mean punch. I'd liken it to Miami's Call a Cab at Wet Willie's.
- The Beach - This was my favorite bar on Bourbon. It's on one end of the strip. I liked this bar because it was quiet enough in the front to have a conversation. Then the back had quite the club scene with fabulous music and a huge stage flocked with other bachelorettes.
- The Swamp - We ended up here one night. The crowd wasn't really my scene but the music was great and the VJs were highly entertaining. Avoid the bathrooms here. They're worse than Port Authority by a landslide.
- Bourbon Cowboy - Go here to ride the bull.
- Emeril's - this was close to our hotel. There was a lot of fish on the menu and cajun/creole food. I ended up sharing the truffle fried chicken with my cousin. It came with 4 sides and literally a whole chicken for $60. Too bad I was too full for dessert because the menu made me salivate.
- GW Fins - So cute, they printed out a custom menu for the table with the bride's name and date. The menu changes daily, so you never know what you're going to get. They served mainly seafood. Everyone seemed to love their dishes. I had the potato gnocchi with grilled chicken.
Hot off my sister's bachelorette party in Austin Texas. Austin is the place to have a bachelorette party if you're looking for no judgement, ratched fun, a variety of things to do, affordable nightlife, and a damn good time. Ultimate Austin Bachelorette Party Hotel: Omni Downtown We stayed at the Omni downtown. It was the perfect choice. Originally, I was scared to choose this location. Many of the reviews talked about their no noise tolerance. Our group of friends is about as quiet as a rocket launching. Luckily, we didn't run into any problems with hotel security. We took advantage of their rooftop pool with downtown views. The lunch there was extremely affordable, the drinks - not so much. The hotel was in a convenient location - walkable to a liquor store and dirty sixth street. The two most important things for an Austin bachelorette party. Dinner: When in Texas with picky eaters, what do you eat?! Tex-Mex! We ate plenty of that. Hula Hut: The Hula Hut is about a 15 minute cab from downtown. It's Hawaiian themed Mexican food. The atmosphere is so adorable - it's on a lake, features a tiki bar, and colorful decor. The chips are A-Mazing. I ate like a whole basket on my own. The rest of the food... mediocre. Iron Cactus: They don't take reservations, but arrive before 8 PM and you should be fine. Our group of 9 had enough time to grab a drink at the bar before we were promptly seated. The food is much better than Hula Hut. They make the guacamole tableside, which is always a sign of a good Mexican place. Iron Cactus is conveniently located on 6th Street, so we ate here and went straight out. Word on the street is their jalapeno margarita is a must try. Boat: Lakeway Marina to Party Cove Prior to heading to the marina for the best day of the bachelorette party, we stopped at Whole Foods. We picked up lunch, snacks, and more than enough booze for our party of 9 - (4) 15 Packs of beer, (2) bottles of champs, (2) bottles of vodka, and (1) Liter of wine. I am sad to say it all went except for a half bottle of vodka and the wine... whoops, but we shared at least! Anyway it was about a 40 minute uber from downtown. Once there, they were super sweet. Angel, the best captain ever, helped us load our coolers, blow up rafts, and get the party started! We took a leisurely 30 minute ride on our pontoon to Party Cove, a lake where boats go just to party. After a minor heart attack when we nearly capsized as we pulled into the cove, we linked boats with another bachelor party. We spent the next few hours shotgunning beers, hopping from boat to boat, floating around on noodles, and having the time of our lives. Nightlife: Most of Austin's downtown nightlife is on 6th street. There's an East side (dirty sixth) and a west side, which is more late 20s / early 30s. Additionally, there's Rainey Street, and the Warehouse District. Our preference was dirty 6th. Thursday: We went out around 10 PM. 6th Street was virtually empty so many of the bars lured us in with free drinks for the whole group. This was typically super sweet drinks. Eventually we learned to say no to them. We bar hopped a little and ultimately settled on the roofdeck of Blind Pig. We walked into a live band that swiftly brought our bachelorette on stage for their last song. A DJ came on shortly after and he rocked. This was by far the best night of the bachelorette party. Mainly because we had no expectations. We started dozens of dance circles, completed plenty of dares, and our bachelorette even had a "Hair-off". Friday: This was supposed to be our big night out. Although I think people were hesitant to rage knowing we had the boat the next day. We started off at Kung Foo on West 6th Street. This bar had giant Jenga and Connect 4, ski ball, and plenty of other arcade games. I guess it's an appropriate low-key way to start. The DJ played some old school hip hop which I enjoyed. We then went to the Ranch. I thought this was a good idea since I saw many bachelorette parties there during a prior visit. However, the place was a total taco fest - which really isn't that fun for a bachelorette party. It started to fill up, but we weren't impressed. So we ended up at our favorite place once again - The Blind Pig Pub!!! Shakespeare across the street wasn't bad either. Saturday: We were all drunk from the boat. In fact the ground was rocking a little. We grabbed dinner and drinks at BB Reillys then hit up Bat Bar. They had a fabulous live band. The kind you'd want playing at your wedding. The crowd wasn't our scene so we headed to Library Bar. This bar is extremely chill. We busted in like we owned the place quickly starting the limbo with our caution tape, daring people, and participating in a game of shoulders. Beer was $3 a bottle - seriously can't beat those prices. Had a few, then ultimately ended up at our favorite spot The Blind Pig Pub! And now for a few things I didn't touch on, but helpful to know... Boch and Learn - Avoid a Botch-lorette in Austin Texas:
- Don't try to re-enter a bar after 2 PM, they don't let you
- Uber is cheaper than cabs
- The restaurant at The Driskill has an AMAZING breakfast
- Dirty Sixth street shuts down to traffic at 9:30 PM
- Drink beers - it's so much cheaper
- Go shopping on South Congress Street (right over the bridge). Make sure to check out Texas National Outfitters. They have a "special" bachelorette party hat, serve free booze, and play live music. Plus I'm told they sometimes bring in a horse for bachelorette parties.
My gorgeous twin sister is getting married in a month!!!! So, let's talk about her kick a** Bridal Shower. I must admit, I was completely worried with how this would turn out. My mother and I asked dozens of people for help and I was concerned it would turn into a hodge podge, chaotic, pot luck that you'd see at a Senior Citizen home... Luckily, it came together nicely. The Food My mother rented out the clubhouse in her development. At $300 this was a decent chunk of change. However, with a bridal shower of roughly 60 people, we'd be looking at 10x the cost for food and drink alone if we held it at a restaurant. She asked all of her friends and family to bring something. So, you can see why I was concerned. But the secret to being a fab host is always in the presentation. We set up catering trays which made it look much more uniform. Shout out to my aunt too for making the cutest desserts that fit the pink and purple theme. I had each of the bridesmaids bring 2 bottles of champagne for the mimosas and my aunt made her famous sangria! We had a cute mimosa bar which consisted of berries and pink champagne flutes rimmed with purple sugar. I set up a crate and placed mason jars atop for the sangria. My mom painted them all with chalk paint and guests wrote their names with a silver paint marker. They were a huge hit, especially with the purple straws. The Decorations While mom took care of leading the food brigade, I managed the decorations. I worked with the bridesmaids to make this a smashing success. I started with a list of tasks that needed to be completed. Rather than asking all of the bridesmaids for money, I had them sign up for tasks. We're all in different financial places so I thought this would let them take on what they could. None of them disappointed! We had the most beautiful paper flower centerpieces flanked by pictures of the bride and groom to be. We hung personalized banners and designed signs. One of the girls bought the most gorgeous wine container to hold the "stock the bar" items. She also made tags so people could leave a note. Lets not forget about the beautiful candy bar too. I was so impressed with what a few of the bridesmaids pulled together. They filled candy dishes spelling "love" with purple M&Ms and flanked it with glass jars filled with purple, pink, and gold candy. They picked good candy too! None of that tootsie roll dum dum pop BS. They also found the cutest bags on Etsy!! The Flow As for the flow, we got a lot of great feedback. We kept this show moving!! Bridal showers can really drag out but we wrapped everything up within two hours. However, everyone still lingered since were having such a great time! Here's the trick. Once everyone arrived, I kicked it off with a slideshow featuring the bride and groom. By the time that was over, the food was ready. We let everyone eat, drink, and chat it up. Then mom and my sister made a little speech followed by Dana (my sister) opening presents. DAMN, that girl got a lot of presents. We played gift bingo. I always feels like that helps with the monotony of opening gifts. We also had a system in place just for opening them! Half way through we broke it up with the newlywed game. Then we let her continue opening gifts. Once that was a wrap, we had dessert. Yay for a fab bridal shower!!
Like all bachelorette parties, we acted a fool in Charleston South Carolina, drank more than necessary and returned home 5-1o pounds heavier - no joke. Before I continue though, shout out to my sister for planning. I got scolded last time I forgot to mention her in the Vegas Bachelorette Party. She knows how to throw a good one! Hotel: Lucky us, there were no hotels available, so we rented a house outside of Charleston in Folly Beach! It was about a half hour cab ride to downtown. Drinking heavily and getting in the back of a taxi is extremely nauseating as some of us found out! But whatever, it was worth it to stay at the beach and still enjoy the Charleston restaurants and bars. We didn't make it out until 2AM, because we're lushes who love to day drink. But locals warned us, that if you want to make it back to Folly Beach, you need to call a cab by 1:30 AM or they won't take you. We loved having a house because we were all together, blasting music and hanging 0ut. The only draw back was they couldn't accommodate us for an early check-in. Lunch & Day Drinking Lunch @ Rita's - Take a walk up Center Street in Folly Beach and there's a row of restaurants. We grabbed lunch at an outdoor cafe, Rita's. They had A-mazing macaroni and cheese... and fries. Did I mention we all gained weight? Day Drinking @ the house - The benefit of renting a house is you have a giant refrigerator to fill just with booze. Hello drinking on the beach! Late Lunch & Drinks @ Loggerheads - Loggerheads sounded so appealing and promising. Live music NEAR the beach. But the music didn't start until 6 PM, so we missed that. Gotta say, this is NOT the place to day drink for a bachelorette party. The Manager told us to put our penis props away, and yelled at us a few more times for our loud obscenities. It was a total buzzkill. What good is a bachelorette party without them? We would have stayed there all night probably, but not after that! My advice, skip it. Snapper Jacks Rooftop - I LOVED Snapper Jacks and you should definitely go there for a bachelorette party. Their happy hour is insane. We're talking $2 beers and $3 vodka drinks. Everyone was having a great time. Some hot guy (he worked there) serenaded the bar with his guitar and singing skills. They didn't give us a hard time about drinking from our penis straws or throwing around penis shaped confetti either. In fact, an older group of women were so amused by them, we gave them the pecker straws as a momento. Party Bus We took a party bus out to the boondocks to a winery/firefly distillery. An event called Winestock was going on. It was supposed to be like Woodstock with live music etc. We parked our towels in the grass and sipped some vino, including frozen wine! We also did a firefly tasting for $6. OMG I have never done a vodka tasting. Good thing their stuff is so good. We tried lemonade vodka, moonshine, and all other types of deliciousness. Most of them tasted divine. However, you should have seen our faces after the moonshine, woof. Needless to say, after that we all felt great. Our ride home in the party bus was a lot livelier. We took advantage of the bluetooth speakers, my Spotify booty playlist (yes, I did curate one of those) and pole. Dinner Husk - This is one of Charleston's top restaurants and it's tough to get a reservation here. Luckily my sister called months in advance. Husk is a great place for a girls dinner, but definitely not a sloppy bachelorette one. They change their menu twice a day. We all know I'm a picky eater by now, so I kept checking the menu to see what they had, but it wasn't posted til nearly 6. But, phew... they had a banging chicken dish. We arrived to Husk 15 minutes early so they couldn't accommodate us. They sent us to the bar around back. We walk in, and immediately the bartender can tell we're all feeling good and that we're from the north. She told us there's no jager bombs or flavored vodkas... not that we asked. Then she tried to pass us off to the bar upstairs. We checked it out, but it was a snoozefest and came back downstairs. We were greeted with, "did they kick you out up there?" For the record... they did not. Anyway, we acted a lot better during dinner at Husk. My chicken dish might have been the best thing I ever ate. No lie. Hominy Grill - If you want southern food, you must go to Hominy Grill. Keep in mind though, they run on southern time. They didn't seat us until nearly an hour after our reservation time. Plus, they only had one bartender to serve the restaurant and the outdoor bar area. He was SO slow, and the last member of the group got a drink a half hour after the first. They should have comped us some biscuits... If you're going to a bachelorette party in Charleston, wear your patient pants!! Their fried chicken was delicious though. I didn't care too much for their mac and cheese which tasted like it had nutmeg on it. Nightlife Republic - We went to Republic on a Thursday night, where it was ladies night! Can you say, $1 BOTTLES of champagne?!?!?!!?! You heard that correctly. We couldn't believe it. Anyway, there was hardly anyone there since it was 10 PM on a Thursday. The DJ basically catered to us and played all of our requests. He was AWESOME. They also had a live band out back in their outdoor patio. Not as awesome though. We lasted until midnight. Trio - Everyone kept telling us great things about Trio, but it honestly didn't live up to the rave reviews. Again, we arrived at 10 PM, because we're old and can't hang like we used to. There was no one there. I mean no one! The DJ didn't even start up until closer to 11 PM. So we grabbed drinks and went to the outside area and sat patiently waiting to shake our booties. The DJ finally came on, he was at least good. So we started the dance party. Creepy men quickly encircled us. We lasted until 12:30 this night. When we left the bar there was a giant line. It was kind of funny though because the place was maybe 1/4 fill. They were defintely trying to make it look like the place was the best time ever. I think if you go here for a bachelorette party, you need to come a little later. We did see like 5 other bachelorettes, so it's got some notoriety for it. While we had a great bachelorette party in Charleston, there is always an opportunity to botch and learn:
- If you're planning a bachelorette party in May, make sure it's not a college town or plan around graduation! Hotels were booked or absurdly priced.
- Charleston is not exactly a walking town so plan to spend a good chunk on cabs
- Charleston is appreciative of southern manners. Leave those penis props at home.
I'm at that age where bachelorette parties are prevalent. But I'm not complaining. Who doesn't love a girls trip where you have the best excuse to act a fool - carry around props, complete stupid challenges under the guise of "it's for the bachelorette party", and consume alcoholic beverages starting with brunch? I figure, whenever I attend/plan a new bachelorette party, I'll let you know the itinerary - what not to miss and what to ditch. I'll mess up, so you don't have to 😉 What better way to kick this off than with Vegas?!?!