Ladies, let’s be honest: When it comes to bachelorette-party planning, the struggle is real. Schedules are busy and hardly ever align; budgets are, well, on the leaner side, with so many other expenses in play; and communicating anything to a group of excited friends and family members who may or may not live near each other (or even know each other!) is…never ending.

On top of everything else, you’re expected to plan this magical time-of-your-life night or weekend that is not even realistic—and while deep down inside you know that, you still want that, because you love this incredible woman who is getting married so, so much, and that is the most important thing.

We’ve got you. That’s why we’re here to help. Trust us, there is an easy way to break it all down so that planning this super-special event is actually fun and drama free.

1. Take a deep breath. Maybe three. And then let go of all of those expectations.

Look, the most important part of all of this is the bride and your relationship with her. Whether she’s your sister, one of your best friends from forever, or one of the most favourite people you’ve met in your adult life, no doubt she’s a special one. We get it. And we promise that there will be many (many!) amazing times to come! So stop treating the bachelorette party as some sort of send-off/good-bye moment and just relax. She is yours and always will be. (Just make sure sometime during everything to give her a giant squeeze and tell her how much you love her!)

2. Ask for group input from the bride and her main ladies (or gents).

All right, now that we’ve set those expectations aside, let’s talk. So WTF do we actually want to do? Decamp to a favourite/nearby downtown for a night or two? A driveable getaway? Are we all on board for actually booking airfare and/or heading to a destination that requires a passport? Without getting into too many specifics, try to get a feel for what works best for everyone. You know that heart relationship you have with the bride? Well, guess what? Everyone the bride would like to have along has a same-but-different relationship with her. And that’s what this whole thing is actually about: laughter and memories and de-stressing and hugs.

3. Make a game plan and a realistic budget.

Now that we’ve narrowed down the big-picture wheres and whats, one or two someones should take the lead in putting a general plan together. It could be the bride herself, the maid of honour, one of her besties who’s really great at planning things, or some combination thereof. The point is, let them work out the nitty-gritty details, including destination; duration; total lodging costs and how they can be shared; transportation logistics and estimated costs, including airfare, ride-sharing options to the destination, or costs involved with renting a fully stocked limo bus for the night; and any big-ticket items, a.k.a. anything you have to book in advance, whether it’s a Broadway show or an extra-special dinner reservation.

4. Confirm a final head count.

No doubt there are emails, text messages, and group chats firing from all directions right now. Everything is happening! (We know.) Take a deep breath (again), exhale, go let off some steam, and, yes, get back to work. A few weeks out from the bachelorette party, doubly confirm exactly who’s going, that hotel/house-share plans are in place, and that everyone has contributed what they’ve needed to monetarily in advance. (Venmo was made for this.)

5. Have a good time!

While the bachelorette party is all about the bride, there’s more to it. That whole mutual-love/hug thing that we mentioned earlier? The beauty of it is that it’s reciprocal. While a bachelorette-party night or weekend is about celebrating the bride, it’s also about celebrating you, her nearest and dearest. The whole reason why we are on this party train together is not because she expects this of you; it’s because there is so much change happening in her life at such light-warp speed right now that she needs you to be there for her—today, tomorrow, forever, and always. She is on a life journey and needs her best mates to anchor her, support her, love her unconditionally, and constantly remind her of who she is today and always. So raise a glass, ladies, because that is something to celebrate!

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