Raleigh, North Carolina-based bride Cristen McHenry (née Vaughn) is a fabulous mix of contrasts: The Belle Wall
blogger’s posts show her in her red-lipstick finest, sporting the latest from the Gal Meets Glam Collection
and yet, when she and Alex tied the knot this year, they did so in front of only family in a tree house in Virginia and celebrated after with a larger party at a YMCA mountain lodge in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Given all that, when it came time for her bachelorette party, it was only fitting Cristen and her buds bucked the norm.
“We are a classy (but wacky and oh-so-fun) group of women,” says bridesmaid Megan Speziale, “and we wanted to spend time with one another, not to have just another ‘drunk weekend’.” They picked a rental on the Isle of Palms, and invited everyone (guests came from the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, and Texas) for dinners (in and out), brunches (hello, mimosa bar), a flower crown party (glue gun, meet silk flower), and a lingerie breakfast shower (dubbed “bagels and bras”). Balloon banners, fresh blooms, and a photo wall transformed the rental into a festooned home base where one and all could convene to catch up and connect. And because everything was so picture-perfect, they hired photographer Charlie Martin
to snap shots of the whole crew and setup one festive morning. See more shots in the gallery and read on for some of their tips.
Hire a photographer. A destination bachelorette weekend equals expenses, so guarantee great keepsake photos with a pro. Everyone is in the group shot, and brides can use images as wedding party gifts.
Be an early bird.
Have the weekend planners—and the bride—fly in a day early to prep the house, assemble gift bags, and shop. (This crew went to Candy Shop Vintage
, where Cristen gifted her wingwomen Charleston rice bead necklaces.)
Splurge … and save.
While Saturday night found the crew on King Street, toasting at the Cocktail Club
and dining at Stars Rooftop Bar & Grill Room
, Friday included a make-your-own taco bar at the rental while everyone arrived in town, got acclimated, and settled in.
Bank free time into the schedule. Let the gals explore Charleston on their own. Cristen shared a list of her favorite spots to check out.
Dress like a local.
From Charleston rice bead accessories to a wardrobe dominated by designer Julia Engel of Gal Meets Glam
, the bride introduced her crew to top local talents. Also? For their night out, she donned a blush dress while everyone else wore white frocks—choices that made them stand out in classy fashion from the bar-crawling “final fling before the ring” set.