So, is anyone in America not having their bachelorette party in Nashville these days? It seems almost every bride I know is considering having her last fling before the ring in Music City, and they aren’t alone if the knowing winks I get from anyone I mentioned my upcoming travels to were an indication.
And why not? With endless live music, great food, unpretentious nightlife, and plenty of fun activities for celebrators to get silly with, I can easily see why it’s such a popular choice. (And yes, haters, celebrators is a word. I looked it up.)
For my country-music-loving cousin Kirsten, who’s wedding I am literally recovering from as I write this, it was always going to be Nashville. (Plus, Nashville is Zika-free, a factor important to many soonly-weds, and one that eliminated other briefly-discussed destinations like Key West and Miami.)
The bachelorette weekend was conveniently scheduled for the weekend after Bonnaroo, so I stuck around Tennessee for the week in between with my girl Kristin — I know, there are a lot of K names to keep track of, get on board. Cousin Kirsten arrived two nights early so we could spend some time together before the rest of the flock arrived, which I couldn’t have been more thrilled with.
Kirsten is a teacher who was off-duty for the summer and Kristin and I are both self-employed — if you have similar amounts of flexibility, consider adding a few solo days onto your next destination bachelorette adventure. Personally I love bachelorette party trips, but I know from talking to lots of friends that they can be pretty overwhelming for a lot of people. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be more chilled out with the group knowing you had you time to check off your own personal bucket list, and it will make the trip feel more like your own adventure.
We used our bonus time to get our nails done, do a deep dive on Music City’s rich history, take an acro yoga class at Steadfast and True, and enjoy an intimate dinner at Pinewood Social, where I only regret that we didn’t have time to take in a game or two on the in-house bowling lanes.
On Thursday, we checked into the Airbnb house we’d rented for the weekend in East Nashville. In my opinion, a house rental is a must for a weekend like this. While we were a little tight squeezing twelve girls into a three-bedroom house, we got a killer deal, and for the logistics of getting around, getting ready and hollering to each other across the hallways, it was essential.
If you’re new to Airbnb, get $40 off using my coupon here!
Later, after girls filtered in from near and far, we kicked off the weekend with drinks at LA Jackson, a trendy rooftop bar with beautiful views over Nashville. Sadly I was too wiped to really properly document the experience, but I’m glad it’s on my radar now to return to and fully experience on a future trip. Plus, they had a reference to Arrested Development on their menu — more TV nods integrated into my craft cocktail drinking, please! I just love it when my passions come together like that.
The next morning, things really kicked off with a bachelorette brunch at Biscuit Love. I’d been to the original Gulch location of Biscuit Love on a previous trip to Nashville, but this round we got the heads up that the brand new branch at Hillsboro Village might have shorter lines. The rumors were true, and we settled in for what might have been one of my favorite meals of the weekend.
Why? Biscuit Love is the perfect setting for bachelorettes or other large groups. While they don’t take reservations, when you arrive you order at the counter and then take a number and sit down to be served, and the staff was super accommodating about pushing together a big table. No stress over splitting the check — and delicious biscuits and breakfast cocktails to boot! Kristin and Scott came to see us off, as well — love those two.
After, we walked off brunch with a little shopping stroll through Hillsboro Village. This is a great neighborhood for buying cute local gifts and accessories, and non-tacky Nashville gear.
Eventually we made our way down to Broadway for some live music and gawking at the Times Square of Nashville.
However, I ducked out a little early to help decorate for our little Nash Bash back at the Airbnb. One note for future Nash Bash planners: blowing up balloons is no easy feat in Nashville! With a lack of Party City locations in the downtown core, I wasn’t sure where I’d be able to blow up the cute balloons I’d ordered off Etsy. After calling around to some florists, I ended up heading to Rite Aid on Rosa Parks boulevard (not all of them have the ability), where they ran out of helium after just one balloon! In true Southern hospitality style, the cashier insisted on driving me down the street to Kroger when she heard I didn’t have a car with me and would otherwise walk. Have you ever heard anything so sweet in your life?
(But again, for those Nashville party planners, be warned that while I eventually got the job done, both places were wary of doing a blow up for balloons that weren’t purchased onsite. Factor in some time and mental energy for charming someone into it!)
Several gifts, a couple champagne toasts and a lot of laughs later, we were ready to party!
That night, we hit the town for my absolute favorite dinner of the trip at Tánsuŏ. Contemporary Chinese cuisine in Nashville? Believe me, it’s worth it to put the Southern specialities aside for a night for this place!
Again, I highly recommend this as a destination for bachelorettes and other large groups: they had an oversized oval booth that comfortably fit our group of twelve, they didn’t require an expensive deposit or table minimum for a weekend group as many Nashville restaurants do, and our waiter was endlessly patient and good-humored about our girly giggles and bill splitting situation. And with everyone sharing plates rather than everyone ordering entrees in addition to tons of appetizers, sides and desserts, the bill was surprisingly affordable for a place so chic and hip, too.
Everyone took turns planning various meals and activities and aspects of the weekend, and this dinner was my gig. Of course, me being me, I couldn’t help but overdo any aspect of party planning I was asked to participate in — I ordered custom coconut flavored fortune cookies with messages like “tonight you will toast a beautiful bride-to-be,” “you will soon attend a beautiful wedding,” and “a bouquet catch is in your future!” with the wedding date inside.
If that alone isn’t a reason to incorporate dinner at a Chinese restaurant in your bachelorette party planning, I don’t know what is.
That night, most of the crew headed back to the Airbnb early, but Olivia and I couldn’t resist the opportunity to head back to Broadway for a little dance party. After a plan to meet some friends fell through, we got into an Uber and asked the driver, “take us to the bar where we are most likely to hear Britney Spears.”
Honestly, I recommend this as a tactic for literally any and every Uber ride you might take in your life.
The next morning, we leapt out of bed bright eyed and bushy-tailed (lol) for a private yoga class in matching tank tops at Shakti, a beautiful yoga studio in Music Row.
Our teacher was fabulous — personable, sweetly inquisitive about our weekend, and able to adapt the class for both beginners and experienced yogis like the bride-to-be, who completed her yoga teacher training a few years ago and is one of my favorite people to practice with! It was also super affordable — we each paid $14 for the class, which is literally less than a drop-in would be typically in a regularly scheduled class.
I love that we incorporated some fitness into an otherwise indulgent weekend. And Nashville is such a fun city to get sweaty in! Earlier in the week I’d attended a HITT class at GetFit615, a fitness studio in the same building as Shakti, and loved how it left me feeling totally wiped. On Sunday, before catching my late night flight back to New York, I snuck off to East Nashville Hot Yoga for a buti yoga class that was exactly what I needed to detoxify and pump myself up for the week ahead. Any would be a fabulous place to reach out to regarding a special bachelorette yoga or fitness session.
After savasana, we were off to Butcher and Bee for brunch. Unfortunately, and it pains me to say so cause this place was dang cute, we really didn’t have a great experience here. Our waitress made it pretty clear how unexcited she was to be serving a large party, and did all but roll her eyes at us. In her defense, we were a difficult party with our check splitting requirements and we had a complicated situation since we’d had to make a deposit in order to make the reservation (which then had to be removed from each check), but come on. After encountering such incredibly warm, friendly people all over Nashville, it was especially jarring to be met with a sour waitress and a dismissive restaurant manager.
(For other bachelorette parties, I’d recommend discussing your check splitting strategy as a group before arrival — for a meal like brunch, where everyone’s order is within a fairly similar price range, I wish we’d just gone for an even split. If you’re going to do itemized checks, perhaps save that hassle for dinner when one person might have a steak and another might have salad — and tell your waiter the minute you sit down.)
And then we were back at the house to prepare for the big finale of our bachelorette weekend — a trip to Arrington Vineyards! Just forty-five minutes outside Nashville, with its rolling hills and rural feel, Arrington seems like a world away.
Upon arrival, we filed up to the Wine Loft, where we sampled five wines paired with gourmet cheeses and seasonal bites. Our hostess Madison was the sweetest thing, endlessly smiling and patient with our giggle breaks between sips.
After, wine glass in hand, we strolled through the Barrel House and Wine Production Facility, and Madison continued to humor our questions like “how do corks get in bottles?” “does white wine and red wine make rosé?” and “what hair products do you use?” (Just kidding, of course. I know how rosé is made!)
This was our big splurge of the weekend at $55 for the Premier Experience and $52 for the limo we took to get there, but I think it was well worth it.
The only thing I think I’d do differently if doing the weekend all over again — and hindsight is always twenty-twenty! — would be to arrive earlier so we had more time to enjoy walking around the winery and vineyards on our own, and catch some of the live music that takes place every weekend. As it was, we were having such a good time we spontaneously booked the limo for an extra hour so we could stay until closing. But if you’re going to make the trek out to Arrington, you might as well make a whole day out of it.
One great thing about Arrington is that you are welcome to bring your own food and make a picnic out of it, so we were able to bring the cake that our Airbnb host had so kindly ordered for Kirsten. It was just what the doctor ordered after a few bottles of wine and champagne.
It was the perfect note to end the weekend on!
The cheat sheet of Nashville bachelorette planning? Get an Airbnb, download Uber, and Lyft (you’ll get free rides with each of those links), and have everyone download the Splitwise app ahead of time to make settling up a breeze — it’s an amazing app that integrates with Venmo and that I can literally no longer picture my life without.
Final word of advice? Get a crew as fabulous as these girls! While some of them I’ve known since I was a tween and heading out to Illinois to visit my cousin every chance I could get, some of them I was meeting for the first time after hearing their names for years.
‘Till next time, Nashville!