My “Fintastic” Surprise Bonaire Bachelorette Party

This just in: destination wedding planning is kind of a pill.

I feel like an ungrateful brat putting that in writing, but I also feel like honesty-on-the-blog has always been my hallmark, and future brides should know – Martha Stewart is full of glitter-covered, burlap-wrapped BA-LONEY. I really thought that with all my event planning experience in the PR industry over the years, coordinating my own wedding would be all fun and games and beachy happily ever after.

I recall gloating, “I could plan a wedding in 5 phone calls.” Pride comes before the fall, y’all. The Bible was right again.

Between the Silver Airways drama, an invite list packed with hesitant non-travelers, plus choosing a date and location based on projects & partnerships that never came to fruition, you can imagine that at times I have felt like throwing in the towel. (On the wedding, not the man. He’s delightful.)

Since our nearest and dearest are scattered between Hawaii, Canada, Thailand, Italy, Holland, the UK, Tennessee, Bolivia, Wisconsin and points beyond, I resigned myself early on to mindfully skipping the parties and showers and festivities that bridal magazines tell you are supposed to happen. As the RSVP cards roll in, I’m finding most guests aren’t willing/able to travel for the actual wedding, much less a bunch of pre-event showers & shenanigans.

Bonaire Bachelorette Party

With that in mind, you can imagine I nearly fell off my shoes when Alex, Kristin and Steph surprised me with a bachelorette in paradise party on our recent dive trip to Bonaire. I thought we were going just going to fancy dinner At Sea to celebrate completing 7 dives, 2 snorkeling trips and one heckuva Twizy car tour of the island, but when I met the gals outside my room at Buddy Dive, they presented me with a gorgeous, custom-designed invitation to my very own Pinterest-worthy party.

Shark Bachelorette Party Invitation

When I saw it was all shark-themed, again I nearly fell off my shoes. To quote my favorite walking SAT vocabulary prepster, Alex, “I was agog!”

Sharks are my thing. (I have a Pinterest board dedicated to them. My 30th birthday – yeah, spent with Great Whites. And did you catch me on Instagram swimming in a shark onesie to celebrate Shark Week last month?)

No one knows better than my dive buddies how much I love sharks & shark-themed goodness. (Poor Kristin literally HATES sharks so I appreciate her participation in this more than you know!)

Changing my blog to Angie Agog

Changing my blog to Angie Agog

Frankly I’m not used to surprises at all, so the whole experience was a jolt.

A joyful, JAW-SOME jolt.

Angie Away Shark Bachelorette Party Bonaire

Somehow I missed all the clues the gals dropped throughout the week. Apparently dive exhaustion is exactly the right level of tired for me to miss every last hint that came my way.

Normally I’m not so oblivious – I have literally never been surprised by anything, ever. It’s actually really fun!

Angie Away Bachelorette Shark

No one has ever had a bachelorette party like this, and I daresay no one ever will.

(Well, unless they go to Alex’s Etsy shop and order all the gorgeous, custom goodies she designed!)

Shark Bachelorette Party

Shark bite survival kits with flotation devices (beach balls), crisis rations (gummy sharks) and disaster first-aid kits, mini bottles of Champagne and a hundred thoughtful details, all taking place in a far-flung location, with a veil & Bridezilla button and a custom hashtag (#Bonaire2Bahamas!) — it was totally me from start to finish!

Goodies in the shark bite survival kit

Goodies in the shark bite survival kit

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Shark Bachelorette Party Known for its outstanding scuba diving and untouched-by-commercialism vibe, the island of Bonaire is not the obvious choice for a destination bachelorette party. There’s no Señor Frogs or glitzy club scene here, just Little Havana, the island’s one sweaty weekend hot spot, and the biker bar across the street.

Bonaire Bachelorette Party

My hot Bonaire Bachelorette tip: go to the biker bar first. They were the nicest people we met all week and they let us play Britney Spears on repeat… unlike at Little Havana, whose DJ ignored my nicely written note to play Britney & Shakira. Tsk, tsk.

Practicing for the wedding

Practicing for the wedding

Bonaire Bachelorette Party

Cadushy, Bonaire’s local cactus liqueur, and Alex’s adorable gold shark shooter

Bonaire Bachelorette Party

The bride has arrived at Biker HQ

We quickly found out from all the quizzical looks and wishes for a “Happy Birthday!” that bachelorette parties aren’t the norm on Bonaire. When we tried to explain why I was wearing a veil, our taxi driver said, “Where’s the groom? Do you think it’s a good idea to go out dancing on your wedding night?”

Lost in translation!

BEST NIGHT EVER. (If you missed the Snapchats, you definitely missed some excellent behind the scenes moments. Follow me: AngieAway)

BEST NIGHT EVER. (If you missed the Snapchats, you definitely missed some excellent behind the scenes moments. Follow me: AngieAway)

Steph & Alex at dinner

Steph & Alex at dinner

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We met some interesting characters that night.

I'm not kidding. This was a very unexpected development.

I’m not kidding. This was a very unexpected development.

Sending emails at 2 a.m.

Sending emails at 2 a.m.

If anyone understands my constant state of frantic overwhelmed-edness, it’s Kristin, Alex & Steph. They share my penchant for the hyphenated career path, serving as magazine editors/freelance writers/travel bloggers/digital influencers/publicists/consultants/social media experts and advanced scuba sirens.

#Bonaire2Bahamas

#Bonaire2Bahamas

So the fact that they took time – clearly, a lot of it – out of their equally-if-not-more-insanely busy schedules to make me feel like a special lady, well, let’s just say it was hard not to sob into my mini-Champagne.

The rockstars who planned the best surprise shark bachelorette party in Bonaire that anyone ever had

The rockstars who planned the best surprise shark bachelorette party in Bonaire that anyone ever had

The effort it took to coordinate a party this elaborate has just warmed my icy-cold Bridezilla heart. I usually don’t emote (other than via Emoji), but I am tearing up in real life thinking about how blessed I am to have such thoughtful women in my life, as both colleagues and dear friends.

This goes down as one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me.  

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Polaroids from a night to remember

I may not be having bridesmaids at my wedding, just my sis as Maid of Honor, but these three will always be my favorite Sharkmaids.

More about Bonaire to come very soon! (For outtakes from the festivities, check out the Facebook album!)

COME AWAY WITH ME!
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