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.
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.
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!)
Frankly I’m not used to surprises at all, so the whole experience was a jolt.
A joyful, JAW-SOME jolt.
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!
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 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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 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.
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!)