Plan forwards, and then backwards.
There are plenty of resources on the web for planning a great bachelor party. I read many of these, including from on of my favorite websites, The Art Of Manliness. However, the aim of my post here is not to give general rules of throwing an epic party, but simply a documentation of my application of these and other methods. It is a recipe guaranteed to have great memories and be seen as a successful weekend. Feel free to use any of my resources and research to help plan your party- and if you are no where near the Bluegrass state, maybe this general guide of my work will give you some ideas of things to look for in your area.
The first thing I had to do was figure out “the big picture” – everything I wanted the party to do- and where we would end up. Then I had to plan backwards for reasons that will make sense later.
Here’s the big picture- Go to Kentucky, hit up the six distilleries on The Bourbon Trail, and spend the night in a cabin. Sit around a camp fire and drink our own drinks at the cabin, and have a nice dinner.
http://kybourbontrail.com has some GREAT info about the six distilleries, and the procedure for getting the passport, and recommendations for how to tour. This is where I first realized I was going to have to plan backwards a bit. Some reading led me to understand that, to have a relaxed and meaningful visit to all six distilleries, we were going to have to spend two days on the trail. The distilleries are kind of broken into two areas, three being west, and three east. (Visit the Map & Guide page) So now that I know we are doing two days of visits- we are probably going to need two nights in a cabin. Also- some people in the group aren’t going to be able to make it down for the first day, because it’s a Friday. To accommodate for this- the nice dinner will have to be Saturday night to get the most people there. Guessing that the best place to eat will be in or around Lexington (being close to three of the distilleries) – I’ve decided that the plan will be Friday: Jim Beam, Heaven’s Hill, Makers Mark- and Saturday: Four Roses, Wild Turkey, Woodford.
To make more sense of the distilleries and their times, I made the following chart. (Please note- the times listed on this chart are for THIS bachelor party- which took place over a Friday and Saturday in May, 2011. Please be sure to check for updated times and prices for your time of the year.)
This confirmed the overall route- from Jim Beam to Heaven Hill to Maker’s Mark on Friday, then Four Roses to Wild Turkey to Woodford Reserve on Saturday, followed by a nice dinner in Lexington, and then back to the cabin for an evening of hanging out around a camp fire.
That settled, I had to pick a weekend. The overall numbers and availability of people will determine the budget for the cabin. This could be anywhere from 5 to 20 people. I had to pick which Friday and Saturday would be best, get the most people involved, and provide the best weekend. I had the groom provide a few weekend choices, and then sent out a survey to the proposed list of guys, and asked them to rate each option as Yes, No, Maybe. You can use Google Docs to create a form, and then send out the provided link. Everyone that fills it out has their answers nicely organized in a spreadsheet only available to the author of the form. (Remember to ask the questions for the persons name and/or email address- as the form will accept any input, and just time-stamp it. If you forget to force your survey takers to input a name- you’ll have great answers with no details of who is who.)
Once the Weekend was picked- I sent out a notice to everyone. Again- using Google’s great tools, I setup a Google Group- where I can write a single email, and have it distributed to everyone. If you choose this route- I highly recommend making a master list- and on the first email make sure to have everyone send back a quick note confirming they got your email. I ended up having a few people not make it on the list as expected, and I assumed I just wasn’t getting any emails back from them as a result of them not wanting to participate. I was able to include them later in the planning stages, but it was almost a disaster. The point of picking the week and immediately sharing it before any other details are ready, was to serve the same purpose of a save-the-date. People make lots of plans in the spring and summer, and getting time off work is not always easy. This way- requests can be put in now- and if things change, most places of employment are more than happy to have you show up for work unexpectedly.
Now with the dates planned, I had to get ball park prices. This was by far the HARDEST part of the whole process. There were many options for cabins. Some slept 6 people, others provided upwards of 10 to 15. I knew how big my potential list was, but no idea who would come for what prices. The more people that show up, the cheaper it gets- but if you request too little too early, you might get stuck with a huge bill.
I found a few cabin options, and pretty much tried to settle on one before setting a price. I knew what other options I could come back with if my initial offerings were not received well by others. I used the following sites to price out cabin options:
https://www.cruiseamerica.com/ (maybe a RV trip would be better than a cabin?!)
I eventually settled on one found at greatrentals.com, http://www.greatrentals.com/rental-property/p102000 with a backup of http://www.greatrentals.com/rental-property/p244461.
——————————- NOTES ——————
Cabin: 1840 Paradise Camp Rd. Harrodsburg, KY
From Maker’s Mark to Cabin: 1:15
From Woodford to Sal’s: :40
Sal’s: 3373 Tates Creek Road
Lexington, KY 40502
http://www.kentuckytourism.com/places_to_stay/cabins_lodges.aspx?source=google –> http://www.kentuckyrivercottages.com/?KY_River_Cottages