(Photo: Emily Foote)
It was 9 p.m. on the corner of Broadway and 5th Avenue in downtown Nashville. Standing next to me was a bride-to-be. I smiled at her and said, “Congratulations.” Then she lifted up her skirt to flash a crowd of cowboys on the corner.
“I’m getting’ married y’all,” she said, her “bride” tiara slipping slightly askew.
There are a lot of women heading to Nashville these days before they get married … y’all. You can’t two-step down the street on a Friday or Saturday night without running into gaggles of rowdy brides and the women corralled into supporting them as they have their last hurrah in the Music City.
This Maid of Honor is a serious trooper. (Photo: Jo Piazza)
It’s big business these days, too.
“The bachelorette scene is intense right now. It’s a combination of Nashville being one of the fastest growing cities and the fact that it is laid-back, casual and affordable,” explained Robert Goldsmith, the owner of Bachelorette Nashville, an 18-month-old company that serves as a concierge service for brides and their handlers heading to Nashville.
“Our business and our inquiries have increased by 500% from the last year,” Goldsmith, who is 26 and still unmarried, told Yahoo Travel. They charge between $49.99 to $415 per person. Demand has surged so much in the past year that they are currently building an app to automate their booking process.
As far as bachelorette destinations go, Nashville does seem to have it all. This month, Travel & Leisure ranked the city number three on its list of best destinations for girlfriend getaways.
Getting married does seem like an excellent excuse to make your girlfriends wear very small hats. (Photo: Emily Foote)
It has a centrally located district of bars, the majority of which have no cover charge. The weather is great 80 percent of the year, and the price often ends up being about half what you would pay in other bachelorette destinations like Vegas and New York City. You can also make a weekend of it. Goldsmith’s slogan is, “Classy or Trashy, we have a custom bachelorette party for you.” That slogan makes me want them to curate my life. Whether you want winery tours or pole-dancing classes. Whether you want to flash the streets (we don’t judge!) or sip bourbon in your pearls. The city has a little something for everyone.
A popular bachelorette destination. (Photo: Emily Foote)
Where to Stay
The pool at the Omni is the place to see and be seen. At this time of year, with temps hitting the 80s during the days, it is swarming with bachelorettes and bachelors getting their tan on before hitting the town. The rooms can run as low as $299 a night and can comfortably sleep four people.
Brides lounge poolside before dark. (Photo: Jo Piazza)
Where to Eat
Tavern: Nurse your hangover with the red-velvet waffles and a side of cream cheese at Tavern. Tack on a peanut-butter pretzel pancake, fried oysters, and thick-cut bacon, then wash it all down with an extra spicy Bloody Mary.
Urban Grub: This up-and-coming star on the Nashville dining scene is a delightful option for dinner, if you can nab a reservation (call early for groups over five). Kick it off with the pork fries, some Andouille sausage, and a spicy grilled shrimp and biscuit before you bring it home with the Memphis-Style Ribs.
Where to Line Dance
(Photo: Jo Piazza)
Wildhorse Saloon: A live house band and instructors who are more patient than Kevin Bacon in “Footloose” will teach you enough line-dancing moves to cut a rug in every honky tonk up and down Broadway for the rest of the night. Check the schedule before you go; there is typically a dancing lesson once an hour on Friday and Saturday nights.
Where to Drink on the Go
Apparently exercising while drinking is now a thing. (Photo: Pat Dye)
Nashville Pedal Tavern: If your bride wants everyone to lose a few pounds before the wedding, then you will definitely want to hop on this 16-person bicycle-powered pub crawl. Bring your own beverages! They cannot sell or provide any alcohol, but they do provide the cooler stocked with ice and cups. It’s about a two-hour tour, with three stops along the way and plenty of time to drink while burning calories.
Nashville Party Barge: A cross between a stretch limo, a pontoon boat, and an El Camino, the Party Barge cruises the streets of Nashville to bars and local attractions all the while encouraging you to drink and dance while wearing a bathing suit on this “barge” that is most definitely not a boat.
Where to Ride a Mechanical Bull
Tequila Cowboy: Brides ride free on this mechanical bull. Head there for daily drink specials and live music.
Where to Sing and Dance
It’s pretty easy to spot the brides in Nashville. (Photo: Emily Foote)
Honky Tonk Row: This is the other name for Broadway and it’s lined with more than 20 honky-tonk live-music venues. There are no cover charges, so you can hop in, get your groove on (however you define that), and move on to the next without making a huge investment.
Where to Pole Dance
Miss Fit Academy: This is Nashville’s leading pole-dance academy, specializing in stripteases and pole dancing. No prior experience necessary, but you should bring your own heels. They will even teach your group its own Coyote Bar Dance to show off later that evening at Coyote Ugly Bar.