By Jorie Mark
“Female friendship has been the bedrock of women’s lives for as long as there have been women,” remarked author Rebecca Traister. If you agree, it stands to reason that you should jump at any opportunity you have to toast these foundational relationships–with at least one or two cocktails (or mocktails) in hand. Indeed, the entire holiday of Galentine’s Day (first introduced in a 2010 “Parks and Recreation” episode) is about “Ladies celebrating ladies,” fictional character Leslie Knope is famous for saying.
Of course, it doesn’t need to be February to get the gals together. Just pick a night that’s free on everyone’s calendars (which, we know, can be a feat in and of itself among busy women) and make a date.
If this is new territory for you, or you’re worried about the dynamics of your friend group, not to worry. Follow these 5 simple tips for a girls’ night out that will be fun and meaningful for everyone involved.
1. START WITH A GREAT GUEST LIST
The most important decision you make when you plan a girls’ night out isn’t where you go, what’s on the menu or what activities you do. It’s who you invite. And this is one situation where the adage, “the more, the merrier” doesn’t really apply. Everyone wants to be inclusive, of course, but do you really want to plan a birthday dinner that includes everyone the guest of honor is friendly with?
You don’t want to end up with too many women for an intimate evening among friends, or, worse, friction between two friends who famously don’t get along.
That’s why you should feel empowered to limit the attendees to a smaller group of friends who can be counted upon for a low-drama fun evening. (If that means leaving a few people out of this gathering, you can always catch up with them at a separate girls’ night out…more partying for you!)
2. USE TECHNOLOGY TO FIND A DATE THAT WORKS FOR EVERYONE
If you’ve ever tried to set up a group chat to land on a date for your girls’ night out, chances are you’ve all texted the night away proposing various dates, only to discover that your neighbor’s wedding anniversary happens to coincide with the night that’s open everyone else, or you’ve got a work event to attend the one date next week that your workout buddy isn’t busy. It can be very frustrating!
Want to save yourself some sanity? Set up a free Doodle poll. Put in a range of dates over a two or three-week period, and task everyone with voting on which evenings work the best for them. Within minutes—or, as soon as everyone gets around to voting—you’ll have locked into the best date for your adventure.
3. FIND THE RIGHT VENUE FOR YOUR GIRLS’ NIGHT OUT
Now that you know who you’re inviting, and when you’re getting the gang together, the next important decision is where. Many of us who watched “Sex and the City,” and most recently, “And Just Like That…” may associate the concept of a girls’ night out with Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte (and, previously, Samantha) clinking together their cosmopolitans inside of various trendy nightclubs. Not sure whether your city even has a nightclub…or what you would do at one? Good news: you and your girlfriends can have as much fun as the SATC ladies—even without the pumping bass music, or getting a stiletto stuck in something sticky on the ground.
Indeed, a successful girls’ night out will be somewhere within everyone’s comfort zone—as long as it’s not boring, and that it’s within everyone’s budgets.
So where should you go? Here are some ideas.
- For foodie friends—Try a private cooking lesson or splurge on a prix fixe menu at a favorite restaurant.
- Fit friends—Take a yoga class or kickboxing class together or go stand-up paddle boarding, then finish the evening with a healthy dinner.
- Crafty friends—Make a reservation at a paint-your-own pottery studio, or get out the hammer and nails and try woodwork together. The friends that create together stay together!
- Retail therapy—Hit your nearby White House Black Market and treat yourselves to fun new outfits…you can even change into fun new dresses before dinner!
- Mystical evening—Go for tarot card readings or get your palms read…perhaps after you’ve shared a bottle of wine.
- Party girls—If you do want to go out and paint the town red, don’t let anything hold you back! Share a limo rental so you can transport yourselves about responsibly.
4. HOW TO DRESS FOR A GIRLS’ NIGHT OUT: OUTFIT IDEAS
You’ve got a date and a place for your girlfriend’s evening out—so, what are you going to wear? Of course, it depends on the venue, but it is important to elevate your attire so that it’s just a bit more…spicy than what you might typically wear to work or for running errands about town.
A few easy ways to make any outfit perfect for a girls’ night out:
- Instead of your everyday jeans, go for couture denim that makes your body look and feel great
- Go for a wear-anywhere denim dress, paired with boots to keep it casual, or add a high heel for a little more drama
- Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize go for sweeping earrings, a skinny belt, and a statement purse just big enough for lipstick and a credit card
5. STAY FLEXIBLE
Even with the most thoughtfully chosen guest list, venue, and clothing…things happen. Friends might cancel last minute. There could be a mix-up with your reservation. You could even spill something on your sweater (which, if it was purchased at White House Black Market, fortunately is machine washable.)
This is why you need to remain flexible—and have a sense of humor about it all. The most important thing about your girls’ night out, after all, is that you and your girlfriends have carved out an evening for some much-deserved fun time together. What could matter more than connecting with some of your favorite people in the world?
Besides, it’s sometimes those little mix-ups that make for the best stories at your next girls’ night out!