Over the years we have amassed a small collection of murder mystery parties exclusively for women, including Murder at the Spa, The Bachelorette Party Murder, The Masquerade Murder, A Flapper Murder at the 1920’s Speakeasy and Salem Witches. Since we started launching these all-girl’s murder mystery party games, we realised that many of our clients, while stoked to organise an evening or getaway with girlfriends, had no idea where to start, many feeling downright intimidated by the amount of “work” they believed would be involved with organising a ladies’ weekend.
We knew we needed to create a resource for our clients, and there was no better choice for advice than our good friend and artist, Carmen Suter, who, along with three of her best friends from school, arrange a yearly trip. We interviewed her just before she left on a week-long getaway with the gals to Punta Cana, a bigger trip than they usually plan to celebrate a year of milestone birthdays.
So, Carmen, you organize a girls’ getaway each year. What is it about getting away with the girls that keeps you coming back?
Well…for us, its the fact that we have known each other since public school, so we have a history together, and have been through every stage of life together, so when we get together, we reminisce, and its like we’ve never been apart. The other draw, of course, is that the rule is: No kids allowed, no husbands, no phones, blackberries…We are unplugged, unavailable and totally free of our everyday duties…Ahhh pure bliss! Oh and just like Vegas…What happens at girl’s weekend, stays at girl’s weekend!
Awesome! Tell us a bit about your girls weekend and what you do (without breaking the code, of course!)
Well, we do it old school, and very casual; no beauty queens or hissy fits allowed…We go to a cottage or chalet every year, and we each bring food. We all purchase our own meat, and then we each contribute to the meals. Someone might bring a homemade potato salad, or casserole, someone brings some bruschetta and a yummy dip or salsa., and at meal time, we each grill up our own meat, then put all our contributions on the table and share like sisters. Its great to sample everyone else’s dishes, and we always have plenty. For all the other miscellaneous meals and snacks, we all just plop stuff out on the table and sample it (all day long).
NO DIETERS allowed on girl’s weekend either! For the most part we sit around in our pajamas or bathing suits and chat. We drink and eat and laugh the entire weekend. When we are all stuffed, and feel bloated and gross, one of us becomes the “Events Coordinator” and makes us get up and do some type of physical activity, whether its grabbing the old bicycles and riding down to the lake, or going for a late night walk down the road, we always find some way of getting out of the Muskoka chairs for a bit to wear off all the snacks we’ve just consumed.
Man, it sounds like all we do is eat! Well that is a big part of it. And of course there is the beverage consumption…Usually one of us ends up bringing the ingredients to whip up some new drink they found, or in one girl’s case, some type of new Jello Shots…This year it was tequila-soaked gummy worms…Just let them marinate for hours in the fridge, and every now and then pop one in your mouth!
How many friends usually come on your getaway?
For the most part just four. If we are persuasive enough we can once in a blue moon get six together. We plan at least six months in advance so there is no double booking or excuses for not making it!
How long has the girls’ weekend tradition been in place?
We had many impromptu gatherings during our college years, usually at one of our parents place, or a campsite. We would get some huge tractor trailer inner tubes, and spend 3-4 hours floating down the Saugeen River with our coolers in hand. As for organizing a real getaway, it has been 10 years. The last five years have been the most consistent, running like clockwork. We don’t even need to do t pre-discussions anymore…We lock the date and show up! All the rules are unspoken, and we are so synchronized in unpacking, meal prep, and repacking at the end, that it is just so easy now.
Aside from “No Drama” and “No Dieters” and, of course, what happens there stays there, do you have any other guidelines you all follow for harmonious relaxation?
Because we all know each other so well, there is usually some kind of “dibs” system in place for getting the best bedroom accommodations. After meals we take turns washing the dishes, and whoever has the most energy is designated to be the bartender.
A new rule is that when we are taking pictures of each other doing silly faces, or truth or dare stunts and whatnot, every photo must pass the entire “committee’s” approval before it is allowed to be posted on Facebook. There have been a few photos that have been erased on the spot, due to the fear of them being posted by accident.
How about traditions? What are some things you and the girls do each year without fail?
One of our last day rituals is to write a message in or on an old shoe box I have. It contains old notes we wrote in high school, my one friend’s 11th b-day invitation I kept, photos of old boyfriends, postcards, and doodles from days gone by. The messages we write on the box are for our future selves, and we read them the next time we get together.
Sometimes we bring prizes, and then whoever earns a little special thanks for i.e. bartending, setting up the bonfire, or taking out the garbage, for instance, might end up with a goofy prize. Someone usually brings some naughty items for gag gifts (last year it was penis-shaped drinking straws!).
We also leave little drawings, and dorky notes for the cottage owner, so he’ll find them when he returns. This year after the weekend was over, I painted the four of us and then made copies for each of us to keep as a reminder of the fun we all had. I must say, it is the MOST therapeutic event of the year, and we all look forward to it immensely.
What tips do you have for someone who wants to organize her own girls’ weekend, but doesn’t know where to start?
I would say, the most important thing is to SET THE DATE, and COMMIT to it! Once everyone has the weekend booked off and driving arrangements made, babysitters and/or dog-sitter organized etc, the rest is easy!
One person should book the location and the others pay her. She is the one that makes the phone calls, email confirmations, gets the keys and the maps, etc for that year, and the next time its someone else turn to organize. A big part of that is TRUSTING the gals who are going, and doing what you promised you’d do. If you don’t trust the other girls, it might get ugly when someone backs out, or doesn’t divvy up for their share.
What’s the BEST part about your yearly trip?
I can’t pick just one! Every time we’re together, we are just like kids again. My cheeks and belly ACHE by the time the weekend is over from laughing so hard. No topic is taboo, and everyone’s opinions are welcome. We have cried together, we swear like truckers, gossip, tell dirty jokes, play jokes on each other, play drinking games and truth or dare.
One of the best things is the photos we end up with. They are little reminders all year round of the fun we have together. One friend notoriously takes random shots on my camera, and when I get home and download them, I end up with some really hilarious shots that I have to decipher.
One word to describe your girls’ weekend getaway is:
Wow…one word…Can it be one line? Definitely would be: “Therapy for the Soul”.
Carmen has kindly shared with us a few of her favourite recipes and games!