Planning the Bachelorette Party

Bachelorette parties were relatively unheard of when our parents were getting married. That one last night of wild singles fun was strictly the province of the groom and his buddies. In 1965, the year of my parents’ wedding, the closest thing to a bachelor’s party for the bride was the "personal shower". A bride received all the items she would need for her new household at the bridal shower, which was attended by her family and friends. The bridesmaids would also organize a separate personal shower attended only by close female friends. In this second shower, the bride got her lingerie and anything else she wouldn’t want to open in front of her extended family.

Today, bridal showers are more relaxed events, and there is rarely a need for a separate personal shower. Instead, the bride and her maid of honor will often organize a girls’ night out on the town or a weekend away that can get every bit as outrageous as bachelor parties are known to be. A friend recently told me about a bachelorette party she had attended during which the maid of honor decked the bride out in little candy bracelets and necklaces. Let’s just say that by the end of the evening the candy was gone and the bride will probably want to keep those festivities a secret from her husband for a long time to come.

However, before you are tempted to plan a party with your friends that would make a sailor blush, you might want to consider this. Turnabout is fair play. Brides today have begun to set limits on what they will tolerate in the groom’s night with the boys. If you want your man to behave himself, you must be prepared to give him the same consideration.

Why not plan a bachelorette party you can share with the man you have chosen to share your life with? I don’t mean that you should actually invite him along. But think of the fun you could have during the honeymoon regaling your partner with stories of an event that was far more fun than anything his best man dreamed up for him.

Try to hold your bachelorette party at least one week before the wedding, possibly two. You will be far too stressed during those final days to really cut loose and your nerves could cause you to behave in ways you might later regret. If your maid of honor is planning the event, you may want to sit down with her beforehand and establish some ground rules for the event. Without your input, she might feel compelled to provide you with a night out that is more shocking than fun.

If you live near wine country, consider a day of wine tasting with your bridesmaids in lieu of the traditional pub-crawl. Pack a picnic lunch and select a route that will take you through half a dozen tasting rooms. Often, local wineries are happy to suggest itineraries, and may even be able to provide you with a map to follow. Be sure to select a designated driver or arrange for a car service. Depending on the number of wines sampled and the generosity of the pour, each tasting can easily add up to one or more full glasses of wine. Factor in the favorite bottles you purchase to share over lunch and no one in the group will be in any condition to drive.

If you’d prefer a little more excitement, and you think your friends are game, you might want to plan an adrenaline charged outing. Gather up your bridesmaids for an afternoon of parasailing or learning to rock climb. If high places are not your idea of a good time, try a group snorkeling excursion or surfing lesson. Let your plans slip to your groom and he might be jealous enough to suggest a change in bachelor party plans to his best man.

You might decide to make your bachelorette party a weekend spa getaway rather than a one-night event. In that case you have plenty of options. Consider whether you want a weekend filled with pampering beauty treatments or perhaps one that caters to the soul with refreshing hikes, meditation, and exercise. If you would prefer to sample a little of everything, many spas offer a complete range of services for mind and body. Whichever type of spa you choose, these facilities offer a wonderful opportunity to soothe away all of your wedding planning anxieties in the company of your closest friends.

You may already have your heart set on a night of bar hopping with your friends. You can still spice up the event without jeopardizing your future wedded bliss. Start the evening off at your favorite cafe, loading up on rich desserts. From there, move from nightspot to nightspot, choosing a new, unique atmosphere for each stop. Why not start with a hot new dance club, then move to a swing club, and later a mellow jazz venue. Finish the night at a quiet neighborhood watering hole where you and your bridesmaids can squeeze into a cozy booth and share memories over a bottle of chardonnay. As with the wine tasting, you should designate a driver if you intend to plan any event including alcohol.

Your bachelorette party should be an enjoyable time spent with your best friends, not an opportunity to behave as badly as you suspect your groom will at his event. Sit down with your man and come to an agreement about what should or should not happen at your respective parties. Then you can relax and have fun instead of engaging in a game of one-upmanship that could result in hurt feelings on both sides. Remember, this is not the last night of your single life. That happened when you agreed to marry. Rather, your bachelorette party is a celebration of the exciting adventure you are about to begin


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