It’s inevitable that we will plan our friends bachelorette parties at some point or another, but how do we make them fun without all the raunch? Give us your ideas for fun things to do with a bridal party without all the crazy.
Disclaimer: I have never been to a bachelorette party. I was only 14 when my sister got married, still too young for the drinks and dancing she did with her best girlfriends…and our mom. And so far, none of my close friends have even gotten engaged, let alone married. So my commentary is strictly from personal reasoning.
Living in a fun, young urban city, I have occasion to see bachelorette parties in action: the bride and a gaggle of twentysomething women (and if following trends, the bride is in the most fetching frock and her entourage in a plain uniform LBD; none of which have an appropriate length skirt) roam around the bar district, possibly festooned in phallic jewelry. And having non-religious friends, I hear about the pricey trips to Vegas or crazy nights dancing at shirtless gay bars. It’s as if they’re all following some cultural script of what the party should be—one last night of “freedom” or a celebration and almost wake for the fun, single years.
But despite the culture’s (wrong) treatment of this night, I am not opposed to bachelorette parties on principle. To me, it’s not a last hurrah (as I fully intend to keep seeing friends and doing “Girls’ Nights”) just less frequently than before. It is a celebration of the woman and the commitment she is about to make. It is a marking of one chapter in her life and the recognition and respect owed to the new one she is about to write.
So here are some things I would personally keep in mind if it came to planning my event, or if a friend invited me, and what I would hope the event would avoid/include.
- You (and your friends) are still the same people you were before this night and will be after. Don’t do anything that forces you to act like you’re not. The bride’s engaged to the love of her life, and her friends could be married women (moms even!), engaged themselves, in serious relationships, discerning the consecrated life, or striving to live the single season as best (read: chastely) as she can. This means no strip clubs, Chippendales, kissing other men (sorry to those over the pond with that tradition—I saw in the movie Made of Honor that was apparently a thing. I can’t accept that as appropriate).
The party should not be the “last night of freedom,” but something marking the transition from one state of life to another, one that you respect.
- Marriage honors the dignity of the human person and sacredness of sex. Don’t cheapen either. This means no phallic jewelry or confections; no lessons for the bride (or the group) about…acts (unfortunately witnessed in the movie Old School); no racy presents at this time or at the bridal shower. Ever since delving into the Theology of the Body, I’ve found it weird that other people might buy me lingerie or give me advice books (as one friend said she was already planning on)…that it is acceptable to make a big deal about the beginning of my sex life…in front of other people. Or to reduce the man I’m making the sacrament with to a mere body part.
The party should not be the glorification of sex, but something that respects the bride’s (and her groom’s) call to holiness before and after the wedding.
What types of events can do this?
Wholesome (and Formerly Successful!) Ideas
- Cooking Class: A woman came to the bride’s house to teach her and her friends some fun cooking skills and recipes; the cool tools could be gifted to her; wine and food was tasty. Months after the wedding, the bride had a Girls’ Day while her husband’s men’s group was hunting or something, and we got to experiment in the kitchen with the new toys; again with tasty wine and food.
- Day of Awesome for the Non-Fem: Okay, this was a bachelor party thrown for a practicing Catholic guy I know, but being a girl who sees both the appeal of a pretty dress and pigskin or wine and whiskey, it sounds pretty fun: Go-Karts, Laser Tag or Paint Ball in the afternoon; comedy dinner theater later; night cap at traditional Irish pub, complete with live music. Basically: ladies do an activity you all mutually like, have a slightly-more-special dinner out, and end on a fun—not tawdry—note.
- Wine Tasting: A friend of mine is hiring a limo (sadly I cannot fly out :() and taking the ladies down to Napa for wine/sparkly stuff sipping and nibblies and pretty scenery. Not in Cali? Check out the types of fruit farms around your state…some might have their own little vineyards or make wine out of other things, like apples, peaches, etc.
Too often today’s bachelor and bachelorette parties communicate the idea that they hate marriage—disrespecting it, mocking it—believing that the joining of selves is a loss of self that needs to be celebrated before the mourning brought by the marriage day. But if—like with anything in life—you keep Christ in the center, they can be fun ways to glorify and respect this incredible journey the bride is about to embark on.