Women have thrown parties to celebrate their friends’ weddings for centuries. But the modern idea of a bachelorette (or hen) party modeled on mens’ bachelor parties has only been around since the 1960’s. With the advent of the sexual revolution came the desire for men and women to have equally sodden and debauched parties to say farewell to the single life.
It isn’t too late to reclaim the older tradition—a happy, wholesome celebration of friendship that doesn’t leave the bride-to-be embarrassed or hung over just days before her wedding. These five tried-and-true ideas are all great ways to show a friend your love and joy.
A Tea Party
Send out handwritten invitations in your neatest handwriting. Request that guests wear dresses or skirts. Whip up a batch of traditional cream tea foods—or judiciously assign treats to different guests. Lay a beautiful table with flowers and your nicest dishes, or arrange enough seating around a low table for a more casual atmosphere. For the cost of food, you’ve prepared a classy, relaxed bridal shower your bride-to-be is unlikely to forget.
A Dance Class
Find a friend who can dance or, for slightly more, hire a professional. (Many dance studios offer in-home dance classes.) Provide pitchers of the bride-to-be’s favorite cocktails and yummy snacks to keep everyone going. Learn something useful for the wedding, burn calories, and celebrate the upcoming nuptials in a unique, exciting way.
A Spa Day
Ask around for what different friends can do. Maybe one is great with nails, or another has a wonderful, homemade facial. If you want to do make-overs, your local Mary Kay rep would be happy to come and provide free samples and tips. (Be sure to encourage guests to buy and products they like to make it worth her time!) Ask guests to bring their own bathrobes. Find a CD or radio station of spa music. Provide light, healthy snacks and champagne. Make a no cell phone rule. Do whatever it takes to help the bride-to-be’s troubles melt away.
A Scavenger Hunt
There are dozens of ideas on-line, but you may want to censor some of the more tasteless ideas and add a few of your own. Make sure each group has a digital camera and send them out on the town to take pictures of anything from the most hideous bridesmaid’s dress they can find to the place that reminds them the most of the bride-to-be. End with a nice lunch (cheaper) or dinner out.
Drag out all the markers, watercolors, pastels, glue, and glitter you can find. Invite guests to express themselves to their hearts’ content. You can provide more structure with a topic—something light-hearted like “Make something to remind the bride-to-be of your happiest memory together” or something deeper and more personal like an art therapy assignment.
How do your friends celebrate marriages? Let us know in the comments.