Like any woman in her 30s, I've attended many bachelorette parties. At several of them, I've watched a friend, surrounded by close friends and family, partake in embarrassing activities. I've witnessed sweaty male strippers sitting on the laps of brides-to-be, bewildered future brides eating platefuls of penis pasta... the list goes on... and honestly, it all makes me cringe. Bachelorette parties often feel more like a seedy night out than anything else, an evening where the bride to-be is coerced into taking on a sexualized role, and the party guests are too. Often, inherent in the planning process is the idea that the bride-to-be should end up intoxicated, or cavorting with a male that is not her future husband. This kind of bachelorette party doesn't honor the bride to-be for the woman she is.
A bachelorette party can serve an important purpose. It can be a meaningful celebration of your single years -- a milestone event that respectfully calls that time in your life to a close as you begin a new chapter. For mine, I wanted to gather together the women who had been there for me -- those who'd listened to my stories of bad dates and failed relationships, offered support and generally been a positive force. I wanted my bachelorette party to be a chance to pay tribute to my single years and to raise a toast to the women who had been such a part of them.
Top Tip: Take some time to think about a date for your event that will work for those women that you really want to be there, and make sure to give them plenty of advance notice.
I arranged my party so it happened just a few days before my wedding, which meant that women who were flying in from other countries for the wedding could attend the bachelorette, too. Friends and family timed their flights to arrive for my bachelorette and then just stayed on a few more days for the wedding; it felt incredible to have all my ladies together.
Top Tip: Have a theme. Some ideas: Glamor, Fascinators, Glitter, Hats, Tea and Cake, and, appropriately, Love. Or, you could decide to choose a decade and make that your theme -- this lends itself to great outfit and venue opportunities.
I chose to have a theme for my party in order to pull the whole event together. I chose, simply, sequins. On the day itself, the creativeness of some of the outfits gave us lots of giggles and was a real conversation starter. There were sequins on the table, sequins on the invite and sequins on our clothes...very festive, very fun.
Top Tip: Ask one friend or family member to take the reins on the planning and help you create your ideal evening.
I originally started planning my party myself. Soon after, one of my good friends, Joanna, told me that a bride-to-be shouldn't organize her own bachelorette party. She said (she was absolutely right on this), that when you're in the midst of wedding planning, you don't need to take on the extra work of planning your bachelorette party. There's too much work involved in managing guest responses, handling bookings, etc. -- to do this for two events at the same time is not the best idea.
Joanna had the time and inclination to think of things I couldn't have. She had friends write messages and advice for me in a beautiful book, and she also thought of the idea of having place cards, a seating plan, classy sashes (Bride to Be, Mother of the Bride, Mother of the Groom), and more, too.
Top Tip: Create a situation where you can hear each other and talk to each other.
Having your closest friends and family members with you to mark this special time in your life is an amazing opportunity. You want to make sure you have the time and space to connect. You can't talk when you're pole dancing. Similarly, a cooking class or cocktail making class is great, but not the best forum for meaningful conversations. Taking tea, sharing a meal or enjoying cocktails together will give you a chance to chat without the distraction of a side activity.
Whatever you decide to do for your bachelorette party, take some time to celebrate YOU. Toast to female friendship, toast to your new chapter just beginning and to your new life as a married woman. Toast to it all. Congratulations!
This article has been abridged from its original format -- the full -length article appears on the Jewish Wedding Blog Smashing the Glass.