You Need Help: Negotiating A Queer Bachelorette Party

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Welcome to You Need Help! Where you’ve got a problem and yo, we solve it. Or we at least try.


Q:

All these wedding perspective articles are helping me out so much with figuring out what I want to do with my person, thank you for sharing all of your stories awesome Autostraddle Staff! The one question that’s really stressing me out right now is well-meaning friends who ask “So what are you going to do for your bachelorette?” Thing is — I don’t know if I’m down with the idea of a bachelorette party. I hate being the center of attention and really dislike a lot of the “traditions” but I know my fiance-to-be loves that kind of attention. Separate things could be a thing, but a lot of our close friends would have to pay for two events, which is hard and I would hate asking them to do that, but some kind of compromise thing would be tricky. HELP, I feel silly anxiety like woa.

-Anxious About Bachelorette Party

A:

Dear Anxious,

Let me start by saying “Girl, I feel you.” I’m getting married in a of couple weeks, and I’m not all about the bachelorette party thing, and I’m thanking Beyonce that my partner isn’t either.

It’s a little tough when one of you love the spotlight and the other hates it; it makes any event like this an exercise in negotiation. So that’s the first bit of advice I’m going to give to you — do some serious communication with your person about your thoughts and feelings about the situation. If you two are going to be wedding planning together, you should get used to those negotiation conversations anyway. You’ll almost certainly end up having difference of opinions about cake flavors, napkin colors, or which dildo should go in your guest gift bag, so being ready and able to talk this stuff out will go a long way in avoiding throwing cake (or dildo, I guess) at each other later on.

In any case, if you’re going to go ahead with something bachelorette-party-esque, you’ve basically got two options: you try to throw a party that you both can at least somewhat enjoy (or that your person is really into and you won’t totally hate), or you can let your fiancee-to-be have a party on her own and you can take that time to do something relaxing and enjoyable that you like.

Since the second option is really the easiest, I’ll start there. Your wedding (and all wedding-related festivities) are about both of you. There’s already a lot of “together” things going on, so if you’re not super geeked over a rowdy party night with everyone focusing on you, it’s 100% okay for you to not be a part of that! Let your person have their wild night of boozing and dancing and wearing a glittery crown. You can have a quiet night to yourself to do whatever it is that you love to do, whether it’s just binge-watching Orange Is The New Black with a bottle of red wine, or having a private dance party in your underwear. If you’re up for it, you could invite over a few friends who are also not super into the whole party thing and make an easy (and inexpensive) night in of it.

Party!

It’s totally okay to to want to party. (image via Giphy)

If you still really want to do this bachelorette party thing together, then make it your own and find ways to make it fun and enjoyable for both of you. First things first: ditch any tradition you want, even if that’s absolutely all of them. There’s no clause in your marriage license requiring you to have a party that involves wearing jewelry shaped like breasts or genitals and taking bodyshots off a stripper. Your party can be as tame or wild as you want it to be, and it can be classy or ridiculous as you choose. It’s your party for your wedding and it’s 20-effing-15, so you can do whatever the hell you want! With that in mind, here are some ideas:

Barcrawl: This is still definitely within the “traditional” notions of what a bachelorette party is, but there’s nothing saying you have to do or wear anything that outwardly identifies you as one of the brides! Let your partner do that, and soak up all the attention that comes with it, and you can just watch it all happen and laugh. If it’s within everyone’s budget, add hotel rooms and a party bus so no one has to worry about getting home safely.

Classy Night Out: You could always skip the grungy bar atmosphere and get fancy. Everyone puts on their best fancy attire, and you all head out to a super-classy dinner and maybe a chic cocktail bar or ultra lounge afterwards to sip on those artisanal beverages that are all the rage these days. Since your whole group will be dressed to the nines, you won’t necessarily stand out in particular, but your group is likely to turn heads, which should make your fiancee feel like a rockstar.

Spa Day: This one is a little cliche maybe, but that doesn’t make it any less fun if it’s your thing! A day of relaxation and pampering to work out all the wedding stress and make sure you look your best on the big day. Massages, facials, mani-pedis, mud baths — all of them are about individual experiences, so there’s no spotlight and no pressure for you, but you can always nudge the folks in charge to make sure your person gets some extra attention.

Go Camping: This certainly works best if at least a few folks in your social circle are outdoorsy types. But, even if you’re all urbanites to your core, you can often find campgrounds with cabins so you can still have that back-to-nature, get-away-from-stuff experience. It can be as boozy or as sober as you like, but the social togetherness of campfires (and maybe s’mores) is a thing you both will remember for a long time.

Whiskey, Meat, and Poker: Yes, this sounds like a pretty traditional “bachelor” party kind of thing. Who cares? If you’re into it, go for it. Gather in someone’s home, acquire copious amounts of meat and brown liquor, then play poker until everyone throws chips at each other. If you want to give a little more attention to your person, organize a roast as part of the evening. Cigars are optional (and kind of gross, but you do you!).

Paintball: Another thing more often associated with the pre-wedding gatherings of men, but a totally fun afternoon for just about everyone. You spend a few hours running around shooting each other. Your partner could be your team captain, giving her a chance to shine. To make the whole thing extra ridiculous, head to the thrift shop and buy terrible bridesmaid dresses and play in them (and make sure to take pictures afterwards!). I suggest not doing this one too close to your wedding dates, unless you’re cool with lots of bruises showing in your wedding photos.

There are tons of other possibilities for a fun “everyone together” kind of event, too. Plan a road trip to somewhere interesting. Spend a day at the beach. Attend a concert or music festival. Head over to a comedy club. Take a class like painting, poledancing, or horseback riding. Host a slumber party. Pretty much anything where you can gather your nearest and dearest together for an evening of celebration could be an option for bachelorette party!

Everything is awesome as long as you're all together. (Image via  Giphy)

Everything is awesome as long as you’re all together. (Image via Giphy)

I think one of the coolest things about a queer wedding (and especially queer women’s weddings) is how much of the “traditional” stuff you can just totally ignore if you want to. Everyone’s already expecting it to be different from a hetero wedding, so you can really do whatever you want. That definitely includes the bachelorette party and all the “traditions” associated with it. If you end up deciding that doing a bachelorette party together is what you want, I have confidence that you’ll be able to tweak the plans enough to respect your different needs for attention.

Good luck, have fun, and congratulations!

Mari is a queer lady scientist and educator from Detroit, who skillfully avoids working on her genetics dissertation by writing about queer and trans life, nerd culture, feminism, and science. You can frequently find her running around at science-fiction conventions giving panels on consent culture and LGBT topics or DJing at fantastically strange parties. She is a contributing writer for TransAdvocate, maintains a personal blog at TransNerdFeminist, and can frequently be found stirring up trouble (and posting selfies) on Twitter.

Mari has written 36 articles for us.

14 Comments

  1. My wife and I had a joint bachelorette party at an amazing drag club 45 minutes away from where we live. It had the raunchy feeling of whatever you’d think a “typical” bachelorette party would be like, but without the smarmy strip club objectification feelingz. Anyway, it was a lot of fun to get all of our wedding parties together. Then, when it was finally wedding time two months later, they all knew each other and had bonded!

    • Why *wouldn’t* you have a joint bachelorette party, if that’s what you want to do? I don’t see how having your future spouse there would downplay the celebration/commemoration aspects. (Or did, in my case!)

      • Because it’s to celebrate your last day being unattached. Doing it with your betrothed seems to defeat the purpose, you have the rest of your lives to be together. Live it up with your friends as individuals!

  2. I’m currently helping my bestie plan her bachelorette party and it is tricky because she is marrying a woman but very much wants male strippers at her partay. I’ve been tasked with finding the male strippers which is tricky as I’m so gaaaaay. Anyway, she’ll get the more tradish party that she wants and her gf will have something more quiet and queerish. The point is you can do whatever you want! Have all the fun!

  3. I’m so glad I remembered to read this! People at work ask me ALL THE DAMN TIME what we/they’re going to do before the GF (aka wife) get married officially. TBH I really don’t know either! LOL. Knowing my wife and I we’ll either end up A) Cooking all day for a party B) Go out and be like “can we go home now” by 11pm. HAHA.

  4. I still think I want my ‘bachelorette’ party to be blueberry picking and swimming in the river, but since that involves a lot of driving, I might just have a picnic and wear a penis hat/sparkly crown. Gf has endorsed penis hat but has requested no other peen-paraphenalia.

  5. Good information/permission to do you : )

    All of these wedding related articles are beautiful! I was invited by a gal pal to go shopping for her bridesmaid dress, and I’m so excited!

  6. One of my best friends and her bride-to-be had a quasi-joint bachelorette party. Each group did their own thing for some of the evening…but we all met up at the end of the night at a vaudeville/burlesque show. I thought it was pretty great b/c we got to meet the other bridesmaids and family– who were obviously awesome– but still got to do separate activities that kept it maybe a little more traditional.

  7. this was us! Simone loves being the center of attention and letting other people plan things for her and the idea of this kind of rambunctiousness with her friends. so she had one (and had an absolute ball!) while I stayed home and took a long bath and read and generally did all the introvert things that nourish me. I was invited but thought it was fun to let her have her special time, and really it was more her kind of party anyway 🙂

    I just didn’t have one, and I don’t feel like I missed out on anything.

    so yeah, you can totally do that! have one for her, and you don’t have to go! or if you want to have a separate one for yourself, make it small and mellow and cheap. we are gay, that means no rules!!!

    also, congrats 🙂

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