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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
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.
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!
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!