dear Party reader: the alterna-bachelorette party (a very wordy post, i apologize)

The bachelorette party my bridesmaids threw for me six years ago was textbook. There was a sex toy shower/party hosted by a 'friend' from college, who had just started a sex toy business (don't ask). There was dressing me up in penis paraphernalia and making me go out on the town decked out as they chose (with my underwear on the outside of my jeans), drinking from a penis sippy cup. Then there was the all-male revue, which involved many other bachelorette party attendees, as well as some more serious onlookers. There were tears at the end of the night by many, because most people had become so intoxicated that they were either causing drama (there were accusations of credit card theft!) or they had become sentimental about one thing or another. Lucky for us, we were in NYC and could take taxis home. Ahhh...the memories.

And that was actually from a fun bachelorette party. I've heard horror stories of male strippers thumping penis' on the bride-to-be's forehead and some where the stripper has shown up in gross, red saggy cotton bikini underwear. I could go on, but I won't. I am really not that racy of a person, nor are my friends- so I'm sure there are plenty of these types of stories to go around by many of you. But why, oh, why, ladies- do we feel the need to throw these types of bachelorette parties? My suspicion is that it is the 'rite of passage'- and that friends really don't know what else to do to send off their bride for the life of monogamy. While I imagine at least some guys actually enjoy having ta-ta's danced around in their face, the majority of women, I think- actually find the male equivalent repulsive (though possibly fun). 

A Party reader recently wrote in with the plead... 'HELP! I've been asked to throw a bachelorette/lingerie shower for a friend. Here is my dilema...I kind of cringe at the through of penis necklaces and toilet paper veils, but am at a loss for decor and theme excitement that isn't the above.' 

I won't typically do posts that involve a whole lot of party planning or specific ideas...mainly because the fetes I envision don't really exist, and I don't have the resources to create parties for every type of occasion, but I can sense the desperation in this dear reader's voice, and will walk her through some written ideas. I also steer away from these type of posts because I'm more into visual inspiration, then the written word. So- for those of you thinking 'why are there so many words here?'- bear with me. These posts will be few and far between.

here's my take on it:
The point of the bachelorette party is to show the bride that a) you care for her; b) you've put some effort into putting together something for her; and c) to either celebrate your friendship with her or the marriage she is about to embark on. If you keep those things in mind, then really anything you do will be great. 

some ideas:
1) make this the time to give toasts to the bride. I can't tell you how many times I've been at a rehearsal dinner where the guy gets all the great toasts and the girl ends up with one or two crappy rhyming poem group toasts from her friends (no offense). My suspicion for the prevalence of these kind of toasts is that the ladies don't feel nearly as comfortable speaking in public in front of a large group. The bachelorette party is usually a much smaller crowd made up of people that know each other pretty well. It could be a much more appropriate place to reminisce about her poor choices in previous boyfriends and funny stories that involve inappropriate behavior. The bride will probably be much more relaxed in this setting, and you don't have to worry so much about what you say- just that you make a tribute to her of some sort (that is from a kind place in your heart).

And just so those of you who will miss making a might word the invitation something like this, "let's raise a glass to our bride-to-be, she's glowing and happy and full of glee, here's our very last chance to give her a roast, and tell her how much we love her with a little toast'

Ask the attendees to bring their toasts with them, rather than setting it up as an impromptu thing (ladies seem to do better with planning in advance). You could ask that everyone bring a bottle of wine that goes with their toast, as well. Make this the focus of the evening and the bride will feel loved. 

2) Spa days (or nights) have become increasingly popular for bachelorette parties. You could spin this idea as a grown-up pajama party for adults. Instead of painting each other's nails- hire someone to paint your nails for you. Instead of chocolate milk, have wine served or a favorite cocktail (I would just choose one signature cocktail). The pajama party could also be a good way of tying a lingerie shower into the evening's activities (you could assign half the party to give a 'sweet' lingerie gift and the other half a 'sexy' one). You could rent your favorite love-story dvd's (When Harry Met Sallie, Sleepless in Seattle, etc). And no one has to spend the night, if you don't want them to! 

For the decor, I would stick with either a color or pattern theme. You could make everything pink (or white or blue, or whatever the bride's favorite color is). You could do everything in dots or stripes. I would choose one, cohesive look though. 

Much luck with your party-planning, dear reader, and please do report back with how it went!