Q: My friend is getting married and I am in charge of throwing her Bachelorette party. I don’t want to throw her the usual tacky party and I wonder if you have any tips on planning an elegant party?
A: I believe there is a goddess in every woman that should be celebrated – especially during the turning points of her life. When your dear friend is about to be wed, consider a Bachelorette celebration that honors her last moments of single life and empowers her as she enters her marriage. Create a party that will refresh her and help her reconnect with her strength and grace. After months of managing wedding arrangements, extended friends and family, and her own emotions as she gets closer to her actual wedding day, the Bachelorette will be stressed and exhausted. As weddings in our culture have become more and more elaborate, the pressure on the Bride-to-Be has become enormous – and despite all this she is expected to arrive at the aisle looking stunning and in the appropriate frame of mind to take a sacred vow. That’s a lot to ask of anyone, don’t you think?
So, when it is time to plan her Bachelorette Party, I suggest something different – something as meaningful as it is fun. Gather her most beloved womenfolk and celebrate her from the heart in the way only women can. Nurture, bless and rejuvenate her with your shared love and laughter. Open your hearts and surround her with restorative joy. Connect with her in a mindful, gracious way. Be the goddesses that you are!
Be inspired by her. What is meaningful to the Bachelorette? What does she do to reconnect to her calm, centered sense of self? Does she draw strength from a particular spiritual tradition? Is there a place she visits to refresh her soul? Does she have creative outlets for self-expression? If you don’t know, make it a point to get to know her better during the months leading up to the wedding. Talk to other women who know her well. Spend time with the Bachelorette and initiate conversations about what is important to her. If she’s pressed for time – and she probably will be – offer to accompany her on errands or help with some of the preparations and visit while you work together. She’ll be glad for the extra set of hands and you’ll have a chance to learn more about her.
Be inspiring to her. Find a private space where the Bachelorette and her guests can talk freely and feel secure enough to be openhearted with each other. Decorate it so the Bachelorette knows, from the moment she walks in the door, that this is a special place, created just for her, and set apart from the frenzy she’s experienced over the last several months. Try using rich, dramatic colors and luxurious fabrics in you décor. Add some deep-hued flowers and spicy-scented candles to create an elegent setting. For ideas, check out A. Bronwyn Llewellen’s book Goddess at Home: Interiors Inspired by Aphrodite, Artemis, Athena, Demeter, Hera, Hestia, and Persephone.
Act on your inspiration. Plan activities and rites of passage that will help you connect with, pamper and honor the Bachelorette. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
- Make or purchase a beautiful box. Have all the guests write a letter to the Bachelorette and bring it to the party. If they need some ideas about what to write, suggest they:
- Remember special times in their friendship with the Bachelorette;
- Tell the Bachelorette what they admire most about her;
- Create a poem or blessing especially for her; or
- Share bits of wisdom they’ve learned from their own marriage.
Allow time for guests to read their letters aloud to the Guest-of-Honor if they feel comfortable doing so. Place all the letters inside the decorative box and gift them to the Bachelorette as a keepsake.
- Share traditional wedding rituals from her cultural heritage. Or, start your own tradition that you can repeat as each woman in the group gets married.
- If your Bachelorette likes to cook, get all the women in the kitchen together and prepare a special meal for yourselves. It’s amazing how women will bond when they are cooking together.
- Another similar idea for artistic Bachelorettes is to create art together. Try doing ceramics, collage, or jewelry making.
- Sit around the fire together. Fire has an almost magical ability to soothe away stress and start people telling stories. Remember the last time you sat around the hearth or outdoor fire pit with good friends? Remember how relaxing it was and how one joke or story led to another?
- Give each other foot massages or pedicures.
- Bring your pajamas and make it a slumber party. Pillow fights are optional, but sure to get everybody laughing.
- Commit to each other. One aspect of getting married that can be stressful for everyone concerned is the fear that friendships will be neglected and fade away. Talk to each other openly. Think about what you are willing to do to nurture your friendships with each other and commit to doing it.
- Go outside and dance by the light of the moon.
Gifts fit for a goddess. Take plenty of time to shop for a gift, don’t rush it. Find something unique that will help the Bachelorette stay focused on herself. She’s entering into a partnership and that is time when it is easy for a person to lose themselves in their quest to connect with their new spouse. Choose something that will remind her of, and help her stay connected to, her true self. It will be better for her and better for her relationship.
A friend of mine told me about an occasion she celebrated with two of her closest girlfriends. Each woman was asked to bring charms that in some way reflected the spirit of her other two friends. As they sat together that night, they brought out each charm and shared why they chose it for their friend. At the end of the night, each woman went home with a bracelet full of reminders about who they are and how much they are loved by their best friends. These three women are open-hearted, generous spirits. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind if you borrowed their idea to fête your dear Bachelorette.
Nectar of the goddess. Serve fine wines or a nice champagne, but make sure the activities aren’t focused around drinking. Your focus should be on the Bride-to-Be and this change in her life. The hostess should set the tone about what is important and should always have the Bachelorette’s best interest in mind. The hostess should be mindful about how much alcohol is served throughout the evening and be proactive if she sees someone is having too much to drink. Intervene before someone embarrasses herself and keep any drama far away from the Bachelorette.
Take care of each other. Shower each other with love by remembering a few important basics:
- Hold the Bachelorette Party a few days before the wedding. I advise against having the party the night before the wedding because the Bride-to-Be needs to look and feel her best on her wedding day. That is impossible if she was up late the night before.
- Don’t do anything that would humiliate the Bachelorette. It’s important to keep her comfort level in mind when you plan activities. This is a celebration, not a hazing. If she is more innocent or conservative, don’t go overboard with sexual games and innuendos.
- Keep each other’s secrets. When women get together to laugh and bond, they often share personal information – or make jokes they wouldn’t dream of repeating in mixed company. Things will likely be said during the party that don’t need to be passed along to others. Be a trustworthy friend to everyone in the room.
Many blessings. One of the most important assets women have is the love and support of other women. Think of the popularity of books such as the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Women crave a connection with other women that they can carry with them through all the changes of their life. If you don’t have deep, meaningful bonds with your dearest friends right now, use the Bachelorette Party to start forging them in her honor. If you do, acknowledge those bonds, celebrate them and strengthen them. You’ll all be stronger, wiser, and more gracious when the sun comes up in the morning.
Angela, The Goddess Next Door