First thing's first for any bachelorette party, though: make sure to ask the bride what she wants to do for the special event. You may be surprised to find that what she wants to do for her bachelorette is completely different than what she'd normally consider a fun night out with the girls. After all, getting married is a rite of passage, and more and more bachelorette parties — especially for those over 30 — are becoming meaningful, thoughtful celebrations rather than all-night ragers that include taking shots with drunk male strangers at a bar. In some cases, brides are even saying that they prefer to forgo the traditional all women's party, and have co-ed bachelorette parties.
So ask the bride what type of celebration she would like, and then choose your activities from there. If you're planning a pre-wedding fête for a non-traditional bride who's looking for a meaningful party with the women in her life, then these five bachelorette party ideas are bound to get you headed on the right track.
1. Play The Quote Guessing Game
In this game, every woman picks a quote, song, or poem that they think has some valuable wisdom for the bride and her marriage journey ahead. They type it on a piece of paper, and then bring it to the bachelorette party. At the party, all the quotes, songs, and poems are collected and put into a basket and mixed up so no one knows whose is whose. The bride (or alternatively each of the women at the party, for brides who don't enjoy the spotlight) picks one from the basket one at a time and reads it. Then the bride has to guess which woman at the party has given her that quote, song, or poem.
This is a great way to still incorporate a traditional "game" into a bachelorette party, while still infusing it with some meaning for brides who are looking for something heartfelt in their celebration.
Sound like the right fit for the bride you're celebrating? Here's what's needed: a quote, song, or poem from every woman at the party, and a basket to collect them in.
2. Throw A Goddess Party
Elizabeth Stahl, a life coach and self-proclaimed goddess, facilitates goddess parties for bachelorette parties that she describes as: "A ceremony that honors the Bride and her close circle of female friends, bonding them as women in a beautiful, loving, and supportive way. It is a special gift for the Bride — to be blessed, loved, and supported by her closest circle of women as she steps forward into her new life.It involves creating a sacred space at the start of the party with candles or incense, having each woman choose or create a goddess crown to reflect her personality, honoring each woman in the circle for their intrinsic gifts that they bring to the group, and having each woman select a spiritual card that reflects her inner goddess."
Though it would be ideal to have someone like Stahl facilitate a goddess party, it would also be possible to create your own version of a goddess party.
Sound like the right fit for the bride you're celebrating? Here's what's needed: candles and/or incense, craft materials to create goddess crowns, and goddess cards.
3. Create A Scrapbook
Creating a scrapbook is a great way to give the bride one thoughtful gift from everyone at the bachelorette party. Some ideas of what to include in the scrapbook are letters to the bride, favorite memories of the bride (written out and with pictures), favorite recipes to share with the bride, or pieces of meaningful marriage advice. Scrapbooks can be created in advance, or at the bachelorette party as an activity. If creating one at the party, just make sure to give the guests a heads up as to what they will need to bring to the party to complete their page for the scrapbook.
Sound like the right fit for the bride you're celebrating? Here's what's needed: a scrapbook, craft materials, and a letter, memory, recipe, or piece of advice from each guest.
4. Have A Talking Stick Ceremony
A talking stick ceremony requires that the group of women sit in a circle, with each one speaking at a different time. In advance of the party, you decide upon how many questions and what questions you would like to pose to the group. In her book The Conscious Bride, Sheryl Paul quotes a bride, Victoria, who did the talking stick ceremony with her group of friends before her wedding:
"The way it works is the stick, which can be any item, is placed in the middle, and whoever wants to speak next picks it up. The guidelines are: Speak from the heart. Listen from the heart. Do not interrupt when someone else is speaking. May your words be lean and concise. Nothing leaves the circle without permission.The questions Victoria's group used were 1.) What does marriage mean to you? 2.) Does anyone have any fears about how their relationship with the bride might change after the wedding? and 3.) How has the bride's love affected them?"
These are good to start with, but you can come up with your own set of questions that best reflects the bride you're celebrating. Victoria used a hair tie as her talking stick so that she would remember all her girlfriends and her meaningful celebration every time she wore it, and again, you can choose an item that you think would be the most meaningful to the bride.
Sound like the right fit for the bride you're celebrating? Here's what's needed: An object to serve as the talking stick, and a list of three questions to pose to the group.
5. Create A Time Capsule
A fun throwback to a favorite childhood activity is creating a time capsule at the bachelorette party. You can either have everyone bring items to the party such as a picture with the bride and something that represents what each guest loves most about the bride, or have everyone find an item to include in the time capsule during the bachelorette party such as a menu from a restaurant that the group eats at together, or the lyrics to a song everyone danced to during the party. Then have everyone deposit their items into the time capsule with a note to the bride, and set a date that you agree to open the time capsule together such as the couple's five-year anniversary.
This is a great way to incorporate an oldie-but-goodie activity, make the bride feel loved, and set up a date to come back together down the road.
Sound like the right fit for the bride you're celebrating? Here's what's needed: something to serve as the time capsule such as a shoe box, objects to include in the time capsule, paper and pens to write notes to the bride with, and ribbon to tie the notes to the objects with.
No matter what you're planning, know that it's certainly OK — and preferred by many — to break up old wedding conventions in favor of new non-traditional wedding trends that more appropriately reflect the bride. Creating a party that's a true reflection of the bride is certainly the very best way to honor her before her wedding.
This post also appeared on Bustle.com.