Bachelor party: The two words that can send many an understanding and calm fiancÃ© down a path of insecurity and jealousy. And it’s not any easier for the men considering the booze and bars of today’s bachelorette parties.
But those last nights of singledom don’t have to equate fear. True, for some, the parties inspire images of strippers, drunkenness and full-fledge debauchery. But that’s not the only option. Soon-to-be husbands and wives are well positioned for a multitude of possible shindigs.
For starters, Atlantic City is a mere two-hour drive away, while Philadelphia is an easy trip heading north on I-95. And if NYC is more your style, no problem. In as little as three hours, you can be partying it up with your 30 closest friends in the city’s hottest club. Of course, if the weather’s nice, any Delaware beach is a guaranteed good time.
But those are choices you already know about. There are plenty more that you probably haven’t considered.
Take for example the bachelorette party for Katie Beth Martinenza of Wilmington. She simply wanted a day that could include her entire bridal party—especially her two underaged sisters.
“I have a 17-, a 19- and a 21-year-old-sister, and I wanted to be able to incorporate them in my bachelorette party,” she explains. “At the same time, I still wanted the traditional parts—the T-shirts and a veil, and maybe a bar later in the night.”
After speaking with her maid-of-honor, Katie Beth decided on spending most of her day at Everyday Artists in Hockessin, a paint-your-own-pottery workshop. It was perfect; not only were all of her sisters able to attend, but her mother and mother-in-law did, too.
And surprisingly, her choice of activities isn’t as unusual as some would believe. In fact, Everyday Artists even offers package deals for bridal showers. “When we called to make reservations, we were able to reserve a room for the party,” Katie Beth says. “Everyone paid a set fee, which included the piece, the glazing and firing.”
Price was important. “The whole wedding process is expensive—not just for the bride and groom,” she says. “Whatever I wanted to do, I didn’t want them [my friends] to have to shell out hundreds of dollars for my bachelorette party.”
What made it extra-special, she says, is the surprise her bridal party tried to keep hidden from her.
“Everyone who came painted one tile, which were then attached to a serving tray. Each tile was special,” she says. “They tried to keep it a secret, but I eventually caught on,” she admits, and was eventually able to paint her own tile for the tray.
While her choice wasn’t the makings of a standard bachelorette party, she was still able to enjoy some of the traditional trappings. Each bridesmaid and bridesman (yes, bridesman) wore the typical bright-pink shirt with their position in the bridal party emblazoned on the front. Katie Beth herself wore a veil, and the mothers each wore their own mother of the bride or groom shirt.
After the pottery glazing, the party celebrated with dinner at a local restaurant and made its way to Main Street in Newark for a few drinks. There was still a scavenger hunt where Katie Beth was charged with, for instance, taking a picture with any man who shared a name with her fiancÃ©.
“No, it was not your typical bachelorette party, but it was really fun,” she says. “Most of all, it was nice to spend time with friends.”
The less artistic and more active brides need look no farther than Katie Beth’s groom. Her husband, Brian, teamed up with a good friend, Drew Ernst of Bear, who was also marrying the same month, to combine the fun and the groomsmen with a shared bachelor party.
“We spent the weekend in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, camping, paintballing and white water rafting,” Drew says. In total, 30 close friends packed their camping gear and spent the weekend at a local campground. Even the fathers attended, an addition that may not have been as desirable had they gone to a strip club instead.
The benefits of this type of party are numerous. For starters—it was cheap.
“Each person probably spent about $100 for the entire weekend, plus food. But we went to Costco and stocked up on about $150 worth of hotdogs and hamburgers and other food,” Drew says.
Another plus? No need to worry about a designated driver: The bar and hotel were both located in one place—their tents. They still needed to watch their volume, he explains, but not to the same level as in a hotel.
Drew does have one regret. “We were so sore from the paintballing welts, it was hard to recuperate enough for white water rafting the next day,” he says.
Drew also says that if he could do it over again, he wouldn’t have donned a white jump suit during paintballing, which made him an easy target for the rest of his friends, who were dressed in black. Grooms-to-be can learn from the mistake.
“All my friends who came said they want to do something similar for their bachelor parties,” he says. “It was just so awesome.”
Camping, paintballing and white water rafting aren’t the only ways to add a little cardio to your party. Consider doing what Rehoboth Beach bride Nancy Billger did. She collected all of her favorite athletes and they competed in one of last summer’s five Delaware State Parks Adventure Races. Each race combines different legs of activities like kayaking, running, biking, paddleboating and orienteering.
“I don’t drink, and I wanted to do something active,” she says. Nancy and five of her friends participated in the Baldcypress Challenge at Trap Pond State Park last July.
Like most bachelorettes, Nancy still wore a short, white veil, in addition to running sneakers, shorts and a T-shirt.
And surprisingly, it wasn’t hard to convince her friends to bike, run, canoe and paddleboat 10 miles around the park.Â “Anyone who is friends with me is also really active,” she explains. “They were so excited they were telling all their friends about it.”
However, an event like this does take more planning than the typical night out at the bar. Each race is only open to 80 participants, says Ray Bivens of Trap Pond State Park, who suggests making reservations in advance. Participants can register for one race at $27 or $100 for all five held during the spring and summer.
If you’re looking for the happy medium between crafts, gym class and a strip joint, you can always become your own stripper. Patty Mandelbaum, owner and instructor of A Pole Lot of Fun has been teaching ladies in the Delaware area how to strut their stuff for over a year. For $350 you, and 11 of your closest friends, can learn the basics of a pole dance and walk away with a full routine under your belt. The class lasts about two-and-one-half hours, and as Patty explains, “I bring the pole and music, you bring the attitude.” Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on your point of view, this is a girls-only bachelorette party.