Remember that particular summer during middle school when, suddenly, coed parties were all the rage? With a hint of nostalgia and a flair for the nontraditional, conjoined bachelor/bachelorette parties are starting to come into style. Celebrities such as Tracy Morgan and Megan Wollover have opted to bring all of their friends together in a fun, modern celebration before their nuptials. If you’re looking get all your guys and gals involved in a pre-wedding romp, we’ve got some great ideas to make your celebration memorable.
A Cruise on the Bay
If you and your party are near a large body of water, like an ocean or a lake, chances are, you’ll have a lot of nautical options at the click of your mouse. Many marinas have special boats and yachts available for celebrations of any size and style. You can work with professionals to create the perfect menu, playlist, and evening events. It may feel a little like planning a wedding, but in the end, you get to party with your closest friends on the water! These boats are generally on the larger side, so it’s the perfect option for a co-ed pre-wedding bash. If you’re looking for something a little more low-key, there are usually options to rent smaller boats: you could pack your favorite foods, drinks, and people for a picnic on the water.
The Pre-Vow Bar Crawl
This type of event is for any wedding party that doesn’t skimp on the booze and longs for those crazy college nights. Pick a location near you with some great bars (or, if you’re feeling adventurous: some new bars in an unfamiliar area) and map out your desired route. If some places aren’t within walking distance, be sure to arrange for sober transportation ahead of time. The hosts can be as creative as they’d like! For example, make a list of activities the bride and groom must do at each new bar (sing a popular duet song all the way through, get a stranger to buy them each a drink without speaking, take a picture with every bouncer they encounter, etc.) and enforce it. The maid of honor and the best man can hold onto the list throughout the night, or the activities can be written on poster paper and hung around the happy couple’s necks like signs, so that everyone knows what they’re up to! This idea is great for more traditional, single-gender parties, but what bride would want to miss her groom singing a karaoke version of a Celine Dion song in front of a crowded bar?
A Weekend Away
If you are feeling like splurging for your combined celebration, renting a house for the weekend can be an incredible bonding experience for your wedding party. Pick a location that’s within a few hours drive from your central location (a place on the beach, a cabin in the mountains, maybe even the charming little house a few towns over). This is a great option if everyone involved knows each other well and doesn’t mind being cooped up together for a few days. The best part? You can be as hands-on or hands-off as you’d like: laid-back organizers can bring up some board games and maps of the town to decide the day’s activities on the spot, and detail-oriented planners can research the town, schedule meals, plan spa days, and make room assignments in advance. Houses are great for big parties and having both men and women for impromptu games of “Truth or Dare” is always interesting.
A Murder Mystery Party
If your group is already a little theatrical (and could fake a few accents), then gather them together for an evening of intrigue and detective work. There are a variety of murder mystery kits sold online, which would leave very little extra work for the host(s): these usually include a plotline, rules, list of characters and their descriptions, clues, and a definitive guide as to how to plan the evening. Or, if the group prefers to take the reigns, be creative and create your own version! The party could be themed (1920s, Las Vegas, etc.) and everyone plays along, trying to figure out which party guest may be a killer. At the end, everyone can make accusations and defend themselves, and after the murderer is revealed, you can wind down with food and conversation. It’s a unique idea for a couple that has a flair for dramatics!
Opening photo by Kevin Weinstein Photography