Forget the bar: Couples get personal with bachelor, bachelorette partiesWritten by Sarah Ottney | Managing Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
A 5K. A backyard campfire. Laser tag. Ultimate Frisbee. Miniature golf. Roller derby. All these activities and more have been incorporated into the bachelor or bachelorette parties of local brides- and grooms-to-be.
Although bachelor and bachelorette parties traditionally include bar-hopping, clubbing, suggestive paraphernalia and plenty of alcohol, there is a party style to fit every personality and some soon-to-be-weds are choosing a different route for their last single fling.
Kevin Clark of Monroe, Mich., and his friends had a cookout, played some folk music and then sat around a backyard campfire. Melissa Kepler of Curtice and her bridal party played laser tag at Q-ZAR and then went out for ice cream.
Andy and Beth Gries of Perrysburg met playing Ultimate Frisbee, so it seemed only natural they would rent an indoor soccer field and toss the disc for their joint bachelor/bachelorette party.
“We had so many fond memories of fun nights playing Frisbee with this group of people together that it was just almost a way to symbolize that we would continue this kind of fun and active life with each other and our Frisbee friends. And we have done just that,” Beth said.
The couple, who married in 2009, don’t drink much or enjoy bars, so a traditional party did not appeal to them.
Andy’s parents helped organize the game and invited friends to come watch.
“We normally play pretty laid-back, but I do remember running into the wall once and someone else almost hitting me — which in hindsight was probably not very safe for me to do before my wedding!” Beth said. “We had so many people show up that the field was pretty crowded, but it was great to have such a good turnout.
“I would definitely recommend a nontraditional route to others, especially if it includes activities that really mean something to you. Best of all, I could remember the next morning what happened and it is an experience that I will cherish for years to come.”
Meredith Diehl of Toledo went above and beyond her maid of honor duties when planning an entire day of bachelorette activities for her sister Megan Parietti of Plain City, Ohio, prior to her 2011 wedding.
Joined by groom Justin, the group started off with a 5K race followed by a breakfast at Uncle John’s Pancake House. Then the girls took in a round of miniature golf, a walk through Wildwood Preserve Metropark and dinner at Texas Roadhouse before catching a Glass City Rollers roller derby bout.
“I don’t really drink much, so I just wanted to do something fun that didn’t involve alcohol,” Parietti said. “Meredith said to make a list of anything you could possibly want to do and I’ll fit as much in as I can.”
Parietti said her favorite part was all the funny photos the group took while playing miniature golf.
“We lined up all our balls and played the last hole together and just took a bunch of pictures,” Parietti said. “We just joked around and took pictures all day. Just spending that time with everyone and getting to talk was awesome.”
Parietti said she has no regrets about her choice of activities — and hopes she may have even inspired a few converts.
“I loved my way and a couple of my bridesmaids even said, ‘This is the way to go,’” Parietti said. “So maybe I’m starting a trend.”
No matter what your style, local business Alt B can help make your dream party a reality, said owner Cortnie Fogo of Oregon. The Toledo-based company plans “alternative mobile parties,” including bachelorette and joint bachelor/bachelorette parties, by partnering with local, female-owned small business vendors.
Offering pick two ($90 per guest), pick three ($120) and pick four ($150) packages, Alt B offers spa services, makeup, hair styling, chair massage, wine tasting, manicures, henna body art, belly dancing, mini boudoir photo session and more. Groups can also choose to have a casino game night, trivia game show or a sex toy, jewelry or skin care line representative attend. Adding a catered dinner, limo service or on-site child care is also possible.
“Our whole philosophy is ‘Think outside the bar,’” said Fogo, who started Alt B in November 2011. “I want them to feel they can have whatever kind of event or party they want and they don’t have to be pigeonholed into going to a bar or strip club because that’s what everyone does. I coordinate everything. You just show up.”
Belly dancing is a popular activity for bachelorette parties, said KayLouise, owner of Le Chat Noir in Northwood and founder/choreographer of Mesmeric Belly Dance Fusion.
“It’s perfectly appropriate no matter what size, age or fitness level you are. It’s not a high impact form of movement, so it’s suitable for a lot of people,” KayLouise said. “What people don’t realize is historically, in the Middle East, belly dancing is a social activity that’s done just to socialize with each other. Dancing is taught to younger women by older women. It’s been Americanized for sure. People have in their heads what a belly dancer is supposed to look like, but that’s not at all what it’s supposed to look like.”
KayLouise’s burlesque classes are also popular.
“I’d say it’s about even,” KayLouise said. “The pole dancing thing is getting popular and I think burlesque is a more historic variation. Burlesque predated stripping. It’s associated with the vaudeville circuit and early American theater. What we do is a little softer and feminine and less suggestive. It’s become more popular because of the movie ‘Burlesque.’”
Costs range from $90 for mini-sessions to $300 for a three-hour party. KayLouise also offers hula hoop, chair massages, psychic or tarot card readings and “hairtillery,” which is creating vintage-style hair clips using flowers and feathers.
Toledo Pole Dancing and Fitness studio offers private pole parties for bachelorette parties.