CELEBRATING A SOBER BRIDE: THROW A SUBSTANCE-FREE BACHELORETTE PARTY
// GUEST ARTICLE FROM ABBY HOLT OF CRAFTABILITY.
For people overcoming substance abuse or alcoholism, the idea of attending a party or a celebration might feel like walking through a minefield. Celebrations are important; however, celebrations that are heavily associated with alcohol, like a bachelorette party, can be especially intimidating.
If you’re the maid of honor for a bride-to-be in recovery, the task of throwing a sober bachelorette party may feel impossible, but it truly can be done! To help, wedding, engagement and elopement photographer Esther Rohr offers some great tips and how to plan it and make sure it’s fun for everyone.
Reach a consensus on alcohol to ensure everyone is on board—
This day is about the bride, and the best idea is to focus on her good time. Therefore, it’s preferable that the group refrains from drinking, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the fun. Town and Country Magazine suggests non-alcoholic cocktails that can align with the party’s theme. For a beach bachelorette party, try mojitos or virgin pina coladas minus the rum.
Choose an area that has a variety of activities—
Look for a place to hold the party that has plenty of options for everyone in the group, like theme parks or spas. A theme park lets you unleash your inner child, while a spa day can help everyone, especially the bride-to-be, take a deep breath before the big day. In most cities, there are a lot of activities that can be enjoyed alcohol-free. Take in a ballgame or the symphony. Take a cooking class or see a play. You can even set sail on a sober cruise or take a vacation curated to be substance-free. Lonely Planet asserts that sober travel is a new trend.
Get everyone involved, but not all the time—
If you think drinking will be an issue, find ways to parcel out the day so that ladies who want to sit on the beach with a cocktail in hand have time to do so, like when the bride-to-be is off getting her nails done or getting pampered with a massage. Then switch it up with an alcohol-free activity so the bride is comfortable when celebrating with her closest friends. You can arrange the day and night so that there’s time for alcohol for those who want it, without it becoming a trigger or a temptation for the bride-to-be.
Take the fun to the great outdoors—
A road trip to the Cascades. Heading to the coast to kayak in the ocean. Go camping in Tumalo State Park. There are plenty of outdoor activities that don’t include alcohol. If the bachelorette is the outdoor type, get a group together to celebrate her nuptials by achieving something amazing together, like hiking Mt. Hood. Maybe the bride has a special interest, like she loves cheese or is an art fanatic. Plan a road trip that involves her preferred hobbies, like visiting the Boise Art museum or touring small cheese farms nearby.
Dance the night away—
Even if you want to do the typical clubbing and dancing bachelorette party, Recovery Village has some good tips on how to stay sober. There are lots of ways to keep the bachelorette party alcohol-free. Rent out a venue, take it to a skating rink, or go out on the town, but make sure your friend is comfortable being in clubs with alcohol. If not, a girls-only dance party in a high-end hotel suite is a fun and intimate way to celebrate your friend’s love with people who know how to have fun, while respecting where she is in her recovery journey.
Document the fun—
It’s true that between you, the bride and all her guests, you can all snap dozens of pics with your phones to capture the event. But when you work with a dedicated photographer, you can spend more time enjoying the party and less time worrying about photographs. To keep this affordable, it’s best to stay relatively close to your home base, or within a few hours’ drive. In the end, the bride-to-be and all her friends will have some wonderful photographs to go with cherished memories.
Check on the bride—
It’s easy to get carried away with planning and corralling guests, but remember that this is supposed to be about the bride-to-be. So check in with her regularly to see how she feels about anything and everything; sobriety, her wedding, the party. It’s a lot to navigate for anyone, but when you’re trying to manage your sobriety, it can be challenging.
During the bachelorette, make a point to regularly ask the bride if she needs anything or how she’s doing. And make a point to be fully present. Ditch the work emails or texts so you can stay in the moment and offer the support your friend needs.
Planning a sober bachelorette doesn’t have to be difficult. Hopefully, the ideas above give you plenty to work with, or even sparked your imagination. Here’s to a great party!