Long before I ever thought I would get married in a run-away ceremony at the edge of the Washington wilderness there were elements of the traditional wedding process that just didn’t appeal to me. I was all for the white dress and the cutting of the cake and the one really drunk family member, but there was always something that irked me about the before traditions.
Chalk it up to the fact I was insecure or that I had been made to feel as such through my years of un-idealistic dates, but the whole bachelor/bachelorette party debacle really put a bad taste in my mouth.
Not only did I not understand why someone would celebrate their last night as a bachelor/ette years after they decided to be exclusive with their significant other, but it bothered me that the concept was one blown so out of proportion by the media.
I understood it was supposed to be symbolic and reminiscent of the girls nights we had back in 2007 and I respected that. What I didn’t respect was being forced to party outside of my will, all because I was choosing to mature my relationship with someone. It’s not like I didn’t still go out with my girlfriends.
Luckily for me, I married someone who didn’t care — read: every time he goes to a football game with his buddies it’s practically a bachelor party — also, our wedding was a secret, so we didn’t have them. Naturally, then, I thought my bachelorette party days were behind me. That’s when I realized, however, that I was the first of my friends to get married and the bachelorette party season was just beginning.
When one of my best high school friends put the date of her wedding in stone I knew the planning was going to come down to myself and the other bridesmaids. I panicked, and after ignoring the party for six months, finally had to sit down with a glass of scotch and face my fears.
What was I so afraid of? Strippers? Shots of Jager? Sleazy clubs at 2 a.m.? Pink sashes?
No! I’ve watched Magic Mike so many times and I love the taste of Red Bull. I grew up going to Cactus Jacks and watching Miss America! I wasn’t afraid of the elements of the bachelorette party, I was afraid of the outcome.
There are certain times in ones life when everything seems a little too real — the first time you stall your standard at a busy intersection, wearing the cap and gown as you walk across the stage in front of your senior class, being broken up with, dropping the top of your ice cream cone, finding out you have lice, watching someone you love get really sick and that moment when you look around and realize that everyone is waiting to say goodbye to you.
“I never thought I would be here,” ended one of the toasts in our limo-bus, “and I am so thankful I can support you in following your heart.”
My fear of bachelorette parties has never been about my dislike of gender-specific events and high-pitched giggling — although I’m sure initially that played a role — it has been about my unwillingness to look the future in the eye and prepare myself for it, wholeheartedly.
Yes, they’re about the gorgeous bride and the celebration of true love, but moreover, they’re for the friends — a (very Irish) wake for a girl we all know is never going to be the same. And, in theory, that explains the desire to finish the bottle before the party bus even arrives.
So bring on the sashes — and someone, please let me know if you can figure out how I’m six degrees removed from Channing Tatum.
— Andria Parker is an Instagram-obsessed idealist with at least 600 words to share on every topic, ever.