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9 Bachelorette Party Ideas More Fun Than a Strip Club

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The modern bachelorette party has evolved into a night of debauchery that everyone regrets the next day. But have you stopped to consider that your bride might actually want quality time with friends, relaxation, and a distraction from wedding stress—not something that will add to it? Unless the bride specifically requests an evening of male genitalia, why not try something different? "We are noticing an increasing trend in custom bachelorette celebrations, so, in response, we created packages to meet those needs," says Noah Kahn of Perfect Party Plans, a San Francisco event-planning company. Those include "Bachelorette Game Day Package with the SF Giants" for the sports-loving bride and the "Bachelorette Jabbawockeez Show Package" for the hip-hop-loving bride.

Consider her personality and what she enjoys doing most with the people she loves, and let that serve as the compass for deciding the night's activities. Still stumped on coming up with a unique bachelorette party idea? Check out our out-of-the-box ideas below.

1. Ugly Dress Party

For the bride who likes to dress-up and act silly, an ugly dress party will generate laughs, fun, and great memories. If she's on the shy side, host it at a home or private venue rather than having the group go out in public. This can also work well for the bride who loves to take photos. Idol Vintage (2967 Mission Street; 415-255-9959) in the Mission carries a large selection of vintage clothing and accessories that can equip you for your big "ugly dress" debut.

2. Obstacle Race

If she's an adrenaline junkie, a 10-12 mile obstacle race in the mud should satisfy that craving for adventure. Tough Mudder organizes grueling obstacle courses and hosts events all over the United States (check the website for dates and availability). Instead of stuffing singles into a g-string, test your mental and physical strength as you navigate military-style obstacle courses. Competitive, athletic, and sporty brides will love the challenge and feeling of accomplishment.

3. The Celebrity Experience

For the bride who wants to feel like a celebrity, the "paparazzi package" will satisfy her craving for adoration. Offered by Perfect Party Plans (415-310-2669), a photographer will follow the bachelorettes through their adventures and relentlessly snap photos for a taste of how the famous live. Plus she'll have professional photos to capture the entire evening.

4. Haunted Mansion Sleepover

For the bride who's obsessed with scary movies, a sleepover at a haunted mansion will delight her horror-loving senses. The Winchester Mystery House (525 S. Winchester Boulevard, San Jose; 408-247-2101) will soon offer sleepovers (plus beverages). Sarah Winchester, heir to the gun family, was obsessed with building her house larger and larger. By the time she died, it had 160 rooms, 2,000 doors, 10,000 windows, 47 stairways, and 13 bathrooms. If the bride survives the night, she can certainly survive any wedding horrors that might come her way.

5. Karaoke

It may not be a revolutionary idea, but there's no doubt that karaoke is some good, clean fun. In lieu of a boring club with no singing and dancing, the bride can drink, sing, and dance herself silly. Playground (1705 Buchanan Street; 415-929-1471) in Japantown is a Korean restaurant, lounge, and karaoke bar that offers private rooms with full-service food and drink.

6. Scavenger Hunt

If your bride is a busy body or type A, a scavenger hunt is just the type of focused activity she'll enjoy. It will keep her engaged, feeling productive, and appeal to her competitive side. Plus, friends from out of town will get to explore San Francisco. CLASH Scavenger Hunts (447 Stockton Street; 415-503-9738) in Union Square can tailor your activity around the bride's preferences.

7. Blast From the Past Slumber Party

For the girly bride, a slumber party celebrating all things teen and tween is a great way to commemorate the end of her single days. Wear fun PJs and plan a night of activities like braiding, nail painting, watching a marathon of teen classics, making s'mores, and gossiping. Hit Forever 21 (2 Stockton Street; 415-765-9908) for Hello Kitty and cartoon pajamas, plus colorful and affordable nail polishes for under $3.

8. Cooking Party

For the foodie, a private cooking party is the perfect way for the bride and her friends to experiment with cuisine and taste the end result. It could also work for a bride who's interested in cooking but doesn't have a lot of experience in the kitchen. Parties That Cook(601 Minnesota Street,
Suite 115; 415-441-3595) stages hands-on culinary events and group cooking classes throughout the Bay Area. The party can be tailored to your bride's interests and hosted in a private home or at a rented venue for group of 15 or more.

9. Yoga Retreat

For the Zen bride (or one who could use a little of that), a destination yoga retreat at the world-famous Esalen Institute (55000 Highway 1, Big Sur; 831-667-3000 offers year-round meditation and yoga retreats. Known for its workshops, the center offers more than 600 classes on topics including the principles of yoga, love, healing, and lots more. Drink in the 120 acres of stunning coastline as you perform your morning asanas and enjoy organic meals made fresh from the local gardens. The hot-spring baths offer the ultimate in relaxation.—Debbie Min
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