Before the “I do”

The stereotypical bachelor and bachelorette parties that end in a whirlwind of poor decisions and hangovers are still popular for some, but alternative ideas are popping up all over.  

Ben Dierkes, a resident of Columbia, says he and his wife, Claire, wanted to do something different for their bachelor/bachelorette parties. “For mine, I am pretty big into golf, so 12 friends and I went out to the Waste Management Golf Tournament in Scottsdale, Arizona,” Dierkes says. “It’s in February, so it was a great time to leave the Midwest and get some warmer weather.” The Waste Management Open is one of the biggest party spots on the golf tour, and there are stands around the 16th hole that look like a baseball stadium. Dierkes and his friends rented an Airbnb with a pool and putting green and enjoyed quality time playing games and celebrating after the tournament.

“One of my good friends had done Vegas for his bachelor party, and it was a ton of fun, but I wanted to do something different,” Dierkes says. “I had thought about Nashville or Austin, Texas, which is an up-and-coming place for bachelor parties, but really when it came down to it, it was how nice the weather is out there all year-round. And, being the golfer I am, it was great to go to the tournament.”

Claire decided she wanted her bachelorette party to be more laid-back. “She didn’t really want to spend a ton of money and fly somewhere,” Dierkes says. A friend has a family farm in Perryville, Missouri, so Claire and her friends stayed at the cabin for the weekend. “They went to a restaurant and winery. Later that night they went back to the farm to play games, enjoy beer Olympics, a hay ride and things like that,” Dierkes says.

The Dierkeses aren’t the only couple choosing to not go to Vegas for their bachelor/bachelorette parties. Some are opting for “alternative” bachelor/bachelorette parties for reasons including cost, availability, and personal interests and hobbies. Fishing, hunting and golf trips are popular choices for bachelor parties. Bachelorette party ideas include getaways to spas or getting crafty at a do-it-yourself craft shop.

A nostalgic idea is a road trip. Pack up the car, fill up the tank, blast some oldies on the radio and get some quality time with your best friends. You can have a destination in mind, or just drive until the tank starts getting low. Hop on a historic tour of Route 66, head to the nearest beach or visit a landmark such as Yosemite National Park.

Concerts are also a great idea because you get the chance to see artists you’ve always wanted to. Never had the time or budget to see Guns N Roses live? Now’s your chance. Or head to a music festival you’ve always thought about but never had time for.

For the outdoorsy type, a camping trip or weekend getaway to the Lake of the Ozarks might be the right fit. This can range anywhere from roughing it in a sleeping bag under the stars to glamping to renting a cabin on the lake. For the adventurous, head to a nearby whitewater rafting river and get out some pre-wedding jitters.

A winery or brewery is another solid option. Up the game with a visit to a distillery for a private whiskey tasting.

If you still want the thrills of Vegas without the hangovers and unfortunate decisions that can come with it, set up a casino night of your own and get the party started.

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