Sophisticated Soirees

Sophisticated Soirees

Your guide to prenuptial partying for the refined bachelorette

By Randi Jo Gause

While the term “sophisticated” rarely precedes the phrase “bachelorette party,” many brides these days seek a prenuptial celebration that represents more than simple bar hopping and drunken revelry. We’ve researched a few of the latest trends in bachelorette parties and discovered a bold new world that features everything from fabulous weekend getaways, to customizable wine tastings and open air adventures. So if the traditional party isn’t your bride’s style, you can create a celebration that goes beyond the norm.

Swanky slumber party

What better way to blast to the past with your group of girlfriends than a slumber party? Diverge from your typical elementary school sleepover by indulging in an overnight stay at a local hotel. The cozy setting allows the group to let loose and have a few drinks while in a safe, fun environment. Room service, spa treatments and reminiscing will help you make the most of the bride’s last night of singlehood. Call a hotel or resort and see if they offer group packages. Maybe they have a large suite that could accommodate your group and make the experience one big, long pajama party.

Check out: Chena Hot Springs; Sheraton Anchorage Hotel; Land’s End Resort

Wine tasting

Take care of something old and something new with a wine tasting celebration. Alaska is home to several fine wineries that offer a laid back, yet posh party atmosphere, in which you can relax and converse during a bachelorette party. Organize the wines you taste into “flights” – a series of wines from a similar region or with similar qualities. If guests at the bachelorette party are seasoned wine drinkers, ask each guest to bring a bottle or two of their favorite vintage. For a lasting memory consider taking all the ladies out to a wine-making class where participants bottle and name their own wines – yours could be named after the bride and groom.

Check out: Bear Creek Winery; The Denali Winery; Alaska Wilderness Wines.

Spa retreat

Lavish yourselves with spa treatments and champagne bubbles while de-stressing together at a local spa. Indulge guests in package or a la carte spa treatments such as massages, manicures and facials. Most spas not only offer package and group deals for bachelorette parties, but also provide a host to arrange the party, greet guests and even conduct games for your group. The key theme here? Less stress and more relaxation.

Check out: Sheraton Anchorage Hotel’s Ice Spa; The Beauty Room Day Spa & Beauty Boutique; Wilderness Garden Day Spa

Ice Spa
Weekend retreat

To properly blow off some pre-wedding steam, consider making your bachelorette party a destination getaway. Ask the girls to take off either Friday or Monday (or both!). This will give you enough time to relax, bond and enjoy a mini-vacation. Choose a retreat whose philosophy is in sync with your group – some places offer yoga, hot tubs and massage therapy, while others offer outdoor adventures to rejuvenate your body and mind. It takes a little more work and determination to get the whole crew out of town on a given date, but it’s worth the effort!

Check out: Sunset View Resort; Kenai Fjord Tours’ Alaska Girls Getaway packages; Within the Wild Adventure Lodges; Pearson’s Pond Luxury Inn & Adventure Spa

Dancing fools

Ensure that your brides can show off more than just the chicken dance at your wedding by celebrating with dance lessons. Grab a girlfriend and dance to your own beat through salsa, swing or ballroom dancing classes. Several local dance studios offer private group lessons so you can whip your gal pals into shape to show off their moves at the wedding.

Check out: Fred Astaire Dance Studio; Alaska Swing; Alaska Dance Theatre

Now you’re cookin’

This interactive bachelorette party option allows your group of girlfriends to test their domesticity skills with a cooking class. Most local cooking connoisseurs offer at-home classes for optimal convenience, as well as on-site venues that can accommodate larger groups. While specific chefs or venues offer specific classes, some can be tailored to the bride’s culinary preference, such as sushi, seafood or vegetarian dishes.

Check out: The Marx Bros. Café; Winterlake Lodge; Chez Alaska Cooking School

Ski bunnies

Don’t just reminisce on memories together – make them! When it comes to Alaskan-inspired activities, local ski resorts are unmatched. It’s also the perfect choice for a bride that enjoys winter sports and wants to diverge from the typical bachelorette celebration. Local and out-of-state visitor participants can revel in the thrill of Alaska’s slopes and indulge in our famous Après-ski scene.

Check out: Alyeska Ski Resort; Hilltop Ski Resort; Arctic Valley Ski Area

Champagne brunch

Champagne, strawberries, waffles and your best friends, what more could a bride ask for? This is the perfect chance to gain girlfriend insight, reflect on bridesmaids’ memories and create a new girls’ day out tradition. Let this set the tone for the rest of your day of self-indulgent activities, such as shopping or spa treatments.

Check out: The Summit Sunday Brunch; Sullivan’s Steakhouse; Seven Glaciers Restaurant

Girls gone wild

If the bride’s been dreaming of fresh air, toasting marshmallows over a crackling fire, and staring up at a sky full of stars, then she’s ready for a camping vacation. An added benefit of taking the bachelorette party outside is that it can cost a lot less and there doesn’t have to be a limit on the number of people you invite. Get out your bug spray and camping equipment (or rent an RV) and hit the perfect Alaska campground. Or think hiking excursion, rock climbing, river rafting or kayaking – and hire a guide or instructor for added fun and safety.

Check out: REI classes; Alaska Sea Kayakers; Alaska Rock Gym; Nancy Lake State Recreation Area

Night on the town

Slide on the glass slippers and enjoy a night out on the town. Rent a limousine to whisk the bride and her closest friends away for an evening of elegance, beginning with dinner in a private room at her favorite restaurant. Afterwards, opt for an event of the bride’s choosing or taste, such as a Broadway play, or rent a movie theatre screening her favorite “chick flick.”

Check out: Alaskan Splendor Limousines; Alaska Center for Performing Arts; Bear Tooth Theatre