So, your best friend got engaged, and you can’t wait to see her walk down the aisle and marry the love of her life. Before she does, now’s the time to plan a girlfriend get-together to treat the excited fiancée to an unforgettable night. You want her to feel like a million bucks.
In recent years, Chicago has become one of the most popular bachelorette party destinations, and with good reason — the Windy City has a superb food scene, bustling nightlife, and low-key refined awesomeness.
Want to throw the bride-to-be an amazing Chicago bachelorette party that will be as memorable as the wedding itself? With these inspiring, fun, and Instagram-worthy bachelorette party ideas and themes, your BFF will be blushing all the way to the altar.
He went on his knees and popped the question — and, of course, you said yes. Now, you can’t wait to say “I do” at the altar to the love of your life. But before you do, it’s time to celebrate your engagement with your best girls and pals.
What is a bachelorette party?
A bachelorette party is exactly what it sounds like — a party held in honor of the bride-to-be. It’s often thought to have some roots in the old tradition of the “hen night” for women or “stag night” for men. Some say it began as far back as 5 B.C. in ancient Sparta.
Although the actual history of the bachelorette party is a little hazy, some believe it originated with a party thrown by the bridegroom for his pals just before his big day. The UK version (better known as hen party) may have emerged from a bunch of age-old pre-wedding traditions held to celebrate the betrothed right before their wedding. Here think of the Jumping the Chantey, Taking Out, Bosola, Pay Off, and Ribbon Girl.
Be that as it may, the bachelorette party, as we know it today, was solidified as a pre-wedding tradition in the US in the 1980s. The friends of the bride-to-be customarily throw a party to treat the fiancée to a great night in the build-up to the big day. Customarily, the party was held several weeks or months before the actual wedding, but these days bachelorette parties sometimes happen the same week the couple plans to exchange vows.
Not long ago, a bachelorette party was something fun and simple — a night out to have dinner and some drinks to treat the lucky bride-to-be. But recently, these parties have become wild, booze-ridden, and lots of fun. Often the girls pack their suitcases and head to an exciting destination like Chicago for a two- or three-day weekend filled with fun and partying.
This year, like many others before, thousands of brides, bridesmaids, and their friends will partake in this pre-nuptial practice that has become deeply entrenched in Chicago culture.
Why should I have a Bachelorette party?
As we’ve mentioned, bachelorette parties evolved from stag parties, which were traditionally given by the bridegroom to treat his pals prior to his big day. Even though throwing a hen party to celebrate the fiancée is a centuries-old practice, the phrase “bachelorette party” wasn’t used until the mid-1960s.
Initially, the pre-nuptial tradition was a small affair consisting of dinner and drinks with the bride-to-be’s closest friends. Today, however, everything goes at a bachelorette party, which is usually booze-filled debauchery that involves dancing, catching up, and watching male strippers.
Some brides are all for the bachelorette party, while others wonder why they should have it in the first place. So, is having one a waste of time or a rite of passage that’s actually meaningful in a bride-to-be’s life?
You do not have to have a bachelorette party if it is just something you don’t think you want or need. However, before dismissing the idea completely, it helps to take into consideration the fact that you and every bride-to-be out there deserve to be able to celebrate yourself, the friendships you have, and the life you have lived.
While you can skip the bachelorette party for whatever reason, a great deal of good can come from having a bachelorette bash, and here are three main reasons why:
Enter your new married life in style. Some people assume that brides who prefer to have this party are hesitant to get married. Others often think, also wrongly, that having a bachelorette party means the bride is sad to leave behind her single life.
On the contrary, the party isn’t about being worried about getting married. Rather, the party provides the bride-to-be with a chance to celebrate the life she had before the marriage. There’s nothing terrible about celebrating your old unmarried life, as well as your new journey into marriage.
You can think of a bachelorette party as a healthy way for the bride-to-be to say “adieu” to her old life and “hello” to her new married life. In other words, it helps the bride honor her past life while being excited about getting hitched.
Get your bridesmaids into the festive mood that your wedding deserves. Having a bachelorette party is not all about the bride-to-be (well, it shouldn’t be); it’s an excellent way to celebrate your closest friends, too. The bride can also use this opportunity to truly reunite with her bridesmaid and make sure everyone is on the same page before the big day.
BFFs + drinks + good food = unforgettable memories. They all add up to one exhilarating Chicago bachelorette party. You’d be surprised at how many life-time memories you can make at your bachelorette party. As friends, you can look back and truly reminisce about all the glorious experiences you have had together. This makes the party a lot more enjoyable and meaningful.
There’s no written script or rules for a bachelorette bash. When it’s time to throw a killer shindig with your best friends in the Windy City, you don’t have to stick to what everyone else is doing. Yours can be completely different, offbeat, and uniquely your own. The trick is to celebrate yourself and have a blast with your girlfriends.
Is Chicago a good city for bachelorette parties?
Yes, there are so many options for things to do and see in this city as part of your bachelorette party experience. The Second City has everything a bride and her girlfriends dream about in an experiential city — great food, rollicking music festivals, amazing architecture, and iconic sights both new and old.
Year-round events – Chicago organizes about 200 music festivals and other shindigs, and that’s only between early spring and September. Many bachelorettes will fall in love with Pitchfork, Riot Fest, Lollapalooza, and other mega street parties. You can also enjoy free days at various movie parks, museums, and art galleries.
To make your bachelorette bash even more fun and festive, consider centering it around one of your favorite festivals or events that are scheduled for almost every other weekend. Everyone in your entourage could use it to let some steam off.
Great hotels and accommodation – Chicago has hundreds of accommodation options to fit every budget, personality, and style. Many of the hotels sport historic or ultra-modern architecture, with some offering stunning scenic views and rooftops. And best of all, they are typically a block away from the action, whether you’re looking for an exquisite dining experience, nightlife, or to get away from it all.
You will also love that some offer amazing lakefront amenities or views. From grand luxury towers to cheap minimal stays and boutique hotels, Chicago has a wide range of places where your party can stay.
World-class dining experience – The city has some of the most diverse and talked-about food in the country. Some of its neighborhoods, like the West Loop, have been dubbed the foodie mecca of America. No matter the theme of your celebration, there’s a fantastic restaurant or eatery for your Chicago bachelorette party.
Bustling nightlife – In addition to a variety of accommodations, great food, and a lot of activities you can enjoy with your closest friends, Chicago is also known for its fabulous nightlife. The city has some of the best and varied clubs, bars, and partying joints, from rooftop lounges to high-rise wine cellars to cool bars and even sports pubs.
What can I do for my Chicago bachelorette party?
Chicago is the perfect getaway with your closest friends before you get hitched, and it’s easy to understand why. The Windy City has a little gem for every soul, whether the bride-to-be fancies a spa day full of pampering, a low-key night out with friends, dancing the night away, or having a blast on the beach.
First, you should check this ultimate list of Chicago bachelorette party ideas. Whether your party is in summer, spring, or winter, these creative activities, party ideas, spots, and games will make for an unforgettable bash.
– City Wine Scene
Wine and bachelorette parties go together like beans and rice. We recommend the City winery scene, including wine cellars, wine bars, and restaurants along the Riverwalk. They usually deliver a nice blend of cultural, culinary, and wine experience. There are several locations in the West and Central Loop that help bring the wine country to the Second City.
– Rooftop Bars
If you want to dance all night with your dearest girlfriends, be sure to take your pre-wedding bash to the next level at the Windy City’s superb rooftop bars. These skyscraping lounges will wow you with fine dining, award-winning cocktails, and some of the most stunning views.
– Booze Cruise
This might sound like a cliché, but why not hop onto a booze cruise? After all, this is your last fling before you get hitched. This cruise sails on the Chicago River, providing you with breathtaking views of the Loop’s skyline. These cruises offer a range of packages to match every taste and budget.
– Take in the Food Scene
Each neighborhood in Chicago is unique, offering different nightlife, cuisines, cultures, restaurants, and bars. Whether you love Mexican enchiladas, Polish pierogi, deep-dish pizza, or iconic Italian beef, Chicago’s food scene has it all.
– Venture to the Beach
Chicago offers an enchanting beachfront stretching a whopping 26 miles. Beside the sparkling waterfront, you have a choice of 26 amazing beaches, with each offering unique views and vibes. If you’re traveling with the party queens, make sure to check out the North Avenue Beach scene. You can rent everything from jet skis, kayaks, and much more.
– Watch a Sports Game
Baseball is a huge deal in Chicago, so much so that it has two MLB teams (White Sox and Chicago Cubs) you can root for. Football and basketball are also a big deal here.
Who plans a bachelorette party?
A Chicago bachelorette party is an opportunity to just let go, kick back, and savor the experience. Although it isn’t as structured as the bridal shower or wedding itself, there are some guidelines on who pays, who plans, and so on.
Who is invited? In a lot of cases, only the members of the bridal party are invited, but that doesn’t have to be strictly the case. Another rule is that all the attendees must be on the actual wedding guest list. These rules are not carved in stone, so it’s always up to the host and the bride-to-be.
Who plans the party? No bride should have to plan or host her own bachelorette party; that’s often thought of as inappropriate. The responsibility of planning and hosting the bachelorette party often belongs to the maid of honor. It’s not uncommon, though, for a loved one or bridesmaid to volunteer to plan and throw the party.
Who pays? Either the attendees or the host can collectively chip in for the bachelorette party. It’s often prudent for the host to inquire with every guest before arriving at this decision.
Can I still have a Chicago bachelorette party in Chicago during COVID?
Yes, most places in the city have modified and upgraded to safely accommodate guests.
It’s fair to worry about the risk of exposure by traveling, throwing a party at a restaurant, or staying in a hotel. After all, you may be exposed by way of other guests, staff, common spaces, or room. That’s why experts recommend wearing a mask as well as washing hands often and social distancing in environments like restaurants, parks, and hotels.
And, yes, you can also change your event to be more low-key but still have a fun Chicago bachelorette party!