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Throwback Thursday: Bachelorette parties and other MOB observations

Bachelorette weekends are on the rise — and New Orleans is a top destination.

This summer, NolaVie is running a Throwback Thursday series, featuring one of our favorite older articles each Thursday. Today we revisit a topic that lies dear to the heart of Bourbon Street – bachelorette parties. While many of us may remember bachelorette parties as a constant feature of the city, or at least the Quarter, NolaVie editor Renee Peck examines its not so ancient birth and evolution. 

We’re full into wedding season, and I look at nuptials with a different eye these days, having recently experienced my first turn as an MOB.

As with most novice roles, my debut performance in the matrimonial wings involved a steep learning curve and a lot of surprises. Though I was tempted to write about the process as it unfolded, I knew better: One of the first things you learn as a mother of the bride is to throttle down on personal observations and do anything to lessen the stress.

Now, with an amazing new son-in-law and the flames of those final sparklers long lost in smoke on a perfect April evening, I start what I call, in my head, The Wedding Chronicles – a loose journal of wedding lore noting steps and missteps on our journey down the aisle. I plan to write chapters occasionally and randomly, as the season continues to unfold, in hopes of educating and entertaining fellow travelers.

Observation No. 1

An unlikely byproduct of the sexual revolution of the 1960s was … the bachelorette party.

There’s irony here, especially for a child-of-the-‘60s women’s libber like myself — that this weekend for women laced with alcohol and strippers is, according to Wikipedia, based on concepts of gender equality.

What that means: Guys have partied before their weddings for centuries, and now girls do, too.

Although bachelorette parties – read, weekends – became popular around the mid-1980s, I’d never heard of them until Christina started talking about South Beach house rentals and watering holes.

The bachelorette-party trend is a global one. In England, reports the Travel Channel, they’re called “hen’s nights,” and involve copious drinking, an obligatory pub crawl and inane games (as they do here). Moroccan women drink mint tea and stencil themselves with intricate henna tattoos, while the French gather for an “enterrement to vie de jeune fille,” or “burial of a girl’s life.”

The boom is on

With 2.5 million weddings a year in the U.S., matrimony is a $40 billion American industry. Even a small slice of that pie is rich indeed: Bachelorette weekends are big business. Chat rooms are filled with conversations about what’s fair to ask your girlfriends to spend, and Internet sites have mushroomed, offering bachelorette packages and plans, from exotic dance classes or spa sprees to rafting trips and zip line tours. Michael Lasky, founder of a number of bachelorette–oriented websites ( or, claims to have helped plan more than 50,000 bachelorette bashes.

The prime ingredients, however, are not so gender-bending after all: Think alcohol, strippers and drinking games. Which is certainly why New Orleans – and Bourbon Street – are climbing the ranks of best bachelorette destinations. In a list spanning the spectrum from Cape May, New Jersey (really?) to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, includes New Orleans as one of the nine best bachelorette destinations in the world. (my new favorite web site) cites New Orleans as No. 6 in overall bachelorette destinations, right behind Las Vegas, Montreal, South Beach, Chicago and Vancouver.

New Orleans can surely give Montreal and Vancouver a run for the money, but Vegas may be hard to topple: 35 percent of Las Vegas visitors at any one time are there for a bachelor or bachelorette party.

As for gender equality: I’m glad women are out there having a good time. Parity? I don’t know. According to statisticbrain, 47 percent of bachelor parties feature strippers, while only 18 percent of bachelorette parties do. But, while 58 percent of the guys get sex gifts at their bachelor parties, 72 percent of women do.

You go, girls.

Renee Peck is editor of NolaVie.


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