There are few events that call to mind as many clichés as bachelor and bachelorette parties — the strip clubs, the phallic-shaped decor, the dancing on the bars, the hangovers (and The Hangover). So when Instagram evidence of Pitch Perfect stars Skylar Astin and Anna Camp ending their his-and-her parties together at a country line-dancing club over the weekend, it felt so sweet and refreshing, a different approach to a tired tradition.
Two years ago, Jessica Simpson and Eric Johnson were also snapped celebrating their impending wedding with coed festivities. “They didn’t want a traditional bachelor-bachelorette where they go off and do their own thing, because our group of friends is so close, we just wanted to all be together,” Simpson’s friend Stephanie Terblanche told People at the time.
These celeb couples aren’t unique.
“I think that people might [feel] they’ve done already 40 of these bachelor or bachelorette parties, and it’s getting a little old,” Lia Batkin, co-founder of In the Know Experiences in New York City, tells Yahoo Style. “Who needs to go to Vegas or Miami to party anymore?”
Instead, some of Batkin’s clients opt to plan joint getaways for their friends. They rent a villa for the whole group — the Viceroy Anguilla is a favorite choice of hers for this purpose — and plan separate activities for the bride’s and groom’s friends, as well as ones that involve everyone. “A lot of times we’ll do a separate dinner for the girls, a separate dinner for the guys, and they’ll meet up and do something together. We’ve put together scavenger hunts for people [with clues] that actually connect to the couple and different things that they like, and they wind up finding each other. … We’ve done cooking classes, group activities that are fun and interesting. It’s definitely more of a vacation than it is, ‘We’re going to go and party!’”
William Tabone of Play Harder Tours tells Yahoo Style that these combined trips are a good safeguard against partying too hard. “You can have fun without creating a situation that might be a major regret. How many horror stories have you heard? You don’t want to come back from Thailand with a facial tattoo,” he jokes, referencing Ed Nelms’s character Stu in the Hangover sequel.
His group-tour options vary from cruise ships to Iceland trips to craft-brewery tours in Portland, Ore. The most popular joint-party option he offers is New Orleans. “We do a Bourbon Street balcony party in one of the bars,” Tabone explains. “We can do beer tours, food tours. There’s a wig shop there, and they can do wigs and crazy makeup and then parade down Bourbon Street. We’re creative.”
In addition to getting to share these great excursions with both groups of friends, both Tabone and Batkin agreed that combining bachelor and bachelorette parties can bring down the cost per person. On the other hand, Batkin said that when the couple decide to plan a trip like this, they usually end up pitching in on the bill, unlike traditional parties that are often covered by their friends.
There are still plenty of people who would rather stick to the plan of making this one last gender-divided wild night out — and many of those people happen to not be the couple getting married. “A lot of people do look forward to bachelor and bachelorette parties,” Batkin says. “It’s definitely a reason to get away, especially if you’ve been married for a while.”