The fact that your betrothed best friend is in recovery for alcohol abuse doesn’t mean she doesn’t deserve a final “farewell” from her bridal party. There are tons of ways to throw a mind-blowing bachelorette bash without a big budget or the booze.
Know her comfort zone
Your friend’s path toward sobriety may be hindered by certain triggers, such as being at a bar or around specific people. When planning a bachelorette party for a recovering alcoholic, avoid those situations or social encounters that she may associate with drinking. Remember, she is working very hard to avoid relapse and you can support her new sober lifestyle by providing an environment that will further demonstrate that she doesn’t have to have a buzz to be the life of the party. The US Department of Health and Human Services notes that some triggers are internal so keep that in mind and always make yourself available if she needs to talk through a situation. Discuss the guest list with her and weed out any alcohol-adamant acquaintances.
Focus on the food
Food brings us together, there is no denying that. And there is no better way to prep your girlfriend for her big day than to gather around the table for food, fun, and friendly conversation. Harvard University notes that food can bring back happy memories -- it can help create new positive memories as well. Devote a good bit of your party planning to crafting a creative menu that will please her palate and help her associate sobriety with the simple pleasures of life. Consider a pasta buffet, burgers and brats on the grill, or taco bar.
Make it a “mocktail” night
Alcohol-free doesn’t have to mean water or syrupy sodas! With a few key ingredients, you can sip the night away without the next-day hangover associated with hard liquor. Sparkling waters, sherbet, fresh fruit, and flavored teas are the foundation for hundreds of virgin beverages that look as great as they taste. Check out Tablespoon’s list of 20 non-alcoholic party drinks for inspiration.
Party on a premise
Theme parties aren’t just for kids! Make things interesting by building the night around a theme near and dear to the bride. Horror movie buffs will enjoy a Halloween costume party, for instance. Fans of historical dramas (think Downton Abbey or Reign) will feel like the belle of the ball if you surprise her with a royal-inspired celebration. Skip Vegas and host a casino night, complete with blackjack and baccarat – the bridesmaids can do the dealing. Have guests contribute $10 or $20 each for chips to play games and present the guest of honor with a gift of all the “winnings” at the end of the evening.
Tips for success
Your friend may feel like her guests are being short-changed by attending a party that doesn’t serve adult beverages. Reassure her that no one cares what’s on the drink menu and that what’s important is seeing her start her new life as a sober wife. Reinforce this sentiment by letting everyone know in advance that alcohol is strictly prohibited. Note it on the invitations and any social media reminders. Be very selective about the guest list and cross off anyone your friend sees as a bad influence. Or, you can circumvent the conversation entirely by hosting the party at a venue that doesn’t allow alcohol in the first place – a church, state park, neighborhood clubhouse, or community center.
Hosting a sober celebration for the bride is easy, fun, and rewarding. Your friend will appreciate having a safe space to revel in her happiness and will feel revitalized and encouraged to continue her path toward sobriety.
Guest posted by Aimee Lyons