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Alternative ideas for bachelor and bachelorette parties

Party plans for the pre-wedding send-off

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As the landscape of weddings evolves into smaller, more intimate affairs, bachelor and bachelorette parties are changing shape as well. While some still are more likely to resemble a scene from The Hangover rather than Downton Abbey, these gatherings no longer are bound by their crazy, raucous predecessors. Here, a few ideas for bridesmaid and groomsmen get-togethers that you'll be able to tell your mom about.


A beauty day for everyone at Southern Swings Nail Bar & Spa
The full-service spa offers a comprehensive menu for women (makeup application, blowouts, eyebrows and full waxing by Brows by Bryan, spray tans by Nola Tan) and men (haircuts and facial hair trimming), and manicures for everyone from the smallest member of the bridal party to the father of the groom. But what distinguishes Southern Swings from other spas is the pedicure technique — clients' feet get the full treatment while rocking back and forth on swings. There are indoor swings and outdoor swings on the broad porch in front. A board installed across the tops of the plumbed foot bowls keeps feet steady while the body is free to move in the swing. Swing pedicures are available for anyone age 4 and older; younger patrons can have their toes painted while sitting on sofas in the lobby. Bottle service is available for adults: wine, sparkling wine and mimosas are offered, and large parties are welcome to bring their own. There's also a whiskey room, pouring Maker's Mark. Parties of six or more can rent the entire space for up to two hours at no extra charge, and owner Brandi Holstead provides a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine and a cheese or fruit tray.


Bachelor hunting party at Stella Plantation
For guys who prefer the wild outdoors to the wildness of a night on Bourbon Street or in Las Vegas, Stella Plantation in Braithwaite offers packages for hunters. There's a pheasant shoot option in which the birds are released from a European-style tower with 10 shooting stations in a large open field. It starts with a safety course and clay shooting to warm up. There's also a three-day option that includes lodging, hunting for hog, pheasant, quail or chucker, an inshore or offshore chartered fishing trip to Venice or Delacroix and a wild game dinner (at which a chef will prepare your catches, if desired).


Wellness events by Footprints to Fitness
Whether your idea of a fun day with the girls is coloring and cocktails or Pilates followed by a low-fat, high-protein snack from restaurants such as City Greens or SWEGS Kitchen, April Dupre and her team at Footprints to Fitness have you covered. The group specializes in hosting wellness events outside the usual gym, fitness center or dance studio to provide a balance between going out and promoting emotional and physical health. Custom experiences include yoga or dance classes (the most popular being a blend of the two with a little barre thrown in) with a personalized touch, such as matching T-shirts, flower crowns and catered food and drinks. Footprints to Fitness hosts the wellness events at the location of your choice, whether in New Orleans City Park or another of its partner venues, or in a hotel room rented expressly for the bridal party. Events can be kid- and family-friendly, and men are welcome to participate.

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