Some brides are bucking tradition and trading tiaras, sashes and bar hopping in major cities with their friends in favor of a more subdued celebration, alone.
Aja Dang-Puspos arrived to champagne and strawberries at her bachelorette celebration in July 2022 at the Civana Wellness Resort and Spa in Carefree, Ariz. Her meticulously planned itinerary for the week included spa treatments, healing work featuring a sound bath and reiki, and plenty of resort activities, such as water aerobics and pickleball.
Ms. Dang-Puspos, 36, a small-business owner and YouTube content creator based in Los Angeles, was excited about having a week of rest, self-care and indulgence. She had everything she wanted for her bachelorette, but it was missing one common element: guests. It was a solo bachelorette party.
“It was the most stress-free process,” Ms. Dang-Puspos said. “I didn’t want anyone to ask me questions about what to do, where to eat, where to go. I just wanted to be pampered.”
Ms. Dang-Puspos’s party is a departure from the stereotypical, more popular type of bachelorette celebrations — where groups of women wear matching T-shirts and go bar hopping through a city such as Nashville, for instance, or rent houses filled with party décor and animal-shaped pool floats in Scottsdale, Ariz. Nearly 80 percent of couples reported having a bachelorette party in 2022, according to The Knot, and the average number of attendees was 10 people; only 11 percent of people hosted a party with one to five guests.
“Bach parties are a time-honored tradition, but just like weddings, these have become hugely personalized,” Lauren Kay, the executive editor of The Knot, said. “Can you get married without one or by taking a solo trip? Absolutely.”
Wrangling nearly a dozen guests for a party isn’t enticing for every bride — and not all attendees want to spend $1,500 to $2,000, or more, to attend a bachelorette party. Instead of turning it up, some women prefer dialing it down, swapping shots of Fireball with those of wheatgrass juice. Solo bachelorettes offer the opportunity to unwind from the stress of planning a wedding and everyday life.
For Ms. Dang-Puspos, there was also a benefit of self-improvement. The alone time allowed her to reflect on her sense of self and how her identity would change after the wedding, she said.
Monica Daniels, 26, also found her solo bachelorette getaway to be healing. Ms. Daniels, a financial advisory consultant in Dallas, opted for a trip the week of her wedding in December 2022. She spent two days at the Phoenician, a resort in Scottsdale, where she was “catered to for every whim.” She lounged at the spa’s plunge pool and sauna, and enjoyed a 90-minute massage. The trip gave her the chance to reflect on the type of wife she wanted to be, she said, as well as her long-term, and often long-distance, relationship with Darrion Daniels, a professional football player.
She credits the trip with helping her stay mindful and fully present during her wedding on Dec. 17.
“Brides-to-be need to make many decisions leading up to their wedding day — they come exhausted from the process,” said Amy Smith, the owner of the Saratoga Arms, a hotel in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., that has hosted a handful of solo bachelorette parties in the past year. “We were initially shocked to see this kind of demand, but as we talked to these women, we understood they desperately needed time away.”
Future brides book the property’s Me, Myself and I package, Ms. Smith said, which is marketed to solo female travelers and includes treatments at a local spa, a welcome basket of self-care goodies and a half-bottle of Perrier-Jouët Champagne. While the package is predominantly booked by professional women in Boston and New York as well as mothers from the tristate area, Ms. Smith said she had seen an uptick in engaged women, too. Her team will often customize their stays, such as by creating a custom gin cocktail or setting up a wedding-related romantic comedy movie night.
Annie Daly, an author based in Brooklyn, is used to taking solo trips. So when she jetted off to Costa Rica for her bachelorette alone in August 2018, her friends were hardly shocked, she said; instead, they encouraged her to go. She later wrote a personal essay about her prewedding “solomoon” in Self magazine, and was surprised by the amount of fan mail she received.
But solo bachelorette celebrations are not always met with support.
Both Ms. Dang-Puspos and Ms. Daniels posted about their trips on social media, where solo bachelorettes have become a topic of debate. Some people believe solo bachelorettes deprive friends and family of a final send-off for the bride — dashing their expectations of a traditional celebration.
Ms. Dang-Puspos said that some people online had asked her why she would “take away that opportunity from your friends.” After Ms. Daniels’s trip, one friend told her that she would have offered to come with her, as if Ms. Daniels had gone alone because she had to, not because she wanted to.
Ms. Dang-Puspos said that she focused on the commenters who were inspired by the unconventional nature of her trip and who said they were considering similar celebrations — not the ones who disagreed with her decision.
“They can have a large bachelorette party if that’s what they want,” Ms. Dang-Puspos said. “The nature of a bachelorette is let’s go drink, let’s go party. That’s just not me.”