Bachelorette Party Rituals & History Series - Marriage Defined

Photo Credit:  Sara Chicconi

Photo Credit: Sara Chicconi

By Fiona Ham

The emancipation of women and sexual freedom introduced the female debauchery replica of the Bachelor Party, commonly known as Bachelorette Party (Stagerette or/and Hen Party). In this Bachelorette Party Rituals & History Series we will explore the rituals women perform before marriage across various cultures. While we embark on this worldwide pre-nuptial exploration of rituals, we will focus on the meaning of these rituals and the passing on of knowledge shared during these processes.

Are pre-nuptial rituals meant to prepare the bride-to-be for her new conjugal life or has it lost its traditional significance? How do we celebrate two women coming together in unison? With gender roles being understood as a concept of the past, how are women preparing themselves for this long-term commitment?

Marriage by Definition

One thing that I found missing in our modern way of celebrating the bride(s)-to-be is the passing on of knowledge around entering into this legal relation between two persons which is contractually binding, in other words, partnership. The definition of marriage as an act, process, or instance of joining in close association is fairly identical to the one of partnership. Looking back at the history of marriages, we see that this tradition of entering into a partnership was upheld for economical and social reasons.

Examples of these economical and social reasons were to protect family assets, safeguard bloodlines, women ownership and so on. Not dismissing the fact that marriages have been a way to oppress women and still to this day is, the observation being made here is that of the union. The union as a partnership has short, medium and long-term goals.

In any functioning partnership, goals are set to be achieved, tasks are laid out to address the success of these goals and roles are being assigned. With gender roles understood as a concept from the past, how do we now structure our partnership for success these days?

Still keeping in mind that women’s right and independence varies from one culture to another, in our modern society why do we still get married? When referring to the work of Anne Milford and Jennifer Gauvin How Not to Marry the Wrong Guy: Is He "the One" or Should You Run? A Guide to Living Happily Ever After, we understand that some women are getting married because of fear of never being married, or because they are illusioned to believe that the act of marriage will solve all of a couple’s problem, for a special opportunity or finally, because they tell themselves that if it doesn’t pan out as expected, they can always get divorced. Somewhere between all of these reasons, loves also plays a role.

Let us reflect on the modern definition of marriage and Bachelorette Party while we explore these worldwide pre-nuptial rituals. If you have a thought, idea, comment, suggestion or you would like to share your pre-nuptial experience with us, email us ( or call us (514 793-6048) and help us redefine the meaning of Bachelorette Party (we also welcome letters in the mail!).

First stop, Saudi Arabia. Let the sharing of knowledge begin!