AKA Baby Sister Wedding Recap, part the first
My little sister has a lot of friends. She’s always been super-social and has maintained strong friendships with people she met in elementary school, in addition to making all sorts of friends along the way. Besides her sisters, she asked four friends to be bridesmaids and another to officiate the wedding, so I was quite interested to find out what the ladies would plan for the wedding-adjacent activities. I wasn’t at all involved with the planning of my own bachelorette party back in 2008, and wasn’t expecting to be a part of the planning for Laurel’s hen night because she had so many important ladies her own age to do that.
They did not disappoint.
I got an invitation in the mail to Laurel’s party, to begin at a Chevy’s and continue at a cowboy bar in Fremont. I wasn’t sure quite what to expect, but the invite said to wear my best casual with a western flair, which in my case included my boots under my tightest pair of jeans (right now, not especially tight), a white tank top, and a chambray button-down, my hair in two braids. I got to the restaurant and a gaggle of ladies in their mid-20s, two people my middle sister’s age, and Lissa all said hi. I knew many of them, but a few were new to me. One of the girls had come for a visit from Australia; the timing with Laurel’s hen night was fortuitous, and she giggled along with the rest of the crew. We’d been asked to prepare a story or memory about Laurel that we could share with the group, and I learned quite a few things about my little sister I’d never known. For most of her high school years and all of college, I was living in Denver and rarely saw her, so it was a treat for me to get to hear stories from people who’d had completely different experiences living and being around her.
(In case you’re wondering, the story I shared was from when she was two years old, probably a story nobody else except Lissa knew, so at least I was original.)
After we finished our meal, we all headed to the hotel where some of the girls were staying the night. After some primping, most of the girls waited for the free shuttle to the venue, while a few of us drove to ensure we’d get there in time to pay the lower cover charge.
I thought it was a cowboy bar. It turned out to be a huge place, easily holding over a thousand people. There was a big stage, three dance floor areas, two separate bars, and a mechanical bull. And oh yeah, it was LOUD. Over the course of the evening, there must have been several hundred people, all talking, laughing, shouting, cursing to be heard over the general din, the piped in music, and the live band.
The main part of our group arrived just before 8 PM. And then…out came the giant inflatable penis.
Laurel had, like her big sisters before her, requested there be no penis paraphernalia at her bachelorette party, but her aforementioned Aussie friend brought a 6-foot inflatable penis in her luggage, and once your friend has schlepped a giant inflatable penis halfway across the world you can’t exactly object to it tagging along for your hen night festivities. The bartender was kind enough to assist with the inflation of Dick, as he was named by the group, and even put some water inside so it would stand (mostly) upright.
What interested me most about the presence of Dick amongst our group was how many more men were interested in taking photos with Dick, writing on Dick, punching Dick, or striking up a conversation about Dick than women. It seems men just couldn’t stay away. Dick was at his best after someone gave him a face and someone else gave him a pink sparkly cowboy hat to wear – though, sadly, the hat made his upright stance far more challenging.
The few of us in our late 20s and early 30s mostly watched as the younger crowd enjoyed themselves. I tried to have conversations with people, but it was so ridiculously loud that after a while I had to give up on that and just sort of soak in the atmosphere. I particularly enjoyed the people who took on the challenge of the mechanical bull; I saw one guy manage to keep his seat for far longer than the typical under-8-seconds. The crowd was full of birthday parties, other bachelorette parties, and scores of groups of friends and couples enjoying a country twist on top 40 hits. I line danced a little, and I had two tasty adult beverages, and I helped tote Dick across the giant room and through the pulsing throng when several of the girls decided they wanted to dance with him in one of the cages next to the stage.
Hey, it was a hen night. There had to be some shenanigans, right?
During the band’s set break, Laurel managed to hit it off with the lead singer, and she told her they’d be calling some people celebrating things up on the stage a few songs into the second set. We’d already pre-arranged a time for Dan to pick Lissa and me up and drive us back north, but I just couldn’t miss that. I danced a little bit in the big group and remembered exactly why I don’t like dancing with a ton of strangers all packed, drunk and sweaty, in like wiggling sardines. Then the song came on and my sister brought Dick up with her and everyone took photos and everyone laughed and everyone danced and then it was time to go, so I pushed through the throngs, held my breath past the clouds of cigarette smoke just outside the door, and got into the car. It was a fun night, but if I ever go back to that place, I’ll remember to wear my earplugs. And next time I cage dance, there won’t be any giant inflatable penes.
*All photos shamelessly stolen from Laurel’s friends, who posted these on Facebook so I could in turn share them.