The Pre-wedding Parties Where Couples Charge Admission
In October, Julie Bogen wrote about “stag and doe” parties, at which communities celebrate the spouses-to-be—and give them a financial boost.
I come from a corner of the world where stag and does—“socials,” as we call them—are so commonplace that I was an adult before I learned that they are not standard practice everywhere. The article did a great job of explaining the financial benefits and community relevance of socials, but it did not capture one crucial element: These events are a way to be, well, social.
My teen years were spent in a town where everything closed by 8 p.m., save for the bar, where I couldn’t go. It was worse in the winter, when the days were short and it was too cold to be outdoors. Our one beacon of light was the socials, which most neighboring towns held at least once a month from November to April. We didn’t know who the people putting them on were, but that didn’t matter. We would cram into a car and drive—sometimes two or three hours—to attend.
Socials were kind of magical. People came from all over—sometimes enough of them to double the town’s population. We would run into friends we’d made at past socials who were also traveling the province in search of fun. We talked, we danced, snacked on cold deli meat, and sometimes even won a raffle prize before heading back to our own town. We never learned the names of the happy couple, or even gave them a second thought. A few weeks later, we’d get word of a social in another town and would do the whole thing all over again.
People can say these parties are a tacky way to raise money for a wedding, and maybe they’re right. But the value of the social is more than monetary, and the benefits stretch far beyond the single couple. Any event that brings people together, especially where there are so few opportunities for connection, is worth having.
Julie Bogen replies:
What an absolutely heartwarming note to receive. Thank you so much for reading and writing in, Renee! While what you mentioned didn’t make it into the final draft, it is something that came up during my research. I, too, grew up in a small town, and at times we definitely could have benefited from a big celebration with dinner, drinks, and dancing (for less than half the average price of a date in the United States!).
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