12 Ways to Spend Quality Time With Your Friends Before the Wedding

If you’re like so many other future brides (and regular folk) out there, chances are, you often find yourself feeling pinched for precious free time. That is, time to relax and spend time with your family and friends simply enjoying life rather than worrying about the demands of your job and your never-ending to-do list at home.

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That’s precisely why, when it comes to spending quality time with your friends before your wedding, we’re all for tossing traditional bachelorette antics out the party-bus window and swapping them for more relaxing, restorative, and just plain enjoyable group outings. From a cooking class to a day spent museum-hopping, here are 12 ways to spend some quality pre-wedding time with your friends. (Hint: Hang on to this list for post-wedding girls’ nights out, too!)

1. Sign up for a BYOB painting class. Wine. Paint. Still life. Giggles aplenty, guaranteed. Plus, you might just awaken your inner Renoir.

2. Hire an instructor for a private beach-yoga session. Nothing feels as restorative as a good mind-clearing sweat session. You’ll get to cross exercise off your day’s to-do list, and you’ll have fun together in the process.

3. Have a spa day at a posh, nearby resort. Let’s face it—we could all use a little extra R&R, and no one’s more deserving than a bride-to-be. Reserve a private space and enjoy manicures, pedicures, facials, and massages, along with a light and healthful spa lunch.

4. Go paintballing together. A little friendly competition can go a long way in strengthening an already air-tight bond. Bring a change of clothes and toast the winner with some apres-balling brunch.

5. Pack a picnic for the beach, park, or your backyard (and don’t forget the bubbly!). To make it even more enjoyable? Leave your smart phones and tablets at home (or, at least, locked up in the car) so you can truly connect and catch up.

6. Get hands-on with a cooking class. Learning to cook in the company of friends is among the most enjoyable ways to spend a few hours. You’ll laugh, you’ll (likely) drink wine, and you’ll take home some new kitchen skills you never knew you had.

7. Watch a marathon of your favorite wedding movies (like this one, this one, and this one). Add in extras, like gourmet snacks and cocktails, mani/pedis, or homemade face masks—just like when you were teenagers.

8. Spend a day museum-hopping around town. Get your culture fix (and feel like a kid) by mixing it up with art, science, and history (natural and cultural, if you can). Bookend the day with breakfast and dinner at some of your favorite spots.

9. Organize a clothing swap and donate all the unclaimed items to a charitable organization. You’ll get some serious QT together, head home with some cute, new-to-you clothes, and lend a helping hand all at the same time.

10. Get dressed up and go to a Broadway play, musical, or other performance. Few experiences have the eye-popping effect of live theatre, and it’s even better in the company of your best friends.

11. Attend a reading or talk on a topic you all enjoy. At one time or another, we’ve likely all vowed to read more or to learn something new. Make it happen, and make it even more fun with your gal pals by your side.

12 Set out on a citywide scavenger hunt. Learn things about your city that you never knew, possibly while hitting up some of those spots you’ve long been wanting to check out together.

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