Bachelorette parties aren’t what they used to be—or maybe I’m not who I used to be. After spending more than a decade reporting on the club circuit, the last thing I wanted for my own pre-marital sendoff was to run around town with a veil on my head. After all, bachelorette parties—and their accompanying paraphernalia—aren’t exactly a desired demographic at most nicer clubs downtown. For a friend’s bash at The Underground last summer, the doormen made us lose our flowered leis before entering, even though our table reservation meant we’d be dropping enough cash for at least three bottles of booze. Lesson learned.

So, for my own fete last weekend, my bridesmaids planned a "staycation" in Chicago: On Friday we had dinner on the river at Flatwater, followed by drinks on the terrace at Japonais. But just because we opted to skip the tiaras and lacey panties didn’t mean we weren’t ready to party. After Japonais, with nary a prop in hand, we attempted to get into The Hangge-Uppe—but the late-night spot already had a line three-deep down the block. When the surly door guy turned a deaf ear to our desperate pleas, we ended up at Burton Place (1447 N. Wells St.), aka the last chance saloon: a fitting homage to my single-gal nights spent sipping vodka lemonades well past 2 a.m. There were no candy necklaces or feathered boas back then, either—just a handful of girls looking to make some bad decisions.

Some things you never outgrow. Other things you wish you had—like my Saturday-morning hangover. Day two of bachelorette weekend kicked off early under an alcohol-tinged haze as The Singles, The Marrieds, and The Pregnants all converged at the home of my best high-school friend. Highlights included a game of "Guess who gave you this pair of panties?" and a tutorial from G Boutique, which was enlightening for more than a few of us—even those who were repeat students.

I tanked at the panties game—I got six separate pairs bedazzled with "I Do"—but nothing was as embarrassing as how poorly I did on the "How well do you know your fiancé?" quiz. Out of 37 questions, I got about a third right. Questions I answered correctly included his shoe size (10 and a half), his favorite band (Citizen Cope), and the actress with whom he’d want a free pass (Rachel Bilson). You know, the important stuff. Questions I blew: his college frat (AEPi; since I didn’t even know he was in one, how active could he have been?) and the name of his first pet (Thor).

Although some of The Marrieds couldn’t answers the questions for their own husbands, I’m pretty sure I was the only one who didn’t know the year my better-half-to-be was born. I answered 1976 instead of 1975.

For the record, he didn’t know mine either. He said 1973, which is one year too early. Hey, I might pass on the strippers and feather boas, but I’m not that old. Yet.