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Over the weekend, I went to a bachelorette party, aka, the very very very very best thing about standing up in a friend’s wedding.

(It’s an honor to be asked. Standing next to your friend while she says those vows to the person she’s going to love forever is one of the most beautiful things you can share with a friend. But girl, you and I both know when it comes to pure, unadulterated fun, it’s all about the bachelorette party.)

I’ve been friends with Michelle since two or three weeks after I graduated college. We met at my first professional job — I was the new food reporter, she was the photography intern. When the summer was over and classes started up again, we remained friends. When she graduated and was hired full-time, I was ecstatic. Michelle was the first post-college friend I made, and we love her.

Isn’t she gorgeous??

Other bachelorette parties I’ve attended have been delicious dinners followed by lots of drunken bar hopping. More than one have included a scavenger hunt of sorts that included items like “Get a guy to tell you you’re beautiful in another language” or “Have a stranger write you a love letter” or “Find a virgin.”

Michelle’s party was a lot more low key — which, frankly, is much more my speed. (Oh, I participated in the others. I have a blast at those. But if I have my druthers, I like low-key.) For one, we started off at a murder mystery dinner, which every last one of us was excited to attend.

It was at The Bennett-Curtis House, a large, old home in Grant Park, Ill., that can hold small events like weddings, fundraisers and, in this case, murder mystery dinners.

We arrived early and started the evening with some drinks (gin martini, neat, extra dirty, please and thank you). We and the other guests were seated in a small room, with our entire party at one large, round table with an extra seat. Each table setting had a small program explaining the evening: We are attending a fundraiser for the rain forest being thrown by a group of young rich people. They’re all “friends” in that way where that means they like to talk about one another behind their backs (“Her dress is so tacky,” “He’s such a drunk,” “Yeah, no one knows why he’s here”).

That empty seat was for whichever party-thrower (read: actor) had wandered over to chat with us. We were encouraged to ask questions with a goal to gather enough information so, when one of the party-throwers died from some poison in her drink, we had a guess as to the killer and his or her motive. (We never asked the right questions, and I was left guessing that she offed herself because her father went broke when the father of another party-goer purchased his hotel chain to turn it into something fashion-related. #RichPeopleProblems)

The “bar hopping” that followed included stops at two bars and lots of chatting. There was no dancing on tables or with cute strangers. It was just lots of friends celebrating one lovely lady. And that was a good time.

Now, I have a very important question: Why is Steak ‘N’ Shake the most delicious thing ever at 1 a.m.? There’s something fun about being dressed to the nines and munching on a bowl of chili at a 24-hour restaurant with your girlfriends, I have to say.

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