Some wedding traditions go way, WAY back. Take the bachelorette party, for instance. Bachelorette parties really got their start in the seventies, as a spin-off of the bachelor or stag party. Why should guys have all the fun, right? Brides-to-be and bridesmaids alike look forward to the bachelorette party!
The bachelor party itself originally started in fifth century Sparta, Greece. Guys would feast and toast one another on the eve of a friend's wedding. The party was an actual dinner, attended by the groom and his closest friends. The dinner served a dual purpose: it was an occasion to celebrate the impending wedding (or mourn the passing of the groom's bachelor status) and it was a chance to raise money for the groom so that he could continue to drink with his buddies after his wife took control of the finances.
These days it's very common for the bridemaids to throw the bride her own bachelorette party and whether or not the modern bride takes over the family finances, they can have just as much (if not more) fun at the bachelorette party.