It’s my second time writing to you and the other lovely hellions. Would like to say a big THANK YOU to the advice I received the first time I wrote in. The comments were also very thought-provoking and supportive; I’m grateful to everyone who took the time to write. I have two questions and both has to do with my bachelorette night.
Here’s the background. One of my bridesmaids (let’s call her Sandy) has offered to host my bachelorette. I have known Sandy since high school and we have been close despite our different personalities. (One important example: she loves surprise while I don’t like them. Once she surprised a group of friends with tickets to a house of horrors, but two of our friends were totally against the idea… However Sandy insisted they go and brushed aside their concerns with an airy “it’s FUN, TRUST ME…’. I was one of those who vetoed her idea and afterwards I told her, in private, that surprises always carry such a risk and she could be more sensitive in the future, instead of forcing her opinions on others.)
Anyway. I was very excited and thanked her profusely. Upon her request, I gave her the contacts of the short guest-list I decided on – six ladies in total, including myself and Sandy. My wedding is end of November (less than four weeks to go, phew!), and Sandy made her offer in the end September. I provided her the contacts a couple days after, about 9 weeks before the wedding. Besides the guest list, I told Sandy the bachelorette would have to be a couple of weeks before the wedding, as I would have lots to do as the big day draws closer (this is important for later). I didn’t hear anything about it after that, though Sandy and I continued to remain in contact.
Last week, which is about a month before the wedding, I contacted Sandy to ask about the bachelorette party. I wanted to know the date so that I could keep myself free day. To my surprise, she said she was going to contact the others next week (i.e. beginning of November, leas than four weeks to the wedding) and will let me know the date later. I asked her for the dates she was looking at so I can write it down anyway, and she told me two: (I) the Friday before the wedding (which I already told her I would prefer not to have it so close to the wedding!); or (2) a Wednesday in mid Nov. I hold a full time job myself and most of the other ladies did too; only Sandy worked shift work. I told her the Friday before the weekend was out, and that Wednesday may not be a good idea since there’s work the next day. Plus, it only gave everyone two weeks notice which I felt was a little inadequate – I mentioned this to Sandy whose response was, “It’s a two whole weeks! What’s the problem!?”
And so there’s my first question – how far in advance should one give notice for something like a bachelorette party? Personally I think it should be three or four weeks, and that two weeks is too short. For what’s it worth, I starting planning with my bridesmaids about six months before the wedding. I thought I should give everyone more time to shop for their dresses and make any arrangements necessary, rather than push them to finish stuff in a rushed manner.
Moving on… Sandy and I managed to work out the dates – I conceded and agreed to the Friday before the wedding, though I had to change around some appointments. I was wary of Sandy’s love for surprises, so I asked her what she was planning. Not all the details, mind, just general stuff like what type of places we are going and what we are doing, in case advance preparation is needed like wearing pants and sporty shoes for an amusement park. She said she wanted everyone to go home after work to change clothes, have dinner (on our own, separately) then go to this bar she had in mind by 7pm. Note that Sandy wasn’t working that day. Considering the others and myself finished work around 5pm, I told her her plan was impossible.. It took me a whole hour just to get home! I also told her I didn’t like bars with loud music and people smoking. And Sandy said, “Oh but I need the crowd so I can make you do dares and wear funny stuff!” By this time I was properly horrified. I am a very private person and announcing to a bar full of strangers that I was getting married is NOT my idea of a fun time! And to do dares?!? Woahhhhh!!!
So I told Sandy I’m really not comfortable involving strangers into the bachelorette party. I would rather just spend time with my girlfriends over a nice dinner and maybe a drink or two afterward. But I would do their dares as long as they aren’t too extreme. Sandy grumbled but conceded to change the location to a more quiet one. I was relieved until she told me I “had better do everything they asked me to, you cannot say no”. She also said that a bachelorette must involve the bride-to-be doing funny stuff with strangers. My eyes positively popped out of my sockets then. I mean, I’m all for having a fun night out, but to do things I don’t want to do and not have being able to say no? And didn’t I say I would rather not involve strangers?
I stiffened my spine, and asked Sandy – which is more important about this party? That we girls get to enjoy ourselves, or she gets to do what she thinks is fun? Sandy’s reply was quintessentially Sandy, “BOTH! trust me, everything I think of WILL be fun!!! Plus you’ll just talk to those strangers once in your life anyway so what’s the problem?” I was so stumbled by her reply that I could only say, “Sorry but you don’t get to decide what is fun for the rest of us! Please understand I would really feel uncomfortable if you got strangers involved!” Sandy has stopped speaking to me since.
Here’s my second question – did I commit a faux pas by trying to dedicate the “tone” of the party? Was I wrong to tell Sandy my preferences.. Should I have just accepted whatever Sandy planned? After all she was nice enough to offer to host it (though my other friends also offered, Sandy was the first to offer so I told the others no – after thanking them, of course!), I should not make demands of her?
Your advice will be much appreciated, everyone! Thank you and have a good week ahead :):) 1104-12
In the basics of hospitality, a bachelorette party is no different than any other party one plans and hosts. Guests need to be given their invitations far enough in advance that they can arrange their schedules and have time to RSVP. The risk of delaying the sending of invitations is that possible guests may decline due to a schedule conflict. Most hourly jobs require a 2 week notice to get specific time off so those working in those types of jobs are not as likely to attend. I consider three weeks the absolute minimum deadline prior to the event to issue invitations.
The question for Sandy is, “Who is being served by doing this?” Her plans to put you through embarrassing antics with strangers (and I know what some of those will probably be) with little regard for your preferences in this indicates that Sandy is serving herself and catering to her own definition of “fun”. She is planning on placing the guest of honor in awkward situations because it amuses her. This isn’t being a gracious, kind hostess or friend for that matter.
Having already accepted the honor of being the guest of honor at Sandy’s party, you must, I believe, honor that commitment to attend. That does not mean you must cave to Sandy’s demands that you embarrass yourself by participating in degrading, awkward “fun” she wants you to do. Politely decline to wear skanky attire or engage strangers in stupid antics. No one can make you do what you do not want to do. You very well may encounter the extremely awkward situation where you firmly but quietly refuse to do what you are being commanded to do and the immediate effect is that Sandy gets thwarted publicly. None of this sounds fun for you at all and it is quite unfortunate that Sandy has placed you in this mess. But Sandy does not get to manipulate you into doing what you are not comfortable doing and by doing so, she creates the awkwardness which you may have to further compound by reversing the tables on her. So, if Sandy corrals strangers to approach you to do something you’d rather not do, you look at the stranger and say, “No, thank you. I prefer not to,” or, “That crosses a line and I will not do that.” Look straight at the stranger, in the eyes, when saying this. Do not appeal to Sandy because she has already proven that appeals to her are pointless.
Good luck and let us know how it worked out.