The Generation Gap At Bachelorette Party

by admin on June 17, 2014

My only sister is getting married early this fall and asked me to be the maid-of-honor for the ceremony. I currently live several states away from where the wedding will be taking place and have not been able to participate in any of the planning. It’s not that they need my help or that I particularly enjoy helping people plan weddings, I just lament the fact that I am honored in this way but not really doing anything special for her yet.

When I got married about 5 years ago, my sister was also my distant maid-of-honor. Similar to the current situation, she couldn’t help with the planning but was still able to plan and organize a great bachelorette party. We had a private dining room at a local casino, had a few PG-13 drinks, spent a token amount in the slots, and just had a fun time.  Ultimately it was just really special to have the outing with other young female friends and family members who were all close to me.

For this reason I was really looking forward to returning the favor and hosting a girls’ night (or afternoon) for all of us to have fun.  After doing a little research, I found a great business that will host a private event where they teach you how to do a painting of your choice while you provide your own food and drinks. I told her what I had in mind to gauge her reaction and she loved it.  She also mentioned my idea to several local family members who agreed that it was such a great idea that they would probably try it out themselves sometime in the future.

Just recently, I provided her with a couple dates and times to get an idea of what fit into her general schedule.  She gave me an idea of her schedule as well as the other bridesmaids, all of which was really helpful.  She also included this line in her email,  “We could always invite Mom and [local aunt] and whoever else is in town early to join.”

Here’s the rub: I don’t really want my mom or aunt to join us for this particular event.  College friends and/or cousins, married or single, is not a problem.  As I said earlier, part of what made my own bachelorette party so special was having a unique blend of girls and women my own age and I really want her to have some of that.  It’s not like we’re planning to be foolish or raunchy, but the fact is having my conservative mom and aunt there would invariably change the dynamic to something that is a little bit less fun and special just to us.

At the same time though, I understand that as a host I should do my best to accommodate reasonable requests by the guest of honor.  What could be more reasonable than including a mom and aunt who actually did help with the wedding? At this point I’m torn.  Her email isn’t insisting these people be invited but it is clearly suggesting we should include them.  Also, I really have no way to know how much is her trying to be inclusive versus the possibility she’s being passive-aggressively accosted to include them.   Am I being selfish for wanting to insist on an “our generation only” party?  If it makes a difference, I am planning on paying for the entire event, some (if not all) of the food and drink, and the required transportation from hotel to site.

Thank you for your time and help.  0616-14

You’ve talked yourself into the answer.   Your sister has suggested that Mom and Aunt be included in those invited to the bachelorette party and it is a waste of your time to speculate as to the reasons why Sis would do that.   While you chose to exclude those of a particular generation as being too fuddy duddy for your own bachelorette party, your sister does not appear to be that exclusive.   What matters in the end is not how much fun you will have at Sis’s bachelorette party but whether Sis enjoyed herself.

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Lo June 17, 2014 at 9:18 am

I think you’re being awfully unfair to your older family members.

Nothing about this event sounds like it would be exclusive to your own age group. My mother wouldn’t have come to my bachelorette party because it was at a cabaret and she’s prudish about that kind of thing. But if I had wanted something like this with family then there’s no reason to exclude the older generation. Heck, I’d love to have done an event like with my own mother and grandmother if it worked out that way.

I think you’re assuming too much about what a bachelorette party has to be. The bride welcomes the inclusion. She wants to enjoy something in the company of her family. I doubt she’d be relaying a passive aggressive message from these family members to you unless I have severely underestimated how much control they have in her life.

Do what the bride suggests.

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A different Tracy June 17, 2014 at 2:48 pm

The LW says her mother and aunt are conservative. Let’s give her the benefit of the doubt when she says they may change the atmosphere of the party – surely she knows them better than we do. Especially if the other guests don’t know them well. I know *I* would be a lot more toned-down if I were at a party with a friend’s unfamiliar, older-generation family members.

The bottom line, of course, is that the party should be what the bride wants. But don’t pooh-pooh the LW’s concerns simply because they wouldn’t be concerns for YOU. They may very well be legitimate concerns for her own family.

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Cat June 17, 2014 at 9:42 am

I am a great believer in asking people what they really want rather than trying my hand at mind-reading and taking a stab at figuring it out. Maybe Sis is being pressured into including Mom and auntie into the party. I would not want my Mother at my bachelorette party. The shower, yes, and the wedding, yes, but not at the bachelorette.

Pick up the phone and ask Sis what she would like to have. Do that. It’s her party, even if you are paying for it. It’s rude to ignore her wishes and make it all about what you want. A woman in my office hated ice cream cake, but the women in the office liked it so, when her birthday came around, they bought her a cake she could not enjoy and did not eat. Don’t do that.

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Lerah99 July 21, 2014 at 2:56 pm

I am with Cat.

Why don’t you just call your sister and talk it over with her? Then you can find out what she really wants and act accordingly.

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Alicia June 17, 2014 at 10:19 am

Whats wrong with chatting on phone to sister and saying something like ” Hey I saw your mention of mom and aunt in the email. I was thinking more our generation but if you want to go multi-generational we can do that. What would you prefer? ” That lets bride clarify if she really wants mom and aunt there or if was just saying so under pressure or what. This is your sister asking for clarity if fine.

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June First June 18, 2014 at 2:07 pm

I like this idea because you’re looking at just one line in an email. It’s easy to misinterpret emails sometimes. Maybe Sis was concerned there was a certain number of people needed for the class, and wanted to make sure you had enough guests.

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alex June 17, 2014 at 10:23 am

OP, I think your sister truly wants them there. I went to a bachelorette party of a good college friend that was the exact same thing with the painting and the mom (and my mom!) were invited. There was dinner and drinks and barhopping afterward and they went to all of it. We had a lot of fun and I think it is really sweet that your sister wants them there. I don’t think there is an age limit on bachelorette activities.

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Princess Buttercup June 17, 2014 at 11:39 am

I would definately not be asking anyone but her.
Contact her and say I saw you mentioned inviting mom, I had been thinking of just our age group for a light hearted goofy day but if you’d like to have others along let me know so I can include them. I want you to have the most fun possible so tell me how to make sure that happens.
Then you know exactly what she wants and no questions.

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Pam June 17, 2014 at 2:03 pm

Don’t let a preconceived idea of how the party “should be” rob you of what could be an awesome memory. I would also suggest calling your sister and just asking her if having the mom’s there was her idea or if she’s feeling pressure. Then do whatever SHE wants and have a good time :)

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Meegs June 17, 2014 at 3:59 pm

It’s your sister. There is no point in beating around the bush. Just call her and ask her.

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lkb June 17, 2014 at 4:13 pm

I agree that the OP should contact the bride and let her make the final call. It could be the bride sensed some hurt feelings from Mom and/or Aunt for not including them in the OP’s bachelorette and wants to avoid them feeling snubbed (especially if they did play a role in the planning.)

It could be that Mom and Aunt will have a grand time chatting in their corner of the room while the younger ones will have an equally grand time in their corner.

Best wishes to the happy couple and their loved ones!

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wintershere June 17, 2014 at 4:33 pm

I think suggesting a “craftsy” kind of party may very well suggest “older” people to her? If someone said, hey let’s go to the museum, I would think of inviting my mom. If someone said, let’s go to the circus, I would think of inviting my little cousins and definitely NOT my mom. I’m pretty sure if you had suggested an evening of drinking and bar hopping, mom would NOT have been suggested. (I personally like the idea you suggested OP)

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Rae June 17, 2014 at 4:40 pm

I agree with what Admin says. This is your sister’s reasonable want, and it is absolutely fine to include them.

And you might be surprised to hear that the “old” ladies can be a lot of fun at bachelorette parties, from what I have heard. Some friends of the family that are almost my age invited my Mom to their parties, while I was an afterthought. From what my Mom told me, they were really wild and a lot of fun.

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Ivy June 17, 2014 at 11:18 pm

If I were in the shoes of the LW, I would simply call up sis and ask point blank, “Do you want me to invite these two? I think it’s a great idea, but I just wanted to double check!” Don’t make it weird, just ask and you can laugh about it afterward. It’s not a big deal unless you make it one.

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Girlie June 18, 2014 at 10:03 am

Yeah, since this seems like a more laid-back bachelorette, I think it’s fine to extend to others, ESPECIALLY since that’s what the bride wants. Just give her a call and make sure that’s the route she wants to go (she’s your sis!!). I definitely wouldn’t want moms/aunts at something like a strip club, but this seems more like a laid back atmosphere.

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JackieJormpJomp June 18, 2014 at 11:00 pm

It’s your sister. I don’t think there is any harm in bringing up the potential (actually likely) dynamic change of inviting her mother on a night out. I imagine this situation with my own sister, and I can easily imagine her cagey response of “well, she ASKED me if she could come…” And it would be my big sister moment to remind her not to get pressured into things. The fact that you are even asking, OP, suggests there could be a similar dynamic, here. Ask her supportively if that’s what she really wants.

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Ange June 19, 2014 at 1:17 am

Let’s not forget too mum and aunt might get wind of what the plans are and decide to opt out anyway. My mother wouldn’t have come to my bachelorette party if I’d had one as she always felt a bit out of place going out with younger women. On the other hand they may want to go and surprise you. My fairly conservative mother in law went to my sister in law’s hens night (her son’s wife) and had a great time singing karaoke and drinking champagne.

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Brit June 19, 2014 at 11:42 am

You need to ask her. None of us can know what your sister really wants, however much some posters are presuming otherwise.

There is NO WAY I’d have wanted my mother at mine. And I love my mother deeply.

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Annie June 20, 2014 at 12:57 pm

I think the advice to call and speak to the sister is good. OP has an inkling that her sister may be under pressure to invite Mom and Auntie, and as the host of the event, it would be better to ask her personally to make sure.

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Mya June 26, 2014 at 10:40 am

I think what the bride wants is important in this scenario. The experiences you value may not be the same as those she values and perhaps she genuinely wants these older guests there. She may just be offering out of politeness.

When I arranged my sister’s ‘hen do’ we spent the day at a spa with MotB and MotG, friends, cousins etc, then went out in the evening. We expected MotB and MotG to bow out of the nightclub and bar scene – not so much! They came along and had a great time. If I was worried they’d be all ‘Mumsy’ I was totally wrong. In fact they really got into the whole spirit and even dressed up. My sister (the Bride) didn’t want a ‘tacky’ fancy dress theme and she didn’t want her guests to have to spend lots of money so we settled on ‘Black and Neon’ wherein people would wear a black dress/trousers/skirt/etc with ‘Neon’ coloured accessories – anything they wanted from a pair of earrings right up to a fully co-ordinated shoes/bag/jewellery ensemble. I went with Black and Neon Pink and bought shoes and a bag and some cheap £ shop jewellery. Then I put together some party favour bags with some fun stuff in:

Neon Glow in the dark sticks and connectors (so they could be bracelets, earrings, necklaces etc)
Silly plastic tiaras from the ‘party bag’ section of my local supermarket (these went down really well)
Mini bottles of bubble mixture in the shape of champagne bottles
I think I put some sweets and chocs in there too (I can’t really remember). I know I bought a load of Chuppa Chups lollies

The Bride’s goody bag had a couple of Miniature vodkas and a small ‘personal pleasure device’ for humour value. I can’t abide those ‘Penis themed’ Hen accessories so we went with tasteful and discrete.

Then I bought printed sashes on Ebay for the bridal party. All in all it went really well and we all has a great time.

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Enna July 27, 2014 at 10:19 am

I think you should do your best to accomadate your sister’s wishes. You never know what fun you might have!

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Angel August 3, 2014 at 1:56 pm

Your sister already told you she wanted your mom and aunt there. It is a painting party–not some wild bachelorette stripper party. I would just invite your mom and aunt in addition to all the other guests. What is the big deal? It is your sister’s party and she wants them there.

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sylvie August 3, 2014 at 8:02 pm

Don’t be so quick to dismiss the old “fuddy-duddies”. They were young once too, and probably still know how to have a good time. Think of the amazing Betty White, suck it up and invite ‘em!

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