Ask a Professional Bridesmaid: Do I Have to Attend the Bachelorette Party If I Don't Like to Party?

Bridesmaids, Showers & Parties

Jen Glantz is a "Professional Bridesmaid" and the founder of Bridesmaid for Hire. She's the author of All My Friends Are Engaged and frequently wears old bridesmaid dresses to the grocery store and on first dates. For her column, Jen answers a fellow bridesmaid's burning question:

"The last time I took a shot of tequila was at my college graduation party. That's also the last time I had the urge to take a shot of tequila, or stay out past 1 a.m., or do things like shake my body to a very fast beat — in public. One of my good friends is engaged and we're in the process of planning her bachelorette party. I want to go and show her a fun time, but I don't drink. I don't like being around people who drink and I don't like staying out late at night. It's not even that I don't like it, to be honest, it gives me social anxiety. I don't want to ruin her night by going and being miserable. I also don't want to ruin her night but not going at all. What should I do?"

I wore dark sunglasses to the last bachelorette party that I went to. Not because it was sunny out — we were indoors and it was already 11 o'clock at night. I wore them because when I wanted something to make it less obvious that I was sitting there with my eyes completely closed. Was I sleeping? I wish! We were a drag queen show (I've been three times already) and I was kind of over witnessing the raunchy debauchery take place. I wondered to myself, at that point, if I should have just stayed home. I was on my third glass of water, on the rocks, and glancing at my iPhone lock screen to countdown when the clock would finally strike midnight and I could return home and turn into a couch potato.

See more:Affordable (and Stylish!) Bridesmaid Dresses Under $100

I don't like to party either. My idea of a "shot" these days is one that comes in the form of wheatgrass from Jamba Juice. I've been present at so many bachelorette parties that I can predict the exact choreography the stripper is going to attempt before he even gets started.

You don't have to do anything you don't want to do. I know people tell you this all the time, and half those times, they tell you it in a form of reverse psychology — and you feel so bad after hearing it, that you end up dropping $700 on a bachelorette party you can't even afford. But it's true. As a bridesmaid or even just a good friend, you don't have to go. Not going is not a sign that you don't care or that you don't support the bride. It's a sign that that particular party is out of your comfort zone, your budget, your idea of a good time. And that's okay.

You can say no — or you can go for the calm dinner portion and then march home.

Either way, plan your own spin-off party for the bride. There can never be too many celebrations when it comes to a bride's wedding adventure. So make it up to her with a girls' night at your favorite local restaurant or a day at the spa together or something that says, "Hey! Let's celebrate this gigantic milestone in your life. But let's do it without the strippers in the leopard print thongs and the gooey bottle of alcohol."

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