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

Clane Gessel Photography

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.

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 and alcohol!"

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