Out of all of the pre-wedding festivities, the bachelorette party might be the most fun. When was the last time you had a chance to get your closest friends together for a night or weekend of adventures and debauchery? (Whether they're rated PG or R is up to you). The bride is usually not so involved in planning the bachelorette party, but the one thing they have a say in is the guest list.
And while picking a group of your besties to spend a weekend with would normally be a no-brainer, the process becomes a little bit stressful when you combine different personalities, the mixing of friend groups, and a whole slew of accompanying dynamics. So who gets an invite, and who doesn't? We'll break it down for you, with a little help from wedding etiquette expert Amber Harrison.
Meet the Expert
Amber Harrison is an authority on weddings and etiquette and was previously the head of weddings and brand content at Shutterfly.
Creating the Guest List
"Typically, the bachelorette party is reserved for your bridesmaids and maybe a few of your closest friends and female family members," Harrison says. "This can change depending on the type of celebration you want and the activities you end up choosing."
Start with a conversation with whoever will be planning and hosting the event. "Think about what kind of party you want, and discuss it with your bridesmaids so they are clear about what (and who) you are comfortable with," advises Harrison. "Ultimately, the guest list is up to you." The type of event you're comfortable with will also have a big impact on who you decide to invite. It's important to make sure that you are not only keeping in mind what you are comfortable with doing but also your intended guests.
If the type of bachelorette getaway you have in mind seems at odds with a certain friend's beliefs, it is probably best to exclude them from the invite list and save them from an awkward trip. In this situation, and depending on your relationship, it may be best to explain your reasoning to them in person so they don't feel slighted. Keep this in mind if the tables are turned and you find yourself facing a friend that declines an invitation to participate for the same reasons. In the end, it is more important that you accept your friend's personal beliefs than damage your relationship over their presence during some or all bachelorette activities.
Inviting Family Members to Your Bachelorette Party
"If you have a great relationship with your mom, aunt, or other family member, go ahead and include them. Just remember to make sure everyone on the guest list would be comfortable participating or observing—including you." Harrison says. An afternoon at your favorite winery or a day at the spa? Invite Mom and your aunt to come along. A weekend in Vegas? You may want to leave those family members at home. The last thing you want yourself, your besties, or your family members to be feeling during the bach bash is discomfort or judgment. There are plenty of other pre-wedding events, like brunches and showers, to invite loved ones of all stages and ages, so no one should be feeling left out in the end.
There's only one real guest list no-no to avoid. "Don't invite anyone who has not received an invitation to your wedding," Harrison emphasizes. "That goes for your shower, too." Otherwise, invite away to your heart's content. Just keep in mind that this is your bachelorette party and not your actual wedding. Invite only those extra special people that you know will bring you joy—that's right, Marie Kondo that invite list—and contribute to a memorable, and stress-free, weekend.