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bachelorette party etiquette

Bachelorette Parties: Etiquette Q&A

Bachelorette parties sometimes take on a life of their own. Before you officially cut loose, here's some etiquette 411.

Photo: Dana Cohn

Q. My mother says "nice girls" don't have bachelorette parties. Is it proper for women to celebrate their last night of bachelorettehood this way? After all, men have far raunchier parties that could lead to major catastrophes if things got out of control.

A. If the groom gets to celebrate bachelordom's end, why shouldn't the bride? You're at a turning point in your life, and there's every reason to go out with your friends for one last blast. You might point out to your mom that going out for dinner and drinks, to a comedy club, or to a spa with friends is hardly shameful or dangerous. Assure her that just because you are planning a bachelorette party doesn't mean you are getting ready to indulge in a night of drunken strip-club hopping! You should also know that not all bachelor parties are raunchy these days -- lots of grooms skip the strippers and porn flicks!

Q. Should the bachelorette party be held on the same night as the bachelor party?

A. Not necessarily, but it's a nice idea for both bride and groom to party simultaneously -- it leaves no time to wonder (read: obsess over) what the other person is doing! One couple we know told their pals they wanted to meet at a favorite hangout at night's end.

It's a nice idea for both bride and groom to party simultaneously -- it leaves no time to wonder (read: obsess over) what the other person is doing!

Q. A few of my girlfriends have reservations about my fiance, and they've let me know how they feel. They're invited to the wedding, but I think it would be awkward to have them at my bachelorette party, which will be pretty intimate. Must they be invited?

A. No one who might upset the bride for any reason -- whether it's because they disapprove of her fiance or disagree with the night's entertainment -- needs to be invited to the bachelorette party. The only guests on hand should be those with whom the bride feels completely comfortable. Tell the party planners about the situation and ask them not to include these friends on the guest list. If they ask you about it later, explain that you had a small get-together with just your bridesmaids.

Q. Must we invite the mothers of the bride and groom to the bachelorette party? I don't feel comfortable about getting tipsy in front of either of them, much less both!

A. The answer to your question depends on the bride and on the type of bachelorette party. Some women are extremely close to their mothers and wouldn't have a wedding-related party without Mom in tow, while others feel more at ease with friends than with family. If you're having a dinner party or a brunch or tea, it's appropriate to invite the bride's and groom's mothers, but if you're going out drinking (or anything else that's not Mom-approved), having them along might be awkward. Chances are they'll opt out anyway. You could blend the best of both worlds: Invite them to dinner and go out with friends for...dessert. Or, make it a girlfriends-only party.

Q. Most of my attendants and close friends are single, and they love bar hopping and flirting. I used to enjoy this, too, but now that I'm engaged I'm not into it anymore. I know they'll plan a bachelorette party that involves bars, strange men, and who knows what else. Can I tell them I'm uncomfortable with this?

A. Of course you can. There's no rule that says you should have a "traditional" bachelorette party. If you'd rather do something else, let your friends know. On the other hand, it might be fun to go out with the girls one last time as a single woman. You needn't do anything you don't want to do -- for example, if your pals tell the cute guys at the bar to kiss you, say pecks on the cheek will be fine, thank you very much. Remember that the party is about you, the bride, so your pals won't be looking for boyfriends; they'll be focused on making sure you have a great time. Maybe for old times' sake, you'll decide to go along for the ride.

-- The Knot

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