Dear Wayne and Wanda,
My best friend is getting married this summer and she recently informed me that, as her maid of honor, she wants me to plan a bachelorette party. I was planning on having an outside event for her when the weather warmed up. Apparently I was thinking too small. She wants a girls’ weekend out of state. Her list of guests includes seven of our girlfriends. She wants to rent a house for at least three nights. Her first choice is Napa Valley for wine tasting but she said she is also open to Portland or Seattle or Las Vegas.
The wedding is less than three months away. I just can’t see putting a trip like this together in that time, especially not with what everyone’s been through this past year. Some of our friends were furloughed. Others have little kids at home and I think getting away for multiple days could be tough. This would mean buying plane tickets and committing a lot of money and probably taking vacation time off work.
Not to mention, many people aren’t traveling yet — some of our friends may not feel comfortable flying someplace for a long weekend. Her opinion is that this is all the more reason to travel now — that low demand means tickets are cheaper (note that this is just her opinion, I have not seen anything official to validate that). As for our friends’ schedules and comfort levels, she said they should “get over it” because this is her “special time.”
I feel like a weekend away is insensitive and risky in the context of COVID. I tried to talk it out with her this weekend and she basically said if I don’t want to execute her vision, maybe I shouldn’t be her maid of honor. She was very upset. I don’t know where to go from here. Ideas?
You may not agree with your friend’s approach to her wedding festivities — you may even have sound rationale for backing up your beliefs. But it’s her wedding, not yours. While you’re free to offer opinions to inform her evolving ideas, she definitely has the final say, and it sounds like she knows what she wants.
That doesn’t mean you have to take a lead in planning the bachelorette party. There are plenty of excuses one could use to duck out of coordination duties — from citing a lack of time or experience in travel planning, to simply telling the truth: that you aren’t feeling the inspiration for orchestrating a trip of this nature at this time and you know it will turn out better if she or someone else takes the reins. It’s a fact that asking anyone to plan a multi-day out-of-state excursion is super extra, and you should get a say in your role.
You also don’t have to go on the getaway. If you don’t feel comfortable with this size or kind of trip, or you simply can’t logistically make it happen, it’s absolutely your right to sit it out. Given your description of your friends’ circumstances, I’d be shocked if several on the guest list didn’t attend for a multitude of reasons. And every bride who lands on a destination wedding or out-of-town bachelorette party knows that when you add cost and logistics and days to your event, you’ll likely lose some headcount due to those who simply can’t pull off that many days, or that much money, or that level of energy.
In the end, your friend chose you as maid of honor because it’s important to her that you’re part of her “special day.” Even if you aren’t part of the bachelorette party of her dreams, you can still show your love and support by being by her side during a beautiful and memorable wedding day.
OK, the wedding day should technically be the most special period of “special time” on the matrimony agenda. But who doesn’t want a rare, epic and unforgettable weekend with all of their besties? And really, it’s apples and oranges. She can and should have the best of both. It’s her party and she can pout, be pushy, and make ridiculous demands if she wants to.
That does not mean everyone has to or will play along. As maid of honor, however, you signed up for it and that’s pretty much the most important part of the gig. I hope you realize that you’re in a win-win position, though: you don’t have to stress, overthink or decide for everyone; you just draw up a plan, play the messenger, and everyone decides for themselves. Hope that eases the pressure and your anxiety.
So start doing the logistics and the math: figure out airfares, house and minivan rentals, tickets for top-flight wine tours in Napa or front row seats for Britney in Vegas, and maybe throw in an exotic dancer or two just in case. Then start calling the homies and ask if they’re in or out; simple and straight question, no sitting on the fence.
If three or more of the seven friends are onboard, that’s pretty much a party and you see it through. If two or fewer are interested, then that should make it obvious even to the wine-blind bride that if she wants all of her friends involved, she’s going to have to settle for an AK staycation. And conveniently, there’s plenty of big cabins and expensive wine in Homer — and even a few out-of-work fishermen who will happily dance down to their Xtratufs.