“Most of my friends have gotten married, and we’ve gone to countless destination bachelorettes (mine included). But now that we’re all well into our 30s and one my best friends is getting married, I’m actually kinda surprised she wants to do the same type of thing. Nashville, Cabo, Miami are great party cities when you’re in your 20s, but now that I have a kid at home and I’m trying for another, it is very hard for me to justify spending a grand (at least) on a party I can barely enjoy. On top of this, it’s not like I can casually be like, ‘Can’t go, but will buy a round of drinks for you guys!’ because my friend would probably hate me forever if I didn’t go to her bachelorette. And, of course, I want to celebrate with her! Since a bunch of us feel the same way, is it wrong of me to tell my friend it’s ridiculous to have a destination bachelorette party at this age and that we should consider doing something local?”
Gonna start this one off with a resounding “No.” And here’s why.
First, it’s bad manners, plain and simple. When we asked Myka Meier, author of Modern Etiquette Made Easy, she told us, “It's perfectly fine etiquette for ladies of any age to enjoy a destination bachelorette and [it] would be stone-aged manners for you to say otherwise!”
To Meier’s point, there’s no reason to comment on anyone’s age. While you personally feel you’ve aged out of destination bachelorettes, that doesn’t mean everyone around you feels the same. And even if everyone but the bride feels that way, it’s still your personal opinion.
And who knows? Maybe traveling as group while you’re a little older and wiser is even better in your 20s? Meier elaborates, “In fact, the older a group becomes, the more financially secure they tend to be, with more disposable income. Age really has nothing to do with it, and it’s more a question of if the group are all aligned on the costs that the bachelorette party will incur.”
There’s also the fact that you had a destination bachelorette yourself, hunnie. Cue the stones and glass houses. After reading the question, my friend Angela (who’s a recent bride herself), responded, “Did you have a bachelorette, and did she come? If both answers are ‘yes,’ then no—you absolutely cannot tell her it's ridiculous.”
Abby, an unmarried 20-something friend, chimed in, “I don't think it's ridiculous at all! It's her wedding and just because it's taken her longer than 30 years to find ‘the one’ doesn't mean she can't celebrate and go wild as much as any 26-year-old bride.”
There you have it: The whole age thing is off the table. But that doesn’t mean your feelings are wholly unvalidated. Abby added, “I do think all brides (regardless of age) should be realistic about what their bridesmaids or bachelorette invitees are capable of. Post-30 there are probably more women with children who can't ditch the kiddos for a long weekend, either for money reasons or because finding childcare is tough. (On the other hand, how many 26-year-olds do you know that can afford a four-day extravaganza in Vegas?) People's budgets and life situations change, and the bride should be understanding about those changes.”
Lauren, a 30-something who’s been to many a bachelorette party ("True story: I was once invited to a bachelorette but not the wedding”), agrees with the ridiculous aspect of the destination bachelorette, but not because of any age. “My expert opinion? Just say no to destination bachelorettes. Why? 1) I can use a penis straw whenever and wherever I want and 2) it's just asking too much. Destination bachelorettes are never as relaxing or as fun or meet any expectations you have, for that matter. And they cost a lot, in terms of both time and money. I love my friends and would do almost anything for them, but destination bachelorettes are not one.”
We’ve corroborated your feelings, but we’re still advising you not to tell your friend to change her plans.
“As much as you might think it's ridiculous,” Angela assuages, “keep your opinions to yourself. If you can't afford to go, then find a way to respectfully tell her so and back out (that alone may sway her opinion). But don't expect her to change her plans because of you."
TLDR: Destination bachelorette parties may be the bane of the modern feminine existence—almost always better in theory and never wallet-friendly—but when it comes to your friend, we say: her bach, her choice. You can tap out gracefully or you buck up and grab a penis straw by the horns and enjoy the circumstances, just as your friend did for you.