Dear Carolyn: How can I do my part in preventing any drama during my bachelorette party? I am having 10 of my closest girlfriends and family members fly with me to a resort town in Mexico. I am not having a traditional wedding so I do not have a bridal party. I did all the planning myself. I’m close to all of these girls but we are not part of a bigger friend group, so most of them don’t even know each other.
A couple of these girls have very big personalities and are quite bossy. I understand everyone is putting in a lot of time, money and effort to go on this trip with me so I want to respect that and I want them to each get out of the trip what they want.
I don’t drink and am most interested in the wilderness activities for this trip. How can I explain to the girls that if they want to go out all night, that’s fine, but I will be leaving at 8 a.m. for my activities and they’ll be left behind if they’re still hungover and nowhere near ready? I want everybody to feel like they have the freedom to do whatever they want during this trip and not get offended when the group splits up or doesn’t go where they want to go.
I know I won’t get everybody to agree with everything. There are just a couple of girls that I’m concerned will be overly dramatic and bossy about the whole trip. I don’t want to have to boss people around either, but I know it’ll be my duty to be peacekeeper at least. I’ve gone on a couple of trips with the bossy girls I’ve mentioned, and there were several fights and hurt feelings because we didn’t want to do or spend money on what they wanted.
Yeah, what could go wrong.
It’s too late for the advice to dial the ambition back, ideally to within an hour’s drive of where most of you live, given the number of challenges (and challenging personalities) here.
Fortunately, the philosophical underpinnings of that advice travel well internationally: Take what you envision getting out of this trip, then cut it in half. Maybe twice. Pleasant time with women you love, for example, and maybe a hike. That might be achievable. If ever there was a time for minimalism, this is it.
If you haven’t already, prearrange one thing a day for everyone to do together as an anchor for your schedule. Make it late enough for the sleepers-in. Dinner, for example.
Then – this is key – convey your expect-very-little expectations to your friends clearly: “I can’t wait to spend time with everyone. I don’t expect us all to move as a group the whole time. I’m planning some early morning outdoorsy stuff, which you’re all welcome to join or skip – and please feel free to do what works for you as well. I’ve kept the schedule loose on purpose.”
Then, anoint yourself zen goddess, high priestess of low expectations, ambassador of quan. Good practice for marriage, in fact.
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