(A AND NOT B) is okay for bachelor parties and weddings, right?
December 26, 2012 12:01 PM   Subscribe

Bachelor party - can I invite people who aren't invited to the wedding?

I'm getting married in May and planning a March bachelor party in another city (not sure if it matters, but none of the potential bachelor party invitees live where the party is happening so any attendees would have to travel to the bachelor party). We're planning on having 200-ish people attend the wedding & reception, so it's not small, but due to space constraints I can't invite every single friend I'd like to invite. Everyone (me, my fiancee, both sets of parents) are being judicious to keep the number of invitees down, so this is fine by me.

But I would like to invite all my friends to the bachelor party, even those who aren't invited to the wedding. I think the party is a better time to catch up anyway. But I'd like to avoid confusion, so I have 2 questions:

1) Is inviting people to a bachelor party and not inviting them to a wedding a faux pas? I don't think so, but I'd like to check. A friend of mine did this a few years ago (invited people to the bachelor party who weren't invited to the wedding) and it seemed to be fine, but his wedding was much smaller (30 people) so I'm not sure if the rules are the same here.

2) How should I inform the bachelor party invitees that they aren't all invited to the wedding? I thought something generic in the invitation email might make it clear: "Due to space constraints, Tehhund can't invite everyone to the wedding, so he is hoping to see lots of you at the bachelor party."
posted by Tehhund to Human Relations (42 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
1. Yes, I think so. If it's not a faux pas, it's at least rude if you're having 200 guests. I could see it if like your friend, you had 30 guests and it was just family.

2. You shouldn't. If you want to have a post-wedding party, that's more appropriate.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:03 PM on December 26, 2012 [5 favorites]

There are probably guys who would much rather go to the bachelor party and skip the wedding even if they were invited to both!
posted by thorny at 12:05 PM on December 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

I've gone to a few bachelor parties where I wasn't invited to the wedding, and I wasn't offended in the least. I got to go to the fun part!
posted by Grither at 12:07 PM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

I would feel a bit slighted to be invited to a bachelor party and not the wedding, and I would certainly not travel to a bachelor party where I was not invited to the wedding. How many people are we talking here? Can you really afford a 200 person wedding and not a 210 person wedding?
posted by Rock Steady at 12:07 PM on December 26, 2012 [3 favorites]

It's debatable. Some folks might feel snubbed, others might feel glad to just do the "fun" part. I don't think you have to spell out to folks they aren't invited- isn't the bachelor party right before the wedding? Seeing "Tehhund is getting married next Saturday and we want to take him out for a wild night this Thursday!" should be enough to clue them in.

On preview: wait, I see you'd be asking people to travel for a bachelor party for a wedding they aren't invited to? No, sorry, that's not appropriate for any pre-wedding event (shower, bachelor/bachelorette, hen, etc).
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:10 PM on December 26, 2012 [10 favorites]

Agree with TPS. Travel requirement is your dealbreaker here.
posted by radwolf76 at 12:14 PM on December 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

I would be pissed to get an invitation like that, and I hate weddings. Because what you are saying is "spend your money to come to {city} to celebrate my wedding, to which you aren't invited because I can't afford to spend my money to have you celebrate my wedding".

I can have Cohibas and strippers in my own town whenever I want.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:14 PM on December 26, 2012 [30 favorites]

It would be fine to invite people to your bachelor party only (no explanation needed) if they didn't have to travel for it—but asking people to travel for a prewedding event when they're not invited to the wedding isn't cool.
posted by limeonaire at 12:15 PM on December 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

It's fine if you invite a lot of extra people. If you only invite one or a couple who are not going to the wedding, it's a bit awkward. I speak from experience both ways. And yes, no travel should be expected of them. It works best to have such inclusive parties near your home town or college town, perhaps a week or so before the wedding.
posted by michaelh at 12:17 PM on December 26, 2012

Agree that having a pre-wedding get-together that didn't involve travel to the wedding destination would be a fine occasion to include both wedding invitees and non-invitees.

It's just so awkward to have people come to your wedding destination for something other than the wedding. And it'll be awkward for the invitees and non-invitees alike. "Hey, Pete, last night was fun, want to see if we can get a round of golf in before my plane this evening?" "No, sorry, I'll need to leave for the wedding around two." "...." "...."
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:24 PM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

A clarification in response to a good question:

How many people are we talking here? Can you really afford a 200 person wedding and not a 210 person wedding?

I'm inviting 20 friends to the wedding (plus dates = 40 people)

My bachelor party list is 50 friends (including the 20 who are invited to the wedding), of which I expect 15-20 to make it. So inviting all 30 friends who are left out would add as many as 60 people to the wedding guest list. Not going to happen.

It's more like "hi big group of drinking buddies with and who I see 1-2 times per year at weddings and alumni events, here's another excuse to party together since I can't invite all of you to the wedding." It's really not about "I expect all of you to go out of your way to celebrate me," though I realize many people will read it that way.
posted by Tehhund at 12:24 PM on December 26, 2012

Yeah, definitely not, upon clarification. Sorry.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:29 PM on December 26, 2012

I'm getting married in May and planning a March bachelor party

Not sure if those above noticed this (or I may be reading it wrong) but it looks like the bachelor party and wedding are temporally separated by two months? That avoids the awkwardness of one friend staying an extra few nights to go to the wedding while the other friend leaves town. In that case, would be seem to be ok. The invitation should be worded in a way to sound inclusive and an extension of the celebration, though (something like you wrote above).
posted by defenestrated at 12:31 PM on December 26, 2012

Oh hm. I think I did miss that temporal separation. I guess that's closer to OK, then, but yeah, I'd still be careful about how you frame the whole thing.
posted by limeonaire at 12:38 PM on December 26, 2012

What's rude about it is that you're basically asking them to spend a lot of time and effort to celebrate a big event to which they're not invited. If you just want to party with them, party with them, and don't make it about the wedding. If you could call it anything else, it would be much more okay. St. Patrick's Day Party, anything. Anything to make it not WEDDING WEDDING HEY WEDDING YOU'RE NOT INVITED TO THIS WEDDING.
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:49 PM on December 26, 2012 [15 favorites]

For a small wedding like that, I would not be offended, especially if (how to be vulgar?) the bachelor party is a real party and not any sort of joint payment thing.
posted by skbw at 12:53 PM on December 26, 2012

What is the plan for the bachelor party? If you will be truly hosting the bachelor party, i.e. treating the guests at the bachelor party to food and drink, that's not so terrible. On the other hand, if you are inviting people to an event where they will have an outlay of money to celebrate your marriage when they are not invited to the wedding, that is not cool.
posted by Dolley at 12:53 PM on December 26, 2012 [9 favorites]

It's officially not polite, and as you can see from the responses here some people would be offended and some wouldn't, which is why it's officially not polite.

Really, any wedding-related events should include people who are invited to the wedding and exclude those who aren't. It creates an A-list and a B-list even if that's not what you meant.

There is nothing to stop you from having a big party sometime after the wedding, with all the guys you would have liked to invite to your bachelor party, and just calling it a party with no reference to the wedding or anything. In fact, that would be a good way of maintaining your friendships after the wedding which is a time when people often end up getting friend-dumped through sheer attrition.
posted by tel3path at 12:56 PM on December 26, 2012 [12 favorites]

the young rope-rider: If you could call it anything else, it would be much more okay. St. Patrick's Day Party, anything. Anything to make it not WEDDING WEDDING HEY WEDDING YOU'RE NOT INVITED TO THIS WEDDING.

Call it a reunion.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:56 PM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

As a rule people invited to pre-wedding festivities, should invited to the wedding. A bachelor party, like a wedding shower, is focused on you not your friends. The intention to bring friends together is certainly a good one. However, there's a little bit of "hey travel and buy me drinks and strippers" in a bachelor party.

Miss Manners has this to say about the a similar question regarding pre-wedding parties, "A shower is not supposed to be a second-tier event for people who don't rate being invited to the wedding" Here's a link to Miss Manners answer which addresses all sorts of pre-wedding festivities: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2002-04-04/features/0204040018_1_wedding-bachelorette-invited

Considering that this is not a small wedding, there's really no way that this comes off as anything but a party for the second tier.
posted by 26.2 at 12:58 PM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Whoops, I was one of the people who missed the separation in time between bachelor party and wedding. I like tel3path's idea of having a blowout for friends after the wedding instead.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:59 PM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've been invited to a bachelor party without being invited to the wedding, and while I wouldn't say I was offended, it was awkward. People ended up talking about plans for the day before the wedding, etc., and assuming I was invited. It got weird. I guess if it had been messaged a little more clearly to me ("hey man, we're having a really small wedding so we're only inviting family and very close friends, but I'd still like to see you"), it would have been less weird. And I did have a good time. But on balance I'd rather have not been invited than only half-included.
posted by primethyme at 1:00 PM on December 26, 2012

Wait, sorry, I misread. That's 20 friends of yours (and presum. 20 friends of the bride). That's not such a small wedding. I was reading 20 GUESTS at the wedding.

I still don't think this is so bad. I have many friends (myself in their number) who privately admit that they really don't enjoy attending weddings.

If I were you, I would go down the list of the presumptive bachelor-party-only guys. Cut out the ones who would be traveling. To get such an invitation (travel to my bp but not to my wedding) would be for me not so much offending as just really odd.

So now you have a list of local BP-only attendees. Ask yourself, and maybe ask a close friend who knows the individuals in question. Who among them would be truly offended not to get a wedding invite? And who would be psyched to get a chance to party without having the burden of the wedding attendance?
posted by skbw at 1:01 PM on December 26, 2012

I don't think you can do this without it appearing, at least to some of the invited to bachelor party but not wedding, as a slight.

And, honestly, that is a huge bachelor party invite list. Prioritize. You've already done it by not inviting some of them to your large wedding.

If you want a party without inviting everyone to your wedding, unbundle it from the wedding. Have a big birthday party. Have a huge 4th of July bash. Do something other than Bachelor Party.
posted by inturnaround at 1:02 PM on December 26, 2012 [4 favorites]

Hm, sounds like there's enough "not okay" votes to make this questionable. Which leaves me in the awkward position of potentially canceling the destination party (which I've only mentioned to my best man and fiancee). If I'm going to have a party with only the wedding invitees, might as well do it the night before the wedding. The whole point of the destination bachelor party was to have a "reunion" as Rock Steady suggested so I could include the guys who aren't getting an invite.
posted by Tehhund at 1:36 PM on December 26, 2012

Dates for every guest, regardless of relationship status? If you have space in your guest list to do plus-ones for everyone then you have space for your friends. Cut strangers from the list and only invite plus-ones for established relationships and you not only have space for your friends but you also end up with a reception that's more like a party and less like a prom.

Absent very small weddings or destination weddings, inviting people to wedding-related parties without inviting them to the wedding is tacky.
posted by headnsouth at 1:42 PM on December 26, 2012 [4 favorites]

It's definitely OK to have the party, even instead of a bachelor party, just don't make it about your wedding at all. Email your friends, say "Anyone want to join me for a guys getaway to location XYZ in March?" Tell them where/when hotel, etc. Everyone pays their own way, no one is covering your expenses. Those who can make it will. Certainly your wedding will come up as a topic, but no one will feel awkward about it.

Men and women have these kind of single-sex out-of-town parties before and after they are married. It's just a party though, not a bachelor party which is definitely linked to the wedding and s/b for invitees only.
posted by tk at 1:48 PM on December 26, 2012

The bachelor party is typically just the men-folks in the bridal party and male relatives. Full Stop.

50 people for a bachelor party is WAY too many.

What you want is some other kind of party, where you can invite your buddies and do whatever it is you think you want to do for your bachelor party.

So just a dude's get-away if you want them to travel. Or have a dude's evening in your home town.

But no, you don't invite all and sundry to a bachelor pary and you certainly DON'T invite them if they aren't invited to the wedding.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:51 PM on December 26, 2012 [3 favorites]

Another point to consider: it's usually considered bad form to throw your own bachelor party/bridal shower/baby shower --- the first two are supposed to be organized by the best man or maid of honor; a baby shower is supposed to be hosted by a friend of the mother-to-be (NOT a relative).
posted by easily confused at 1:59 PM on December 26, 2012

For the record, hardly anybody does bachelor/bachelorette parties the night before the wedding anymore. Seriously, who wants a hangover on their wedding day? And yes, usually it's only the closest friends- the inner circle (not 50 people).

I see where you're coming from and there's nothing wrong with wanting a big, fun weekend with old friends before you get married. But I agree that you should just plan a guy's weekend somewhere and not have it be your official bachelor party to avoid the whole wedding awkwardness. Recently, I went to a hen's night where I was wasn't invited to the wedding- the bad part was that I didn't know I wasn't invited to the wedding until I after I had agreed to go to the party. It was a bit expensive and I wouldn't have gone knowing that I wasn't invited to the wedding. Most people won't be offended per se by a "sorry man, I won't be able to invite you to the wedding but I'd love to see you at my bachelor party" but they also won't bother traveling out of town for it, I'd wager. If it was a big party in your own city then maybe they'd still go.
My suggestion is to still do the bachelor party trip but only with your close friends (invited to the wedding) and just do a separate party/guy's night thing in your own city to catch up with all your old friends.
posted by emd3737 at 2:02 PM on December 26, 2012

No. However good the intentions, this would be an insensitive and awkward thing to do. Sorry.
posted by anonnymoose at 2:17 PM on December 26, 2012

Definitely don't do it the night before the wedding, says the maid of honor who once had to bail the groom and best man out of jail at 4am the day of the wedding.

I think you could get away with calling it a party to celebrate your getting hitched, as long as the invitation comes from someone else. You aren't throwing your own bachelor party anyway, right?
posted by snickerdoodle at 2:17 PM on December 26, 2012

The only people you invite to the bachelor party that are not invited to the wedding is the entertainment.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 2:20 PM on December 26, 2012

If the idea is as much reunion as bachelor party, and it's two months away from the wedding, and in a different city...

Why not just have a random party in othertown in March? No need to connect it to the wedding. Maybe you'll even get a second bachelor party with wedding attendees only right before the wedding. Everyone wins?
posted by pseudonick at 2:26 PM on December 26, 2012

Another vote for not ok to invite friends to your bachelor party but not the wedding.

Also, you should reconsider doing it the night before the wedding. Unless you're planning a mid-day activity and not a close the bars party, plan on doing it several weeks before the wedding. Weddings are exhausting - don't allow for the possibility of being hung over or tired from the night-before partying. Not being at the top of your game on the wedding day is not a nice thing to do to your future wife. Don't be that guy.
posted by quince at 2:49 PM on December 26, 2012

I think it's fine, but don't follow up the invites to any invitees that aren't invited to the wedding - by that I mean, put out the invite, but do not pressure them to come or anything. I have been invited to two parties where I wasn't invited to the subsequent wedding, and then got attitude for not going. I wasn't worried about not having been invited to the wedding, but considered it pretty poor form to then be pressured into going to the bachelor party, or questioned subsequently as to why I didn't go.
posted by ryanbryan at 3:38 PM on December 26, 2012

I was invited to a bachelor party, but not the wedding once, and I was flattered rather than offended.

It's your bachelor party. Do whatever you like.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 3:44 PM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

I also think that a 50 friend invite list could come off as obnoxious and grandiose just by virtue of its size, nevermind that more than half of the invitees are being snubbed for the wedding. These are people you see only 1-2 times a year at events thrown by third parties, and they're not important enough to have at your wedding...can they really be characterized as your friends? They sound more like casual acquaintances to me, and it's a significant thing you're asking of them, which could give the impression that you're really full of yourself. 50 people just seems less like spending quality time with the friends who matter most in your life and more like you're looking for an entourage. I know that's not your intention, just saying that's how it might come across.
posted by keep it under cover at 4:08 PM on December 26, 2012 [4 favorites]

I don't understand why you would be in an awkward position of having to cancel the destination party? All destination bachelor/bachelorette parties I've ever heard of or attended have been small, usually smaller than in-town affairs, because they're expensive and time-consuming and so only the closest are invited. You can still go with a smaller group. And as you said in your follow up, only your fiancée and your best man know about the idea so there's no harm in cancelling anyway.
posted by keep it under cover at 4:23 PM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

No, this is weird, particularly because everyone will have to travel for the bachelor party, and because it's huge. Have a celebration party after your wedding and that will be cool.
posted by oneirodynia at 5:47 PM on December 26, 2012

Why not just have the reunion with your friends and not make it a bachelors party at all?

The time between the two events are ar apart enough to be two separate shindigs...
posted by p1nkdaisy at 1:11 AM on December 27, 2012

I agree that you should not invite people not invited to the wedding beacuse relatively speaking, you are having a big wedding even if the friend ratio is small.
But I don't see why you have to cancel the destination party? If anything, it should make it even easier to plan and execute with fewer people. And don't do it the night before, that way lies madness and hangovers.
posted by like_neon at 6:01 AM on January 1, 2013

« Older Unattended program installation options in a home...   |   Weight Loss and Benchpress Plateaus: Help me burst... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.