Friend Ettiquete: Missing the Wedding, Do I Make the Bachelor's Party?
March 29, 2013 10:18 AM   Subscribe

Is it worth it to fly home for my friend's bachelor party?

My friend is having a bachelor's party next weekend. He (and all my other childhood friends) live back home, in another city that is about a 1.5 hour/$375 flight away. I have not lived in this city for about 8 years (I am currently studying at a university), although I come home to visit my family and friends with some regularity.

Unfortunately, I already have to miss his wedding, which is a destination wedding in Hawaii next month. I would otherwise go, but the week of the wedding is the first week of a new job (and mandatory job training). I feel pretty badly about missing his wedding — we grew up together and we were close friends for many years. Most of my other close childhood friends are going to the wedding, although they have also had jobs for some time now and have no problem booking the time off / money. Similarly, since they still live in my hometown, making the Bachelor's Party is no problem for them as well.

So — I'm wondering how important it is to nonetheless make an event like a Bachelor's Party, especially if I can't make the wedding. I could do it time wise, although my exams (intense law exams) start on the Thursday following the weekend, which would mean that I would basically fly home for the party then fly back the next morning.

I want him to know that I still value our friendship and that I wish him all the best with his marriage — I think making an effort is important. Any ideas on the right thing to do?

posted by anonymous to Human Relations (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If you can afford it, you should go. One of my best friends had a NYC bachelor party and a Chicago wedding, and a few friends could only make it to the party. Friend was very flattered by the gesture. I did my bachelor party right before my wedding, so it was the same cast of characters, but if I had them on separate dates I would appreciate the gesture of friends who made it a point to make the party, even if they couldn't make the wedding.
posted by craven_morhead at 10:22 AM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

I think you should skip the bachelor party, and visit he (and his new spouse?) at another time that is more convenient for you. You'll have more time to catch up one-on-one (err, two).
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:24 AM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

It depends entirely on the relationship you have with your friend. Destination weddings are rough on many people who don't have the funds or time to travel for them, so there's probably a bit more leeway, since "I couldn't fly to Hawaii" is easier to explain than, "I couldn't take Saturday off."
posted by xingcat at 10:26 AM on March 29, 2013

How drunk, how fast is your friend expected to be? If this is going to be a rager, then save your cash, buy a nicer gift than you were planning, and visit your friend for a weekend he'll actually be able to recall.
posted by griphus at 10:28 AM on March 29, 2013 [5 favorites]

(Also: "I can't make it to your bacchanal because I have law school exams coming up shortly" is an impenetrable excuse.)
posted by griphus at 10:30 AM on March 29, 2013 [13 favorites]

Don't feel bad about missing the wedding. Couples who plan destination weddings pretty much expect that a lot of people won't attend for whatever reason. In fact, some couples -- not saying your friend fits this category -- plan destination weddings specifically to weed out a lot of people.

So I don't think you have to make up for having to miss the wedding, although certainly if you were invited to the bachelor party and you're close with the groom and all the attendees, I'm sure everyone would love to see you, and it sounds like you'd have a good time.
posted by payoto at 10:32 AM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

First of all, feel no guilt about missing the wedding. Destination weddings are like that. Frankly, I think they're elitist, classist and moniest. Also, stupid. Like I want to spend MY vacation, money, time and energy at a party where I'll see you for 3 minutes. Feh.

If going to the Bachelor Party presents no hassle to you whatsoever, either money-wise, study-wise or in any other way, and you think you'll have a good time, then go.

I suspect however, that funds may be tight, you need all available free time for studying and you may be above bachelor party silliness. (Even if it's steaks and cigars instead of beer and boobs.)

Write your friend a long letter, in long hand. Tell him how much you value his friendship, wish him the best in his new role as husband, and perhaps, send him a small token of esteem on the occasion of his nuptuals. Promise to meet him and his bride at some future date, when your finances and schedule can afford it.

Trust me, a wedding/bachelor party is not the venue for reconnecting with old, dear, friends.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:33 AM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

I want him to know that I still value our friendship and that I wish him all the best with his marriage — I think making an effort is important. Any ideas on the right thing to do?

Contact one of the other close friends who will be at the bachelor party and have them buy him a drink/steak/something on you, maybe send a card he can hand over with it. Also send a card and gift to their home/his parents home to be waiting when they get back from the wedding/honeymoon.
posted by jacalata at 10:44 AM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

It's a nice gesture if you can go, but it's not mandatory in an our-friendship-is-over-if-you-don't-go kind of way. And I agree with griphus, "upcoming law exams" is a pretty solid reason for not going; if it were me, I wouldn't go unless it was one of my very very closest friends.

Sending a nice wedding gift to the happy couple will send the message that you truly value the friendship and sincerely regret having to miss the wedding and bachelor party.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:14 AM on March 29, 2013

I don't know, if it were me, I might try to find a way to go, if I could get as much studying done in advance as possible, and avoid getting completely wrecked/turn in earlyish on the night. Going to the wedding is in direct conflict with your survival, obviously, but taking part in some aspect of that unrepeatable moment might prove to be important, for you and your friend. "You were/I was there" is a thing people remember a decade on, even if they lose the details of actual events.

(I still regret missing a wedding, and, god, a funeral, because of exams/distance/money some years ago.)
posted by nelljie at 11:16 AM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh, the "how drunk is you friend going to be" question is a good one; I was thinking "weekend hanging out with groom" rather than "drink till you puke."

I disagree that studying for law exams is a rock solid reason to miss this, but that gets into your personal study habits, etc. etc.
posted by craven_morhead at 11:18 AM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

As a current law student, I can back up griphus' statement - no one is allowed to judge you for being unavailable during exams (or during most of the rest of the semester, to be honest). That being said, as a 3L, I can tell you that sometimes getting away from The Law during stressful periods can be a good thing for your performance overall -- because of that I would seriously consider going to the party, to see your friends, and get your mind off of school.

But, if you decide not to go (which is a totally valid decision, and probably the "responsible" choice):

I love jacalata's idea of making sure that someone who is there buys the groom something awesome on your behalf.

I would also personally call the groom to let him know that you won't be able to make it to the bachelor party (even if it is the best man who is organizing RSVPs). Your call will let the groom know that you are thinking of him and feel bad for having to miss it, and will also give you guys a chance to catch up.

I won't get judgy about destination weddings, because I think they are the right choice for some people, but those people need to understand that they are asking a huge amount from their guests, and that most guests won't be able to, or want to, spend a vacation that way and so will decline. I think you're fine to miss the wedding, but send a great gift and a thoughtful card because you care about the couple.
posted by sparklemotion at 11:21 AM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

I would go to the Bachelor party, if I were you. Even if your friend is already drunk when you arrive, I'm sure he will be happy (probably extra happy) to see you.

Taking a break from those stressful exams to spend time with friends could also be helpful. For me anyways, celebrations like that seem to take the edge off of whatever stress I'm going through in life.
posted by winterportage at 12:00 PM on March 29, 2013

//In fact, some couples -- not saying your friend fits this category -- plan destination weddings specifically to weed out a lot of people.//

Or our case, we were trying to avoid everybody :)

If you can make the bachelor party it absolutely won't be weird. I'm told we had a great time at my bachelor party, even though nobody was coming to the wedding.
posted by COD at 12:34 PM on March 29, 2013

« Older Midwestern teenagers speaking in English accents?   |   Is Legoland (the Carlsbad, California version)... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.