Bachelor and bachelorette parties are meant to be good fun, and just another celebratory event leading up to your wedding day. Unless you and your fiancé are planning a coed bachelor/bachelorette affair, it's a simple fact that these two events will have their own group texts and emails, their own plans in progress, and their own buzz of excitement. That can lead to some complicated feelings for both the bride- and groom-to-be, which begs the question: Are you allowed to have some say in your future husband or wife's pre-nuptial party? We've asked a few experts to weigh in.
In the planning stages, less is more.
According to Janet Zinn, a licensed clinical social worker, the less you weigh in while your partner begins planning, the more secure you seem in your relationship. "I do believe the less input you have into how your partner plans their bachelor or bachelorette party, the better," she says. "It shows that you support each other in allowing the other to have the event however they want to plan it." Dr. Rebekah Montgomery, a clinical psychologist and relationship specialist, agrees." Part of the foundation of a relationship is trust," she explains. "Trusting doesn't mean knowing or controlling, but rather the opposite—letting go and having the confidence in your partner and in your relationship."
But what if something doesn't sit right?
If you're bothered by some element of your partner's bachelor or bachelorette party plans, Theresa Herring, a licensed marriage and family therapist, says you need to do a little thinking. "The first thing you want to do is figure out is why the plans don't sit right with you," she says. "Understanding why this bothers you can help you figure out if and how to address it. There's a big difference between 'Because I think it's juvenile,' and 'Because I'm morally opposed to this,'" If your concern falls into the former camp, consider letting it go; should it fall into the latter, though, Herring says it's worth raising the concern to your partner and letting him or her know how you feel.
Still not feeling so great about the plans, but don't want to shut them down entirely? Dr. Montgomery suggests connecting to your feelings of trust by reflecting on your relationship. Ask yourself questions like: In what ways has your partner demonstrated their trustworthiness to you? What do you know about their character? What part of their love and commitment do you feel confident relying on? "Use these memories and experiences as an anchor to reassure your anxiety," she says. "You can ask them for reassurance, too! Also, I would plan something for yourself during their event."
What if it's actually bad?
"If you are majorly concerned about your partner's plans and have the belief that this will be destructive to your relationship, then express this concern to your partner by first letting them know that you want them to really enjoy this ritual, but that you have some concerns about how this one portion of the plan has the potential to cause irreparable harm to your bond," says Erin Tierno, a licensed clinical social worker, relationship expert and founder of Online Therapy NYC.
"How you bring up sensitive topics is critical and generally dictates how the conversation is going to go," says Herring. "Avoid criticism ("I can't believe you want to go to a strip club! That's gross!") because it will likely result in defensiveness. Instead explain how you feel (uncomfortable, nervous, scared) about what (name the exact situation) and what you need instead. You'll have ample opportunities to use this skill in marriage so it's good to get a head start on using it now!"