Celebrating your engagement with your BFFs is an important (and fun!) part of the wedding experience. Your bachelorette party isn’t just a chance to de-stress from the planning; it’s also a way to show your appreciation for their friendship and support. Traditionally, those celebrations happen with some amount of alcohol and you may feel restricted if some of your friends are under 21.
Even though the average age of marriage among both men and women is at its highest on record, you might still have young siblings or friends in your bridal party—you might even be younger than average yourself. Of course, you want to include them in your bachelorette party – but how do you plan a fun time for everyone over and under 21?
These guidelines will help you navigate the intimidating waters of trying to please everyone for the bachelorette party. But before you start planning, don’t forget to ask yourself what kind of bachelorette party you want to have. If you’ve always dreamed of a theme park party, you may not be worried about anyone under 21! But if you’ve always dreamed of sipping wine at a vineyard or a weekend in Vegas, keep these tips in mind to find a middle ground.
Skip the Booze Altogether
If you’re on the fence about booze, just skip it altogether. Besides—there are plenty of things to do in Vegas besides drink! From hiking to shopping, gondola rides and a variety of shows, you and your gal pals won’t ever be bored. You may end up ordering a beer at lunch, but you can plan a trip without stressing the alcohol. This will not only save you money, but your friends under 21 will also be able to participate without feeling like they’re impeding the trip.
A local bachelorette party can still be a blast without booze, too. Schedule a spa day full of massages and mani/pedis, or encourage friendly competition with mini-golf or bowling. There was a time when you were all under 21 and didn’t drink, so harness those glory days if you’re worried about your underage friends.
Restaurants Don’t Have Age Restrictions
Of course, you may not want to skip the booze—and that’s totally okay! Don’t compromise the drinking or your friend’s attendance with a fancy celebration dinner. The dinner allows you all to dress up for a special night while giving all your BFFs their choice for drinking.
Bonus Tip: Reserve a private room if you want to decorate or exchange gifts.
You can settle in at one place for the evening, or mimic a bar hop with a restaurant hop. Plot your course and order an appetizer and drink at each spot. Non-alcoholic for your friend under 21, of course!
They Don’t Have to Stay the Whole Time
It might seem counter-intuitive, but you don’t have to include your under 21 friends in the entire bachelorette party. Compromise with an extended party where they can participate in some of the activities. For example, get ready together and go out for dinner as a group, then continue the night out with your 21+ crew. Or schedule that mani/pedi as a precursor to your big night out, and invite your underage friends for the pre-party pampering.
Bonus Tip: Include your under 21 friends in any dress code or party decorations, even if it’s only for+ dinner.
Be sure to consider their transportation home—if they don’t drive, make arrangements for drop/off pick up, or call them an Uber. If they do have a car, be clear with any directions, and don’t rely on them to drive anyone back home—they won’t be there at the end!
Don’t Hide Your Plans
If you’re going out later—or on a different day—with your 21+ friends, be upfront about it. Your friends under 21 know the limitations their age brings, and they won’t want your bachelorette party to suffer. Asking someone under 21 to be in your bridal party shows how much you value their friendship. And clearly explaining the situation to them shows that you respect them as an adult.
But if you keep your plans a secret, you’re not just compromising your friendship—you’re also asking the other bridesmaids to keep the secret and risk their friendship, too. That could make for a very awkward wedding day!
There are so many ways to include friends and family who are under 21. A little creativity goes a long way in including someone who’s very important to your special day.
Have you ever been to a bachelorette party with underage bridesmaids? What did you do?