In my mid-20s, the inevitable happened. My friends in long-term relationships started to get engaged. Each time I checked the mail, there was an invite to a wedding and the festivities that came along with it: an engagement party, bridal shower, bachelorette party or bridal brunch.
It became apparent that I wasn't going to be able to attend every event I was invited to. And so, I decided to prioritize the exchange of vows over everything else. As a result, I passed up on attending the bachelorette party for two of my best friends.
That was a mistake, something I realized after going through my own wedding experience.
The wedding is an important and joyous celebration but with all the people in attendance (the average amount of wedding guests is 120 people) and its multiple moving parts, it's difficult to create meaningful moments with people who aren't your family. Most couples will tell you the night went by fast and it was all a blur. This is not the case for bachelorette parties, which often consist of road trip, plane rides, sleepovers and group activities.
A bachelorette party doesn't need to be a rowdy, drunk mess to create memories worth recounting year after year. Time with friends, away from daily commitments, is enough to make you smile each time you recall the pre-wedding festivities.
However, when those invites first came around, I underestimated their importance. I prioritized work and the anxiety of not knowing anyone else at the party. Back then, it seemed like just another party. I justified my absence by saying I was attending the wedding, and would it make it up to them with a one-on-one dinner. What I failed to understand was that I was being asked to be a part of the bigger picture celebration, on a more intimate level. Any discomfort I felt because I had to leave work early or about not knowing anyone, was worth making new memories with the bride and her other friends.
Looking back, I see how important the bachelorette party is to maintain a friendship. The invites I extended were to people I considered an important part of my life. I wanted to celebrate our past and create new memories that would carry us in the years to come. It was my chance to have the friends near and dearest to me, all under one roof, laughing together before time would take our lives in different directions. It's something I wish I knew sooner.
It was a hard lesson to learn but I can't change the past. I can only learn from it. Today, I say yes to every invite a friend extends to be a part of the bachelorette fun because ultimately, I know it'll cost me more not to.
Style Me Pretty Contributor - Ximena N. Larking is a writer and publicist. She lives in Chicago with her husband and dog. For more info: ximenalarkin.com