Weddings come with a lot of strings attached. You can't wear the backless dress because your ceremony venue has modesty rules. You have to invite that weird uncle because otherwise your grandma will cry. You have to have your sister as a bridesmaid even though she once hit on your fiancé.
Like I said. Strings.
But it's time for you to take back the one party that is truly all about you: your bachelorette party. Here are four people you absolutely do not have to invite (no matter what grandma has to say about it), and how to get out of an awkward conversation if someone calls you on it.
#1: Your Sorority Sister: Let's be clear. I'm not talking about the girl you shared a 9x9 living space with for two years. I'm not talking about the girl that was always on hand to save you from that close-talker in Sigma Chi. And I'm certainly not talking about the girl who talked you through your first hangover. I'm talking about that other sister. The one you only ever partied with when it was a sanctioned event, or the girl you only spoke to when you passed in the bathroom (usually with eyes averted). You're really not required to invite every girl you graduated with, even if they're invited to the wedding.
What to do if someone asks: News of a party can spread like wildfire (not to mention all the photos she's bound to see on Facebook after the fact), so it's good to emphasize from the start that you want to keep things small. Try this: "Of course I think Jennifer is awesome, but I don't want to put pressure on my bridesmaids to include too many people. I can't wait to dance with her at the wedding, though!"
#2: Your Fiancé's Cousin's Wife: Have you ever hung out without your guys present? Have you had any conversations that didn't start with the expression, "It's so nice to meet you"? Then you can most likely pass on the invite. If your fiancé's family is anything like every other family on the planet, there are bound to be at least a few relatives who raise eyebrows at the "snub," but the fact is, you aren't required to invite every female relative (current and future) within your age bracket -- especially if the first time she meets you is at the rehearsal dinner.
What to do if someone asks: Since it's your future spouse's family, it's really up to him to deal with any drama that crops up. If his great-aunt corners you at your bridal shower, though, try this: "Oh, I haven't really talked to Courtney since we met at Grandpa Jim's birthday last year. I didn't think she'd be comfortable at a party where she didn't know anyone, but I hope we'll get closer once we're all family!"
#3: That Co-Worker Who Always Asks About Your Wedding: Even if she's invited to the wedding (wait, you know you don't have to invite co-workers to your wedding, right?), you are by no means obligated to invite her to the pre-wedding festivities if she isn't someone you would make plans without outside of work anyway. Besides, depending on what your bridesmaids have planned for the bachelorette party, it might be easier to maintain an air of professionalism after the party is she isn't there. (Mental images of you doing body shots don't exactly go hand-in-hand with promotion recommendations.)
What to do if someone asks: Because you'll be seeing her every single day as long as you stay at your current position, you want to handle her feelings delicately. Right from the start, emphasize that you and your fiancé are dedicated to keeping the big day an intimate affair (read: small guest list of mostly family). That way she won't develop any expectations that could lead to hurt feelings.
#4: Your Mom: Listen. I'm sure there are mother-daughter duos out there who make Lorelai and Rory look like the Crawfords, but the majority of us still aren't comfortable drinking out of a penis straw in front of our moms. (Okay, okay, I am just never comfortable drinking out of a penis straw. Period.) But the point is, if having your mom at your bachelorette party is going to make you feel like you need to be on your best behavior (instead of having the time of your life, embarrassing pictures be damned), you are not the worst daughter ever if you don't invite her.
What to do if someone (ok, if Mom) asks: Remember how delicately you had to handle the co-worker? If your mom really thinks she wants to go to your bachelorette party, your sensitivity to her feelings has to shift to an all-time high. All that your mom really wants is to feel included and important, so try this: "Some of my friends are a little uncomfortable at the idea of partying with a parent. Plus, I feel like we won't really get to spend time together if we're partying all night. Instead, what if we plan a spa day just for the two of us the week before the wedding?"
This article originally appeared on StopMeifYouveHeardThisOne.com