DEAR MISS MANNERS: At my bachelorette party, two of my bridesmaids left after about an hour to go to a different party. My best friend and maid of honor had planned a fantastic party with EVERYTHING you can imagine that would be at a bachelorette party, and they missed 99% of it.
I chose to ignore it because I wanted to have fun, but my future spouse is telling me to cut them from the wedding or at least tell them it was a terrible thing to do.
They already paid for their dresses, and they did contribute to the bachelorette party expenses, so I can't cut them out, but how am I supposed to address something like this? I'm at a complete loss!
GENTLE READER: Was your bachelorette party 100 hours long? Miss Manners is no mathematician, but your letter indicates so. If your friends were unaware that they were spending a long weekend partying with you, she can hardly blame them for getting out while they could.
More importantly, though, she cautions against your thinking that this is a contractual obligation -- as indicated by their having paid for all of the things involved. Perhaps this is another reason they felt that they had fulfilled their duties, however minimal. They thought of it as a transaction, rather than an expression of friendship.
While it is unfortunate that your friends left early -- and certainly rude that they double-booked themselves -- there is no reasonable punishment to be served here, other than expressing your disappointment: "I was so sad that you left early and missed the all-night paintball scavenger hunt and hot-pepper tasting. We really missed you."
If you are feeling bold and fear otherwise, you might gingerly add, "I hope that you will be able to stay for the whole wedding. I do so want you there."