Listen up, Best Man. The groom has just been through a year of hell. He and his fianceé have spent the last 12 months dealing with event vendors, caterers, family members, in-laws. They’ve had fights over smoked crabcakes, table decorations, and whether the wedding invitations are written in Courier or Regalia. The groom’s nerves are shot.
So what does he need from you? What does he need from the bachelor party? An escape. An outlet for blowing off steam. And most important of all…he needs no more headaches. Your primary mission, therefore, is to mastermind a bachelor party that’s free of logistical complications, stress, and drama. He’s had enough.
Solicit his input and figure out what he wants to do, but never pester him with the small stuff. You’ll find much more in our extensive bachelor party planner, but to kick off your planning, you need to consider the seven deadly sins of a bachelor party:
Nothing says, “I’m looking forward to my new life of monogamy!” like licking whipped cream off another woman’s breasts. Cliché? You bet. But it’s your time-honored responsibility to offer the groom the opportunity.
A bachelor party without a strip club is like a birthday party without a cake. (Also…does licking whipped cream—or touching in general—cross the line? Find out what’s considered cheating.)
Before you stockpile a wad of $20 dollar bills, however, you should ask a couple of questions.
First, does the groom have the green light from the fiancée? (See Wrath, below).
Second, even if he has clearance, does he actually want to go? Don’t take this for granted. Many guys find a strip club depressing—horny men, overpriced booze, cheesy music, the very embodiment of “cock tease.” Are we counseling you to avoid strip clubs? Not necessarily. Tradition is tradition. Just ensure that he actually wants to go, and if he doesn’t, find some stripper-free bachelor party ideas.
Avoid it. Get active. The best bachelor parties incorporate the 1-2 punch of physical activity and drunken debauchery. Even if all your buddies have the physique of Chunk from Goonies, you’ll still want to plan something outdoorsy and active—whitewater rafting, touch football, basketball, camping, skiing. It brings the guys together. It works up an appetite for that rib-eye steak.
See also: Bachelor Party Supplies
This is not optional. Other vices might be vetoed by the bride or even the groom, but it’s imperative that for at least one meal, you treat him to a king’s banquet.
Do some legwork and search online for restaurants, steak houses, and sports bars. If you’re on a tight budget, it’s better to go someplace less expensive so that everyone can still order appetizers and steaks. And if the budget is ruthlessly cheap, just grill your own feast at someone’s pad. Even if you’re on the road traveling, you can skimp by picking up a $30 grill and then sizzling your own slabs of porterhouse.
Gambling. Does he have a weakness for blackjack? A craving for roulette? Vegas is the obvious choice, but there are plenty of other bachelor party destinations. One of our staffers organized a rafting bachelor party in Colorado, for instance, that culminated in the casinos of Black Hawk. You could stitch together an east coast bachelor party that incorporates Foxwoods, Mohegan Sun, or Atlantic City. With just a few minutes of googling, you can almost always find a casino—even if it’s just an Indian reservation—within driving distance. Your fallback? No guy will ever say no to an informal game of poker with buddies.
The wrath, obviously, belongs to the fiancée if you screw this up. The bachelor party has more potential downsides (fights, festering resentments, a doomed marriage) than upsides (a good story you can never tell), so it’s imperative that you:
1) Never plan the bachelor party on the night before the wedding;
2) Get a sense of the rules of engagement on strippers and hookers;
3) reign in the groom if he comes anywhere near crossing the line. For more on keeping a fianceé’s wrath under control, view our bachelor party rules for groomsmen.
Take pride in organizing, if possible, a weekend getaway. The traditional one-night-at-a-strip-club is limited and outdated. Set the bar higher. Challenge yourself to do better. Even on a limited budget, a weekend away will give your buddies a chance to reconnect and bullshit about old times. To make this happen you’ll need to:
- Get the ball rolling early. Find a weekend that works for everyone (especially the groom) months in advance.
- Hound the groomsmen to buy flights.
- Choose the bachelor party destination.
- Scope out a realistic budget that includes hotels, rental cars, gas, food, booze, etc. Plan a realistic bachelor party budget with our spreadsheet.
- Not really related, but never, ever, ever plan a “themed” bachelor party. Themes are for college essays and bachelorettes. No “pirate theme.” No “ice hockey theme.” Your only theme for a bachelor party should be hard liquor and pole-dancing.
Envy. The money issue. Not all your friends will have the same level of dough. So get a temperature check, early, of how much your buddies can splurge. If you’re a $160,000-earning surgeon and want an epic trip to Berlin, that might not work with your public school teacher buddies. Consider a bachelor party that everyone can do without financial hardship—camping trips, barbecues, or even an off-peak (and mid-week) trip to Vegas. On a Tuesday night, for example, you can stay at the Stratosphere for a measly $40 bucks a night; when you split it four ways (or more), that’s less than the cost of a burrito with a side of guac. It can be done.