By Zachary Weiss
We all know from experience that a bachelor party can be tackled in many different ways. Location, budget, and general levels of maturity will often dictate exactly what’s on the agenda. It can run the gamut from a raunchy burger and strip club bacchanal, to a more understated steak dinner and crafted cocktails. In either case, this is your time to let your hair down a bit, since the wedding reception will likely require that you remain buttoned up to some degree throughout the night. Remember, the room will be filled with parents, grandparents, and maybe even small children who don’t want to see you split your pants open on the dance floor.
While some grooms prefer to keep their bachelor party celebration strictly amongst their wedding party, others may roll other groups into the mix. With that in mind, expect to potentially meet the groom’s co-workers, college friends, or extended family, and approach the situation with some flexibility. You may get stuck talking to someone you don’t know or find interesting, but it’s all for the sake of the groom.
Plan As Much As You Can
If you’re running point on the party arrangements, and likely serving as the groom’s best man, narrow down a handful of dates that work for the groom, and simply send around the Ultimate Bachelor Party Spreadsheet to pinpoint exactly when the majority of guests can accommodate the party. The goal here is to create the largest group possible to rally around the groom, rather than your own schedule, so don’t be selfish!
Also included in the survey should be a list of possible locations, with a write-in option to show some flexibility and for the wise asses in the group to crack jokes. When planning, it’s important to roll with the punches, and recognize that everyone has varied tastes and budgets, especially when it comes to food and drink. While one partygoer might be gunning for an exotic excursion overseas, another might need to pay off his student loans instead. Since the party’s cost can often be the deciding factor for most of the invited gents, appealing to many price ranges is a crucial component to the process. Otherwise, you risk alienating members of the group.
The Big Day (Of the weekend)
Keep in mind that, like a class field trip, the number of attendees makes the process that much harder. Corralling twenty guys into a dinner reservation, versus a core group of six, makes a significant difference in planning. If the group is large, make it clear that guests can skip or participate in any portion of the festivities (but that they probably shouldn’t skip out on the most important meal of the bachelor party.
Pay It Forward (Literally)
When it comes to food and booze, you’ll all be footing the bill for the groom throughout all of the bachelor party festivities. Now, that doesn’t give you license to be a cheapskate. Consider this to be one of your gifts for the groom, and an indication that he values you as a member of his core group of friends. Also, don’t forget that you’ll be getting married one day too, and the current groom will likely be returning the favor.
And when the time comes to shake out the bill, don’t split hairs. You’re big boys, and by now, you shouldn’t be itemizing your individual tabs down to the cent. Instead, split the resulting bill evenly between everyone, except for the groom. As a wise man once said, it’s all relative.
The food selection will likely lean on some typically masculine categories, since this is, in the end, a bunch of guys tucking into one or several meals. Expect some form of meat and potatoes, and all in generous portions since this is a celebration. If you’ve decided to take the party on the road to a destination, try to plan on sampling some of the local fare. It’ll add some depth of culture to the boondoggle.
Dress The Part
You’ll likely be eating a seated meal at one or more junctures throughout the bachelor party. In this case, let your surroundings dictate the dress code. If you’re arranging the party, give some direction as to what guests should wear in some plain-and-simple terms. For instance, rather than instructing “cocktail attire,” stipulate “Blazer, pants, and shoes.”
Also, keep in mind that the bride might ask for pictures, and you this may not always be top-of-mind among a booze fueled group of men. Start the night by taking a group photo, without any food or drinks on the table, when you look most put-together. The waiter or waitress will be more than happy to snap a few pics. And of course, don’t forget to tip generously and note that some restaurants will automatically include a gratuity for parties of a certain size (that will cut down on some of that math).
Rage Against The Machine
When drinking, you have a license to rage—within reason of course. Bachelor parties can often turn into a weekend-long affair of no-holds-barred boozing, so play it low and slow. Perhaps kick off the night with a cocktail of choice, but switch to beer or wine with your meal as an easily rationalized way of pacing yourself. In any case, you will get drunk; so don’t forget to mix in a water or seven.
This is the groom’s send off, so make sure this all unfolds well before the wedding ceremony. While there are no set-in-stone rules as to when the celebration should occur relative to The Big Day, we don’t recommend scheduling them back-to-back and winding up in a Hangover-esque conundrum in which the groom arrived on the alter with a hangover for the ages.
As a rule of thumb, plan to schedule it roughly a few months before the ceremony. This way, the party can also act as a way to bring different parties together ahead of the wedding day. Several weeks or months later, you’ll all reconvene, having already met and celebrated together.
Your bachelor party is a time to unwind, so let others set the pace and planning stages while you have a nice steak and crack another beer.