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bachelor party ideas - basics

Bachelor Parties: The Basics

Here's everything you need to know to make the big bash a success.

Photo: Josh Zuckerman

Never thrown a bachelor bash before? Here's a list of bachelor party to-dos.

The Guest List

The bachelor party began as a gentlemen's party: a civilized evening of drawing-room drinking, smoking, and toasting to the bride's health. Boy, have things changed. While most of today's bachelor parties have ditched the civilized bit in favor of a raunchy night on the town, the list of attendees has stayed the same. The best man throws the shindig and invites friends and relatives of the groom, usually male-only. The only caveats: The list shouldn't include 100 of the groom's closest friends, nor should it include people who don't get along.

Pick the Location

Bachelor parties can take place almost anywhere. The typical bachelor party usually involves some combination of the following: booze, strippers, gambling (maybe not in that order). But, the trend these days is toward old-fashioned guyness -- a weekend spent bonding in the woods, for example. Others plan high-adrenaline adventures such as white-water rafting, skydiving, or rock climbing. Tamer bachelor parties might involve a weekend in Atlantic City gambling, a round of golf and a nice steak dinner, or a fancy night at a cigar bar. Of course, weekend trips involve travel and related expenses. If time is of the essence or all parties involved are on a budget, then a local bar, a hotel room, or the best man's apartment are fine bachelor party locales.

Time It Right

If you think the night before the wedding is the perfect time for a bachelor bash, think again. The last thing the nervous groom needs on the big day is a hangover. Plus a big night on the town before the walk down the aisle will surely stress the bride out (which is to be avoided). You should schedule the main event up to a month before the wedding and, at the very least, schedule it a week in advance, preferably on the weekend. Some people from out of town won't be able to attend, but if they do want to show up they can use the advance notice to make plans. Be sure to send out invitations or call invitees at least three weeks before the party. This way, you'll be able to avoid scheduling conflicts.

Think About It

As best man, you're responsible for the groom, and the bachelor party is all about the groom. So, avoid any mishaps and use your head.

  • Make sure people don't drive home drunk: Hire a limo or car service for the night, have a designated driver, or make sure everyone takes a cab home. Bring along enough money to get everyone home safely.
  • Be sneaky if you want: Get together with the other groomsmen and come up with an ingenious plan to surprise the groom.
  • Pay attention to the groom. Some people love to humiliate and tease the groom at the bachelor party; for example, they get him drunk, take incriminating photos of him, or shave off all his chest hair. Whether or not you get involved in these antics is entirely up to you, but when the groom says "Stop," it means stop.
  • Split costs equally between everyone attending the party (except the groom).
  • Be creative -- a night of carousing may seem like a good idea, but a weekend of white-water rafting may be more memorable in the long run.
  • Don't forget the camera.

-- Elise Proulx

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