Bachelor Party Ideas

Invitations

Basics

The bachelor party planning traditionally falls to the best man, but it can also be handled by the groom's brother or another good friend. All the guys in the wedding party get an invite, but it can also include other close friends and family; just ask the groom to put together a guest list. Technically, etiquette even allows inviting guys who aren't invited to the wedding, but since herding a big bunch of bachelors can lead to headaches well before the hangover, only go there if the groom specifically requests it. Extra points if you invite the bachelor's dad and even future father-in-law to the dinner portion of the evening — just be sure to see them off after dessert, before the real late-night debauchery begins.

Whatever you do, don't plan the bachelor party the night before the wedding. That's usually reserved for the rehearsal dinner, and besides, hangovers and getting hitched don't mix. If you must (that is, if all the groom's nearest and dearest live far away and can't travel until the wedding), you could consider doing it the night before the rehearsal dinner, but it's generally much better to hold it at least a week and up to three months prior to the big day.

If you have an all-weekend bachelor bash in mind, schedule it for well before the wedding. The closer you get to his walk down the aisle, the more likely the groom will be busy with last-minute details, and besides, two big wedding events in a row is a lot to ask of both the groom and the guests. Whatever you have in mind, send out your invitation at least a month in advance to ensure the best turnout. And since those who attend will split the cost of the party, specify roughly how much it'll cost right on the invitation.

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Tips

If you're planning anything special, whether it's whitewater rafting, renting a limo or hiring a stripper, ask for a contract. Remember, you may not be dealing with the most trustworthy individuals here, so make sure you get who, what, when, where and how much it's going to cost you in writing.

Chances are, people will be drinking, so figure out transportation with that in mind. Renting a limo can be fun, but it could cost a few hundred bucks. For a lot cheaper, you could rent a van and still pack in a pile of people as long as you have someone to play designated driver, though granted, it can be a bit of a buzz kill for the guy who draws the short straw. You might also consider taking taxis; if you pack in four or five fellas, it may be fairly affordable. (When you call for the cab, request a van for maximum savings.)

At the very least, make sure the groom's transportation is covered by picking him up at home and dropping him off later. Not only are his reflexes likely to be impaired by evening's end, but he's also the guest of honor, so door-to-door service is only appropriate. Likewise, bring extra cash to get guys home who might not make it otherwise, and don't hesitate to confiscate keys. Saving a life beats saving a few bucks every time.

Finally, let the groom savor the surprises you have in store by keeping your plans under wraps. You might even blindfold him between stops. Whisking him off to a night of wild (or mild) abandon you've planned just for him reminds him how lucky he is to not only have found a bride, but also bosom buddies like you. And speaking of secrecy, you may want to request at the beginning of the night that guests keep their lips sealed about whatever may transpire over the course of the evening. To that end, let people take photos as everyone arrives if they please, but then temporarily seize any cameras. In other words, what happens in Vegas (or Boise, or Schenectady, or wherever you happen to be) stays there.

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Activities

Alcohol, gambling and strippers are pretty much the triumvirate of the traditional bachelor bacchanalia. The general idea is to do all (well, or at least some of) the things the groom won't be allowed to do once he's married. But you may want to add to the obvious, or do something different altogether. Your best bet is to ask the groom beforehand if there's anything he really does or does not want to do. Maybe he'd really rather skip the strip club, for example. Or maybe he wants this night to be as wild as your imagination will allow. (Just don't do anything that may jeopardize the wedding!)

Once you have some guidelines from the groom, ask the guys who will be attending for ideas. Everyone chips in on the price, so take guests' budgets into account. Plus, work around the rest of the wedding plans. If it's a destination event, skip the stag weekend in Vegas, or guests could start to grumble about how much cash and time off the groom's loss of singlehood is costing them.

Some possibilities:

  • Drinking games (Optional: Put a classic porno like Deep Throat or a campy sexploitation flick like Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! on in the background)
  • Strip club (call ahead to see if they'll give you a break on admission, give you front row seats and/or arrange special requests … and bring extra singles to make change for your pals)
  • Private stripper show (ask to see pictures in advance)
  • Bar-hopping
  • Casino
  • Cigar smoking
  • Shooting range
  • Paintball
  • Go-cart racing
  • Whitewater rafting
  • Skiing
  • Skydiving
  • Bungee jumping
  • Golf
  • Baseball, basketball, football, hockey game
  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • Racetrack
  • Weekend in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Miami, New Orleans or New York

A word about bachelor party pranks and tests: Tread carefully. Some guys may think going out in public in a prison uniform, carrying around a blow-up doll "date," getting their chest hair shaved off or being pressured to moon strangers or ask women for their underwear is hilarious (at least tomorrow), but others may find it embarrassing or even humiliating. If it's tradition for your group of guys and you really, truly think the bachelor would be disappointed without a prank or two, have at it, but if he cries uncle, respect his wishes — or better yet, keep it relatively harmless in the first place. One idea: Once the groom crashes at the end of the evening, give him a temporary tattoo; the next morning, ask him if he even remembers getting that tat the night before and watch his reaction when he sees you're not kidding.

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Food

If everyone's low on dough, pizza fits the bill perfectly. But if you've got the funds, a ceremonial last supper of steak makes an A-#1 choice.

Other options: Burgers, buffalo wings, nachos, barbecue anything. Think about whatever you would eat while watching the Super Bowl and have that. Before the sun comes up, stop at an all-night diner for eggs, bacon, coffee and pie. Just remember to eat: Your stomach (and the bride) will thank you.

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Drinks

You can't go wrong with beer, but if you've got the budget, splurge on a bottle of single-malt Scotch. Serve it neat, on the rocks, with soda, or, if you really want to get hammered in style, in a rusty nail.

Rusty Nail (Serves one)

  • 1 oz Scotch
  • 1/4 oz Drambuie

Mix and serve over ice.

If the party's a 24-hour affair, start the day off light and save the heavy drinking for later. And make sure there's plenty of water available throughout the festivities for anyone who doesn't drink or wants to pace himself (remember, that's a good thing). Finally, offer Red Bull as a nonalcoholic alternative that may help weary revelers keep the party rocking on until dawn.

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