Do you know how to help plan a bachelor party? You might not realise it but everyone from the groom and best man to the men attending have some kind of role to play.
Whichever role you are playing, a little input is vital to keep things from going completely off the rails, no matter how competent and well-meaning everyone else involved might be (and many are neither of those things).
How involved you need to be will vary, but plan on at least keeping an eye on the party planning as it goes forward.
- Preparation and surprise
- Comedy tonight: picking your entertainment
- Herding cats: the invite list and transportation plans
- Who pays for the bachelor party?
- What to wear at a bachelor party
- A small reminder – don't be dumb
Preparation And Surprise
How surprised do you want to be?
It’s up to you and your best man (or other party planners), really. Some groups put a higher value on novelty gags and surprises for the groom-to-be than others.
The only thing we’d caution against is a total surprise. You don’t need to know the details, but get a general framework of what’s being planned.
Ask what the plan is, what sorts of establishments you’ll be hitting and what kind of money you (and the other guests) are going to need. The information is useful for you and for the people who will inevitably going to be asking you about the plans, and it also gives you a chance to veto any adventures you definitely don’t want to be a part of.
Comedy Tonight: Picking Your Entertainment
You get as much of a say in your bachelor party festivities as you want.
Traditionally grooms go pretty hands-off, at least if they have a reliable best man. Humorous surprises are part of the gestalt. But you can weigh in as much as needed — especially if there are no-goes that you need to be firm about!
If you're the groom, take your ribbing and put your foot down as needed. If the bachelor party is the night before the wedding, as is traditional, you definitely don’t want to be dealing with a hangover from yours. Resist the temptation to be the cool dude and set the limits you need.
Those are going to be different for everyone. Some guys are all about the strip club with lap dances and shots for bachelor parties. If you and your bride think that’s a good idea, go for it. That can be fun – but so can a round of miniature golf and some bad movies on Netflix. Go with what suits your tastes and your guests.
Just know what’s not going to be fun, and what’s not going to be okay with you and your bride-to-be, and let the best man know so that he’s not overstepping any boundaries. Remember, he can only work with the information you give him.
Herding Cats: The Invite List and Transportation Planning
If your best man is doing his job he’ll make all the on-paper arrangements (fobbing the paperwork off on the best man or other party planners is one of the few delegations grooms get to enjoy, and after planning the rest of the wedding it’s a satisfying feeling).
To help him know what’s needed, though, you’re going to need to get him a complete guest list. Remember that you’re probably drawing from several different pools of acquaintances (high school friends, college friends, co-workers, golf buddies, whatever), and that not everyone knows one another. You’re the common thread binding the group together, so your planner is going to need your help to make sure everyone’s on the list.
If you’re renting one big limo for everyone or something like that you shouldn’t have to think about transportation much. If you’re divvying up into cars though, make sure your best man gets told (discreetly) who you want in your ride.
As a final note, it’s never a bad idea to have a backup plan for transportation, especially if the party is going to involve a lot of drinking. Stick the numbers for a couple of local cab companies in your cell phone’s contact list, if nothing else.
It’s not like it’s likely that your limo driver will get in a fight with the strip club bouncer or something but hey, stuff happens. Plan a backup just in case your best man hasn’t.
Who Pays For The Bachelor Party?
It’s not a rhetorical question – this can be a tough one to navigate.
We’ll tell you the traditional arrangement, with the caution that it should be taken with a big grain of salt. Different social groups have different attitudes about this sort of thing (and when you start mixing different cultures and nationalities it gets even more uncertain).
But in general, the rule of thumb is this: if you invite people to a place with an admission or cover charge, you pay that for your guests, but they’re on their own for incidental expenses once they’re in.
It’s a formula that works well for everything from bars to concerts to strip joints to ballparks. If you can make the payment in advance, that’s even better — in the ideal formula, you and the best man lead the way to the door, tell them your name and how many in the party, and stroll right in.
Unspoken in the arrangement is the assumption that, as the groom, people will be spotting you your drinks (or lap dances, or whatever). You probably won’t have to pay for anything. Come prepared with as fat a wallet as needed, though, just in case your friends are cheapskates.
If you plan something particularly extravagant, plan on shouldering more of the costs as well. Not everyone’s going to be able to afford to party it up at a champagne bar. It’s fine to leave people in charge of their own drinks at a normally-priced bar. If you’ve insisted on taking everyone to some crazy $20-a-drink trend-magnet, be prepared to buy a few rounds.
All that said, every social circle is different. Some bachelor parties will be organized and run by groomsmen who don’t want you to pay for a thing. Others will honestly not be able to afford most entertainment unless you’re providing it. Do what seems right for your situation — always erring on the side of generosity.
What To Wear At A Bachelor Party
Like I mention in my guide to dressing for wedding events outside the ceremony, bachelor parties are generally casual affairs. Let your destination be your guide.
Not sure what to wear? If you’re not going somewhere fancy, dark jeans with a collared shirt is usually a safe bet. It’ll work everywhere from a baseball game to a shooting range to a bar.
Clubs and some high-end restaurants may have actual dress codes. They are generally something similar to “no sneakers” or “jackets required”. If you know the party is heading somewhere like that, make sure everyone knows it. Otherwise, you could find yourself in the awkward position of having to leave some of the party at the door.
Don’t Be Dumb
Let those three words be your guide for the evening: don’t be dumb.
Have fun, cut loose, celebrate a last wild night; whatever. But steer clear of things you’re going to have serious regrets about later.
The easiest litmus test for bachelor party activities asking yourself, “would I be comfortable doing this on a regular night out?” If you wouldn’t then “because it’s my bachelor party” isn’t a good enough reason to do it. You don’t get a magically erasable conscience and memory just because you’re getting married. If it’s something that would make you feel lousy on another day it’ll make you feel lousy at the bachelor party too.
Don’t be dumb. Be true to yourself, and have fun with it.
And seriously, don’t drink too much. A hungover groom will be remembered by family for years to come. Two drinks maximum, no matter what your friends say.
Want to know more about how to make the wedding itself a day to remember? Click here to discover my ultimate guide to wedding attire for men.