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Bachelor Party Planning Tips

A good friend of mine called to ask if I had ideas or advice for a bachelor party he is organizing for a mutual friend of ours from high school. As we talked, several ideas emerged that seemed fit to share.

    1. Sports Theme: Does the groom like a particular sport? If so, you can center the bachelor party around a game/sport (baseball, football, basketball, hockey) or incorporate it into a day, weekend or evening event. Or maybe plan a tailgate bachelor party. Secure your tickets at least a month ahead of time and, depending on the event and group size, you may be able to get group rates.

    2. Outdoor Enthusiast: Depending on the season and location of the party, outdoor activities (golf, skiing, fishing, white water rafting...) is a fun way to go especially if the groomsmen and other attendees don't know each other well. Consider finishing the day off with massages at a nearby day spa.

    3. Bar-hopping: Nothing screams bachelor party louder than a group of guys parading from bar to bar getting progressively drunker. It's a classic that can be folded into a medley of activities or the focus of the evening. Consider hiring a limo, van or bus to shuttle the group from place to place and back to their homes or hotels at the end of the evening. The benefits far outweigh the costs and everyone should be able to pitch in.

    4. Gambling: Where else but in Las Vegas (a.k.a. Sin City) is adult entertainment so readily available. Shows, concerts, alcohol anytime, gambling 'til your heart's content, and yes, strippers. The city seems built for bachelor parties. Since this trip is likely to be a weekend getaway, you can also spend a day sightseeing, golfing, etc. There are plenty of other gambling areas around the country: Atlantic City, Reno, etc. Or you could spend a day at the horse races betting on thoroughbreds.

    5. The Stripper Quandary: A friend of mine quipped, "the only difference between a classy bachelor party and trashy one is the classy one has a stripper and other activities." I couldn't tell if he was joking. Some men want a stripper involved in their bachelor party, no question. Others may be up for a stripper, but not going to a strip club for hours on end. And still others might find it a bit too crass or cliché. Or they might be engaged to a woman who forbids it. Ask the bachelor how he feels about it before planning an event that could put him in an uncomfortable position. If he says, "My fiancé would kill me," he either means it (translation: don't mess with his marriage) or he's using it as an excuse to avoid a stripper altogether (translation: move on and plan another activity for his party).

    6. Multiple Events: Often the groom's father, father-in-law, and others may want to join for part of the festivities. In this case, it makes sense to incorporate a dinner or other all-ages activity into the party. I've heard of a bachelor party that involved paint ball during the day with the groomsmen and dads, a fancy dinner in the evening, then groomsmen only hitting the town for the pre-nuptial bar-hopping ritual.

    7. Budgets Vary: Because attendees may have a range of budgets, you might consider coming up with 3 good bachelor party options and putting it to a vote. Take into consideration what the groom wants, what the others vote for, then choose the option that best suits the greatest number of people. Likely the groom helped hand-select the invitation list and the more who can attend, the better for him and everyone else.

    8. Location Considerations: Above all, if you're planning a bachelor party, ideas of your own should flow from the season and location of where the groom lives and where the wedding events will be held. Then you'll know if the event is during snow season, in the green hills, along a lake, at a beach, in a city with easy access to nightlife activities, during opening day of baseball season, around basketball play-offs... I'd advise to pick the date and location first, then plan the bachelor party around that.

Discussing bachelor parties can elicit strong and risque responses: Melissa wrote to share, "I would not let my boyfriend have one of this kind of parties..." To which Alex B. replied, "My girflfriend won't allow me to have one..." Mike B. added, "If you think your fiance will mess around then there is no trust in the relationship and it won't last..." An anonymous reader contributed this insight, "I think you missed the first crucial step: getting an idea of who will attend. Often the bachelor party is more for the people attending than it is the bachelor so you want to get an idea of what their expectations are." And, finally, another reader shared that their friend "rented a bouncy house and planned an awesome bachelor party with some interesting twists." We'll leave it at that...