Bachelor Party 101

Plan a Memorable Party

bachelor party 101

Bachelor Party Planning

Congratulations! You've just been invited to be the best man at your best friend's wedding. Or maybe he's your brother. At any rate, we all know what that means. It's not just the responsibility of hanging on to the rings or helping pick out a tux. It means, drum roll please, it's on you to organize the bachelor party.

What's your vision for the big night? Are you planning the party-to-end-all-parties? Something to rival to the 80's film "Bachelor Party," only with more donkeys? Or maybe you're the opposite, worried about how out of control things might get and contemplating something extremely subdued (and frankly, dull). There is a happy medium, we promise.

Have the Party for the Right Reasons

"The bachelor party has to be killer because it's the last fun the groom will be having." Mm-kay. Let's think about that one for a minute. If that's really true, the groom hasn't picked the right bride. But we won't go there -- let's assume, for argument's sake, that your bud fully understands what he's getting into. Since it's no longer the sixteenth century, we have to assume that the groom is marrying for, well, real love.

So deciding it's the "last" fun he'll have doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Trust us. Unless the bride-to-be has his personality in a lock box and has swallowed the key, the groom will be having fun again at some point in the future. This will not be the only time he gets a night out with the boys. So take the pressure off yourself to make this the Bachelor party everyone talks about. Seen "The Hangover?" That's not what you're shooting for with this party. Instead, focus on what really will be a good time, by thinking about...

The Groom's Personality and Tastes

Yeah, we know. "He has no taste!" Okay, funny guy. That aside, like his choice of bride, the groom has also picked you, his best man, and we have to think it's at least in part because you know everything about him. Or at least you know enough to know what he likes and doesn't like.

Sit down and think about what he really likes. Not what he pretends to like so he can look cool, but what he really likes. If he's the shy type, sure, it's okay to try to pull him out of his shell -- a little. But inviting 100 of your closest friends and arranging for a professional lap dancer may actually not be his cup of tea. Having some fun is fine, embarrassing him to the point of mortification isn't.

Nor might some of the traditional (and sort of one-dimensional) bachelor party ideas, like a strip joint or a keg with a funnel. Keep in mind what his spiritual and moral beliefs are, too; if you're going to make him uncomfortable then it's not worth doing.

Your Role in All This

Of course, if a keg with a funnel is his thing, go for it -- just be careful. Yes, it's on you to do that, too: to be (gasp!) the responsible one. You have to be the guest that stays at least nominally sober. If necessary, it will be on you to call for a ride (or better yet, to have the gig in a rented room so nobody has to drive).

Don't one-up him. Let him think he's the Party God on this one special night. This is really a night about him. If he wants to share sordid stories, no need to top his. Let him be the center of attention. If you're single, he'll do the same for you when you're ready to take this step. Lastly, if your Bachelor party takes place the day before the wedding, remember to make sure the party doesn't leave a lasting impression -- no scars with a "great story", sunburns, new tattoos or bloodshot eyes. If you have photographic evidence, do not post it to your Facebook account and "tag" the groom. Remember, those pictures could fall into the wrong hands and having lasting repercussions. That goes for video on YouTube too!

Who Do You Invite?

Generally, all of the groom's "guy" friends. That's you, the ushers, work friends, school chums. Don't forget the bride's brother, or even her male best friend. Heck, if the bride and groom's fathers are cool, invite them too!

Under no circumstances should you invite the groom's boss. Unless they're best friends, have known each other since grade school or are related! Most bosses wouldn't hold some Bachelor party antics against their employee, but the truth is you never know. Avoid a potential problem before it begins.

Who Pays?

Aha. The Big Question. Well, you do --and your buds, if they're willing and able. If you have the party out somewhere, don't let the groom pay for anything (and we do mean anything. Not even the tip).

Because it's a financial responsibility, you do have the right to choose a locale that's more wallet-friendly; you may even choose to have the bachelor party in your apartment. Or choose a low- or midrange priced restaurant, pub or hotel room.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to planning a bachelor party, the best piece of advice we can give you is this: Fun is good, but if there's the absolute, positive, slightest chance that what you're planning will end up with the participants in a) jail, b) divorce court or c) the hospital, don't do it. Period. Having a bachelor party is not an open invitation to sow wild oats or secure blackmail photos for later in life.

Above all, keep in mind that you really are the groom's best man -- and he expects you to be there for him. So be there. Be his party arranger, his ride home and his guarantee of a good time with a funny story or two to tell later (take notes, you'll need material for your speech at the reception!).This way you can laugh about it afterward -- and relax in the knowledge that you did a great job. Your best friend will be grateful for your efforts and you'll have lifelong memories to show for it!

Written by: Melanie Henson