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How to Plan a Most Excellent Bachelor Party

Here's how to make sure your (or your partner's) big bash is a success.
The Knot
by The Knot
Updated Apr 24, 2020

Bachelor parties have a reputation for being raunchy and raucous (which we can probably thank Hollywood for). But when it comes down to it, bachelor parties are really about a groom-to-be celebrating a momentous occasion with his closest friends and family, which is actually pretty sweet.

If you've been asked to be in charge of bachelor party planning, consider it an honor and give it the attention it deserves. Just in case you're a little fuzzy on what is a bachelor party, it's typically a get together between a soon-to-be-groom and his closest male buddies. The purpose of a bachelor party is to celebrate the groom's impending nuptials and to wave goodbye to his single life. How to plan a bachelor party will depend on the personality and comfort level of your groom as well as the people he invites to his shindig. You'll also want to look at what activities are available in your area and what the general budget is among you and your pals.

Some grooms prefer a relaxed hangout while others want to hit the bars and take the city by storm. Any bachelor party can be a blast, whether you stick with bachelor party traditions or not, as long as you get the right people together and plan something that fits the style of your best bud. Here are a few important Dos and Don'ts for making your best friend's bachelor party a great experience for all:

Don't invite too many people. 

The bachelor party began as a gentlemen's party: a civilized evening of drawing-room drinking, smoking and toasting to the bride's health.  

While most of today's bachelor parties have ditched the civilized bit in favor of a "crazy" night on the town, the list of attendees has stayed the same. The best man throws the shindig and invites the closest friends and relatives of the groom (usually male only, but we're all about breaking tradition if you want). 

The list shouldn't include 100 of the groom's closest friends, and definitely don't plan it without finalizing the guest list first. (You don't want to book an Airbnb before realizing it doesn't have enough room for everyone—and a "first come, first serve" invitation process isn't acceptable.)

Do pick a location that's conducive to the activities you want. 

Bachelor parties can take place almost anywhere. While the stereotypical bachelor party may bring about thoughts of booze and gambling, nowadays, lots of to-be-weds are opting for other, more wholesome activities—like a weekend spent bonding in the woods, for example. 

Others might 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 too. 

Don't have it the night before the wedding (like in the movies). 

We all know how it usually goes in the movies (hello, The Hangover), but if you think the night before the wedding is the perfect time for a bachelor bash, think again. The last thing the groom needs on the big day is a hangover (or a reason to stress out his partner). 

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. Notify the bachelor party guests at least three weeks before the party to avoid scheduling conflicts.

Do make sure the best man knows his responsibilities.

The best man is typically responsible for making sure the bachelor party avoids any mishaps. Here are some tips for him (or her, if you're having a best woman): Make sure people don't drive home drunk (double-check car service is available in the area), figure out the cost and split it evenly between everyone attending the party, be creative and fun with the activity ideas and always remember to take pictures so the groom has keepsakes (he probably won't be thinking of whipping out his phone when he's busy celebrating). 

Do have fun.

This is a party after all. It's okay to have a good time, whatever that means to you and your buddies. As you start on the bachelor party planning, think about what the bachelor wants to do. If he's more of a homebody, that could mean game night or a movie marathon. If it's time to go out on the town, head to his favorite watering hole or try something a little whacky like a karaoke bar. Let loose and make sure the soon-to-be-groom has a great night.

Don't have too much fun… if you know what we mean

A good rule of thumb when learning how to plan a bachelor party is to make sure the planner (usually the best man) takes responsibility for the bachelor and the rest of the partygoers and makes sure that the fun night doesn't go south. If you've seen any of the movies in The Hangover franchise then you know what we mean by partying too much. It's okay to follow some bachelor party traditions, but watch out for over-drinking, sloppy behavior, anything remotely illegal or any poor life decisions that will be regretted instantly the next morning. Part of being the bachelor party planner means you've got to step up, be in charge and help keep the party on the right side of fun.

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