A traditional bachelor party has a standard recipe: Start with the groom-to-be, add a handful of his friends, mix in an exotic dancer or two, and finish it up with a few too many beers or tequila shots. While you could go this route -- if that’s what the groom wants -- you can also throw a bachelor party that’s a little more inspired. Before you get to the really creative part, though, start with the basics of bachelor parties: the budget, as well as the who, what, where and when.
Bachelor parties increasingly involve flying off to Las Vegas, Atlantic City or another far-flung destination; however, not everyone has the finances or the vacation time to splurge on a destination party. As the party host, check in with each party participant to get his thoughts on costs. Remember, it's traditional that the host or group as a whole cover the costs of the bachelor too. While he doesn't pay his way, the groom should be included in the discussion as well -- he might prefer a smaller shindig if it means more of his friends can participate. With a proper budget in mind, start scouring for locations and events for the party.
Set the Guest List and Date
Don't assume that as the groom's closest friend or sibling you know all of his friends. Talk to the groom about who should be included on the invite list; standard invitees include friends and relatives of both the groom and bride. While bachelor parties are typically off-limits to women, a gal can be included if she's the groom's longtime best buddy. Once set, send out an invitation via snail mail or, more likely, through email, electronic invite or Facebook events, indicating the date. Schedule the party for anytime from a month or two before the wedding to the night before -- but think carefully about the latter option, as it's not wise for the groom or the bridal party to show up with a hangover. Aim to send out the invitation at least a month before the bachelor party.
Naturally, there are always the strip club-and-bar activities for a bachelor party, but think beyond the norm. If you can't make it to Vegas, bring the casino to him by hosting a poker night, complete with a professional dealer calling the shots and a cocktail waitress serving the drinks. If you would rather get out of the house, look for local breweries or beer festivals, a concert showcasing his favorite band or, for a foodie, a chef's tasting dinner.
Don't Forget the Details
As the bachelor party host, your goal is to make the bachelor party a night that he'll always remember -- but it should be a safe night too. Arrange for transportation if drinking will be involved; a party bus or limo is always appropriate if you have the budget for it. Take a few minutes to be a little nostalgic and create a video montage or slideshow of the groom's life, complete with a few embarrassing moments from college and shots of the girls that -- thankfully -- got away. This is the time to razz on the groom, not during your speech at the wedding. Stock up on the groom's favorite beer, wine or spirit, and if you're spending any part of the fete at home, make sure you have enough food. Options include steaks for the grill and some good-quality potato chips and nuts for snacking.
Traveling? Consider These Locations
If you decide to jump on a jet plane to celebrate, skip the cliche of Las Vegas. "Men's Health" magazine recommends alternative destinations, depending on the groom's interests and personality. For the beer- and spirits-lover, fly to Portland, Oregon, which is rife with craft distilleries and breweries. If he's an outdoor-enthusiast, a location such as South Tahoe Lake, California, offers opportunities for parasailing, kayaking, horseback riding and more. If the group loves live music, check out Austin, Texas, which has more than 250 live music venues and monthly music festivals.
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