How To Plan A Bachelor Party That Doesn't Suck
Why would I need to know how to plan a bachelor party you ask? Trust me, you need to know.
There is nothing wrong with having a very small group of friends. In fact, some prefer to have a smaller group of friends over a larger crew for a million reasons. Drama, remembering birthdays, responding to texts; no one wants to do that and the more friends you have to greater the chance that you have to do all that stuff.
Quality over quantity.
But if you are a guy with even the leanest crew on the planet, at some point you will be tasked with planning one of your best friends' bachelor parties.
At some point you are going to need to learn how to use a hammer. At some point, you are going to have the unfortunate affair or painting a wall. These days, at some point you are going to need to type. These are all things that you just need to know how to do and at some point, if you are a dude with at least one friend, you might have to plan a bachelor party.
The bachelor party has the potential to be one of the greatest nights of you and your friends' lives. How often do you have the opportunity to get all your friends together for a night or a weekend and simply light the town up? As you get older, your collective lives change. You have babies, get married, change jobs, and change locations. Heck, you may even get new friends. The opportunities to gather your best mates for a night out on the town become fewer and fewer.
But as much fun as it is, the planning aspect of it needs to be taken seriously. You really need to put some thought into how to plan a bachelor party so you don't end up planning one that really does suck.
Fortunately for you, we have loads of information about how to plan a bachelor party because frankly, I love bachelor parties and I love planning. I'd plan it for you but I have my own job and my own planning to do. Planning your Groom's bachelor party could be the most important and rewarding job of your life. If that's the case, you might want to think about career change but still, it's a heavy responsibility.
For the purpose of this article, I am going to assume you are the Best Man in this wedding and are tasked with figuring out how to plan a bachelor party for your groom. You will notice that this is written from the perspective of a fictitious best man because that is the norm. However, I understand many different folks with different roles end up planning bachelor parties so please put this information to its best use no matter who you are.
How To Plan A Bachelor Party (in no particular order).
The first thing you need to do is find out what the Groom actually wants to do.
You're probably thinking, "why would he need to stress that?"
This is very important. The bachelor party can sometimes end up being a reflection of what the person planning it likes without any consideration as to what the groom likes to do. Let me reiterate. It is natural for the planner to project his own interests onto the bachelor party especially if the best man and the groom have vastly different interests.
I recently went on a bachelor party planned by a best man named Mike. He planned a bachelor party for his friend Ryan. The bachelor party involved us driving around in a van throughout New England going to multiple minor league hockey games. As it turns out, the bachelor Ryan didn't really like minor league hockey and certainly didn't like driving around in a van for two days. Ryan's idea of a bachelor party was more traditional: bars, etc.
Later in life, Mike got married and they switched roles. We joked around that Ryan should now plan a bachelor party for Mike using his own interests as pay back. He didn't. But he certainly should have.
This is a classic example of the best man not really knowing (or caring) what the bachelor actually wants to do.
Find out what the guy wants to do and center it around that.
If he likes the Football team up there in State College, PA, take him to a game and hang out there all weekend. If he likes gambling and clubs, maybe Vegas or AC are more his speed. If he really likes craft beer, take him up to his favorite brewery somewhere and spend the weekend. If he really likes hockey, take him to a game of his favorite team either home or away.
It really isn't that hard if you think about it. But I imagine if you have read this far you might be thinking to yourself that yeah, maybe I didn't truly know what my groom wanted to do?
I am certainly guilty of that to some degree. We all are.
I have another friend that I expect will get married sometime in the near future and just by the nature of this blog, I have a feeling I was at least be slightly involved in helping plan it out. However, my idea of a bachelor party is more Vegas centric and his idea of a bachelor party is wine-tasting in Napa. I will try to take my own advice but no promises.
Simply ask him what he would like to do. If it is a surprise, drop hints about how to plan a bachelor party for someone else casually in conversation and you are on your way.
The most important thing to do is to do something he actually wants to do and I understand this is hard to get through your thick skull. You might be under the mistaken assumption that you share all the same interests (you don't).
Great! I figured out that my groom really wants to play some golf on his bachelor party and maybe have a few cold ones in the process.
Well that's awesome but where the heck and I going to do that?
At some point, you need to nail down a location. The location is very important as you will notice in this post where in the greatest detail, I dissect the many advantages and disadvantages of both destination and local bachelor parties. They are each different and special in their own way.
For the purpose of choosing your location, you need to complete the previous step first and determine what your groom wants to do. It sounds obvious, but you then need to pick a location that has that activity as well as other stuff to do.
Let me repeat. Pick a location where you can do the activity that you chose for your groom as well as some other stuff to do.
You have to consider a few of these things when determining your location:
- Accommodations - You want to make sure this location you pick has hotels, AirBnBs, or some other place to stay that is acceptable. The last thing you want to do is bring a group of guys to some place that either doesn't have any hotels, you have to stay too far away from the activities, or you end up staying at the Strangle Motel.
- Activities - You have to pick a location that has the activity that you chose and either has a lot of it or the best version of it. That is, if your groom likes casinos, don't take him to Valley Forge, PA just because they have a casino. Take him to Vegas. If your groom likes the Hockey team in Philadelphia, don't take him to their minor league stadium in Upstate New York; take him to an actual Philadelphia Hockey game. If your guy likes wine, take him to an awesome winery.
- Surrounding Attractions - As much as you may want to, you can't play golf all weekend. Pick a location that not only has the activity that your boy wants, but also other activities or attractions like restaurants, bars, clubs, stores, malls, parks, or any other things that can supplement the original activity you brought him there to do. After a nice round of golf, your bachelor might want to refuel at a nice restaurant to celebrate the location and not go to a local hot dog stand or grease truck.
- Logistics - Are you going to drive this this bachelor party or fly? If you fly, how are you going to get to and from the airport in both cities? If you are going to drive, who's minivan are you taking? Each have their own issues. This also goes back to the difference between destination and local. Consider logistics when picking a location. Some places are easier to get to, have better public transportation, etc. You also want to reduce your travel time as much as possible. No one wants a 12 hour flight to Vegas with two layovers if it is normally a 45 minute flight from LA.
- Money - I put this one last because all of the above funnel through this one. Money can make or break what you do, when you do it, who you bring, and pretty much anything else when thinking about how to plan a bachelor party. Poll your people and find out what you can afford and go from there.
Assuming your bachelor has gone the traditional route of a large American wedding, he is going to spend every waking moment of the next few months of his life scouring over wedding venues and sampling cakes.
I spent an entire Saturday afternoon prior to my wedding looking at chair covers. You’d be surprised how many chair covers there are and how many features they have. There are enough options to ruin your Saturday afternoon, that’s for sure.
But, the one bright and shining star in a long list of dreadful planning events and discussions over table centerpieces is planning the bachelor party.
If one was to make a calendar of events leading up to the day you tie the knot, the bachelor party should be highlighted, circled in red, and written in the most permanent of markers you can find.
The bachelor party is not without its own stressors.
One of those stressors is deciding who to invite and coming up with the bachelor party guest list. Normally, guys stay out of the drama but go ahead and neglect to invite someone who thought they should have been on the bachelor party guest list and you are for sure going to be the recipient of a rather passive aggressive Facebook comment.
So when you are starting to figure out how to plan a bachelor party, have your bachelor spend 5 minutes while he is watching Lifetime movies with his soon-to-be bride and put together a bachelor party guest list so you can have something to use.
I have narrowed that list into this very easy to use guide.
Use this guide to your advantage. If you don't feel like reading that guide, I suggest you at least determine who should be in and out and cut the dead weight. Just invite the Groom's best friends and cut out the drama. The best advice I can give you is to stick to your list, go from there, and don't get cute.
Structure is your friend.
Without structure, your bachelor party attendees, especially if that have conflicting interests, will come up with all sorts of crappy ideas. If you have 12 dudes and you don't control things from the jump, you will end up with 12 different opinions of what you should be doing and how whatever it is you are doing now sucks. My advice is plan it out up front, make a decision, and stick to it.
You're the Best Man. You have read this post and you know how to plan a bachelor party.
Think for yourself or others will think for you. Decide ahead of time what you are doing and put it on paper/email/iPhone notes.
Use this structure:
- Friday night - Go to dinner and then a bar afterwards. Dudes will be flying in at all times of the day if this is a destination bachelor party. If this is a local bachelor party that is multiple nights, some dudes just want to partake in the classier of the activities and a Friday night dinner is just the trick. After dinner, go out and have a great time. Allow the gentlemen that don't want to partake in any late night activities to go home which assumes you invited some people that are like that based on the previous section. Just don't forget: Don't hit it too hard or you will be dead for the rest of the weekend. Let the weekend breathe.
- Saturday - Do something not drinking related during the day. Granted, this all depends on what the general activity of the bachelor party is. Obviously, golf is during the day as are many other activities. If you planned a night time activity like going to bars and clubs, a Saturday day activity really makes the bachelor party epic by providing a non-drinking bonding activity. If your party centers around a day activity like golf or paint ball, then reverse these and do something unrelated to the main activity at night.
- Saturday night - If you are there to throw down, this is where you do it. You waited all weekend for this. Go crazy.
- Sunday - This also depends on how long you are staying. Most bachelor parties are weekends these days.If your bachelor party is a weekend and it ends on a Sunday. Wake up in the morning whenever you can, leave and never look back. Nothing is worse than hanging around all day waiting for a late flight. Go get some lunch and get on the road.
As I sit here and write this, I know that someone is going to email me or write in the comments angrily that their bachelor party differs from my precious structure that I listed above and that they know how to plan a bachelor party better than I can even dream of. Keep in mind as you plan this out that this is my ideal structure for a bachelor party plan. I am thinking of this as if I am planning my own bachelor party or one for someone like me. Use this structure and make it your own. I am well aware that if your party involves something like fishing, you need to be awake at the butt crack of dawn to catch any fish and thus you won't be spending Friday night painting the town red. Take this information and make it your own.
Communication is important in all walks of life. Over-communication, in business, sports, and really anything where the end result requires coordination, is better than under-communication.
You may be thinking, "I don't need communication advice! I am not at the office."
Well, my friend. Before you know how to plan a bachelor party, you need to know how to communicate. You especially need to know how to communicate because you may need to coordinate activities, whereabouts, logistics, and monies for guys who may not be the brightest bulbs and guys you may have never met.
Pick the easiest method of organizing the bachelor party crew and to communicate your plan to all of those folks. Many people choose email these days and some choose group chats. Whatever method you choose, start communicating early, often, and frequently. It seems like people prefer the group chat these days. Almost everyone texts and there are some people out there that will claim they didn't get an email or two. Unfortunately you are opening yourself up to a long affair of annoying texts for the next few months but who doesn't want to wake up to 67 mindless texts every now and again?
You want to send a note to the guys on the guest list as soon as you gather a guest list. You want to control the message from the beginning. Then, you want to check-in with everyone periodically and communicate where you are in the process of planning.
Here is an example:
Step 1: Hi all! You have been invited to Brett's Bachelor Bash! We are going to Vegas on July 21st through 23rd. Details to follow.
Step 2: Hi all! We have booked the Caesar's palace for those dates for the Bachelor Bash. Let me know if you can make it so I can get a head count.
Step 3: Hi all! Here is the itinerary: [Insert Itinerary].
So on and so forth.
You get the idea.
The important thing is that you communicate frequently but not too frequently. You want to blend the aspects of keeping everyone in the loop without being too annoying or pushy. I'd recommend you wait a week between anything you send out. Doing so, shows the guys you are in control of this party and that you know how to plan a bachelor party.
You got this!
Just remember, in many of the more important fields of study including business, sports management, science, technology, and of course bachelor party planning, it is better to over-communicate than under-communicate.
Dude, if I have turned you away from figuring out how to plan a bachelor party by all the previous aspects of planning a bachelor party above, then don't even bother reading this section.
Collecting money from anyone sucks. Plain and simple: it sucks. Money can turn best friends and family members against each other which is why many of us have decided not to mix money and friends and money and family.
Unfortunately, when you think about how to plan a bachelor party, you need to think about money.
Unless you are Dan Bilzerian and you have enough money to front the cash for this bachelor party, you need to collect money from these guys or you need to get them to pay their share.
And if you think for one second that some dude you barely know that went to college with the bachelor is going to "get you back" or "pay you cash when you get there" you better think twice. I don't know you and I certainly don't know anyone you are inviting but what I do know is they will not think twice about burning you two times over.
So unless you are super generous, a risk taker, or just have a death wish, minimize how much you front. If you do front some cash, expect to not get it back.
If you are collecting money for anything, make the money collection aspect of this as easy as possible. These days, everyone has Venmo or PayPal or Zelle or some other way of sending money easily. Still, you will have guys that just simply refuse to use it or refuse to pay. There will be guys that say they don't have any of those payments apps. That's fine. A check will work. But I am willing to bet anyone that doesn't have those is probably not going to pay and won't even go. Count them out right away.
The important thing is that you set expectations up front using the previous sections so everyone knows going into it approximately what this is going to cost. So if you have a few dudes that are going to string you along, up-front communication is the key to scare them off early and avoid a ton of stress.
Here is how you handle dudes that won't pay or string you along forever:
Give them a date to have the money or they are out. Stick to it.
The people that really matter, will give you the money with no questions asked. They will love you for organizing this for them. If all I had to do was give some dude $200 and he would plan out what amounts to a weekend vacation to celebrate my friend's nuptials, I'd send him that money with a smile.
Thank god right?
Did I scare you away?
Do you now know how to plan a bachelor party?
You should! Bachelor parties are fun! You get to not only celebrate your friend's nuptials and show him how much you care about him but you also get to have a swinging good time (if you plan it right). If you want some more information on how to plan a bachelor party, please check out my other posts where I try to not be as long-winded. If you want to make your friend's bachelor party even more epic, check these really fun t-shirts that are sure to make any bachelor party awesome.