The Bachelor Party: Etiquette, A to Z

All About the Groom. He’s about to get married - at best paralyzing terror, at worst existential misery. Help him forget all that, just for this one night. Best Man, this should be his dream party (not necessarily yours). Find out what he likes/wants most, and use how well you know him. Plan accordingly, and get the Groomsmen on board. Your job: Make Groom Happy.

Bride. Record scratch!!! Okay, nobody wants a bride for an enemy. Another part of the Best Man’s job is to get Bride and Groom to talk about what kind of bachelor party this will be, what is and isn’t okay. Groomsmen: no matter how your Uncle Jimbo always did it, fall in line, or else welcome to WWShe.

Costs. Unless this is Silicon Valley, the party shouldn’t cost a fortune. If there’s a charity case (i.e., laid-off high school best friend), the gainfully-employed should chip in, no griping. Anal Best Men do a budget, since they’ll be laying out a lot up front. But in the end, everything should be split equally, except for gambling, girls, and plane tickets to and fro.  From the first day of planning to the last day of receipt-totaling, the Groom Does Not Open His Wallet.

Dudes, Number and Nature. If it’s just a dinner, bigger and loosely-connected is fine.  If it’s a weekend away and/or an adventure requiring deep brotherly commitment, go for 10 tops. No sworn enemies allowed. Screen for sulkers, sadists and sociopaths.

Energy.  Start early on this. For at least a week leading up to the bash, get a full night’s rest every night. If you’re burning the candle at both ends, hoping to just ride that no-sleep thing on through the weekend… um, no. You will crash and burn, and become universally reviled (see “Q”).  Exercise in advance to rev up your metabolism.  And along the way, caffeinated help will surely come in handy, but not too much or energy becomes plain old jitters.

Food. Meaty and/or manly. Whether you’re picking LA’s best sushi joint or camp-grilling steaks in Yellowstone, care about it tasting good.

Gambling and Gaming. As soon as the Groom is done, the gambling is done. No questions. And with games, let him win, but keep it realistic.

Hedonism. By definition, a bachelor party means excess, indulgence and immediate gratification. This is no time for diets, yoga, reading, quitting smoking, sleep-training a newborn, or any other forms of moderation or self-flagellation.

Ignore: “check-in” calls from wives and girlfriends. In fact, ignore the existence of wives and girlfriends altogether – no speaking to them or of them (unless the Groom wants the party – OMFG! – coed). Put phones and computers in safe so this step is easier.

Jealousy. We all feel it when our best buddy is the center of attention. Especially when he's the one marrying the hot girl, or our ex. But this is his weekend, so despite the fact that he's kind of a jerk, smile and indulge.

Kinks.  There will be problems along the way: lost reservations, shortage of cash, etc.  The Best Man and Groomsmen need to fix that, roll with the punches, and have a Plan B. The Groom shall feel no stress.

Lap-dances for Groom. You can have all your conscience allows. As for the groom: the Best Man should know these limits best (see “A” and “B”), but its up to all the Groomsmen to cut it off when the limit is reached.

More than Lap-dances. See above. Maybe the Bride said to the Groom: “Whatever you need, baby, get it out of your system, what do I care?” And maybe bacon is good for you. Proceed at your own peril.

No: Whining. Fighting. Calls Home. Pictures. Last Names. Upsetting the Groom.

Outdoor Time. Strip-clubs get dank and sad, fast.  Plan a bachelor party with hiking, fishing, skiing, whitewater rafting, spelunking or skydiving built in. And if you’ve ignored that rule, find something, anything, on the spot that will get you boys into the fresh air. You need it.

Personal. As in “personal to the groom.” As in: not generic. From early planning of places and activities to the casual choices like drinks, music, filler fun and coming-down-time, let the bachelor party be who the bachelor is, warts and all.

Quitting Early.  Verboten!  No one likes a quitter. See “E” and power through.  

Rein in the Groom. This can get messy, but he’ll thank you in the morning.

Street Meat. We all make mistakes when we're hungry. But try to avoid this one, as it can really put a damper on a weekend in which 7 guys share one bathroom.

Tip. Tip like a man, Mr. Best man. This is your one chance in life to play Sinatra and spread green love on behalf of you and your little rat pack. Feels good, doesn't it? Tis better to give.

Unanimous. Especially for smaller, adventure-y bachelor parties, everybody needs to be on the same page, and the Groom needs to feel that. Embed this principle well in advance.

VIP Tables, Velvet Ropes. If the Groom is a tool, he’ll give a crap about this stuff (and you should, too – sorry!). Otherwise, don’t be a Vanderpump. Keep it laid back; go where you’re all welcome, attitude-free.

Water. No bubbles. Constantly. One-for-one, booze for agua.

X-Ray. Obviously there has to be some explanation for your gastric distress other than "Street Meat."

Yawn. Stifle it. Pretend you were clearing your throat, or choking on a rib, or gasping for breath because you're laughing so hard. So hard.

Zero.  The number of dollars in your wallet by bachelor party’s end.



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