One of the most exciting aspects of wedding planning are the bach parties. That is, the bachelor party, bachelorette party, and/or combined bach celebration. But when it comes time to plan a successful bachelor party, odds are you have a lot of questions. From coordinating lodging to booking events, there are quite a few details that go into pulling off the perfect event. For that reason, we’re outlining all the details, be it etiquette, planning steps, and helpful tips for throughout.
Learn how to plan a bachelor party—whether you’re the groom-to-be, best man, or one of the groomsmen—that will be talked about for years to come. See below for our comprehensive bachelor party planner walkthrough.
Just as your wedding day (and all that leads up to it) has special etiquette, so does a bachelor party. From timelines to considering your guests in all aspects, there’s much to consider when both planning and executing a stag party. That said, we’ve answered some of the most anticipated bachelor party etiquette questions, including:
Who hosts the party? Traditionally, the bachelor party is thrown and hosted by the groom’s best man. That said, it can be—and is often—a group effort between the best man and the groom’s close friends and family members (AKA the groomsmen). There’s nothing stopping someone, however, from throwing their own bachelor party, should they want to go that route.
When should it take place? In the months leading up to the wedding. We recommend planning a bachelor party three to six months out, depending on how extensive the festivities are and if there’s travel involved, and having the party one to three months prior to the big day.
Can it take place on a holiday? This entirely depends on the desires of the group. We highly suggest avoiding any big holidays that might cause your groomsmen to be unavailable and miss out. They may, however, be comfortable with celebrating on a holiday such as Labor Day Weekend, since they likely won’t have to take off work. Just bare in mind that busy weekends can also mean higher prices and longer wait times.
How involved should the groom be in planning? This is entirely up to the groom and the host. One or the other can take over planning, or it can be a collaborative process. The level of the groom’s involvement ultimately comes down to their personal preference, as they might have bachelor party ideas they want to use to celebrate. In any case, before getting started, have a conversation with them about it. Even if they don’t want to be heavily involved, it’s crucial that you get their opinions on certain aspects (ideal type of party, strippers vs no strippers, etc.)
Should the guest list be approved? Yes. It should be the groom’s decision both how big or small the group is and who is invited to take part. Sure, this means a complete surprise is probably out of the question, but it ensures that they end up celebrating with their nearest and dearest.
Do I need to send out invitations? Paper invitations aren’t necessary—though, you can definitely send them out if you’re hosting a fancy outing. Instead, get everyone’s phone numbers and create a group text where you can communicate directly, as well as compile information on availability, budget, and ideas.
Who pays for what? Typically, every person pays their own way. One’s share might include transportation, accommodations, food, and activities. That being said, some parents of the groom may honor the tradition of contributing financially to the bachelor party.
Should people bring gifts? Gifts aren’t expected at bachelor parties, though some celebrants might bring a fun gift to be enjoyed by the groom or group. Some groups or individuals may also choose to contribute financially towards the groom’s expenses. This could be transportation, lodging, a meal, an activity, drinks, or similar.
Now that you’re familiar with bachelor party etiquette, let’s talk planning. Though it might seem simple, planning a party (or bachelor weekend) is a multi-step process with a handful of logistics to juggle. That said, there’s no reason to be intimidated. To ensure you’ve got everything covered, take a look at our step-by-step process below.
Discuss plans with the groom. First and foremost, have a conversation with the groom about how they’d like to celebrate. Talk group size, location, activity, food, and the like. The purpose of a bachelor party is to celebrate them and their upcoming marriage, after all. And from sporting events, to paintball, to a spa weekend, to a trip to Austin or New York, there’s plenty to choose from.
Create a guest list. Once you have an idea of what you’d like to do, create a group text with a groom-approved guest list. This creates an avenue for direct communication between everyone.
Decide on a budget. Within the group chat, ask people how much money they’re comfortable with sending—or, allow them to answer a poll anonymously. It’s crucial that you have this information before solidifying any plans.
Set a date/dates. With an ideal celebration and budget in mind, begin to narrow down a date. We recommend first going to the groom for their preference, then sending a few dates to the group to see which works best.
Collect RSVPs. With a solidified date (or dates) and budget, confirm how many people—and who, specifically—will be joining. We recommend knowing this before making any reservations, as it can effect pricing (e.g. hotel bookings).
Choose a venue or location. Next, decide on accommodations (if you’re traveling somewhere or hosting a staycation) or your venue. You’ll want to book this first and as soon as possible.
Make all bookings and reservations. Likewise, make a final decision on meals and activities, then coordinate all bookings and reservations.
Plan the Itinerary. Coinciding with Step 6, as you book, create a clear itinerary (or schedule) of activities. This doesn’t need to be down to this minute, but should include all booking and reservation times and locations.
The first step when it comes to bachelor party planning is figuring out who, exactly, is doing the planning. Some grooms like to be more involved and want to select everything from the location to the lodging to the activities, whereas other grooms want to be surprised. Ask the guest of honor what he prefers, and ask him if there’s anything he does (or doesn’t) want to do at his celebration. While you might have a specific vision in mind, make sure that it aligns with what he wants, because, ultimately, he’s the one that the day needs to be centered around.
Some grooms dream of a rowdy Las Vegas bachelor party whereas others would prefer a cabin in Lake Tahoe for a low-key, nature-filled weekend. Before booking a hotel room suite in a party town, consider the groom’s personality and interests. Is he the kind of guy who loves to do shots and close down the bar? Or, does he lean more toward long hikes followed by some casual beers with his buds? There’s no set template for bachelor parties now, so don’t feel like you need to plan a Hollywood-inspired weekend if that’s not what the guest of honor likes. Additionally, check to see if there’s anything he does or does not want to do so that you don’t ruffle any feathers or leave him disappointed.
Before starting your search for the best bachelor party destinations, ask the groom if he has a spot in mind. Some people always envision a specific spot or theme for their event, whereas others want to be surprised. If he knows where he wants to go, do your best to make it happen (assuming budget permits), otherwise, pull inspiration from it so that you can have an on-themed event. If he wants to be surprised, consider places that he’s been, places he loves, and what sort of bachelor party weekend he’s after to help you narrow down the location.
One of the trickiest aspects to coordinate when it comes to planning a bachelor party is the budget. Before making any plans, be sure to have a candid conversation with the guests to figure out what everyone’s comfortable paying for the weekend. Additionally, some parties choose to pick up the groom’s portion of the tab, so be sure to factor that in before moving forward. Once you have a budget, make sure to account for details such as lodging, food and drink, activities, supplies, and transportation (such as Uber, cabs, and/or a party bus) to get around. It’s helpful to get a lump sum from each guest well before the event so that you don’t get stuck paying for someone’s part after the celebration is over.
Before extending an invitation to everyone on the groom’s phone, ask him if there's anyone specifically that he does/does not want to invite. There’s a chance that he already has a guest list planned out, so ask him before inviting anyone who wasn’t on his original list. Some grooms have the mindset of “the more the merrier,” whereas others prefer to keep things smaller with just his inner circle. Additionally, before inviting his future brother-in-law or father-in-law, ask. Some guys love the idea of handing out a bachelor party invitation to a soon-to-be relative, whereas others prefer to celebrate sans in-laws.
When it comes time to pick a day, the most important thing is that it works for the groom and any guests he really can’t picture celebrating without. Coordinate privately with him to see if he has a date in mind and if there’s anyone he needs to ensure will make it. Once you have a date (or a few workable options from the groom), open it up to the rest of the group. If they’re voting, select the date that works for the most people. If instead you just select a date, be prepared for some of the guests to have other obligations. That’s okay, as long as it works for the groom.
While you don’t need to have every detail of the bachelor party planned from start to finish (but it might help from a time management standpoint), there are a few things that you’ll want to coordinate ahead of time. Make sure that you plan for any big-ticket items that you might need to block out time for or book in advance. Events such as tables at popular restaurants or clubs, tours at breweries or parks, boats, limos, and live music concerts all need to be booked well in advance, especially with a big group.
Getting everyone to the bachelor party destination location is another task item that the coordinator-in-charge will want to have figured out. Ensure that the guests know what time the events begin so that no one is flying in after a nice dinner or town tour begins, and check with your hotel or rental house to see what time check-in begins so that you’re not lugging your bags around for hours (you can always ask for an early check-in if your timeline starts a little earlier). If you’re trying to keep costs low, consider renting a home instead of hotel rooms, utilizing air mattresses, and trying to coordinate flights so that guests can ride together to the rental property.
One of the final components you’ll want to coordinate before the party starts is stocking up on supplies. Purchasing items such as snacks, meals, and drinks will not only cut down on costs (so you don’t have to eat out for every meal) but will give you the chance to have some downtime where you can all relax at your lodging without having to get ready and grab a cab. Plan out your grocery and meal list before heading to the store and assign a few people to get the supplies ASAP so that the fun can begin right away.
Whether you’re doing a grand weekend abroad or a night out in your hometown, the most important thing is that you have fun while being safe. Even though this is the time to cut loose, it’s also important to remember that whatever goes down at a bachelor party will eventually get back to the bride and the guests’ SOs. Don't do anything that’ll jeopardize those relationships or your safety and you can guarantee it’ll be one for the ages. As you plan a bachelor bash, remember: It ultimately doesn’t matter where the weekend takes place or what, exactly, you do. As long as you have fun and make memories with your VIPs, it will be the perfect pre-wedding celebration.
Bachelor parties are a chance to celebrate a loved one’s upcoming wedding, as well as let them know how much you care for them. Bonus: It can also serve as a bit of stress-relief amidst wedding planning. Ultimately, it’s most important that you throw the kind of party you know the groom will enjoy. That said, if you’re still wanting to double-check your planning skills, check out our separate step-by-step guide.