A Guide to Bachelor Parties - Zola Expert Wedding Advice (2023)

Get all your questions about bachelor parties—from who is responsible for planning to what to do—in this comprehensive guide.

By The Zola Team

What Is a Bachelor Party?

  • A bachelor party is common pre-wedding ritual that honors the groom as he celebrates his “last night(s)” as a single man with his closest buddies.
  • Traditionally a group of close male friends throw the bachelor party in the groom’s honor.
  • A bachelor party typically lasts for an entire weekend, but may also just be a single day or evening. It occurs either near the groom’s home or at a specially chosen destination.
  • Typical bachelor parties involve at least one (or a few) nice meals at restaurants, drinking and bar hopping, and some daytime activities like playing or watching live sports, hiking or fishing, or hanging by the beach or pool.

Who Throws The Bachelor Party?

While traditionally the groom’s wedding party—the man of honor and groomsmen—throw the bachelor party, really anyone who is close to the groom can plan it. If the groom has chosen to not have a wedding party, or if it’s not ideal or possible for the best man to handle this responsibility, the following people would be good candidates:

  • a sibling of the groom
  • a close cousin of the groom
  • a group of the groom’s long-time coworkers
  • a dear childhood friend of the groom

Organizing a large group of guys to make travel plans, book hotel rooms, and maneuver in and out of public spaces for a weekend takes special skills. Not every friend or relation will be the ideal person to plan a bachelor party. Here are some questions you should ask when deciding if your best man, groomsman, or other buddy or relative should throw the bachelor party:

  1. Is he close enough to the groom to know what he will want from his bachelor party experience?
  2. Is good at handling logistics, making reservations, and organizing groups of people?
  3. Does he have good communication skills?
  4. Can he keep track of costs to make sure expenses are appropriately settled up during or after the party is over?

Who Should You Invite to a Bachelor Party?

The invite list for a bachelor party is pretty much up to the groom. He should make a list of names and contact information for everyone he’d like to include in his special day or weekend, and hand it off to the bachelor party organizer(s) to send out an invitation. If the party organizers feel like being fancy, an online invitation is generally formal enough for a casual event like a bachelor party. A group email also works in lieu of formal invitations.

While most bachelor parties are all-male gatherings, there’s no hard-and-fast rule that says women can’t be invited to a groom’s weekend of honor. It’s his weekend, after all, so if he is especially close to his sister or a few female friends and wants them present, go with it. It might change the group dynamic and/or itinerary slightly, but follow the groom’s wishes.

In general, the list of bachelor party invitees will include some or all of the following people:

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  • The best man
  • The groomsmen
  • Other close friends of the groom
  • Siblings, soon-to-be-siblings, or same-age relatives of the groom
  • Close co-workers of the groom who will also be invited to the wedding

Who Should You NOT Invite to a Bachelor Party?

There are only two major rules of thumb when determining who should not be put on the invitation list for a bachelor party:

  1. Anyone who would make the groom feel uncomfortable: As this celebration is all about the groom, make sure that everyone who’s invited is someone that he feels comfortable being himself (in various states) around. People like the groom’s father (or even the bride’s father), his more senior relatives, former coaches or teachers, or any buddies with whom he’s had tension or difficult relations with might not be the right candidates.
  2. Anyone who’s not also invited to the wedding: It’s a standard rule of etiquette for all pre-wedding festivities that invitations should only be sent to people who will also make the guest list for the wedding itself. Otherwise, a very awkward and uncomfortable situation may arise.

Who Pays for The Bachelor Party?

The guys who plan and attend the bachelor party—that is, everyone except the groom—typically share the costs of the night or weekend. The groom is generally treated to this revelry (or debauchery?) as a gift from his closest buds, who should cover his portion of the expenses and split them among the group.

The only exception to this practice of “groom goes free” is if the bachelor party is held at a far-off and/or expensive destination. If the decision is made to take the bachelor party to Europe or the Caribbean, for example, the groom might want to pay for his own travel or chip in for the hotel or Airbnb rental. If it’s important to him to have a luxe or exotic experience for his bachelor party, it’s a nice gesture to offer to defray the costs of that wish for his friends who want to participate but don’t have unlimited budgets.

Budgeting Tips for Bachelor Parties

The money portion of bachelor parties can get sticky, to say the least. When spirits are flying high (in more ways than one), it’s easy to throw budgetary caution to the wind: another round of shots! Let’s order the prime rib! The entrance fee to that club is totally worth it! Then, when the final tallies have been added up in the harsh light of day and everyone is told what they owe, shock and dismay may set in.

To prevent sticker shock at the end of the weekend, and to make sure everyone who attends is comfortable with the anticipated costs, follow these best practices when it comes to talking $$$ about bachelor parties.

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  • The party planner(s) should do a some quick guesstimating ahead of time—like when invitations are sent, or early as plans are being formed—and provide a rough estimate for how much each dude will need to contribute financially for the weekend. This will help guys who are on tighter budgets make informed, wise decisions about whether or not they can attend.
  • Pick a few big-ticket splurges that everyone can agree on ahead of time, such as tickets to a pro sports game, a private yacht cruise for the day, or a fully loaded rental home. Then let folks choose their own level of spending for smaller things, like breakfasts and drink orders. This will allow budget-minded guys to choose cheaper options wherever it doesn’t impact the group’s activities.
  • Pick one responsible point person to be in charge of tracking the group’s shared expenses. Have him use an expense-tracking and money-sharing app, like Splitwise, to make it super easy to keep tabs on how money has been spent and who owes whom what.
  • For some easy savings, look for off-season options when picking the date of the bachelor party. September can still offer beautiful beach weather, but house rentals will be considerably cheaper after the peak season.
  • Likewise, look for cost savings in your choice of accommodations. Maybe you can stay at someone’s vacation condo or weekend cabin to save money. If you’re headed to a big city, stay somewhere that’s within walking distance of downtown to save money on transportation.

What Do You Do at a Bachelor Party?

Every bachelor party will be a little bit different, just like every groom himself. In general, the bachelor party should reflect the groom’s interests and personality. If music is his passion, try to organize the bachelor party around seeing live musical acts or, if there are musicians among his crew, devoting time to jamming late into the night. If he’s an outdoorsy guy, a bachelor party at a cabin in the woods, complete with hiking, fishing, and bonfire bonding, would be an ideal scenario.

Here are a few basic pointers on what most bachelor parties involve, to give you a general sense of what to expect:

  • Drinking: At home, in bars, at clubs, pretty much when and wherever… bachelor parties typically involve a decent amount of alcohol consumption.
  • Fun daytime activities: Think watching live sports, guided eating or drinking tours, visiting museums and cultural institutions, doing something physical like hiking, biking, or surfing, or just chilling on the beach.
  • Nice dinners out: Steakhouses are popular choices, but anything that suits the groom’s appetite (sushi, pizza, burgers, Mexican, Italian, seafood, etc.) goes.
  • Nightclubs: From standard nightclubs with DJs, dancing, and bottle service to adults-only entertainment, most bachelor parties wind up at some form of club for late-night revelry.

Creative Bachelor Party Ideas

If you’re the brains behind your buddy’s bachelor party, you can’t go wrong with a classic evening of good food, strong drinks, and great friends just hanging out and celebrating the groom. But if you’re looking to take things up a notch—or if your groom isn’t into the standard bachelor party protocol—check out some of our creative bachelor party ideas below:

  • Go to a concert or music festival
  • Rent a cabin in the woods
  • Take a road trip on Route 66
  • Go fly fishing
  • Do a backyard pig roast
  • Go hiking and/or backpacking
  • Learn to surf
  • Attend a monster truck rally
  • Float down a river in inner tubes
  • Visit a national park
  • Rent a ski cabin and hit the slopes
  • Get tickets to a pro wrestling or boxing match
  • Rent an RV and go car camping
  • Practice shooting at a rifle club or skeet range
  • Go golfing
  • Compete on an obstacle course (bonus if it involves mud)
  • Play paintball and/or laser tag
  • Schedule a guided white water rafting trip
  • Learn a hands-on skill, like woodworking
  • Access your inner child by going to batting cages and playing arcade games
  • Attend a food or wine festival
  • Rent ATVs and go off-roading
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Who is usually invited to a bachelor party? ›

Who gets invited to the bachelor party? The guest list for the bachelor party should be made up of groomsmen and good friends or family members who are invited to the wedding. Generally speaking, the best man will serve as the host, and should handle inviting the rest of the party's guests.

Are ushers invited to bachelor party? ›

Friends Outside of the Wedding Party

Now's your chance to include the guys you struggled to cut from your lineup, your ushers, or friends you never get to see. You should also consider inviting roommates and coworkers to your bachelor party.

Who typically pays for the bachelor party? ›

The politics of paying your way at your own bachelor party can be a tough one to navigate. But don't worry, we're here to help you get it right. Now, traditionally, the best man and the groomsmen both plan the groom's bachelor party and foot the bill.

What is a good budget for a bachelor party? ›

Key Findings. The median amount people spent attending bach parties in 2022 was $1,500, up from $1,400 in 2021. Those attending bachelor parties spent about 70 percent more than those attending bachelorette parties. Travel was by far the most significant expense.

What should you not do at a bachelor party? ›

Bachelor Party Do's and Don'ts
  • DON'T: Plan something knowing that a majority of the guys can't attend or afford it. ...
  • DON'T: Invite anyone that the groom wouldn't be cool with attending. ...
  • DON'T: Get obnoxiously drunk to the point where you could get hurt or where the groom has to baby you.

Is a gift expected at a bachelor party? ›

While bachelor party gifts are not mandatory, it can be considered thoughtful and good manners. A lot of guests chose to bring a gift to the bachelor party that can be used during the party, such as a gag gift or novelty item. Some guests bring food, party games or even alcohol.

What is expected of the best man for the bachelor party? ›

Like the Stag, the best man is responsible for throwing the bachelor party, too. This means deciding on where to go and what to do, inviting the people that the groom wants there, and ensuring that everyone has the time of their lives.

Should parents be invited to bachelor party? ›

Some people will tell you that it's traditional to invite the bride's father to the bachelor party—and that failing to so will be a big insult to the bride. We say no. It is not tradition. You don't have to invite the bride's father.

Do all groomsmen pay for bachelor party? ›

The groom usually doesn't pay for his bachelor party. The main exception is when the event involves travel and separate hotel lodging. Then, it's common for the groom to cover his expenses. Otherwise, the best man and groomsmen pay for all of his activities, meals, drinks, etc.

Who pays for the ushers suits? ›

As for suits for the best man and the ushers? Unless they'll be matching or require special suits, the ushers should pay for them themselves. If the suits need to be tailor-made, however, it's an expense that the groom's side should cover.

How long should a bachelors party be? ›

Bachelor and bachelorette parties tend to last one to two days. As you're penciling in those dates when your bachelor or bachelorette party will happen, you're probably also considering how long the festivities will last—and it turns out that these events are lasting longer than ever before!

What does the best man pay for? ›

Traditionally, the best man purchases a gift from the couple's wedding registry or gives cash. However, if the best man would prefer to give a more creative or sentimental gift that' s not on the registry that he feels the couple would love, that's okay, too.

How long before a wedding should you have a bachelor party? ›

Bachelor parties are typically held between one and four months before the wedding. Most bachelor parties no longer take place the night before the wedding.

Is the groom supposed to know about The Bachelor party? ›

At the very least, the groom needs to be clued in on details like the date of the bachelor party or bachelor weekend so that he can clear his schedule. It's also best to let him know if you'll be traveling out of town and to where so that he can plan and pack accordingly.

What's the point of a bachelor party? ›

In the most literal sense, the purpose of a bachelor party is to celebrate the groom's impending nuptials and to wave goodbye to his single life. It's a celebration traditionally attended by men only.

Is it customary for the best man to pay for The Bachelor party? ›

Who pays for the bachelor party? One of the most important aspects of bachelor party etiquette is that the groom pays for nothing, especially when the bachelor party doesn't include significant travel expenses. Beyond this, the bachelor party invitees can determine who pays for what.

How are bachelor party costs split? ›

All costs should be split equally among those attending the party. So if you're going away for the weekend, start saving your pennies. Best man: It's your responsibility to collect the money, so start early.

How many people is too much for a bachelor party? ›

Consult with the groom about who he wants on the bachelor party guest list. While size may not matter, 10-15 guys is probably an appropriate number for a local bachelor party. Don't forget to include family and male members of the wedding party. What kind of invitation should you send out for a bachelor party?

How many months in advance should you plan a bachelor party? ›

The actual bachelor party planning should start about three to six months before the festivities, depending on how elaborate the itinerary will be. This provides ample time to understand the attendees' preferences and complete any necessary bookings or reservations before they fill up.

Are they allowed phones on The Bachelor? ›

Imagine going weeks without your cell phone. Truly, the horror, but that's exactly what goes down on The Bachelor. Leslie Hughes confirmed as much, telling the Daily Beast, “We have nothing. We are completely cut off from the world.

Do you get groom a gift for bachelor party? ›

It is less formal and structured than a bridal shower, and every guy pays for himself or herself and part of the future groom's tab. You could buy a “gag gift”, but whether you buy one or not, the same rule applies to bachelor parties: no present is necessary.

Do you decorate for bachelor parties? ›

Whether you have a themed party or not, every celebration needs the right bachelor party decorations to help you make the moment feel special. Read through these ideas, make a shortlist, then buy the right bachelor party supplies to make your event unforgettable.

Does the best man stay with the groom the night before the wedding? ›

The best man may stay with the groom the night before the wedding. Prepare for this with drinks and lots of snacks, but make sure the groom doesn't drink too much or eat anything that could cause an issue the next day.

Where does the best man's partner sit? ›

So who sits where? Traditionally, the newlyweds sit in the middle of the table, with the bride seated to the groom's right. Same-sex couples can feel free to seat themselves as they'd like. For a male/female pattern around the table, seat the best man next to the bride and the maid of honor next to the groom.

How much should a best man give wedding? ›

Keep It Simple. It's best practise for the best man to give the groom a low-key, tasteful present, rather than anything extravagant. That token of congratulations on his wedding day means the world to him. Therefore, a present in the region of $75-$150 is appropriate.

How early is too early for bachelor party? ›

The best time to host your bachelorette or bachelor party is between one and four months before your wedding. It will serve as a fun milestone to meet on your way to the altar, as well as help you and your guests budget their time (and funds).

Does the maid of honor pay for the bachelor party? ›

At a bachelor party, the best man typically charges per head for drinks and entertainment. At a bachelorette party, the maid or matron of honor (often the best friend of the bride-to-be), or the most financially responsible participant among the bridesmaids, will take the lead on budgets, costs and charges per person.

Who pays for rehearsal dinner? ›

Tradition dictates that the groom's family pays for the full cost of the rehearsal dinner, even though the bride's family and friends attend the event as well. That includes food, drink, venue fees, entertainment, and transportation.

What do the groom's parents pay for? ›

What Does the Groom's Family Pay For, Traditionally? The groom's family is responsible for corsages and boutonnieres for immediate members of both families, the lodging of the groom's attendants (if you have offered to help pay for this expense), and sometimes the costs of the rehearsal dinner.

How much money should the groom's parents give as a wedding gift? ›

Parents of the bride and groom collectively contribute about $19,000 to the wedding, or about two-thirds of the total cost, according to WeddingWire. The bride's parents give an average $12,000, and the groom's, $7,000. Just 1 in 10 couples pays for the wedding entirely on their own, according to TheKnot.com.

What does the Father of the groom pay for? ›

As a guide, here's a list of the expenses traditionally covered by the parents of the groom: the wedding rings, officiant's fee, marriage license, the bride's bouquet, boutonnieres and corsages for the immediate family, music (band/DJ), liquor at the reception and the honeymoon.

Who does a best man thank? ›

The best man should also thank the groom for toasting the bridesmaids, and comment on the newlyweds, especially the groom. He should also read out any messages from absent friends and family, and end with a final toast to the happy couple.

Who does the best man walk with? ›

The Best Man: During the processional, the best man walks solo after the groomsmen and takes their place as the right-hand man of the groom. The Groom: The groom proceeds to walk down the aisle accompanied by their parents, with his father on the left and his mother on the right.

Who does the best man give rings to? ›

The best man is usually asked to keep hold of the wedding rings on the day of the wedding. At the correct point in the ceremony, the officiant will ask for the rings, and it's the best man's job to present them at this point.

What is the day after wedding called? ›

A post-wedding brunch (sometimes called a farewell brunch) is a way for couples to extend their wedding day celebration and spend some extra time with their guests before they head home.

What do guys usually do at bachelor parties? ›

Bachelor parties typically include various male-bonding activities such as over drinking, playing “guy sports” and sometimes bar-hopping and visiting strip clubs. In some cases, the groom and/or groomsmen will engage in sex at some point during the festivities, but this practice has become less common in recent years.

Do bachelor parties happen the night before? ›

Today, most bachelor parties don't take place the night before a wedding, although they do still take place a few weeks or months prior to the wedding. A bachelor or bachelorette party is seen as the bride's and groom's last night or weekend of freedom.

Is paying for a bachelor party normal? ›

One of the most important aspects of bachelor party etiquette is that the groom pays for nothing, especially when the bachelor party doesn't include significant travel expenses. Beyond this, the bachelor party invitees can determine who pays for what.

Should the groom pay for anything at bachelor party? ›

The groom usually doesn't pay for his bachelor party. The main exception is when the event involves travel and separate hotel lodging. Then, it's common for the groom to cover his expenses. Otherwise, the best man and groomsmen pay for all of his activities, meals, drinks, etc.

Is the groom supposed to know about the bachelor party? ›

At the very least, the groom needs to be clued in on details like the date of the bachelor party or bachelor weekend so that he can clear his schedule. It's also best to let him know if you'll be traveling out of town and to where so that he can plan and pack accordingly.

How many people are invited to a bachelor party? ›

According to the WeddingWire study, the average number of bachelor party attendees is eight, while the average bachelorette party has 10. So while having more bachelor party attendees might complicate planning in some ways, you might spend less as a result.

What's the purpose of a bachelors party? ›

What Is a Bachelor Party? In the most literal sense, the purpose of a bachelor party is to celebrate the groom's impending nuptials and to wave goodbye to his single life. It's a celebration traditionally attended by men only.


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