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What actually happens at bachelor parties?

Most of us have seen The Hangover and wonder if overly-friendly strippers and blackouts are de rigueur when it comes to modern-day stag parties. Breathe easy: You (probably) don’t have to worry that your fiancé is going to be stranded on some rooftop. We talked to normal, everyday guys, like your future hubby, and got the deets about what goes on during the “last” weekend out with his friends.

My bachelor party is coming up, and while my fiancé and I have the type of relationship where we talk openly about these things and set expectations (relationships other than this type are not recommended for marriage, by the way), I fear Brides readers might become worried by the many articles describing bachelor parties as booze-addled stripper fests. So here’s the truth.

Few words strike more fear into the hearts of girlfriends/fiancées/wives everywhere than: “I have a bachelor party to go to this weekend.” But you (probably) have nothing to worry about. As much as “bachelor party” conjures up images of coked-out dudebros rampaging through a high-end strip club (or worse, literally anything that happened in The Hangover, Part II), most bachelor parties are pretty tame affairs. Here’s what actually happens at bachelor parties:

His Friends Are There for Themselves, Not Your Fiancé

He’s a nice guy, sure, but we just want to party. Saying “goodbye” to the groom on his “last night of freedom” is our excuse to gather for some quality male bonding in the form of drinking and replicating the socially irresponsible behaviours that forged our friendships back in high school or college. We mock the groom, taunt him for all he’s about to give up, and call it a roast to justify it — just like the good old days!

“Booze-Addled” Is a Reasonable Description

Yes, we drink exactly as much as you think. A bachelor party is just a bender masquerading as a legitimate celebration, where any minor event is cause for drinking.

“Sex Fest” Is Not So Much

Sex is a major component always associated with bachelor parties, but it’s typically the idea of sex than actual sex. The guys who are already married or in relationships watch and live vicariously as the single guys try to pick up girls. The single guys try to goad the attached guys into doing something they shouldn’t — and this is where we remind you to tell your guy what makes you uncomfortable before turning him loose in the wild. But it’s more drinking than anything else, in case you were worried.

“Horrifying Mess” Might be Most Accurate

In college, it was easy to eat trash and slam cheap beers for 48 hours straight. That was called “the weekend.” Now? That spicy chicken sandwich isn’t nearly as good going down as we remember, and it’s sure to be even worse coming back up. This doesn’t stop us from going for the gusto all the same, and the results are foul. Nobody showers, the floors are covered with empty beer cans and hot dog bits, and the entire place smells like stale cigarettes, gym socks, and shame.

They relive their college days

While your finance might not be funnelling Pabst, he will probably get pretty drunk to a chorus of “Chug! Chug! Chug!” Most bachelor parties are a reunion of close friends who tend to revert to their younger selves, even if they are choosing top-shelf bourbon.

They do stupid things

And, by stupid, we mean the guys wear Speedo-style swimsuits while lounging in a private cabana-not make out with a hot bottle girl. Since this type of outing isn’t his usual night out, the organizer tends to up the ante with some ridiculous shenanigans.

They spend-a lot

Much like your girlfriends try to create a special weekend for you (ahem, spa day), the guys also make the bachelor party into an experience. One group booked a surfing trip to Nicaragua, and another dished out $300 just to cut the line in a Las Vegas nightclub.

They embarrass the groom

This can range from making him wear an inappropriate t-shirt to plastering awkward (poster-sized) pictures all over the country club where they play golf. You always knew guys bonded over dirty jokes, and this is the ultimate showdown.

They may go to a strip club

Not everyone opts to make a pit-stop at a strip club during the weekend, but for most guys, it’s the iconic bachelor party milestone. It is what it is, and you shouldn’t stress over it.

There might be tension

Mixing his childhood best friend with college buddies and new work friends can create an awkward moment, or two. In a perfect world, everyone gets along, but sometimes personalities clash no matter how hard you try to be a team player. This is especially true if someone wants to drink nonstop while others prefer to chill during the day, or if one of the guys is low on finances and the rest help pick up his tab.


They plancool stuff

It’s not just nightclubs and bottomless tequila. Most guys are busy and value the time off, so they don’t want to spend every second partying, or hungover. Weekend activities range from deep-sea fishing, touring craft distilleries, golfing, and other outdoorsy adventures.

They are exhausted

A party marathon on minimal sleep, even if you chill during the day, is physically strenuous. This go-go-go mentality is not what most guys are used to, and it’s going to take a toll. Do him a favour and let him recuperate when he’s back, and he’ll love you even more.

They truly appreciate you

He’s not likely to text you every hour, but by the time the party’s over, he will miss you. Those crazy weekends are fun, but also a reminder that he is so grateful to have you in his life. Single days take a lot of energy.

There’s Always “That Guy”

Even though we’re all drunk, one idiot will inevitably take it too far and force everyone to treat him like a baby and make sure he doesn’t get arrested. Eventually, we all start to hope he actually does get arrested. Also, the girls should probably be able to guess who that guy is. Don’t let your guy be that guy.

Someone Will Get Hurt

This will perhaps happen during a drunken belly flop contest, arm wrestling match, or go-kart crash most likely after a fight breaks out for no immediately apparent reason.

Bros Will Be Bros

There will be many almost-too-long-for-comfort bro hugs and “I LOVE YOU MAN” s, possibly following the fight as mentioned above but most likely, again, for no immediately apparent reason.

So as you can see, you have very little to worry about. As long as your guy returns from the bachelor party hungover, stinking, and bereft of all dignity, you can be sure he had the time of his life.

How Far is Too Far?

There’s an old saying about the distinction between art and pornography: maybe you can’t define pornography, but you’ll “know it when you see it.” Typically, the ethics of the bachelor party works the same way: if it feels wrong, it’s probably wrong.

Basic Male Bonding Activities

Harmless stuff like playing poker, puffing cigars, and knocking back some bottles of well-aged Scotch. If this activity threatens your fiancée, consider calling off the wedding. Seriously. At a bare minimum, every guy deserves some quality time with his best friends.

Flirting with Random Girls at the Club

When your buddies drag you out to a bar, they’re bound to tell the waitresses and random girls that it’s your last night of freedom, your swansong, your final gasp of fresh air.

To clarify: this is bullshit. Even if we accept that being in a committed relationship is losing your freedom (which we don’t), your “last gasp of freedom” was months or even years ago—you’re in a monogamous relationship; you’re already committed. So you can’t really use this as an excuse to stray.

That said, on your bachelor party night, harmless flirting should remain beyond reproach (as long as it remains harmless).

Going to a Strip Club Just to Watch

Yes, theoretically, it’s possible to go to the strip club and just watch. This makes about as much sense as going to Home Depot to stare at the pipes and lumber.

Or, more exactly, it’s like getting a table at a restaurant and just watching other people eat their food. The dancers and other staff in a strip club are trying to make money, so you coming in and taking up space is cutting into their bottom line.

Also, it’s insulting to the girls if you refuse their goods and services. They work really hard for your benefit—only a real jerk would ignore them.

Tipping a Stripper While She’s On Stage

You know the move. It’s when the stripper grinds out her pole dance—in public, onstage—then you put some money in front of you, and then she’ll shower you with a little extra attention. It’s not a lap dance, per se, but it is a more personalized form of attention. Your fiancée may not be thrilled, but most will be okay with this.

The Lap Dance

The great debate. Is getting a lap dance cheating?

Let’s look at it from your fiancée’s perspective. A hot, slim, naked, woman is grinding her crotch against you, making you pant with lust, and rubbing her breasts all over your body. And you wonder why your fiancée’s jealous? If this were some random girl at a bar, she’d have every right to dump you right then and there.

The counter-argument: this is not some random girl in a bar. It’s a controlled act in a controlled environment—and the stripper doesn’t want to screw you, she just wants to screw you out of another $100.

Two variables come into play:

  • Your fiancée’s thoughts on the matter.
  • Your intentions and attitudes toward lap dances.

Let’s say that your fiancée explicitly forbade you from getting lapdances, but your friends have no such constraints. This sucks. You may get mocked by your buddies. And frankly, this may indicate that you and your fiancée need to get on the same page about a whole host of behavioural issues. That said the rules are the rules. At the risk of getting all cheesy, your fiancée is more important to you than a 3-minute dance that costs over 20 bucks.

The second variable is your intentions. If you view the lap dance as something fun and harmless that’s just part of bachelor party behaviour—like gambling in Vegas or snorkelling in Hawaii—then she really has nothing to worry about.

If, however, you long for those non-fiancée breasts, insist on more and more lap dances, and start getting handsy then yeah, your fiancée has a valid gripe.

Kissing the Stripper

Everyone is different, but this is where we draw the line. Call us old-fashioned, call us prudes, call us in the tank for the bride—but a kiss is a kiss. And kissing is cheating. Because the stripper was only doing it for money, however, this sin isn’t as bad as it is.

Kissing a Random Girl at the Bar

We’ll give it to you straight. The guy who makes out with a random girl when he’s celebrating his upcoming marriage is the guy who will later have an affair, the guy who makes that “50% divorce” statistic a reality. Just sayin’.

While bonding is definitely on the cards, what usually happens during a bachelor party is a dinner with thoughts of going to a strip club that either happens or doesn’t. Nearly one in two men ends up going to a strip club or having strippers around. For those that do end up going, there are different stages of “fun”, from having a lap dance to going for the “extracurricular activities”. We have found grooms-to-be or guys who come to clubs during a bachelor party with their partners’ permissions are the ones who are the most well-behaved. While the ones who know they should not be doing what they are doing and feel guilty about it, tend to do things which would be considered as cheating.

It seems that the best thing any bride can do about bachelor parties is to encourage their fiancés to have it. Everyone will have their own little taste of what actions they consider to be too wild or out-of-line, so it is important to discuss these things with your fiancé to avoid any misunderstandings later on. Whether your fiancé will go and play by the rules is something that he must decide for himself, but at least by then, he would know what you are expecting. More often than not, when a man is in a committed relationship, then a bachelor’s night out is often just an excuse to party. As most men understand that in fact, their last night of freedom was the night before they met their soon-to-be wife.

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