Your best buddy's wedding is just around the corner, and you - as the best man - are in charge of planning and organizing a kick-ass bachelor party. One final debaucherous fling that the groom-to-be won't soon forget (no matter how much he tries).

Well, if you're the kind of guy who doesn't like a big hassle, then a small gathering of friends, some beer and a stripper may be all you need. For others, a more elaborate scheme may be in order. But whether you plan to sit on someone's couch and down a few or rent a yacht replete with a live band and full fireworks display, you should never rush into throwing a bachelor party without a careful plan. Without a plan, you risk spending more money than necessary, potentially offending some partygoers, and putting the groom in such hot water that the marriage will be over before it began.

Fear not, man. Lest you think the fate of the entire marriage rests on your shoulders, we've created a guide that outlines everything you need to know in order to plan an unforgettable - but not too unforgettable - final hurrah.


The code of silence

While at many parties the general rule may be "the more the merrier," at a bachelor party, the last thing you want is give out an open invitation to everyone and their mothers. There isn't a set number of people that you should invite, but whether you decide on an intimate 5-person gathering or a 30-person bash, you'll want to ensure that all of the guests are trusted friends and relatives (read: people who won't spill all the gory details to the bride-to-be).

This doesn't necessarily mean that friends and relatives on the bride's side of the family are automatically out, nor that women should be excluded. At most bachelor parties, there is an unwritten code of silence among the attendees. If the groom has close female friends you feel can be trusted, go ahead and invite them. Or perhaps the bride's brother is a nice guy and you don't want him to feel left out. If you're confident he'll appreciate a good time and not let it get back to his sister, then let him come along.

But there are certain pitfalls to avoid:

  • Don't invite any of the groom's workmates unless you're prepared to invite all of them. If rumors get out that someone wasn't invited to the bachelor party, your friend could be in a messy situation.

  • Make it clear that you don't want friends bringing other friends, thereby defeating the purpose of the affair.

  • What about that one friend in the group who might not be trustworthy? Well, to avoid insulting him, you might want to emphasize how much the party costs, in the hopes of discouraging him.