Yeah, it would be great to surprise the groom. Imagine it: he screams, you take a funny picture of his embarrassment and put it over your mantle, people tell stories about it for years to come, and you're the hero! The problem is, surprise parties can sometimes bring more harm than good. Just think what would have happened if you surprised your buddy with a roomful of strippers in his house on the night his bride's mother was coming over to finalize the wedding plans. The moral of this story: do what the groom wants.

Decades ago, bachelor parties were typically formal, all-male, black-tie dinners in which all guests behaved like gentlemen and drank a toast to the groom-to-be. Sounds like a barrel of laughs. Thankfully, times have changed and modern bachelor parties tend to cater to the specific interests of the groom in a much more informal setting. Other than that, the only limit is your creativity.

Consider the interests of the groom-to-be

As the best man, you undoubtedly know the groom best, so think about what he'd probably like to do. While most people are familiar with the strip club/stripper bachelor party, people are now leaning toward more creative and personalized activities:

  • If your friend is a sports nut, it might be a nice idea to rent out a private box at a stadium event. Have beer.

  • If he likes to gamble, organize a field trip to a casino (depending on how much you want to spend, Las Vegas is a popular bachelor party spot). Have beer.

  • Participate in a physical activity such as white-water rafting or paintball. After the activity, have beer.

  • If your pal is a low-key type, consider getting a private room in a restaurant or even someone's own house. If you want to make it at your house, power to you. But if the thought of vomit stains on your carpet is too much to handle, ask another guest to use his place. Nothing like passing the buck. Have plenty of beer on hand.

  • Some other popular places to host the party are a ski chalet, a cottage, a hotel banquet room, or a strip club/bar. Have crêpes suzette. Just kidding! Beer yourselves silly!

If you're still not sure where to hold the festivities, check out Brides.com. By entering the date, city, interests and desired size of your party, you'll receive a list of suggested activities to choose from. The site will even e-mail people you're inviting with potential plans. Call it the lazy best man's dream.

Set the date

The next step is to set the date. In the past (you know, the '80s?), bachelor parties were often held the weekend of (or even the night before) the wedding. But nowadays, the general trend is to hold it at least a weekend prior to the big day. Why? Four out of five best men and grooms agree that the stress of having two parties so close together is too much to handle. So if you can set a date that allows the groom to have a great time and still have time to prepare for the wedding, he'll be all the more grateful.