A bachelor party, also sometimes referred to as stag night, gentlemen’s dinner or buck night has been a long time institution in society. Providing for the husband-to-be’s sendoff has always been big business. Traditionally associated with the boisterous farewell to a life of independence, fun, and capriciousness, bachelor parties have changed since they were first introduced to society all those years ago.

The history of the bachelor party

Believe it or not, bachelor parties have been in existence for much, much longer than you would imagine. Bachelor parties can be traced as far back as ancient Sparta where soldiers would hold a dinner in honor of the husband to be celebrating his last night as a single man. Interestingly, the term bachelor was not applied to describe a single man until much later in the 17th century. 

Before that, the term bachelor was utilized to describe a man that did have any assets of his own. During the 17th century, marriage was quite different than it is today. Rather than marry someone for love, a lot of marriages were arranged or viewed as a business transaction. As such, it made sense to celebrate a man’s last days as a single man with some debauchery.

During those days, a bachelor party would commonly feature a black-tie dinner which was typically hosted by the groom’s dad. Today’s understanding of the bachelor party, which usually features traditions of debauchery, hazing, and often involving entire weekends of excessive drinking and traveling to exotic destinations such as Atlantic City, only started in the 80s. 

The bachelor party today

When the phrase bachelor party is uttered, what mostly comes to mind is an image of ‘bros’ crowded together in a poorly lit strip club that comes complete with sleazy leather couches, neon lights, scantily dressed strippers, cash in hand and of course copious amounts of booze.

Part of the reason why bachelor parties have such a muddied reputation is because of movies like ‘The Hangover’ that feature countless scenes that depict bachelor parties as sexually driven events of depravity.

But what if this is not what you have in mind for your bachelor party? Thankfully, more and more grooms, whether teetotalers or not, are a lot less interested in the drunken mess associated with bachelor parties and are opting for something more understated, sophisticated, and fun.

As such, before you hit that send button on the group chat, polling all the guys on what they think you should do, read on for bachelor party ideas that do not have to involve drinking.

Casino night

Just because the groom is not too keen on drinking does not mean that you have to abandon all the vices. For some grooms, a trip to Atlantic City of Vegas would be a dream come true. Amidst the wedding planning, however, the groom might not be able to afford a trip of such magnitude. In such a case, a casino themed night or party can be a great way for the groom and his friends to catch up while having fun. To make the festivities even more fun, you can select a theme such as vintage charm or Mob boss cool which can allow all attendees to dress up in amusing get-up.

Depending on what everyone wants to play, there are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to casino games. You will need some basic equipment such as several decks of cards, a set of chips, dice and a roulette wheel. Whichever games you settle on, just make sure that they are inclusive of all the guest’s capabilities and interests.

Organize a game night

If your group is obsessed with video games, a weekend of Grand Theft Auto or Madden could be just what you need to bond and relieve the stress that comes with wedding planning. The video games that you select will not only provide you the entertainment that you need, but they will also serve as a springboard for dialogue and conversation without dragging things down.

During the game night, try and invite an even group of players and base the game accordingly. If you have an even number of players, you can organize yourself in teams, which will help to up the ante when it comes to the intensity of the games. Also, remember to choose the invitees wisely, because the last thing you want to deal with is buzzkills and naysayers.

Go for a steak dinner

If you cannot seem to find time as a group to all getaway, going for a steak dinner might just be the next best thing. Steak dinners are a great idea, especially if that is not the kind of lifestyle that the groom is used to as it will make him feel like royalty.

Live it up a little and rent a fancy limo so that you can arrive at your restaurant in style. Head out to a fancy restaurant- you know; the kind that you would feel guilty eating from on a regular day. Splurge on Wagyu or Kobe beef or seared foie gras served alongside some truffle fries for the best culinary experience of your life.

Go fishing

Before you decide to go fishing, make sure that you consult with the groom first. Some grooms and their groomsmen might find the idea of fishing enjoyable while others might be profoundly bored by sitting for hours on end in a boat.

To make things more interesting, consider going out into the woods with nothing but the tools needed for survival. Fish and hunt for wood so that everyone can cook their catch when the sun sets. Nothing screams male bonding more than some fishing and a night out in the woods with friends.

Final thoughts

As we get older, the idea of drinking and getting annihilated on shots stops become appealing. It may have something to do with the hangovers, which usually hurt a lot more as you age. However, bachelor parties should be an event that allows a group of men to come together to have fun and bond as one of them prepares to enter a life of marriage. 

That being said, you do not need alcohol to let loose and enjoy yourself. With these ideas, having an alcohol-free bachelor party can be more enjoyable than you think.