Golf, steak dinners, alcohol, drugs, strip clubs, regret. Some of the rituals characteristic to the bachelor party could probably stand to be retired in 2020 (the more antiquated societal aspects we’ll leave to another time and judgment). Other activities, thanks to our country’s current level of pandemic, definitely need to be re-thought.
So before you think of attending or hosting a bachelor party, figure out if that’s something that’s even safe and possible in your area (e.g. if non-family gatherings or certain sizes of group aren’t allowed, you’re out of luck).
Beyond that, is it even possible to show a groom a good time in a responsible way this summer? To find out, we spoke with Elizabeth Hahn (aka Bad Girl Liz), the owner and founder of the San Diego-based Bad Girl Productions, a nationwide bachelor and bachelorette party planning agency that’s had to make some big adjustments.
“We operate out of San Diego, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Phoenix, Miami and Austin,” explains Hahn, listing a lot of areas you may want to presently avoid. “Once COVID hit, the groups flying in for the weekend postponed their plans. So now we’re booking a lot of local bachelor party groups. It’s guys from L.A. traveling to San Diego for a weekend. Or local guys in Miami booking in their hometown.”
So keep the following advice from Hahn in mind, and remember — unlike the 1984 Tom Hanks film Bachelor Party, your night may have to leave out the “chicks and guns and fire trucks and hookers and drugs and booze.” But hey, your night should involve wearing masks, which is kinky in its own right.
Keep the party small
Most of the groups booking now are 10 guys or fewer, says Hahn. And they’re most likely renting a house for the weekend or getting a hotel for one night (if they’re open). “I’d recommended an Airbnb — there are some great deals on houses and you can make a relaxing weekend out of it, and some of the party houses are big enough that everyone can spread out.”
Most of the “classic” activities should be off-limits
Forget casinos, nightclubs, restaurants, bars, hotel pool parties or “anywhere that is crowded and full of people,” says Hahn.
Instead, think outside the box. Emphasis on outside.
“You can plan activities such as beach days, yacht charters, party bus rentals with your group or host a private pool party at your rental,” suggests Hahn. If you use Bad Girl, for example, they can help you host a poker party with dealers and bartenders in your rented home’s backyard. And if you’re golfers or enjoy other outdoor activities (hiking, mountain biking, surfing, etc.), those pursuits lend themselves to social distancing.
If you’re the host, you still have duties
Provide booze, food, T-shirts and “other party gear to make it memorable,” says Hahn. Our suggestion? Personalized masks.
A few bachelor party mainstays can remain
You may be able to take a party bus if the logistics work out. “We book our groups on the largest bus possible, so you can do that if there’s enough room in between people,” says Hahn, who suggests cruising up the coast or just driving around with music and drinks.
Depending on your party size and local laws, you also might be able to get in that steak dinner. “There are some restaurants open with their protocols in place,” Hahn admits. “That said, we recommend booking the Airbnb and hosting your own dinner at the house. Everyone can cook and hang out, and you can book entertainers or bartenders if needed.” (Editor’s note: I don’t think “entertainers” here means jugglers.)
Good news: You don’t need to book much in advance
Nor should you, given the daily changes in safety, infection rates and local laws. Bad Girl, for example, even offers same-day services. “Prior to COVID we were taking bookings six months to a year in advance,” says Hahn. “Now, we’re seering everything from same day to two months with a default plan in case things change. This is a time to have a Plan A, B, C and D.”
Yes, Zoom can be involved
Bad Girl’s done a heavy pivot to virtual bachelor parties, where everything can be done via Zoom. And yes, that does include a “virtual party stripper.”