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How Was A Bachelor Party Traditionally Celebrated?

In today’s day and age, a bachelor party is a celebration held in honor of a man who is soon to be married. Oftentimes, associated with drinking, partying, and strippers. But did you know the traditional bachelor party is far different than what we’re used to?

Contrary to how movies portrayed it, the traditional bachelor party would commonly be a formal event hosted by the groom’s father. It is part of the larger wedding celebration and honors the next phase of life that the groom will embark on.

The History of the Bachelor Party

The celebration of bachelor parties traces its roots from long before the time of Christ. The celebration’s origin can be found as early as 5th century B.C., with the ancient Spartans celebrating the groom-to-be’s last night unwedded.

Spartan soldiers held a dinner in the groom’s honor and made toasts on his behalf, where the groom pledged his continued loyalty to his brothers-in-arms. It soon evolved to a formal occasion thrown by the groom’s father, which was still part of the wedding celebration. (Source: RedBook Magazine)

But the tradition of a debaucherous bachelor party was recorded in the 1800s. According to Time Magazine, circus owner P. T. Barnum’s grandson, Herbert Barnum Seeley, threw a bachelor’s party for his brother in 1896. The police raided the party as rumors spread that a famous belly dancer would be performing nude.

By the 20th century, bachelor parties started to take shape as the celebrations we know today, filled with excessive drinking, partying, and generally bad behavior by the groom. These parties were commonly held the night before the wedding, often resulting in wedding day hangovers. (Source: Wedding Etc.)

The Bachelorette Party

In the sexual revolution of the 1960s, women have begun to celebrate their version of the groom’s bachelor party. Before the 19th century, brides-to-be were only limited to bridal showers. The main function of the celebration was to shower the bride with dowry and gifts to prepare them for marriage and their next phase in life.

The bachelorette parties were designed to mimic the bachelor parties. It allowed women to express their sexual freedom with drinking and male strippers. It wasn’t until 1981 that the term bachelorette party appeared in print in a New York Times article. (Source: Time)

The Modern Bachelor Party

While many grooms-to-be still revel in the idea of their bachelors’ party a la Hangover, many have developed different ideas of what their ideal bachelor parties are. Today’s parties are usually less gendered. Many couples are now opting for shared parties, where attendees are the couple’s closest friends.

Most people also veer away from heavy drinking and nights out partying. Most men prefer to do outdoor activities with their closest male friends. Others who still prefer drinking usually do it amid their closest friends and usually keep to themselves, with the goal being to bond and reminisce and just be themselves at that event. (Source: Wedding Etc.)

Many wedding organizers also provide tips and ideas for a fun-filled bachelor’s party without the heavy drinking and strippers. Some recommendations are:

  • Going hiking
  • Attending a concert of a music festival
  • Doing a backyard roasting
  • Rent an R.V. and go on a road trip
  • Visit a national park

Go golfing (Source: Zola)

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