My Great Idea: LDS Bachelor Parties
Before my youngest brother got married, I mentioned to a non-LDS friend that we were throwing a bachelor party. My friend looked incredulous. "Why? You won't look at girls, or drink, or tell dirty jokes. What’s the point?" He was sure we were in for the most boring night of our lives.As the oldest of six now-married brothers, I had to adapt the traditional bachelor party idea to our Latter-day Saint family. By the time the youngest was engaged, we'd learned to use this traditional male bonding experience to celebrate my brother's spiritual growth and commitment to his sweetie. We didn't just have a great time - we strengthened our relationship as brothers.
It was important to treat the probably high-strung groom to casual, light-hearted, and relaxing entertainment. At our last party, the evening started out with pizza, pop, and video games. This didn't win us any awards for originality or spiritual value, but it gave everybody a good laugh.
Grooms with more clever siblings might find themselves treated to a fishing trip, horseback riding, or their favorite sporting event. The particular activity doesn’t matter as much as the lingering feeling of camaraderie does.
What about a bachelor party gift? Brides-to-be in our culture often get pretty great shower gifts. In fact, the idea for our male get-togethers really arose from our desire for "something like a bridal shower, only for us guys." Avoiding the vulgar gifts of a typical bachelor party, we chose gifts to boost the groom's confidence that he would succeed in marriage.
A tool set, for instance, could assure the groom of our confidence in his ability to maintain and fix things around the house - or at least to learn to maintain and fix things. Household gifts, like an iron or a set of kitchen knives, could gently remind a young man that a couple is equally yoked, and the household division of labor is best worked out by the partners as they learn to live together.
Perhaps the best gifts at our bachelor parties didn't show up on any wedding registry. They were words of support and the wisdom that comes from experience - delivered via our own twist on the game of "Spin-the-Bottle." Whomever the bottle pointed to had to tell a story about the groom or share marital advice. The guys there all loved the groom like a brother, so we had fun and got to know him even better, but not at his expense.
The game gave us a party venue to share lessons about living with and loving someone, lessons that tend to fall in the cracks between what a young man gleans from a "dad talk" or priesthood lesson, and the locker room talk that often passes for wisdom. The fact that we could laugh and talk and share was a powerful affirmation of our brotherhood.