Thursday, May 27, 2010

Now That's a Bachelor Party!

posted by Michele Olson

Say the word “bachelor party” and you’ll likely hear hooting and hollering. The same can be said this day for a relatively new term; “bachelorette party.” Women used to have bridal showers and spend the night before their wedding dreaming of the day ahead, but now bachelorette parties are also very common.
Looking into where bachelor parties originated, it seems they can be traced back to the
5th century B.C. when Spartans celebrated out a groom's last night as a single man. Spartan soldiers held a dinner in their friend's honor and made toasts on his behalf. In 1896 a party thrown by P.T. Barnum’s grandson, Herbert Barnum Seeley for his brother was raided by police after rumors circulated that a famous belly dancer would be performing nude.

The term bachelor first appeared in reference to an unmarried man in Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales in the 14th century. The term bachelor party didn't appear until 1922, however, when it was first used in the Scottish publication Chambers's Journal of Literature, Science and Arts to describe a "jolly old" party.

A bachelor party used to be a black-tie dinner hosted by the groom's father, with toasts to the groom and the bride. The hazing, humiliation and debauchery is a more recent phenomenon which started in the 80’s, probably in response to movies that served as a suggestive training ground. (1984 Bachelor Party movie starring Tom Hanks)

The question becomes; is that really the way to toast a marriage? Here’s a big shout out and salute to Erik Pedley. This 26 year old from Germantown had his story told by John Kelly in a recent Washington Post article.


Erik and his best man Bobby Goldbeck and their friends did have a bachelor party, but it involved helping out a school as a group of guys. They aren’t “drips” as the article mentions; they’ve been to the traditional bachelor parties and had some fun.

But they started to question whether the money that was going to be spent could be put to better use, and no hangovers would be had the next day. So that’s what they did. They all got together and found a school that needed some manual labor done and volunteered to show up and work together.

Lucky girl to marry this guy. I predict some happily ever after with that kind of beginning.
What do you think? Is it time to overhaul bachelor and bachelorette parties?

Did you do something innovative at yours?
Share on this blog!


Allen Strelow said...

I was never much on crazy bachelor parties. My bachelor party was just a bunch of friends hanging out at a lake home. There was beer, but nobody got wasted, and the worst thing that happened was sunburn.

I for one don't see how going out to a "Gentleman's Club" (don't get me started on that term) in any way celebrates the institution of marriage. A man should be congratulated to making such a commitment, and that commitment should not be sold as a life sentence. said...

Thanks for your comment Allen. It would be wonderful if we said that the worst thing that happened at any bachelor party was sunburn!

We can hope getting the idea out there that you aren't "expected" to have debauchery as part of a pre marriage tradition is a worthwhile message...and that we can get most people to join in doing something meaningful instead. Keep blogging!