On Web sites and chat rooms, brides-to-be fret about whether the groom will get drunk and do something unforgivable at his bachelor party. They speculate about whether his friends are the type to pressure him into doing something he regrets.
‘‘Things can go wrong if you add booze and sex and guys that don’t get out that often,’’ said David Boyer, author or ‘‘Bachelor Party Confidential’’ (Simon Spotlight Entertainment, 2007).
Most bachelor parties, however, are run-of-the-mill get-togethers where guys drink beer, play poker or hang out, said Boyer.
Gayle Cole thinks her fiancDe’s party got out of hand because he was showing off for his best friend.
‘‘He wanted to impress him, not let him down,’’ said Cole, of Los Angeles.
When her fiancDe came back a few days before their wedding, she sensed something was wrong. He confessed to taking part in a show that three strippers put on in a hotel for him and his friends. She considered canceling the wedding.
Cole, 36, said she had believed him when he said the evening’s main attraction would be a poker game, and she didn’t think to share her thoughts about strippers.
‘‘I wasn’t worried,’’ she said. ‘‘He was a nice guy. He was sweet. He could cook.’’
It never hurts to communicate your feelings with your significant other, said Sara Myden, a wedding consultant in Los Angeles.
‘‘That’s the sign of a healthy relationship,’’ she said.
Communicating expectations is critical, agreed etiquette expert Anna Post, great great granddaughter of Emily Post. She offers alternatives to a ‘‘night of debauchery’’ in her book ‘‘Emily Post’s Wedding Parties’’ (Collins, 2007).
‘‘Weddings are not the best time for surprises,’’ she said. ‘‘Bachelor and bachelorette parties sometimes include surprises.’’
Such discussions are especially important when bachelor parties turn into weekend-long events in vacation destinations.
Peter Feinstein, managing partner of Sapphire Gentleman’s Club in Las Vegas, said his club hosts as many as 50 bachelor parties a weekend.
Melissa Detloff, 25, of Minneapolis, trusted that her fiancDe would not go to a strip club for his bachelor party, but she made sure to tell him how strongly she felt.
‘‘My vote was, not at all,’’ she said. ‘‘It was nonnegotiable.’’
Her fiancDe, James ‘‘J.D.’’ Seger, respected her position. ‘‘I sat down with all my groomsmen and said, ‘I know it’s kind of expected to have strippers at a bachelor party but I don’t want any. I hope you’ll respect that.’’
Instead his friends planned a weekend of golfing in Palm Springs, Calif.
‘‘Everybody had an awesome time,’’ said Seger, 28.
The planning for Matt Ominsky’s bachelor party is still in the works. But his fiancDee, Amanda Smerak, said she’s sure it will include strippers. That’s OK with her, as ‘‘long as we can tell each other what we did,’’ said the 22-year-old from Hartford, Conn. ‘‘If it comes to where we have to hide it, that won’t work.’’
John Phillip Beyel opted to have a party with his fiancDee and their friends. The 24-year-old from Syracuse, N.Y., who married Michelle Lohf in October, said he was more interested in spending quality time with the wedding party than celebrating some last night of freedom.
‘‘I didn’t look at it like that,’’ he said. ‘‘Michelle and I had been dating for two and a half years.’’
When Tavis Sveto of San Francisco and his pals plan a bachelor party, strippers are part of the package, he said. He’s attended bachelor parties in Hawaii, Las Vegas and Canada, and while a night at the strip club is always on the itinerary, the guys also like the chance to spend time talking and partying. So far, none of the brides-to-be have objected, said Sveto, 33.
The group keeps a close eye on the groom, he said. They always hold the parties at strip clubs, which have strict rules about contact between dancers and patrons, rather than hiring dancers in a hotel room.
‘‘This is not something that would end a marriage or end someone’s engagement,’’ he said.
In Cole’s case, it did. She went through with the 1997 wedding but could not forgive her husband for his actions and for lying. She felt betrayed, and eventually had the wedding annulled.
‘‘It’s an allegiance thing,’’ she said. ‘‘To me, a wedding is choosing each other to be your family and come first. But a bachelor party says, ‘Just remember, buddies have priority over all that commitment.’’’