The new bachelor party: skydiving, bike tours replace strip clubs, casinos

For Jarrett Ehler, the perfect bachelor party wasn’t a night of drunken debauchery. There were no strip clubs, casinos or limousines.

Instead, he and 11 close friends played golf, ate steaks, sipped beers, and chatted around a campfire on a getaway to the Sherwood Golf and Country Club in Chester, Nova Scotia, early June.

“I wanted it to be having my friends together and having a good time with them,” said Ehler, 27, originally from Prince Edward Island but living in Toronto.

“I didn’t want this to be a typical city event where everyone is going in different directions and you get hammered so hard that you don’t even have meaningful conversations.”

A complete experience

Industry experts say Ehler’s experience is becoming the new normal. Bachelor parties in Canada are moving away from the traditional night of vice, with many newlyweds opting for experience-based celebrations instead that range from beer tasting to bike tours.

Dan Brennan, CEO of Ottawa-based Breakaway Experiences Inc., said he often addresses the thrill-seeking groom. He said singles these days are looking for a day or weekend experience, with some choosing to tick boxes on their bucket list.

“It’s often not just about partying in bars and drinking anymore. It becomes an experience in its own right,” said Brennan, adding that her business offers a range of singles experiences, including skydiving and driving stunt cars.

“More and more bachelor parties are becoming an event. They want to do something they will remember – something unique and fun.”

Get married later in life

Oren Bornstein, owner of bachelor party planning company Connected Montreal, said many contemporary couples marry at an older age than their parents.

He said these newlyweds are more likely to crave a weekend away from the daily grind rather than a night out.

“People get married later in life and it’s less and less likely for guys and their boyfriends to go on vacation together,” Bornstein said. “So ironically it’s less and less about the single person and more and more about everyone getting together.”

But Bornstein admitted that he still plans many parties riddled with immoral self-indulgence: “I think at the end of the day the boys will be boys,” he said with a laugh.

“Celebrate the life you have created”

Groom Matt McGrath was not interested in having naked women in his stag camping on the Blandford coast in Nova Scotia

“At the end of the day, I don’t live my life like a rap video,” the 31-year-old said with a deep laugh, adding that his friends had his party planned. “[Strippers] doesn’t have any kind of appeal to me. I don’t see it as entertainment and I don’t think it’s tasteful. “

McGrath said he believes 21st century grooms are increasingly frugal as well.

“Throwing your money on visuals – this might not be the best way to spend your money or your friends’ money when you can grab a few beers … and share stories with the intention of celebrating the life you created and sculpted for yourself, ”he said.

Not about one last night of freedom

Ehler agreed, saying he didn’t want his bachelor party to be about spending one last night of freedom, but rather celebrating his upcoming wedding with his closest friends.

“This is not a ‘last call’,” said Ehler, who is getting married in Digby, Nova Scotia on July 31. “It really is just an opportunity to bring everyone together and celebrate the phase of life you find yourself in.”

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