A brotastic bacchanal in the Bahamas? Lap dances and lost weekends? Quel vulgaire. The modern stag keeps it low-key and local. 

Created by Alyson Bowman  |  The Connecticut Bride

Written by Robert DiGioia  |  The Connecticut Bride

Stylist: Cindy Sanchez Lark  |  Detaille Weddings & Events, Clinton

Hosts: Graduate New Haven + Blue Ox Axe Throwing, Wallingford

Photographer: Keith Claytor, TimeFrozen Photography, Hartford

Graduate New Haven1151 Chapel St., New Haven

Blue Ox Axe Throwing21B N. Plains Industrial Road, Wallingford

There’s an old SNL skit that divulges the mysterious, time-consuming luxuries behind the door of a public ladies’ room. The traditional bachelor party has never elicited such wonderment. The popular mind conjures lurid scenarios, excessive booze, and adolescent-bordering-on-felonious antics.

Confuting convention, The Connecticut Bride thought you’d like a glimpse inside a recent gathering of genteel young(ish) gentlemen, exercising their right to celebrate in that ephemeral window between “fiancé” and “husband.” So to the curious … fly, meet wall.

START FRESH

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Mid-morning, a mobile glam squad helps put best faces forward. Doorbell Barbers will — you guessed it — come right to your doorstep, armed with lotions to lather and clippers to coif. Hot-towel treatments, beard trims, manicures and enticing aftershave are just some of the delightful options on the menu. The newly renovated Graduate Hotel in New Haven is the first stop on our natty lads’ fraternal adventure, where, after pampering, they enjoyed costume changes courtesy of Ferrucci Ltd., Pressed and Dressed and Tenth Street Hats.

Fueled with pretzels and bratwurst from the Graduate’s basement bar and lounge, Old Heidelberg, the groomsmen head to Wallingford for some razor-sharp banter.

BLADE RUNNERS

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Why toss darts when ax throwing provides true catharsis? To which owners of Blue Ox Axe Throwing will attest, as they encourage patrons to “throw away the weekend” at their ranges in Wallingford and Bridgeport. Two of the principals, Jerry Ferraro and Graham Kelley, actually conceived of the business while attending Kelley’s bachelor party in Minneapolis. The four-page liability waiver shouldn’t be a deterrent; ax masters are on hand to train and monitor, ensuring the safety of all participants.

The boys meet a new friend at Blue Ox, who proves as distracting as she was adept at woodchopper-wielding.

FULL CIRCLE

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It’s back to the Graduate for a chill early evening of smooth smokes (outdoors, of course) from Miami Cigar & Company, and caramels courtesy of Sweet Lab Confections in Woodbury. And like most adult festivities, well-wishes and good memories are sealed with a raised glass or two. Luckily, Litchfield Distillery is on hand to share tumblers of straight and cask-strength bourbon. But not enough to impair a few spirited rounds of foosball.

And this is where we leave our civilized, affordable fête. No testosterone-fed fisticuffs, no embarrassing iPhone evidence. Of course, the night was yet to come…

Our Vendors & models: 

Stylist Cindy Sanchez Lark, Detaille Weddings & Events, Clinton, detailleweddingsandevents.com

Host: Graduate New Haven, New Haven, graduatehotels.com/new-haven

Host: Blue Ox Axe Throwing, Wallingford, blueoxaxethrowing.com

Photographer: Keith Claytor, TimeFrozen Photography, Hartford, timefrozen.com

Groom: Frank Colón

Best man: Al Santangelo

Sweet Lab Confections (cinnamon cajitas and espresso caramels), Woodbury, sweetlabconfections.com 

Doorbell Barbers (men’s hair and shave) Fairfield, doorbellbarbers.com

Miami Cigar & Company (cigars) Norwalk, miamicigar.com

Ferrucci Ltd. (suspenders), New Haven, ferrucciltd.com

John Casablancas Modeling & Acting Agency (Michaela Zemantic, Joshua Suriel-Montero, Wellington Bajana), Rocky Hill, @jcmodelsct, jcmodelsct.com

Litchfield Distillery (straight bourbon and cask-strength bourbon, featured drink: The Litchfielder), Litchfield, litchfielddistillery.com

Pressed and Dressed (suits), Guilford, pressedanddressed.com

Hair and makeup (female entertainer) Luscious and Co., Shelton; Liz Arrindell, lead makeup artist, and Ashley Mauro, hair stylist; lusciousandco.com

Riedel (Nachtmann Punk whiskey tumblers in gun metal), riedel.com/en-us

Groovy Groomsmen Gifts (axe party favors), Monroe groovygroomsmengifts.com

Tenth Street Hats (styles: Cashel, Windygates, Peyton and Timber), tenthstreethats.com

Robert DiGioia is the creative director for Hearst Connecticut Media Group, and an arts/society writer for its varied titles. A former Manhattanite and magazine publisher, he’s thrilled to be back in his birthplace, New Haven.