Paintball sans bruises?
October 24, 2012 10:58 AM   Subscribe

Paintball for a bachelor party — is this a horrible idea?

I think that going paintballing with my groomsmen would be a fantastic time for all involved. However, the ball-and-chain-to-be and the wedding planner are understandably concerned about the potential for welts and bruises in our photos.

Is there any way to guarantee (or at least make very likely) avoidance of bruises on the face & neck? It will be November in Asheville, North Carolina, so likely cold enough that wearing a hoodie + scarf (or several) would be feasible. Of course I'd be wearing a helmet, too, and I can wear some heavy gloves to avoid hand bruises (got a nasty one last time I played).

Any other considerations that I'm not thinking of would also be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
posted by dondiego87 to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (23 answers total)
Response by poster: By "helmet," of course I mean "mask."
posted by dondiego87 at 10:59 AM on October 24, 2012

Can you have your bachelor party 3 weeks before the wedding? All but the most extreme injuries would be healed by the wedding. Even a week or 2 extra (ie not the day before) would give you some time to heal from bruises.
posted by fermezporte at 11:00 AM on October 24, 2012 [4 favorites]

There are no guarantees in war. That and if someone is fucking around with a paintball gun when they're not supposed to (i.e. when helmets are off) and it goes off and hits the groom in the face, that'll be really, really bad.
posted by griphus at 11:01 AM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you want to shoot things, would you consider going to a shooting range instead? Shoot targets, not one another? Getting bruised anywhere, even parts covered in clothing, will suck before your wedding. You'll be achy and sore, and the stress of a wedding will make any tension you're feeling that much worse if you're also compensating for painful bruises on your legs or torso.
posted by juniperesque at 11:05 AM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

cold paintballs are especially hard but i really doubt there'd be bruises on any visible part of the body if at all. Just play safe and use a minimum distance rule maybe
posted by MangyCarface at 11:06 AM on October 24, 2012

We did paint ball bachelor party before a wedding last year.

We took no special precautions (other than everyone being generally aware of the fact that cheap shoting the man of the hour at short range would be bad) and the groom came out fine.

They sell paintball neck protection and gloves that really do work very well. If you are going to a facility you can likely rent them as well.

One thing we did do was play a zombie game where the groom was the only one with a gun for a while and very very limited ammo (little bits were hidden around) and the rest of us chased him.
posted by French Fry at 11:07 AM on October 24, 2012

Yeah -- I did this for my best friend's wedding. It was perfectly great. And we did get welts, but we were wearing long sleeves and blue jeans, as well as face protection (they reminded me of helmets you see motocross and dirtbike riders wearing). Nothing visible. It was also great because two of the groomsmen were teenagers, and they were able to fully participate in the festivities with the guys. Also as I recall they were sneaky bastards, too.
posted by Buffaload at 11:24 AM on October 24, 2012

You'll be fine with the proper gear, which means masks with full-face protection instead of goggles.

If you take precautions, all you have to worry about are people thinking that all those paintball welts are hickies from a really raunchy bachelor party. And I'm totally not speaking from any sort of hypothetical embarrassing-yet-simultaneously-attractive-to-some-people personal experience from high school on that count. Trust me.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:24 AM on October 24, 2012

Best buddy wanted to do this for his bachelor party. We were all set to go and then there was a last-minute problem with several tuxes that cost us our reservation. We wound up going to a strip club, and honestly I'd have preferred to be shot in the face with a paintball gun instead.

Facial bruises are unlikely if you're wearing masks. However, I had one experience where we discovered some random competitor on the field was using FROZEN paintballs 'cause he thought it would be funny to get someone hurt. We only found out because one of his frozen paintballs hit a buddy's gun and destroyed the hopper on it. So, generally safe hobby, but accidents happen and some people are assholes.

Seconding a trip to the gun range if you want something safer and more controlled.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:29 AM on October 24, 2012

Man, what's a few bruises when it comes to paintball for your bachelor's party? I mean, really. Bruises can be covered with makeup (ask any teenaged girl for tips; they're particularly good at hiding hickeys) and if you take precautions as suggested above (long sleeves, jeans, gloves, face masks) I don't think you'll have any problems. Also: what good photographer doesn't have a mastery of photoshop?!

Dude. Wedding planner gets no say in this. Bride-to-be gets a say, sure, but reassure her that you will all be fully protected and there are ways to make bruises disappear should it be necessary. I hope you get to do this! So fun!
posted by cooker girl at 11:35 AM on October 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

I have been to a paintball bachelor party before and it was a lot of fun! I think everybody made an effort to target the groom-to-be. It was a week before the wedding so there was at least a little bit of time to heal (though it wasn't necessary in this case).

Of course another time I went paintballing with these friends I got hit in the middle of the forehead, just above the mask. I had to explain it a lot at work the next few days but it was gone (at least enough to be covered up by makeup, as cooker girl suggests) by the following week.
posted by mountmccabe at 11:37 AM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

(ask any teenaged girl for tips; they're particularly good at hiding hickeys)

Hah, I'd say they only think they're good at hiding bruises.

I think this depends a lot on the bride and her and the groom's relationship. If wedding photos looking perfect to her is really important to her, well, he'll be putting that in jeopardy. If she's chill and is just worried about facial bruises, then taking proper precautions should assuage her concerns.
posted by DoubleLune at 11:38 AM on October 24, 2012

I don't really see how the bride should have input on the bachelor party, provided hookers aren't involved. It's not her department. Is she soliciting input on the bachelorette party?

Anyway, you're wearing ballistic goggles and probably a kerchief over the face, so you're probably not going to have much in the way of visible bruises. But so what if the groomsmen have a few bruises? The point of the wedding is the social event, not the photographic record.
posted by musofire at 11:39 AM on October 24, 2012

Do it! There will be no bruises, but if there are, that is what concealer is for. ENJOY!
posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:41 AM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

There are worse things to do.

(I crashed a bicycle a week before my wedding, tore my knuckles to shreds, got road rash on my cheek and a solid black eye - basically fucking up every bit of skin that's not covered by a suit)
posted by entropone at 11:44 AM on October 24, 2012

We did paintball for my brother's bachelor party and it was a great time. Just be sure to wear a face mask and should be okay. All other bruises will be covered up by clothing or not be that noticeable.
posted by nolnacs at 11:49 AM on October 24, 2012

There are places here in Asheville that do Airsoft. I hear it is less bruising.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 11:51 AM on October 24, 2012

I played paintball at a bachelor party. The bruises were no big deal, but the groom ended up in the hospital with a dislocated shoulder.

The bride was very thankful that we had the bachelor party three months before the wedding.
posted by eisenkr at 11:56 AM on October 24, 2012

As someone who has played paintball with friends a few times, out in the woods with goggles, masks, and thick clothing as our only protection, I'd say you'll be fine with one caveat.

Do you have a jokester/prankster/wild card in the group? You know who I'm talking about, that one guy or brother or cousin who just can't help but be crazy and/or piss people off. If you have one of those guys then I'd say proceed with a higher level of caution and have someone watching him at all times, even after you explain to him, twice, that under no circumstances is he to be cute. A black eye/broken nose/bruise because he wanted to surprise someone and shoot their helmet on the back while they're wearing it and they turned at the wrong time is simply not acceptable.

My caveat goes on top of any simple/common sense rules to paintball like everyone having protective gear, no point blank shots, having off limit/no gun zones, and everyone knowing how to operate their gun and not trigger it before the match starts.

Oh, and don't trip while running and break an ankle either, but that applies to non paintball stuff anyway.
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:51 PM on October 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

I played paintball for the second time at a friend's bachelor party. Almost everyone in the group was pretty green - maybe 2 out of 10 had gone more than once before.

Man, we must have done something really, really wrong, because EVERYONE ended up with welts and bruises. Mostly they were on the torso and upper arms so they would be covered by clothing, but at least 1 or 2 people had bruising on the necks, so collared shirts might not have covered it. The experienced guys had better clothing for paintball and suffered less, but they still had bruises. I think I would have required at least 4 shirts to reduce bruising to a reasonable level. I got more bruises in that day than in 2 years of boxing. Fortunately, this was 2 or so weeks before the wedding and everyone was healed by the ceremony.

Moreover, when the guys running the place found out it was a bachelor party, they devised all sorts of ridiculous games to play. There was "Civil War" - stand straight up facing each other and fire one shot when they yelled "ready, aim, fire!" There was "The Gauntlet," where the unarmed groom ran past and we took potshots at him. We were always far enough from each other that it seemed safe enough, but maybe those games are why we all came out with tons of bruises. So look out for ridiculous bachelor party games, and agree with your groomsmen ahead of time whether or not any such games are allowed. Hint: if you do this within a week of the wedding, do not play ridiculous games, you will inevitably be the target.

Anyway, I have to agree with fermezporte and say this should be done at least 1 week (preferably 2) before the event so bruises have time to heal.

Or maybe do a different bachelor party, then go paintballing a couple weeks after the wedding. It's your "hi friends, don't stop inviting me to fun things just because I'm married" party.
posted by Tehhund at 1:12 PM on October 24, 2012

Paintball is awesome and I would highly recommend it for any sort of party. The place we went to provided full face protection and it was mandatory to have it on at all times on the playing field, no exceptions.

Last time I went, I had a massive bruise on my thigh that took a couple of weeks to disappear. Those little fuckers hurt. Layer up. Also, a few of my guy friends wore jockstraps, which also seemed like a good move.
posted by futureisunwritten at 1:23 PM on October 24, 2012

I think I would have required at least 4 shirts to reduce bruising to a reasonable level.

This isn't universally known? Damn I bet you were bruised up son!

As someone who has never had real "paintball" gear/clothing, this is the minimum: undershirt, longsleeve shirt * 2, t-shirt, and hoodie/fatigue jacket if you can bear the heat. Two pairs of pants is good but bruises there don't show anyway, and you're hit there less. Gloves are good but if you want to run the risk you can get by without them.

That said, one of the last times I played the person that cursed the loudest and scared us for a moment was my cousin. We were halfway through a round and I was putting a few volleys at him through some bushes, most were busting on the undergrowth but I was hearing/seeing a few land next to the tree he was ducked behind. Just as I was about to give up I hear "*OWWWW *CURSE* *CURSE* You sorry *CURSE CURSE*" and him hitting the ground like a sack of bricks. We all stop and yell "You alright?". We do not go over, this is a known tactic of entrapment and we are rightfully wary of a trap. He yells back "I'm DONE! You hit me on the [exposed] trigger finger!"

And thus we broke for lunch.

Oh and we had a version of The Gauntlet as well, it's well worth playing to burn some time.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:40 PM on October 24, 2012

Yep, getting hit on the forward hand was the worst. Wear gloves, can you imagine getting shot in your wedding ring finger and having it swollen?
posted by BeeDo at 2:42 PM on October 24, 2012

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