How to organise an epic stag party
First the good news: your mate has done you the honour of asking you to be his best man. And now the bad news: you are responsible for giving him, and all his chums, the best time of their lives before he finally grows up and settles down. What’s more you also have to make sure he’s still in one piece in time for the wedding and not in jail/hospital/the doghouse. No pressure then! In this post we share some “best practice” advice you should find helpful.
Outline planning meeting
You need to have an initial discussion with the stag to see what kind of thing he has in mind. It is advisable to do this over a beer in a pub – it’s a great excuse for a pint with a great mate so grab it with both hands! First you need to sort out some possible dates (not too near to the wedding so there’s time for his eyebrows to grow back).
Also, are we talking just one day and night, a weekend, or a long weekend. What sort of event would he like and what kind of activities – is he thinking a wild weekend in Amsterdam, Prague or Dublin where the main activity will be drinking, or somewhere in the UK with a bit of paintballing, go carting or clay pigeon shooting? One of the joys of a stag event is the element of surprise – so you’ll probably keep a few of your ideas up your sleeve.
You’ll need a list of people he’s planning to invite, with email addresses and phone numbers.
Who’s up for it?
Fire off an email to everyone on the list to see who is keen to attend and check their availability. You need to offer a selection of possible dates otherwise you’ll find a lot of people won’t be able to make it. Word the invite so you get a clear commitment – you don’t want a load of “maybes” as this is going to make any further planning problematic and hold things up.
Time and money
You need to be realistic about everyone’s availability and how much they are willing to spend. Four days in Vegas may sound great but it’s not such a smart idea if few people can get the time off and have the cash. As with the dates it may be best to offer a range of options and then see which one gets the most takers. On the other hand don’t give too many choices as that could just make it more difficult to get something everyone can agree on.
Once you’ve decided on dates and a destination you’ll need to find somewhere to stay. If you’re going abroad then a hotel is probably the easiest option – but if you are doing something like a golf weekend in the Algarve then a villa might work. In the UK you might consider booking a country house, camping or even a boat on the Thames.
One thing to bear in mind is that some people may have to drop out nearer the time. In this situation it’s easier to reduce the number of hotel rooms than it is to ask the whole group to contribute more towards a 14 bed cottage when only 10 can attend come final payment.
Fun and games
Stag parties are not just about drinking, drinking and more drinking – they usually include some other form of activity as well. You need to consider what is likely to appeal to the group. There’s no sense in going potholing, white water rafting or bungee jumping if that kind of adventure leaves everyone cold. Similarly, if most of them have been Zorbing on a previous stag do then they may not be keen to do it again.
Dressing the stag in a mankini, a gayest-man-in-the-village outfit or a blow up willy costume can be embarrassing and fun – the more embarrassing the more fun (especially the more everyone has had to drink).
The rest of the group may want to join in by wearing something almost as silly, like matching T shirts with some non-PC image or message. It’s all part of the male bonding ritual and you’ll need to discuss ideas with the rest of the group – hopefully over a few pints.
Dares, forfeits and other silly stuff
No stag party is complete with games, pranks and challenges to keep everyone amused (and suitably inebriated). For example, the good old Toy Soldier routine: each stag is given a toy soldier at the start of the proceedings. Then, whenever the best man shouts ‘assume the position’, all stags have to get into the same position as their toy soldier. The last man to get into position will face a forfeit.
There’s no shortage of crazy, daft, embarrassing and hilarious (when you are well on the way to a hangover) options, from Mr President to left hand drinking, Pub Golf to Shark Attack (just do an online search). You just have to work out which ones you’ll be playing and what forfeits the unfortunate losers must accept.
Money up front
Stag parties can get expensive and it’s easy to lose the plot (that’s the whole point, surely?). As best man you’d be ill advised to pay for everything yourself then try to collect the money from everyone else later – that could lead to some awkward conversations and someone being left out of pocket. Get everyone to pay their share as they go in terms of things like flights and accommodation. Then have some kind of float that everyone pays into for drinks and expenses on the day/night.
Check with the club
If you plan to end up at a particular pub or bar it’s smart to warn them in advance – you don’t want to be turned away at the door. Sell it to them on the basis that you’ll hugely increase their takings for that night!
Need more help or ideas?
The team at Clevedon Hall have hosted a lot of weddings and we have plenty of Stag Party advice we can share. Give us a call and we’ll happily answer any questions you may have.