Stag Weekends – How to organise a stag do
So you’re the best man and now part of your responsibility is to organise the Stag do. At first glance, a stag do would seem an easier prospect to organise than a hen do. After all, a few pints down the pub and a laugh with a group of the groom’s friends and the job is done, isn’t it? Well seemingly not any more.
A Stag do is becoming a complex affair with the participants wanting to travel somewhere away from home in order to participate in some kind of event that will make the day memorable (that seems a contradiction of some sort as most of us have very hazy memories of our stag do). More and more men are organising a day around some kind of sporting events. These could take the form of white water rafting, bungee jumping, rock climbing, paintballing or a Chess contest (I jest). Whatever the day’s theme, organising this kind of event for a large party makes a Stag Do a whole different ball game.
First things first then. Decide on a date for the Stag Do. Sounds obvious but the date can be crucial. The groom will be heavily involved in the run up to the wedding so planning an event of this kind the day before the wedding, or even several days before the wedding is not a good idea.
Next decide who to invite and how many people are going to attend the event. This is essential as you will need to find a venue that can cater for the numbers involved and, if you are away from home, you may need to find accommodation in the area that can host your party either together of separately. Make sure that you are staying at the same place as the Groom. It’s your responsibility to make sure he gets back from the evening safely and good shape.
Who to invite may not be as easy or as obvious as it seems either. Do you stick to the Grooms close family and friends? Do you invite his work mates? Do you invite the Brides male relatives (has pros and cons)? Should local neighbours and acquaintances be involved? You know the Groom best so you will have to decide. My advice is probably to keep to as few as you can get away with without upsetting close family and friends. Tricky one. Good luck. Most will be happy to be at the wedding anyway and not worry if they don’t go on the stag do.
With those facts to hand, decide what you want to spend. If you plan an expensive event for the day, many of the attendees may not thank you when they have to put in their share and some may just not be able to afford it and feel bad about going (or not). Keep the costs reasonable. After all, the point is to have a good time and not worry too much about the cost. Then sit down with some of the key friends and decide what it is you want to do. It could be a good idea to find out what the Groom would like. No use planning a day that he will hate.
If you are going to have a party at the end of the day (and why wouldn’t you?) make sure you hire a venue that allows stag parties. Unfortunately, more and more places don’t cater for them anymore and many actually refuse to have anything to do with them. It’s a sad fact that although your party will, of course, act with total decorum and sobriety, many don’t and have caused problems. Pub licensees have to protect their licence and their regular customers so turning up at a local pub without warning them in advance and getting their approval may lead to a lot of disappointed men with nowhere to go (and a very embarrassed best man).
Assuming you have the venue sorted in advance, think about how you are going to pay for the drinks. Having a kitty is by far the best idea with a large group and you can keep it topped up as the evening progresses. Those that have had enough can then just drop out when they want to without worrying about whose round it is or feeling they have to buy drinks when they no longer want any themselves. Buying rounds is generally a recipe for disaster for someone.
Make sure you can all get back to your accommodation, either together or individually. Make certain that everyone has the address and telephone number of the place where they are staying (so easy to forget when worse for wear) and that they have a list of taxi firm numbers if you aren’t arranging transport in advance. A planned end to the evening with taxis is generally the best approach and has an element of damage limitation built in. Some may want to go on to a club and continue the party. You may decide that is not best for the Groom, in which case make sure he goes back to the accommodation. If the end of the evening has a pre-planned time then it makes this easier for you to enforce. You may get some flack at the time but the Groom will thank you later.
During the whole event, YOUR prime responsibility is the Groom. Its traditional to have jokes at his expense but don’t let it go too far. YOU are responsible for what happens to him, what he does and what others try to do to him. You may have to explain to his wife-to-be why something happened that she may not be thrilled about. You know the Groom best so you will know what he will like and what he won’t so don’t be pressured by others into planning or allowing things that may be unsuitable or harmful to his marriage. You may need to remain fairly sober throughout the evening so pace your drinks. After all this isn’t your night but it is your responsibility. If you end up the only one still sober at the end of the do and no one has been embarrassed for life, done something they will regret later, been arrested or hurt, you have done a good job and can look the bride in the eye.