How to Plan a Stag Do and Make it Out Alive
So your best mate is getting married and it’s down to you to plan the Stag Do. But planning a night, or a weekend away, for a group of guys is never going to be the easiest thing to contend with.
Whether you’re planning a night out in your home-town, or a weekend away to Ireland’s most famous stag destination, Carrick-on-Shannon, there are a few things every best man can do to ensure the Stag Do goes off without a hitch.
Even if you can’t usually organise a piss up in a brewery, with our step by step guide to organising a Stag Do, you’ll pull off the “if Carlsberg did Stag Dos” of Stag Dos.
Think of this as your Stag Do Survival Bible.
How to Organise a Stag Do
1. Talk to the Groom
Whilst The Hangover may be some groom’s Stag Do of dreams, being roofied on the actual roof of a Vegas Hotel may not be everyone’s cup of tea, so it’s always best to have a quick conversation with your groom before you start trying to find out Caesars Palace’s availability. At the end of the day, this isn’t your Stag Do, it’s his, so get some idea of a brief to work from him in order to make this weekend memorable for the right reasons.
2. Control the Numbers
Although in his excitement the groom might be tempted to invite everyone he encounters on a weekly basis to the Stag, it’s your job to get him to cull down the guest list. The bigger the group, the harder it’s going to be to find accommodation, make restaurant bookings and get into clubs.
If you’re planning on going abroad for your stag, as 70% of stags do, it might be best to arrange a secondary Stag Do at home to include the more peripheral family and friendship group members.
3. Contact the Stags
When you’ve worked out the final guest list, and got the relevant contact details from the groom, send out a preliminary invite over email or create a WhatsApp group. Ask for budgets, flexibility on dates and any special requirements you may need to take into consideration.
Try and give the boys at least a few months notice. Stag parties are often expensive and require time off work, and the more advance notice you give, the easier it’s going to be for all of you to settle on a date.
Group emails, a group on WhatsApp or a private Facebook group will be the easiest and least time-consuming way of keeping them in the loop.
4. Lock Down a Date
There is one golden rule on all Stag Dos; never have it the night before the wedding.
Unless you, or the groom, have a death wish, turning up to the wedding an hour late and half lashed from the night before is never going to go down well.
At the latest, the Stag Do should be at least two weeks before the wedding, in order for any hangovers and surface injuries to mellow out before the big day. For activity do’s, or if you’re going abroad, it might be best to push the deadline back even further.
Chat with the rest of the boys and find out what weekend works out best for the majority.
5. Book Early
Relying on the rest of the group to make their arrangements individually will end up making for a pretty disjointed party, with at least one hapless individual marooned outside the city centre after waiting for the bargain of a century.
Especially if you’re going abroad, it’s essential that you book accommodation early and book together. The best airline prices are often available a good few months in advance, and some of the best stag destinations, like Budapest, Tallinn and Carrick, tend to book up fast – especially in prime holiday time.
As for accommodation, you don’t need to go all out for luxury suites, aim for something clean, basic and in close proximity to the city centre and the nearest bars. There’s always one that ends up off for an adventure after one too many Jaegers, and the closer the accommodation is to the centre, the less likely he’s going to end up sleeping it off on a park bench.
6. Cash for Craic
If you’re not the most mathematically minded, appointing one of the group that can make sure everything is being collected and paid on time is essential. Ideally, someone that’s cushty with the majority of the group.
A Stag Do is at it’s best when it’s got a solid back row. By that we mean, it’s beneficial to have a couple of activities already planned and in the bag before you get to your destination.
Whether it’s a beer bike to explore Amsterdam, Guinness tasting in Dublin or one of the many stag packages available across Ireland and the rest of the world, there’s more than enough things to do out there. More often than not, the more competitive the better. Split your group into two, introduce some nasty forfeits and watch the carnage unfold.
8. Plan Your Venues
Bouncers can spot stag parties from a mile away, and surprisingly, many pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants might not want a group of 10+ drunk lads swarming the floor – especially if the female to male ratio is already on the low side.
To avoid trooping around from door to door, book tables, or at least entry, at a couple of venues. Remember though, although, in less typical stag venues, your entry may be limited by the size and style of your party, where you do get let in, you’ve got great bargaining power. As a group that’s going to be drinking the bar dry and potentially fill up a venue, don’t be afraid to ask for group discounts and special offers.
9. Shepard Duties
Best man and Drill Sergeant, you need to be prepared to switch between the two anytime you sense things might be going off track throughout the weekend. While there’s nothing worse than someone micromanaging the weekend, you need to be able to problem solve on your feet when faced with venue closure, bad weather and members of the group going MIA. Do your research and have a backup list of venues and events. While most stag participants are laid back enough to go along with whatever you’ve got planned, there’s always going to be trouble if there isn’t one at all.[adventure picture]
It’s not a do if there’s not at least one surprise for the stag. Whether it’s a mandatory costume change, stag games or a stripper, it’s always good to have at least one or two up your sleeve.
But please, remember, if the groom wakes up with a Tyson face tattoo, it’s your head on the block.