The stag do: where to start planning


It’s no secret that for many chaps, the stag do is the most hotly anticipated part of the entire wedding ritual. Obviously the groom-to-be will be hugely excited by the prospect of publicly declaring his love and making a lifelong commitment to the new missus, but what chap in his right mind wouldn’t be particularly attracted to an evening of high jinks with his closest friends, dearest relatives and a handful of stragglers picked up in the local pub?

As best man, it’s your duty to make sure that the stag do is a resounding success, and achieving that requires careful planning. To keep you right, we’ve put together a checklist of the major tasks that lie ahead. Just stick to them and you won’t go far wrong (until the night itself, naturally).

Assemble the stags

Chat with the groom about the guys he’d like to come along, but take care to limit the numbers to no more than about 20. Organising these affairs is like herding cats, so keep the group tight and drop some of those extra workmates and acquaintances. The groom can organise some after-work drinks with them instead.

With your group assembled, collect email addresses and phone numbers for all of them and contact each to find out what sort of budget they’ll have and learn about any particular requirements. There’s no point planning a trip to Vegas if the groom’s brother only has £50 to spend or has a fear of flying, so get a clear idea of what everyone’s up for before you begin.

Set the date

Do not, on any account, plan the stag do for the night before the wedding. You want it to be close to the day itself, but not so near that half the party are still sloshed or missing in action during the ceremony. Start planning a minimum of three months in advance and consult everyone who’s coming along to find a date that works for all.

Ask the groom

As much fun as this is going to be for you, it’s actually supposed to be the groom’s night - so no getting carried away. Sit him down over a pint and chat about what he wants to get out of the stag do so that you can be sure he’ll enjoy what you have planned.

Delegate tasks

Who’s looking after the cash? Who’s in charge of making the bookings? Who will make sure that Dave turns up at the airport with both his passport AND trousers?

There’s a hell of a lot to do, so hand out jobs to the more reliable members of the stag party early on. Select someone responsible to collect and hold the money if you’re getting everyone to chip in for the costs and choose someone at least mildly responsible to look after the 1,001 little jobs (including Dave) that will crop up.

Examine the options

A decent stag do can consist of anything from an evening in your local boozer to a four-day bender in one of the world’s major cities. You’ll need to choose something that suits everybody’s tastes and budget, so be realistic. If you’re dealing with a quieter group, that foray into the fleshpots of Amsterdam may not be appropriate, while a gang of hedonists are likely to mutiny if you announce that you’re kicking off the weekend with a bracing hill walk.

Plan and book ahead

Your stag party might consist of some of the nicest guys on the planet, but bouncers and doormen tend to view all stag trips with a jaundiced eye and are prone to turning them away. Booking ahead at several venues can both prevent this happening and also provide some much needed structure to the day. If your group’s large enough, you may even be able to negotiate some discounts too.

Keep a grip on reality

Many a bumper night out has been ruined by members getting so inebriated that they’re a useless, slobbering mess within a couple of hours. This might even be what you’re planning, but it’s best to schedule in some food stops along the way to keep people from keeling over.

While you’re at it, remember that your primary job is to get the groom home in one piece. If you’re planning any pranks, rule out anything that offers a fair chance of leaving him mentally and physically scarred. As a basic rule of thumb, imagine explaining what you have in mind to his bride to be when you get home. If you think she might get violent in response - don’t do it.

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