Best man, eh? Been given the responsibility but fairly sure that you can’t organise a piss-up in a brewery? Don’t worry – stag nights might take some serious planning, but it’s all stuff you can do in manageable chunks.
Part 1: Before the event
The first step is deciding what kind of stag do everyone will enjoy the most - or hate the most, if that’s what you’re going for. Are you going for a traditional night of pranks and booze? Or maybe an entirely booze-free, hangover-less stag do? Do you want an action-packed day of adventure that’s sure to get your heart racing? Or do you want to surprise the unaware groom-to-be with something unique? Whatever you choose, check out our top tips for surviving the night.
Talk to the stag
Just as every ickle girl has a perfect wedding in mind, so every boy sketches out their dream stag night long before they pop the question. Ask the stag what he wants from his, be it a weekend away, an adventure day and a piss-up or a quiet night in the local. It’s much easier to work from a brief. And do remember that it’s not your stag night you’re planning – it’s all for your good buddy’s benefit.
Make a guestlist
Ask the groom-to-be to think about which friends he’d like to see at the stag do and work out a list of between eight and 20 key people. Try and keep it to proper friends and shave off the acquaintances and workmates – more than 20 is an unwieldy number to deal with.
Think hard about whether the bride’s father, brother, etc should be in attendance as it may change the dynamic of the group – you can always arrange a separate affair for family.
Make contact with the guests
Get the final list of names, numbers and email addresses from the groom and touch base with your charges. Group emails or a private Facebook group will be the easiest and least time-consuming way of keeping them in the loop. When you make contact, ask about their budget and if any of them have any special requirements – special diets, disabilities etc – that you might have to work around.
Look into the options
With the stag’s opinions on board and an idea of the budgetary constraints of the guests, hit the net and look into the options.
Obviously, if it’s stag do ideas you’re after, then you're in the right place! If you’ve decided on a city break, think of the big European party cities like Budapest, Riga and Amsterdam. Find out the top stag destinations.
Decide the date
A stag-do should be close to the wedding but not so close that it impacts on the main event – it’s now universally agreed that stag-dos the night before the wedding are a terrible idea. Come up with a few dates between two and five weeks before the big day, pitch them to the group and see which weekend is the least conflicted. Do this at least three to five months before the big day to prevent clashes in peoples’ diaries.
If you’re planning a foreign trip, the best prices will be available early. Late deals aren’t what they once were, and it’s a risky strategy to leave it to the last minute if there’s a big group of you. Rooms in hostels are good, cheap accommodation for stags, but again, are likely to book up early.
Name a treasurer
It’s a good idea to set up a fund to pay for stag-related activities. It’s likely there’ll be one person in the group who’s good with money, so play to his ego and appoint him as treasurer. Bingo! That’s one thankless task off your hands. The treasurer needs to keep track of who’s paid what and any expenditure. Importantly, they also need to chase the late payers (there will be several).
Don't be a nanny
Looking after a large group is a pain in the bum, so farm out as much responsibility as possible. They’re all grown men, but you’ll be stunned at how many of them forget passports, don’t bring their own trousers, etc. To avoid being the one responsible for nagging them all give out roles among the group (e.g. you’re responsible for t-shirts, you’re responsible for trouser reminders, etc)
If you’re going to pull a prank on the groom, make it a good ‘un and tell us about it afterwards. Plan it behind his back with the other party-goers to ensure success. If you’re hiring a stripper, remember to phone the venue to check whether they’ll allow her to do her stuff on the premises. The key to a good stag prank is to make it personal – don’t just go for the generic stag-do pranks but think about the annoying habits of the groom and base it around that.
The dress code
It’s common for stags to mark themselves out with some kind of themed dress code. Whether you’re going for matching T-shirts or Ghostbusters costumes, some planning will be required. Do remember that matching clothes mark you out instantly as a stag party, which may make it tricky to get in certain places. And on a related note, if you’re planning to hit venues that insist shoes, make sure that everyone in the party knows and dresses accordingly.
Stuff your faces
Don’t forget that you will need to eat at some point, so book a restaurant in advance to make sure everyone gets a good bit of grub in. Your liver will love you for it and your hangover the next day won't be as bad.
Plan your evening
Bouncers can spot stag parties a mile off and, believe it or not, many pubs, clubs and bars don’t relish the idea of a large bunch of pissed-up guys invading their establishment. Firstly, you’re likely to be a little excitable. Secondly, you’ll turn the place into a sausage-fest. To avoid being bratwurst-blocked at the door, book tables at a few chosen venues. They’ll be expecting you, you should get some good service and you’ll get in.
Part 2: During the event
The planning may be over. But don’t think that’s the end, your job is far from done. If you don’t want to face the wrath of your best mate’s future spouse, you’ll probably want to make sure they make it home relatively intact. As serious as it may sound, they’re your responsibility, and they’d do the same for you, right? Your job’s not over until their head hits the pillow, wherever that pillow may be.
On the stag-do itself, your role is that of a sheepdog, and you’ll be expected to take charge and herd people from one location or activity to another. Even if this goes against the grain of your personality, you’re the one who knows where you’re supposed to be and when, so raise your voice and be heard
Have a money kitty
It stops people wandering off on their own or wriggling out of rounds. Screw you, tightwad!
Have some surprises up your sleeve
If the party is lagging – or even if it’s not – it’s a good idea to have some surprises for the groom and other stags, whether it’s a limo, a stripper or something simple like hilarious old photos of the groom.
You may be planning some pranks for the groom on his big night, but remember that, ultimately, you want him to get home in one piece. Or maybe you want him to get home wearing a one-piece. Either way, he’ll thank you for stepping in if the fun goes too far.
Oh yeah, and have fun.
After the event
Imagine your worst hangover. You can probably expect that, only worse. It’s worth doing some damage control when you wake up, between swearing you’ll never drink again and considering whether ‘the hair of the dog’ would help. Your job as best man isn’t over yet, but you might want to take it easy for the day.
Take a day off work
Let’s face it; you’d already planned to take the day off anyway. We’ve all done it. So it’s time to put on your best sick voice and fake cough and let your inner actor shine through. Or, for the easy option, say you have food poisoning - they’ll be too busy trying not to imagine it to ask questions.
The secret weapon to mastering the hangover. Anyone who’s used it before knows it’s a pretty decent cure. There’s plenty of vitamins and nutrients to rehydrate you and leave you feeling somewhat better than when you woke up. Plus, it gives you that much-needed energy to do the rest of the things on this list.
Send the photos over
Just when the groom-to-be and his stags thought it was all over, a hazy, distance memory, they see the photos. It’s your job to constantly remind everyone of their embarrassing moments with a cringe-worthy highlight reel. You should probably zoom in and add some inappropriate drawings to them for good measure.
Before you automatically reach for that greasy fry up, that’ll probably make you feel worse, at least consider eating healthy. You don’t have to sacrifice eggs - they’re a great hangover cure. Try smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, or eggs on toast. Adding some greens will help too, but realistically, a salad is unlikely to satisfy your cravings.
Prepare the best man speech
With the memories from the night before fresh in your mind, what better time to write the perfect embarrassing best man story. Squeeze in a few jokes at the groom’s expense and make sure to have a killer one-liner to open. It’s your time to shine.
It might seem like a huge job, but you’ve got this. Even the most unorganised person can throw an awesome stag do with a little help. We’ve got you covered with a handy checklist to make your life as best man easier.
-Decide the date
-Decide who is going
-Decide the destination
-Plan the activities
-Or get chillisauce to do all the work for you.