Perhaps the most dreaded pre-wedding function for brides is the idea of the stag party. While stags of the past were less than noble events with a focus on humiliating the groom or encouraging lewd behaviour, the origin of stag parties was quite simple.
Dating back to the days of 5th century BC in Sparta, stag parties celebrated impending nuptials with a toast — or several — with fellow soldiers the evening before the wedding.
As the rite developed through the ages, stag parties got a little out of hand, with binge drinking, gambling, forms of pranks, and hazing out shadowing the simple purpose of this male bonding event.
Today, most brides and grooms look for more responsible stag party options to keep things a little “cleaner”; respectful and focused on friendship and fun. If you have been given the honourable position of best man, the responsibility of planning the stag party falls on your shoulders.
Here is your guide to planning a stag party of a more sophisticated nature that honours tradition.
Consider the Groom’s Personality and Culture
First, don’t choose what you want to do, think of the groom’s interests instead. A big mistake is trying to please everyone attending when it is the groom who counts.
Yes, you don’t want to make it so boring everyone will leave early, but you also don’t want to plan something the groom normally would find distasteful. In most cases, the party will include the wedding party and close friends as well as some family members, so unless it is a friends-only event, you’ll need to cater to a broader range of interests.
Split the Events
As mentioned, you have an obligation to invite a variety of guests, including the father of both the bride and groom, brothers and members of the wedding party. Because this will represent a very broad range of ages and attitudes, it is best to “split up” the events.
You can plan an earlier event where everyone is included, and then a more private event with your close-knit group of friends where things can be a little “wilder” if need be.
Some good examples to consider would be:
Include a Day Activity
A good way to please everyone is to include a day activity prior to the main event in the evening, such as:
- 4×4 driving
- Clay shooting
- Escape rooms
- Video arcades
- Indoor sporting facilities for skiing, golf, hockey, etc.
- Play football, hockey, tennis; whatever sports that people enjoy
- Go to a sports event — preferably with a skybox!
Just choose something that will allow for bonding and fun without the risk of offending any of the guests. And remember, reducing the odds of injury will be much appreciated by the bride.
Plan a Dinner
A dinner is an excellent option as it limits drinking and focuses instead on a good meal and conversation. You can choose a venue that offers a private space to accommodate your guest list and have a preset meal that allows you to stick to a budget. The party aspect can then take place with a smaller group of friends elsewhere.
Have a Tournament
If you have a group of sportier people, consider having a tournament. You could try golf, tennis, squash, bowling or even something less physical, like video games. Make sure you book the event to keep things organized and avoid disappointment. The beauty of a tournament is there can be participants and spectators, so everyone is involved.
Consider Who Pays
Stag parties can get expensive. Therefore, it’s important to consider who will pay and how much attendees can afford to pitch in. Because there will be guests of varying incomes and budgets, avoid having a blanket plan and then expect everyone to pitch in regardless of cost.
Let people know the options to make sure expectations are met, and you don’t find out the hard way your event plans are too extravagant so no one can afford to attend.
Here are some payment suggestions:
Charge a per-person fee
Once you decide what you will be doing, add up all the fees and then charge a flat rate for each person attending. Include an additional amount to cover the groom. Any further incidentals such as drinks or cabs are up to the individuals.
Flat rate plus a bar tab
Keep in mind drinking can get out of hand for some people, while others might not drink at all. If this is the case, see if you can arrange for a cash bar at your venue so that everyone just pays for their own drinks as they order them.
In rare cases, a groom, best man, or even a parent might offer to pay the entire tab for the event or some of the planned activities. Be sure to find out upfront what their budget is and either plan within that budget or charge a flat rate per guest to cover the balance.
Just remember, as the organizer of the event, if your costs aren’t covered, you will be left holding the bag. If you charge over what the event ends up costing, you can arrange to give everyone back a share of the profits. If you don’t charge enough chances are you will run into issues trying to get everyone to help you pay the balance.
Choose a Respectable Venue
A sophisticated stag party needs a respectable stag venue that Toronto grooms will appreciate. Consider a venue where you can make the night your own with an exciting menu that will allow you to indulge in something a little more elegant.
You want to create a party that is indulgent and decadent, to mark the last days of bachelorhood for your best friend. This will inevitably include a well-stocked bar where gents can sit back and enjoy a few drinks before, during and after dinner.
You also want to ensure that for those drinking, there is plenty of food to help them avoid getting too drunk, too fast! An inviting antipasto bar with lots of deli meats, cheeses, bread, and condiments allows the chaps to whet their appetites before the real meal is served and throughout the evening. A few courses keep everyone eating at well-planned intervals, so everyone enjoys themselves without drinking on an empty stomach.
These tips can help you plan a very respectable stag party that won’t offend anyone and keeps everyone entertained and in tip-top shape to attend the wedding in the morning.