Congrats! Your best mate has bestowed upon you the honour of being his best man. You might think that simply means looking smart on the big day and finding a way to fit all of your embarrassing anecdotes into one short speech, but there’s more to it than that. In fact, a lot of your time will be spent planning the stag-do. After all, it’ll be his last night or weekend of freedom, so you need to seriously step up. No pressure!
You may not be stuck for ideas, but with so much to get together, it may be difficult to know where to start. There are companies that can help you plan the stag, booking things like airport transfers, activities, and accommodation on your behalf, as well as showing you where the best party spots are in your chosen destination. But if you’re set on doing things your way, our guide will steer you through all of the biggest considerations, and help you deliver a stag-do of epic proportions.
Where should we go?
Anywhere! A stag-do can be anything from a local night out, a weekend at the groom-to-be’s old uni town, or a trip abroad. That said, your destination will ultimately be dictated by your budget, so make sure anywhere you go is affordable for the groom and groomsmen before booking anything. You should also ask the man of the hour what his preferences are. There might be a particular city or event he’s always wanted to go to, or he may have his heart set on jetting off somewhere hot, which takes a November trip to Eastern Europe firmly off the table!
If you have a bit of wiggle-room budget-wise, consider a European city break. Cities like Prague, Budapest, and Krakow are hugely popular with stags, thanks to their cheap booze, crazy clubs, and fun days out. For something a little more budget-friendly, you can enjoy similar experiences here in the UK, with cities like London, Newcastle, and Liverpool perfect for a weekend full of shenanigans with the lads. Alternatively, day events like rugby or football matches, festivals, or concerts can go down a treat.
When should we go?
Your choice of destination will have a huge impact on when you go. If the stag is keen to catch some rays, then a summer trip probably makes more sense. while certain locations come alive in the wintertime, like Budapest, with its outdoor thermal baths and snowboarding slopes. Budgetary considerations again come into play here, with certain destinations becoming a lot more expensive at different times of the year. For instance, prices often go up during the school holidays and around Christmastime. You should also check whether there are any big events taking place on the weekends you’ve earmarked, as they can not only push up prices but reduce your options for accommodation and activities. So, compare different dates to get the best bang for your buck.
It’s important that you schedule the stag do well in advance of the ceremony—at least two to six weeks beforehand is a safe bet. Discuss any prospective dates with the group before deciding on anything, as this ensures that as many invitees as possible can come along. Booking it too close to the wedding may not leave you enough time to clear your collective hangovers and, while turning up to the wedding stinking of booze and nursing a pounding head may work out OK in the movies, it’s probably not the wisest idea in real life. Get a date in the diary as soon as possible, to give everybody enough time to book leave from work—we recommend settling on a weekend at least three months in advance.
What do we need to prepare beforehand?
The first thing you should sort out after booking the trip is accommodation. While you could opt for an apartment, a hotel may be the more sensible idea. If people drop out in the run-up to the stag, it’s a lot easier to cancel hotel rooms than get eight of you to split the cost of a 12-bed apartment. Besides, you won’t be spending much time at your accommodation anyway—it will be little more than somewhere to sleep and rest sore heads, so there’s no need to splash out on anything too extravagant. Be sure to book somewhere close to the city centre, both to reduce transport costs and mitigate the risk of group members being unable to find their way back when worse for wear.
Getting travel insurance is also a must, as drunken debauchery inevitably ups the odds of being involved in accidents or misplacing possessions. Travel insurance covers you in the event of any mishaps while mullered, ensuring you don’t have to foot the bill for any medical care or replacing a lost phone. In addition, a stag-do may well involve some pretty high-octane activities like go-karting and paintballing, which can further increase the possibility of injuries.
What should we do on the stag?
If you thought the stag-do would be spent solely in the pub, you’d be wrong! Both in the run-up to a big night out and the day after one, it’s a good idea to organise some fun-filled activities to keep the group occupied. There are so many competitive and silly ideas to choose between, from zombie survival experiences and motorsports, to foot darts and karaoke. We recommend mixing up team and group activities, as well as some one-on-one games to keep the excitement—and friendly competition—high.
Make sure to find out what others in the group are up for before committing to anything. Some may have gone paintballing a million times before, for example, while certain activities, like a day at the races or a cooking class, just might not be everyone’s cup of tea, full stop. It’s also a good idea to check out activities which are unique to your stag location—think mini Highland Games experiences in Scotland, visiting the Camp Nou in Barcelona or the San Siro in Milan, or going to the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.