A Guide To Organising A Great Stag

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As I write this my housemate and a few of my pals are in Cancun Mexico for the stag do of one of their school friends. If stags were FIFA difficulty levels then Cancun would be World Class (with Vegas being Legendary level). A few years ago I organised my brother’s stag do which consisted of pints with his mates in the local pub. I wasn’t being lazy or unadventurous, it’s just that my brother is a farmer and all his friends are farmers and they unanimously balked at the idea of getting a mini bus to Westport or anywhere outside of a ten-mile radius. I do freely admit, however, that my brother’s stag falls firmly into the Beginner level category.

 

The responsibility for organizing the stag falls on the head of the best man. Not the ‘I’ve know him since school and he’s alright’ man, not the ‘he’s a bit of a clown but we’re related’ man, no – the BEST man. So choose carefully grooms because a bad choice of best man could lead to drinks in the local when you’re thinking Cancun. If you are the chosen one then it’s all on you, which can bring a lot of pressure, especially if you’ve never done it before. There’s loads to think about: Who do I invite? Who do I not invite? How much will people spend? Go abroad? Stay at home? Activities? Fancy Dress? Strippers? That whole best man title is starting to sound less like an honour and more like a punishment at this point. Luckily, your old pal Patrick has got you covered. I’ve done the research for you so sit back and have a read of this guide to organizing a great stag do.

 

Who To Invite

 

There’s a lot to consider here: Should you invite the stag’s coworkers, or will that will that have a ‘minus craic’ effect in that he can’t let his hair down for fear of career threatening repercussions. What about the lads that he’s not really that fond of but feels obligated to include, like his socially awkward cousin Francis? What’s the right number of people to invite? 20? 40? Should male family members of the bride be invited or will they too suck the life out of the night/nights? Best advice I can give is to make a list with the stag and apply one golden rule: if they’ll make the stag do better, or them not being there will make it worse, invite them. Otherwise, good luck. And you can always have another ‘Patrick Beginner Level’ stag in the local for the ones that didn’t make the A-list. Sorted.

 

How Much To Spend

 

How much people are willing to spend will depend on how well off you are as a group. When Prince William was organising Harry’s stag he was probably able to push the boat out a little bit more than you or I. Remember to think about everyone that’s invited – if even one person your stag wants there can’t afford it, you’ve probably gone too expensive. You don’t have to aspire to World Class level, great stags can be organised for as little as €150 per man. And the lower the amount, the easier you’ll find it to collect as gathering the money on time is the hardest part of organising a stag. You go into it thinking, “all the lads are sound, they’ll pay on time no problem”. Good luck with that. Prepare to deal with tightfistedness, lethargy and forgetfulness by the boatload. And it’s usually the one’s that have the money that are the least forthcoming. You’ll also have to deal with dropouts and who has to foot the bill if you can’t get a refund on the booking? Usually you so your best bet is to enforce a strict “pay x amount by this date or sort your own bookings” policy so the fear of actually having to do some of the work should spur people into action.

 

Travel Or Stay At Home

 

A big part of this decision comes down to budget but that’s not the only thing to consider. Some people will prefer to travel for the “what goes on tour stays on tour” experience. If you are going ‘on tour’ then be mindful of the law of the land. Some of the more popular European destinations have strict laws on things like drinking in the street or public nudity and the local authorities will have little sympathy for a bunch of boozed up Irish boys. So make sure everyone in your group knows the rules. Staying local saves money on flights but you still have petrol, trains, buses and hotels to consider. Chat to everyone and see what most people are up for. If you have a group of big drinkers then cheap flights, cheap accommodation and cheap booze overseas might actually work out to be better value than staying in Ireland. Bear in mind though that local stags will invariably be better attended than trips abroad.

 

Activities

 

Some people think that activities are for girl scouts and 40-year-old stepbrothers and that stag dos are for getting locked. Others see activities as an integral part of the fun. In all honesty, I fall into the former and I usually come up with an excuse to arrive late and just miss the game of bubble soccer. It’s a personal choice but if there’s a lot of people on the stag that don’t know each other then it can help break the ice. Plus if the stag is longer than one day/night then you probably should do something during the day other than binge drinking. It leads to fewer arrests.

 

Games

 

Games and forfeits are another good way to encourage lads that don’t know each other to make an effort and have a bit of a laugh. You can let your imagination run wild here but once again, remember to stay within the laws of whatever land you are on.

 

Fancy Dress

 

Fancy dress can be expensive, ridiculous and slightly humiliating but that’s also the beauty of it. It will ensure that the night is one to remember and it makes it a lot easier to find people if the group gets separated. Again, like with almost everything else, know your crowd. If there’s only three people out of forty that will actually do it then scrap then idea or the three of you will just look like nutters/attention seekers/pr*cks. Shout out to the lads from Castletroy who recently organised a stag where everyone, to a man, went dressed as Hulk Hogan.

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Strippers

 

If you want to see strippers then go to a strip club. Don’t pull a Ballyraggart and book one to turn up at some pub during the night. Think about it`: whether its the local or a bar you’ve never been to before and even if you’ve cleared it with the bar, it’s going to be a terribly awkward affair that makes the stag the star of a hilarious video that’s all over Facebook/Snapchat/JOE.ie and puts the wedding in danger. Plus it marks all the single lads in the group as sad perverts to any women in the vicinity that they might be hoping to impress.

 

Every stag is different so you’ll never please everyone but hopefully these guidelines will make it a little easier. And if all else fails, just order more drink.

Patrick McLoughney