Preparation for the Stag Do. Part 1.
Preparation is Jean Claude Van Damn important. From my experience pulling off an immense Stag Do depends on several factors. Keeping the Groom happy; giving him the appropriate level of shenanigans; the number of revellers; activities; loose cannons; itinerary; destination; media blackout; Costs and last, definitely not least, allowing the Bride to have a level of input.
Keeping the Groom happy.
Out of the 20 or so Stag Dos I’ve been on I’ve experienced everything from Best men hell bent on destroying the ‘Groom to be’ with copious amounts of alcohol and nakedness; to seeing a ‘Roly Poly’ 20 stone plus exotic stripper parking her derrière on the Stag’s ‘boat race’; to camping in a Tipi by night and canoeing by day. One things for sure, a happy Stag who you are able to see for the duration of the Stag Do will make for a far better getaway for all than a Stag who’s bedbound and singing ‘Ruth’ into a porcelain microphone all weekend. An ideal example was a recent Stag Do I arranged which consisted of 3 days in Bettws y coed in North Wales. It doesn’t wail ‘rock n roll’. In fact it sounds more Male Voice Choir. (See tailor the do to the Stag) We had a party of 15 (perfect number) and drove up in convoy. The Stag is not a big drinker by nature and loves adrenaline fuelled activities and the other 14 guys enjoy the sauce. Unusually all 15 men in our crew had a missus. Therefore we drove up on a 3 ½ hour road trip and went Zip-lining to break the first day up. We then all went out on the pop up in Bettws. A village loved by ramblers and not renowned for being a haven for pulling. Day 2 we went White Water Rafting and stayed off the pop until 5pm then dressed the Stag up as Pat Sharp (business at the front, party at the back) and the rest of us dressed up as the ‘Fun House’ hot twins or as a member of the red team and yellow team from the 90s show. There were only 5 watering holes in the village which we frequented and we kept together for the entire 3 days. Everyone’s a winner, ticketyboo.
Appropriate levels of shenanigans.
As the Best man, if anything goes wrong with the Stag (eg Shaven havens, an arrest, a strip club payment appearing on the Stag & Hen’s joint account statement or pubic lice) you and no other will be deemed responsible for the inevitable fall-out. Nobody likes that guy…. Therefore you need to ensure that you keep your wits about you and plan plenty of activities, fancy dress and drinking games to distract the loose cannons of the group from planning any outlandish, uncontrolled torture.
Therefore as you’ve been chosen as the Best man, chances are you know the Stag extremely well and have the experience to gauge appropriateness. If in doubt, break bread with the Ushers and sweeten them up over a bevy and encourage them to share the Stag Do’s responsibilities. Fancy dress is always a winner to make even the cockiest of stags look like a penis ironically. If Fancy dress is a no go then drinking games or Stag rules such as ‘Every time the Stag mentions his wife’s name or the word Wedding’ he can be punished accordingly is a winner.
Ample number of revellers.
The right numbers are key to a successful dynamic and reduces the chances of people splintering off from the group. In my humble opinion the larger the group the more it resembles Water Bison crossing the Crocodile infested Zambezi. You will inevitably leave a few fallen Water Bison behind. A solid, tight group of around 15 on an ‘Away Stag Do’ is ideal. You can always invite the work colleagues, extended family members, friend/acquaintances and inbetweeners on the ‘Home Stag Do’ (see in more depth in future blog.)
I believe it’s the characters of the group that are more intrinsic to a memorable experience than the activities undertaken. On previous Stag Dos the classic generic activities that keep the consensus happy are Clay Pigeon Shooting; Go Karting; 5 a-side Football; Sporting Events (International Rugby matches); Quad Biking and Booze Cruises. As mentioned before, the best Stag Do’s I’ve been on is tailored to the Best Man’s taste. Examples of these have been Surfing, Paintballing, Murrayfield Rugby 7s, Canoeing, Zip-lining, Casino and White Water Rafting. The latter events have been the most fun as they are one-offs and gets people out of their comfort zone and doing something random and memorable.
Every group has at least one numpty. If you disagree with this, then chances are it’s you mon frère. A Loose Cannon can make or break a Stag Do. This is why I love the idea of holding ‘Home’ and ‘Away’ Stag Do legs. If the Loose Cannon is not a close friend or relative then a Home Stag Do is perfect for them. There are two types of Loose Cannons in my experience. The ‘Enthusiastic Puppy’ who is usually a younger member of the group who is as excited as a vegetarian with a bowl of Hummus on a 5/2 diet and hell-bent on impressing the older members by being as outlandish as possible. The other kind is an ‘Old Wiley Fox’ who has a ‘specific set of skills’ and plans a more subtle strike (see roly poly stripper surprise onslaught) when the Stag least expects it.
Another hidden gem with a Home Leg is the use of a ‘Kangaroo Court’. If you are unfamiliar with this all you require is a Judge (Best Man) a Prosecutor and a Defence (Ushers or characters ideal for these roles) The benefit of the Kangaroo Court is that if you keep note of any excessive tomfoolery or general comedy gold moments from the Away Leg and you can refer to this at the Kangaroo Court and punish or acquit the individual accordingly during the ‘Home Stag Do’ based on their defence in a closed off private area. Typical fines are fingers of drink, a fancy dress forfeit or a random light hearted punishment. In fairness a Loose Cannon’s nonsense can be an ideal pick-me-up for a broken group of Stag Doers towards the end of the trip. It’s a Best man’s balancing act. That’s why you’re not the Good Man, you’re the Best man.
Coming next. Part 2 of the ‘Preparation for the Stag Do’ including itinerary; destination; media blackout; cost and last, definitely not least, allowing the Bride to have a level of input.