Planning a Stag Do is serious business. It needs to be memorable and fun for everyone involved - not to mention it’s a day that the groom will always look back on and associate with his wedding. So it had better be good.
Traditionally a Bachelor Party was a celebration of the groom-to-be, but here in New Zealand and in some other Western parts of the world the occasion has taken on a life of its own. When you think of a Stag Do, you usually think about a lot of drinking and a fair amount of humiliation at the Stag’s expense. It’s a sanctioned practice - an opportunity to go wild before taking the “til death do us part” vows with another person.
If you’re in the hot seat for planning this most sacred event, the pressure is on, mate. Where do you even begin? If you’re anything like most Stag organisers, you’ll have some ideas of what to do, but are probably well behind actually getting anything organised and the tentative date you have planned is fast approaching. Let me help you get this train on the track.
At the end of this article is a downloadable Stag Do PDF planner/checklist to help with your planning.
THE INVITE LIST
The people are what really make this occasion. First and foremost, make sure you know everyone the Stag would like at his party and that you have their contact details. Then organise them into the below three categories:
This includes the Groom’s party and a few others - think of parents, brothers, people travelling and really close friends. This group should be small and really tight, often the people planning the Stag Do and normally people that will have met prior to the event.
STAG DO PARTY
Other people invited to the wedding who do not fit into the VIP category. This is the normal Stag Party invite list, think of people like cousins, work colleagues and wider friends.
Other friends and acquaintances. This group often gets forgotten. Think of people like partners of guests, friends that didn’t get invited to the wedding, work colleagues, uncles, annoying people that you don’t want to attend the but need to be there for reasons outside of your control.
Double check the VIP and extras lists with the groom to make sure you haven’t missed anyone, but don’t be afraid to throw anyone into the extras list. Use your best judgement with your VIPs list, keep this a surprise for the groom and have a casual feel about it.
Often you will have some people out of town that you know your groom would love to have attend. Consider planning the event date around them and some dates they might be able to come. A surprise brother or friend attending can really make the event. Sometimes you might do one activity to involve someone like their father or grandfather for a light activity and kai.
PLANNING A STAG DO: WHERE TO START
PICK A DATE
First thing’s first. This is often the most difficult thing and can have a lot of impact on what the day ends up being. The sweet spot for a Stag Do is about three weeks out from the wedding, and you’ll need to start planning at least four weeks before the event.
Ask your groom’s party and all your VIPs to put in all their available dates and what times they would prefer. This will get you the potential dates. Ask the groom and confirm the date, and send out a save the date via text or email or Facebook - just make sure people save that date for the stag do.
Sneaky Stag Tip: Don’t tell the Stag what’s happening! Let him be surprised and nervous for the entirety of the event.
Will he even know the event is for him? Maybe you need to get an inconspicuous accomplice to invite him to another celebration like a baby shower. Just make sure he is available and will definitely attend.
PLANNING THE DAY: A BLUEPRINT
Now that you have your guest list sorted and a date secured, let’s get into the meat and bones!
There are a few things to think of: do you want a multiple day ceremony (like a few nights away) or a quick night in town? We will cover a few concepts here.
It’s best to think of events that you really want to do and then plan around them or to think about who will be attending and what events you will organise around them. You can book online for a lot of these activities, making them fairly easy to shortlist based on availability for your chosen date.
A great method is the personal start, where the best man picks up the Stag and they attend a private small gathering with the VIPs. Some ideas include:
> Big breakfast to start the day
Generally, these activities will be the most expensive ones on the day and only people who are very close to the Stag will want to pay for it. It’s also a great time for light challenges like a river dunk or getting him to make his own outfit. Think of little personal things.
Afterwards, think of getting the larger group to attend a big event, such as a gig, bubble soccer, or going to dinner where a large group makes things more interesting and doesn’t detract from your overall event. Activities like paintball are great with larger groups, so inviting friends and colleagues here will make your overall event have a more successful feeling.
For a slower feel you might consider something like golf. Most activity providers have great facilities where you can enjoy a BBQ and spend some time with this larger group before heading off to your next events.
You want to have your last events with just your VIPs so ensure you are travelling away from the extras in a semi private method like personal cars. Be prepared for the groom to invite some of these guests along too, often you will also lose some of the older attendees at this natural leaving point. At this stage you can head off to the more wild points of the night.
HOW INTENSE SHOULD YOU MAKE THE EVENT?
Whether you want to punish your Stag or just hang out, a few Stag challenges are great to throw in. However, you want to make sure it’s also a fun experience or has some positive memories.
A great way to do this is to share the experience and do some of the challenges with him. This doesn’t need to be the best man every time, and you can involve the whole party by either getting the groom to pick someone each time, getting guests to volunteer, or drawing straws.
Below you’ll find some ideas for tried-and-true Stag Do challenges - either for him to complete on his own, or with a member of the party.
A challenge card is a fantastic way to keep your Stag on his toes and inject some extra hilarity into the day.
Pro Tip: Make a Challenge Card
Have a card that the groom needs to keep. You can put rules, bonuses and challenges on this and refer back to it or tick things off as he goes.
It could be a doll, a picture of his wife, or something rude like a dildo. Be creative and have fun! A piece of card and a necklace is simple and effective.
LIST OF STAG DO CHALLENGES
> Give your Stag a cool dip in the river to start his day!
> River dunk
> Make your own outfit (perhaps you make him wear a rubbish bag with nothing on underneath and then take him thrift store shopping)
> Stag hunt
> The bear crawl (use a soccer ball and kick it over head whilst the groom and the best man crawl across the field)
LIST OF DAY CHALLENGES FOR THE STAG TO COMPLETE
> Find a puppy
> Busk for a pint (get your stag to sing until he has earned enough for a drink or train ticket etc)
> Use sign language in front of people
> Get a senior citizen to do a Hard Man’s Tequila Shot (the only other stag do I have heard of where this was in the challenges took the stag 30 seconds to complete - drinking at an RSA probably helped).
LIST OF NAUGHTY CHALLENGES
> Get kissed by a woman (doesn’t need to be rude on the cheek is fine)
> Lick a nipple (statue is good enough)
> Get a photo with a woman’s bra
> Get slapped
> Kiss and make up (get two women to do his makeup for him, you may need to supply some things like lipstick).
> Only For the Brave: Make a beard of pubes! This is something my brother did to his friend. Before the stag do he sent out a request for the groom’s party to shave their privates and send him the packages of pubes. Afterwards he glued it to a fake beard and made the Stag wear it through the night as part of his outfit - needless to say it has been talked about ever since.
Make sure you bring your Stag a change of clothes and a fix-up/medic kit - some of these challenges can get messy.
LIST OF CHRISTIAN CHALLENGES
> Find the 12 apostles
> Mathew, Mark, luke John…… etc.
> A picture of the 12 apostles
> A book (that should be easy to find) with them in it.
> Turn water into wine
> Feed the masses (a homeless person is fine)
> Preach to the masses (maybe karaoke maybe a full on sermon - maybe you have pre-written it).
> Get the stag to wash your feet, or someone else’s (John 13:1-17)
> Get baptised (the stag do can push him into the ocean, ensure you have a plan to stop him from drowning though).
FUNNY THINGS TO DO
> Cover half of his face in fake tan
> Have him wear a pink tutu
> 2L milk chug challenge
> Eat a super hot chilli (instant regret chocolate is also really good)
Pro Tip: Give Your Stag a Rest
Book your Stag something relaxing like a massage, but during the event tell him you’ve booked him in for a back sack and crack wax. Hype it up! It’s a great transition for the rest of the VIPs to meet with the extras and the stag do party whilst the stag actually gets a rest and some pampering.
This will give him a little reprieve and build some trust with the groom again, he doesn’t even need to tell anyone about it. Although some stags will just need the wax, the call is yours to make. Have fun and don’t be afraid to go outside the norm to make it something memorable.
stag and doe party
Do you want to include the bride or the bridal party in your event? Paintball, a joint challenge, or a scavenger hunt are all great ways to bring everyone together, even if it’s just for part of the day. Maybe the bride wants to be the one to shoot the Stag!
Some concepts that have come up in the past are:
> The Stag needs to stand still on the paintball field and dodge whilst someone shoots him. This person is the unwitting bride who is blindfolded and thinks she is trying to hit a target, with everyone cheering her on and giving her directions to correct her fire. It’s a pretty cool crossover.
> Bridal team vs Stag team challenge in the middle of the trip.
> Are you going to do a scavenger hunt? Maybe the bridal party and the grooms party will meet at the end and you can leave the couple together.
Make sure you are prepared. The worst thing is for your stag to get hypothermia, an injury or die. Definitely pack him some spare clothes, have a water bottle and keep an emergency blanket in your supplies.
It’s always good to have a first aid kit with one of your team members too. Sometimes you can incorporate this into his challenges - it might be his magic bag. Drinking is fun, but as the organiser you need to make sure he doesn’t pass out. Some of the best Stag Dos are when everyone is sober and you can make the challenges really exceptional.
OUR BACKGROUND FOR WRITING THIS
We have seen thousands of Stag Dos at Paintball Corp. I’m married myself, I have attended many and been a best man to a few as well. I understand the difficulty in planning them and the stress it imposes sometimes. The huge number I have seen has also given me a great idea of what works really well and what flops entirely.
The biggest thing to keep in mind is to make sure there are enough people there and everyone who matters is present. Is your groom's best friend his sister? Maybe she should come. It would be abnormal but it’s something you should consider when planning the event.
Your event should be fun regardless, but it’s the people that will make it fun, so make sure you don't miss anyone out.