The Man Guide: Planning A Stag Do
July 5, 2015 5163 Views

The Man Guide: Planning A Stag Do

 

The Stag Do: How To Do It RIght

Your mate’s getting married.

There’s been the obligatory Facebook status, with 246 likes.

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Yep, there are Pinterest boards on Facebook-Engagement-Post-Strategy….

There’s been the stories of renewed pressure from other mates’ girlfriends. There’s been that in-retrospect-WTF pub chat amongst you about “who’s next” as if you’re all due to jump into the enemy trenches, not into long term commitments. There’s been a quiet word advised against the possibility of  “having the wedding in Mauritius” as, it’s a nice idea. But then, so is oil. They’re both just a bit pricey for others involved.

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He’s been your best friend for years. But swear to god, if he thinks your flying to the  f*cking Seychelles for his wedding….

But it isn’t all fun, one of you has a serious challenge ahead.

The Stag Do

Stag Dos occupy a curious place in popular culture. Despite the fact it can probably be taken as read you’ve been going out with your mates for years, this one event has all the hallmarks of losing your virginity. There’s an immense amount of build up, there’s going to be a huge amount of advice volunteered from all sorts of sources, and every one of your mates has “Oh yeah, been on a few myself”. No pressure, but this is the most important event, ever, and all subsequent events will be entirely pegged against it. Apparently. You’ve learned all this recently, as it’s just been announced that you are organising the Stag Do.

Help is at hand. We’re aware we’re just another voice offering another bit of male wisdom. But then again, we have built an entire magazine on exactly that so, just sayin. We are that mate who’s “been on a few”, but we have the banned-photographic-evidence and the skimmed credit card to prove it.

Stage 1: Planning

Destination: Abroad, Because It’s Cheaper

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Wroclaw. Though our first choice was a pub crawl up the local high street, obvs.

The Roman Empire would’ve been a lot more boring if it stopped at Milan, and no one really remembers the Medieval Crusades To Norfolk. That aside, the primary reason to go abroad is that it’s cheaper. A big night out in London or any other UK city – including the obligatory meals, trips to strip clubs, bar crawls and clubs will cost more than a weekender abroad – inclusive of flights.

Picking your destination is simple. You don’t.

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 You go to Skyscanner several months before the proposed trip. You set Destination to Anywhere. You sit back, and wait for the <£60 flights.

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 Timing

 Go Early Spring, or Winter time. Summer becomes a veritable minefield of other people’s holidays, getting time off work and inflated flight prices.

 Go Friday morning – Sunday afternoon. That way you only have to book one half day off of work.

 Flights: £50-80

 

 Accommodation

 If our experience is anything to go by, you’ll be going somewhere in East Europe. We’d personally recommend Poland: particularly – from our own experience – Krakow, Poznan, Warsaw or Wroclaw.

Take a look at Trivago. Crucially, remember that the price-per-night is effectively the full price you’ll pay (If it’s £40 a night, that’s all you’ll pay for the trip) as you can share twin rooms. Go for something Walking Distance (that’s less than 0.7 miles) from the city centre. East European cities are usually built around one Old Town central square, and you’ll want to be near that. That way, you’re walking distance from everything.

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 Apartments Vs Hotel. Apartments will allow you to pre-game. But a deposit will be required, and someone may well lose out…

 Accommodation:  £35-60

 Stage 2: Guestlist

Picking the jury who will witness your friend’s descent into drunken introspection / a stripper named Inna can be a challenge. There will likely be a list of individuals who, when they get wind of this, will want to be involved. First up: numbers. You want to have enough guys that this feels like an occasion, but not so many it becomes a logistical mission to move them anywhere. Opt for 7-15 as an optimum. A few ground rules:

-2/3rds of the group should already be mates. Stag parties that involve the Stag’s four friendship groups from school, uni, work and football can start to feel disjointed. As the man in charge, be brutal about this. You want to pick the best few, not an extended friendship list.

-Anyone that “needs some time to check with the girlfriend” to be automatically disbarred. Poss murdered.

-Stag’s fiance’s random male friends are a no, unless the Stag is legitimately good friends with them.

Stage 3: Booking

Men, are flaky. A weird combination of machismo and fear of failure perhaps, but at any rate, we’re a race of mostly sayers, aspiring to be doers. What you need then, is critical weight. As primary organiser, you’ll need 2-3 people you’ve kept in the loop from day 1 RE: flights & accommodation. When you’re ready your inner group book flights and accommodation individually, the same day, along with clumping together for the Stag. This means you now have five people confirmed on the stag do. You then inform everyone else of the flight details, and the accommodation, and point out the prices have already gone up £3 since you booked. Make some vague references to “Something rather…..big planned with two or three…”clubs”….” to move the hysteria along.

Essential: You all book individually. That way no one’s out of pocket, and there’s none of that awkward “Book my accom and I’ll buy you like 8 pints” when you arrive. If he hasn’t paid. He isn’t coming. End of.

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The £4 you pay for the obligatory 7am outward bound Bloody Mary is the most expensive drink you buy all weekend. That’s our promise. 

Stage 4: Once You’re There

 It’s on, it’s happening, and a small busload of you are off for a weekender in a foreign country. Now, for you my friend, the real work begins.

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As early as 1918s, Stag Do’s enforced the “Stag wears a girl’s outfit” rule.

 

Make a schedule of fun.

Just ask club photographers, drunk people are impatient. Make no mistake, whilst it’s in no way fair or just – if a club doesn’t let everyone in, if that bar closes early, it’s going to be your fault. Similarly, if people are at any second bored, they’ll start telling their mates they’re bored, then you have a mutiny on your hands, which 9 times out of 10 leads to the douchiest group member assuming authority and dragging the group to the first bar they come to, which is usually rubbish. So – have a plan.

This is actually very straightforward. Google search “clubs and bars in -” whichever city you’re going to. Then search in Google Maps. Make a shortlist of the venues within walking distance of your hotel and each other, then check out their various websites / social media for some verification to narrow down. Some good practices:

  • Image search the names of certain clubs – get a feel for the kind of crowd
  • Learn how to speak club. “Exclusive” means expensive. “Elite” means difficult door policy. “Crazy / fun / wild” means sausage-fest. Avoid anything that says they “Love Stag Parties”. They don’t. They love selling you triple-price shots.
  • Local European websites like “In Your Pocket” are good. TripAdvisor is not.

Pick four clubs, 4 pregame bars. You’re aiming to do one pre-game bar and one club per night, with a back up option on both. Enter your choices into Google maps. Voila! A Stag Do Map. Print these off and when you arrive, hand to the group.

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 Booking Clubs:

  • For big clubs, Book ahead. Always. Always tell the bouncer you booked ahead.
  • Every club website will have a reservation email.
  • You are not a stag do. You are in town for work. You are attending a conference. You and 8 other colleagues would like to celebrate a deal, and you’re looking to reserve a VIP table.
  • Don’t ask if there’s “free entry”. If you book a table, there is. But you know that, because you do this all the time, yes?
  • Don’t agree to put a deposit down. Explain you’re arriving individually into the country, and will pay in cash when you arrive. If they say no, book another club.

The usual deal is, a table is subject to minimum spend. Normally of maybe £150. But given that bottles of vodka are about £30 each, that’s all the money you’re going to spend all night.

 

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Once you get some initial inertia, keeping a group of drunk men moving is straightforward enough

 

A note on strip clubs:

For the most part, they’re awful. Even good strip clubs are essentially rubbish. You spend a ton of money and there’s never any sex. It’s like your after-high-school summer in Corfu compressed into 2 hours, with the same overall financial outlay. But, it is a Stag Do, so, it’s the Stag’s call. Give your mates the option in your Stag Do Map and let them decide.

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How It’s Going To Pan Out:

You’re there for 2 days. Friday night, Saturday day, Saturday night. Here’s how to pace it:

Friday early evening: You’ve arrived, possibly at different times. You’ve checked into the apartment / hotel. You need a warm-up. Head straight out. Find a pub, any pub in the main square and tell everyone they have 20 minutes to assemble there, last person buy a round of shots. That’ll get people moving. A big meal isn’t necessarily recommended, as you’ll all get sleepy – so just order rounds of chips. Now, you’re all still sober, and a few of you may not know each other, so have a round of drinking games ready. It may feel forced, but you need to get the action moving.

Friday night: This isn’t the main night, instead, it’s supposed to be a teaser of how epic Saturday will be. Besides, Friday is never as good or busy as Saturday anyway. When you do your research, make sure the best bars & clubs are on the Sat

Saturday Morning: This is a vital part of the trip. You are all going to be absolutely hanging. It is essential you have people up and moving by midday-ish. Organise a mass fry-up somewhere (This can be in little 3s or 4s) There usually isn’t any need to book, there’s loads of cafe/restaurants on the main square and they’ll be quiet at this time, Make sure everyone does at least one pint. Enforce on the grounds of being “massive lads” etc, but this ensures everyone gets drunk again. Drunk people = happy people = people that aren’t going to complain and sneak back to bed.

Saturday Day: Everyone who goes on a stag will claim “we’re going to drink all day on Saturday”. You will, but you need to plan it around something. Otherwise, you be surprised how slowly the day goes when you start drinking at 2pm, just waiting to hit the bars around 10.

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Jack always knows when he’s tired as he begins emitting that strange blue glow. 

Daytime Schedule Of Fun

  • Heads up – Paintball, Go Karting, etc is charged at UK prices (£50 / person) IF you go through a “Poland Stag Do” or equivalent website. Instead – when booking the accommodation – ask them – they’ll be able to book for local prices.
  • Don’t underestimate the drunken hilarity of a treasure hunt / pub quiz. Delegate the planning of this to a trusted mate before the trip. Give them a map of the city centre and tell them to draw up a pub-crawl-race of two teams based on clues from signs on the main square, etc. This costs you nothing (apart from the pints) and is more original than the above.

 

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A group of wasted Englishman pursuing a London-based schedule of fun.

Saturday Night: This is the big one.

Bars & Clubs –  A few things to consider:

  • You’re a group of drunk lads. That’s like kryptonite for most bars. So make it very clear that if anyone intends on getting knee deep in European poontang etc, you need to keep quiet in the queue, and let you and only you do the talking with bouncer.
  • The way clubs all over the world  work is thus: the bouncers may be lower down in terms of club management BUT they have non-negotiable, 100% say on if people are not allowed in the club. We’ve seen TV celebs not allowed into Kensington venues because the bouncer’s said they’re pissed. Table or no table. So don’t even try and argue. Instead, if you’re super polite to the bouncer, they’ll usually be helpful. If they say “no” ask them if there are any other bars they’d recommend, and “could we perhaps come back later on, if we come back in say groups of 2 or 3?” This will work 80% of the time. DON’T apologize or say anything like “I know we’re a bit pissed, but” as everyone that goes into a club at midnight is pissed anyway. Bouncers know that. It’ll be because you’re group is too big.
  • It’s a Stag Do. It’s a big moment in a man’s life. Guess what. As soon as you’re out in bars and clubs, it is not a stag do until you’re sat inside VIP with bottles in front of you. As far as the managers, bouncers and booking emails are concerned, it’s a work trip
  • Don’t believe the Eurotrash hype. European clubs are good. Good music, good vibe. As a result, turning up in a) trainers b) a gigantic penis costume c) matching t-shirts will not get you far. Dress like you’re heading out to a classy UK venue. Besides, you wanna pull, right?
  • Believe in the power of numbers. Buy bottles, they’re about £30 in most East European clubs. Don’t buy pints. Otherwise you may as well have “Engerland” tattooed on your forehead. When in Europe, your UK nationality must be like that homosexual experience you had as a teenager. You may remember it fondly, but if you intend to make new friends it musn’t be mentioned unless someone specifically asks.
  •  Hit the bars for about 10 and hit the club before midnight. But, just before midnight.

 

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Be prepared for serious manly bonding over the course of the weekend. Embrace it. Then never speak of it again.

 

For you personally. Be aware that you are going to be slightly stressed, being in a foreign country with a group of people, some of whom you don’t know that well that you’re now leading. It’s basically Vietnam with a rubbish soundtrack. Don’t get too pissed, as it’s when people are most pissed they’ll be asking you questions about what’s next on the tour – so make sure you keep it together. When you’re at the final club on both Friday/Saturday, feel free to get completely hammered, as for the next 9 hours until Sat/ Sun morning, you’re job’s done.

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Hey babe, I got ALL THESE DRUNK GUYS in here. I mean, that’s sort of impressive, right?

 When going home on Sunday. Book the taxis to the airport from the reception on the Sat. Give everyone a 30 min window (as in, “Taxis are here at 11am” when they’re due 11.30.) Stick to this, as when people inevitably arrive at 11.22, all is well.

Take as many pics as you want. But keep them on WhatsApp. Have an appropriately horrifying punishment for anyone that argues.

Logistics-

Flights: £50-80

Accomadation: £35-60

Taxis to airport  / Bus back: Approx £35

Spending-

Nights out: £60 x 2

Daytime drinks: £40 x 2 days

Door-Door all in cost = £320 – £375

 

You are a man. You have led fellow men to a far off land. You’re basically a fully fledged Viking.

NICE ONE

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