If you’re reading this, then like me, you probably want to organise the best stag do ever for your mate, his friends and family.

Well, the stag weekend I organised has finally happened (literally just!) and at the moment I’m sitting on a train (feeling, unexpectedly, pretty good) slowly making my way back to London.

This is a first time I’ve been anyone’s ‘best man’ and needed to organise a stag do and it was brilliant! As the worried organiser, I’m really pleased with how the whole weekend went, everybody, most importantly the groom really enjoyed it.

Well, now it’s over, I want to share the lessons I’ve learnt from this experience to help those who are also new to planning stag do weekends. These tips are a starting point for organisers to think about, giving you something to work from and make into your own.

1. Who is going?

Before you do anything, find out from the groom who he wants at the stag do. Don’t just ask for names and the amount of guests, get phone numbers and email addresses. Setting up an email group early on might save you time and confusion later on.

2. Who are they?

If you don’t know the guests that well, find out what they’re like from the groom. Try and get as much information as you can, which you can use to find the most suitable options and will help you make decisions.

3. When should we go?

Choose a couple of suitable dates for the stag do with the groom. Send potential dates in an intro email to all guests and ask them to indicate if there are any they can’t make.

Pick the most popular date from the responses – when doing this remember that you can’t always please everybody, but just check with the groom to make sure those he considers essential, can make it. When you have a suitable date, send a ‘we have a date…’ email to everybody (asap) so that they don’t plan something else.

The image is a copy of the intro invite I sent to all the guests. Some colleagues from work put this together for me to send out.

4. Who should organise the stag do?

You need to decide whether you go it alone or ask an agency to organise your event. This is completely up to you and I guess it mainly depends on how long the stag do is for and how well you know the destination you going too (if you already have one).

I decided to get help from a colleague who specialises in organising Stag Dos even though I have access to exactly the same database. I mainly did this for his expertise, such as a good format for the weekend and help selecting the most suitable locations for our group with all the best places and activities each location has to offer. Putting all this together for three different locations is quite a mission and dealing with one person rather than several is much easier. My colleague organises thousands of these events each year, so there is rest-of-mind that the recommendations will be good and things that are easily forgotten, won’t be.

The company I work for is Chillisauce Events, if you would like an agency to help you organise your event.

5. Where are you going?

Selecting a location can be a tough job, the first question to answer is, do you stay in the UK or go overseas? There are so many brilliant locations to go and each place offers something different.

I asked my colleague/event organiser to send me three destinations (in the UK) that he would go to if he was someone’s best man and put together a package for each location. We picked Edinburgh.

6. What are you going to do?

Every location offers something different and what you do while you’re there depends on the places and activities available in that area, or if you have a particular activity that you want to do, you can search for locations that offer that activity. Bear-in-mind that larger size groups get better per person rate, so the more the merrier.

We went to a comedy night and a club on the first evening followed by white water rafting on the second day. That evening we did some whiskey tasting and then went to a selection of bars and clubs.

I picked white water rafting as the main activity for a couple of reasons; Scotland is an awesome place to do it, it’s the type of activity where guests aren’t just hanging around waiting, and it is unusual (no one in our group had done it before).

7. Where are you going to stay?

We hired an apartment which was only a five minute taxi ride from the city centre. This meant that everybody was together for the entire time and we saved money at the beginning of each night, by buying drinks from the local shop to have before we went out, and it was brilliant because we did things like played the wii and poker.

However, apartments aren’t the only answer there are plenty of other options such as city centre hotels and hostels – and it’s your job to work out which is most suitable for your group, consider any extra costs like taxis, but this doesn’t tend to be that much when it is divided by loads of you.

8. Should I consult the groom, or not?

I decided to involve the groom from the beginning, and presented him with different options so he could pick what he wanted us to do. Some people decide to keep everything a surprise – if you do this I would just pick a couple of people in the group to help you make decisions rather than consult everybody, ‘to many chefs’.

9. How much does a stag do cost?

Rather than ask guests how much they can afford I would work find out how much it costs first, and test that with the group – make sure you explain what they’re getting for their money. See what people say, if anyone says it’s out of their price range then look at ways to reduce the costs.

10. What do I do about booking and paying for it?

I would suggest keeping people up-to-date at every stage, and email round with deadlines for deposits and full payments as soon as you get them. You’ll probably need to do some chasing, so don’t leave this until the last moment to do this, any problems let the groom know – he knows them better.

11. What about getting there?

Rather than taking on the responsibility of the travel to the stag do (because costs vary so much) book yours and the stags once enough people have shown enough interest, and just let everyone know who you booked with and how you booked, what time you booked the plane, train or coach and how much it costs. The easiest thing to do is send a link.

12. What does everybody need to take?

Find out exactly what you need for the activities you are doing, such as extra towels, old clothes and trainers, write a list for yourself and then send that list to everybody.

13. Where should we meet?

Decide on a meeting point and time and ensure everyone knows about it. Also, make sure everyone has the address to the accommodation, in case they’re making their own way there.

Good luck!

michael

Michael Chidzey is the chief juicer of eventjuice and heads up marketing at Chillisauce, an event company based in London, UK. He also blogs on several websites and is a visiting lecturer in events management at London Metropolitan University.Follow Michael on Twitter @michaelchidzey

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