How do you plan an LGBTQ stag-do?
If one of your close friends is getting married, you’re going to need to think about a stag-do. Depending on what part of the world you’re in, you might refer to this kind of celebration as a buck’s party, or a bachelor party, but for the purposes of this article we’re going to go with stag-do.
The stag-do is an interesting tradition. Essentially, it’s a chance to celebrate a guy’s last moments of freedom as a single man before submitting to the perceived restrictions of married life.
Traditionally, the male friends of the groom-to-be get together, ensure that the groom-to-be is as drunk as possible, and then look for ways to completely humiliate him.
Putting aside the philosophical and political debate as to whether an LGBTQ embrace of the stag-do tradition is a bold step forward for equality, or an example of internalised homophobia translating as heteronormative aspiration, the reality is that marriage equality inevitably brings with it some time-honoured pre-wedding rituals. Don’t over-think it, just roll your sleeves up and get involved.
Thankfully, most stag-dos that we’ve attended seem to have moved on from the excessive drinking and ritual humiliation, but organising a group of people to do anything remains a bit of a challenge – wherever you are in the world.
Here’s a quick check-list to help you ensure that you’re fulfilling your obligations.
While most grooms-to-be will be happy to have some elements of surprise as part of their stag-do, it’s sensible to have at least an initial consultation to make sure that you’re not completely missing the mark in terms of the event that you’re organising.
Get a broad idea of the type of weekend that your friend would enjoy, the kind of people that they want to be part of it, and anything that’s definitely off-limits. This initial framework will at least give you a good starting point for your planning, or enable you to cross some options off the Excel spreadsheet that you’re inevitably building.
One of the complexities of the LGBTQ stag-do is that some couples may want to combine their pre-wedding celebrations, to have a joint event. There is some logic to this – chances are they will have mutual friends – but a joint stag-do should be avoided if at all possible. This isn’t the engagement party – this is when the groom-to-be’s closest friends get together for a final bonding experience before things are changed forever by the dynamics of marriage.
The guest list
This can be tricky, especially if your groom-to-be has a broad circle of friends or lots of different groups of friends that haven’t really mixed previously.
While your guests don’t all have to know each other before the event, it’s essential that you have a group that are all going to be on the same page in terms of activities undertaken and the general vibe that you’re going for.
Try and limit the group to around ten people, and ruthlessly exclude anyone who you think won’t enjoy what you’ve got planned. It’s fine to mix genders, or you might have a mix of straight people and queer people, but try and ensure that you’ve got a group of people who are going to gel, have some fun, and ensure that the groom-to-be has a great time.
For many people, a stag-do is a great opportunity for a mini-break abroad somewhere. This can definitely add to the experience, but does create an additional layer of complexity in terms of the logistics.
Try and keep things as simple as possible. Short flights, easy transfers, walking distance to key activities wherever possible.
You’ll also need somewhere that has easy access to alcohol, and ideally easy access to some sort of queer bar or club. Somewhere warm and sunny is ideal – think a villa on Mykonos rather than a remote cottage in the Cotswolds.
You need to choose activities that everyone in the group can be part of and that are also fun to do. Try and avoid choosing activities that are solely based on drinking – there’s bound to be plenty of that regardless.
White-water rafting is a good way for the group to work together, horse-riding is good fun, a drag queen make-up tutorial will give you some laughs, or something more sedate like a wine and food tasting course. It doesn’t really matter what you do, as long as you’re doing something together that everyone can enjoy.