The sound of wedding bells becomes pretty deafening around this time of year, so were taking pity on the hapless best men and stressed-out maids of honour out there desperately trying to organise stag and hen weekends. Check out our no-nonsense group-planning tips, which should help you avoid tiffs, tears or traumas.
Planning a Stag Do or Hen Weekend: Things to Do
Plan Well Ahead
Consult with the bride or groom on possible dates and style of do, and give plenty of notice to the other guests. Some people have complex work and family commitments and will have to do a lot of negotiation to get away. Youll also need to allow for recovery time before the big day. Get names, phone numbers, email or Facebook contacts and suggest a few potential dates. Choose the one that most - and key guests - can attend.
Make the Budget Clear
Consider everyone youve invited, and dont price people out of the game if the head honcho really wants them to come. If youd rather not have the responsibility, delegate managing the finances to one of the more sensible members of your gang. They can also hold the kitty when youre away
Choose Your Accommodation Wisely
Stags and hens differ wildly on what makes a rockin pre-wedding break. Guys will probably want to focus on a centrally located, basic hotel in a lively city, or a big house within staggering distance of a good pub. Many gals like to make the hotel more of a destination in itself, booking into spa or pampering treatments as part of the itinerary.
With the bride or groom and other key players, consider your particular group and what will work best for you. Book this for everyone, rather than leaving it to individuals...and give clear deadlines for payment, well in advance.
Organise an Ice-Breaker
It may sound cringeworthy, but it's likely that many of your guests won't know each other. You could even get creative and prepare a cheeky hand-out featuring brief bios and everyone's mobile number in case anyone goes AWOL while you're away.
Be Prepared for the Unexpected
Make sure you have access to the internet while you're away so you can research last-minute venues or activities if necessary. And have some strategies up your sleeve for livening up a flagging do or diffusing tense situations.
Planning a Stag Do or Hen Weekend: Things Not to Do
Invite Too Many People
Ten to 15 is an ideal number to avoid splinter groups, factions and general chaos. You can arrange a cheaper, easier local night out for parents, aunts/uncles, bosses and more random guests.
Leave Travel Plans to the Last-Minute
You'll generally get lower prices if you book early, and always ask about group discounts. At Holiday Extras you can email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange airport hotel bookings of more than 13 rooms and lounges for groups of eight or more. Some airport lounges will not accept hen or stag parties, so always check this out before booking.
Specialist companies who sell stag and hen packages will remove a lot of the hassle of planning a stag do and they also have access to some good deals. Try The Stag Company and sister company Hen Heaven. Red Seven Leisure and Chilli Sauce are also useful websites for stag and hen party planning.
Play It by Ear
Organise your main daily events and dinner destinations in advance and distribute the itinerary so everyone knows the plan. This should ensure your weekend doesn't become an unstructured mess and will also help if people get split from the main group. Do remember to break up the heavy drinking with eating and other activities, and don't peak too early!
Expect Everyone to Know What to Bring
If there are dress codes, activities or accessories required, make sure you let everyone know exactly what they need to pack.
Leave the Groom or Bride to Deal with Problems
They'll be stressed enough as it is. You all want to have a good time, and it's your job to make it happen. Good luck!