There'll be many weddings this year, which also means many stag dos, so there's every chance you'll be invited to at least one. Celebrating a good mate's last days of freedom is an honour and a privilege, but it can also be an occasion to be endured as much as enjoyed.
Eh? Why endured? Well there's the prodigious drinking of course and maybe three days away. Then there are the 'hilarious' costumes, the embarrassing exploits, and the very real possibility you'll be persuaded to do something you don't really want to do.
So yes, let's face facts. Stag dos can be brilliant, but sometimes they are to be endured as much as enjoyed. To ensure you make it back to civilisation with body and soul intact, read our stag do survival guide.
They used to last an evening, but now they're as likely to last a weekend. And where once the local pub was considered a reasonable venue, today stag parties chunder their way across the continent.
So, to say the obvious, you'll probably drink a lot and spend a pile of cash. In preparation, have a few completely booze-free days to prepare your body for the alcoholic onslaught, and if necessary enjoy a few weeks of economy-living to save up the requisite dosh.
You might need to book a restaurant. You should certainly book a hotel. Some hotels frown upon large same sex groups so look around and get it done nice and early.
If you have any part in the planning of the trip, and especially if you're the best man, take heed of the wise words of Keith White of stag organisers The Stag Company
"The first thing to bear in mind, if you're unmarried, is that if you stitch up the stag the repercussions could be horrendous. The more you cling film him to lampposts, strip him naked or hire painted blue dwarfs to handcuff themselves to him for the weekend, the worse it will be for you on your own stag do."
It's not just the best man who has to be worried. If you're part of the conspiracy, you're setting a precedent that could come back to haunt you. Make the stag do fun, but make sure the stag enjoys it for the right reasons.
Oh, and Keith wasn't joking about the dwarf.
An entire weekend is a long time to spend in the pub, so do something else for a while. "Try to steer the group away from early afternoon drinking or your night will end about 11pm with everyone sleeping in the pub toilet," says Keith. "An activity is vital as it diverts attention away from the drinking."
It doesn't matter what the activity is paintballing, mud-buggy racing, visiting sites of historical interest (yeah right!) schedule one for Saturday afternoon. But not Saturday morning. Whatever it is, make sure it doesn't start at 8am. After a Friday night which you all claim is going to be the 'quieter' night, there's every chance you'll be seriously hungover," says Keith.
Eat regularly and eat well. In particular eat well before your big Saturday night. It's a good idea to book a restaurant for Saturday evening (or persuade the best man to book one) so there's a good 90 minutes of the evening not devoted to mindless quaffing and to make sure everyone has a decent feed to soak up the booze.
You do need to book, though. If 15 lads turn up unannounced "especially if one of your group is dressed in a skirt and has his hands Sellotaped together," says Keith there's every chance you'll get turned away.
It doesn't stay on the stag
Staying sober or at least somewhere short of blotto will also help to ensure you don't do anything you really don't want to.
Strippers, casinos, even massage parlours they all make a mint from drunk stag parties. If there's anything that others in the party want to do that you feel uncomfortable with, just say you're staying in the bar. Make this clear to the best man beforehand if you think something might be on the cards you don't want to be part of.
There's absolutely no reason you have to risk your relationship, your savings or your health as well. And if you refuse to do something you don't want to do, you'll probably find many of the others will join you.
OK, maybe 'sensibly' is not the right word. But you really don't have to drink to the point of collapse, and you really can say no when the shots come out. Some basic advice: eat snacks like peanuts while you're drinking. Drink water between beers to stop yourself from dehydrating. If you're drinking beer, stick to beer the more different tipples you imbibe the worse your hangover will be.
If you get to the point where you're being presented with more drinks than you can handle, you're almost certainly at that point in the evening when hiding one or two behind a plant pot can be achieved without anyone noticing.
Don't carry on drinking if you know you've had enough. It's not big, it's not manly, and you don't want to be the unconscious reveller they all decide to write graffiti on later.
Follow these tips and you can enjoy a weekend away with the lads, without worrying about the consequences. Stag dos really can be about enjoyment, not endurance.
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