Stag and hen nights are a great way for us to symbolically put our single lifestyles to rest before committing to the changes in priorities and values that marriage often necessitates. Here are a few tips to make yours work for you.
1. Set some rules
Stag and hen parties are generally supposed to be fertile grounds for messiness and mayhem, but it’s still a good idea to sit down with your partner some days or weeks before the date to decide on the ground rules. Once these have been decided, relay them to your friends and ask them to go along with your decision. This way, when your friends show up with a bag of fireworks, five bottles of tequila, a video-camera and a surprisingly well-made effigy of your father in law, you’ll be able to say “Hey guys, remember what we talked about?…”.
2. Give as good as you get
The best form of defense is attack. There’s a good chance your friends have some kind of prank lined up for you and it’s crucial that you handle this like a good sport… unless of course the fun and games get really out of hand. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t plan a little retaliation. Feel free to plan a few surprises of your own to get your back on mischievous friends who you pretty much know will have something embarrassing in store for you.
3. Never leave a man or woman behind
There are few things that can throw a dampener on a party more than having people there who aren’t enjoying themselves or who somehow prevent you from having fun yourself. Perhaps some of your friends just aren’t the type to enjoy the wild night you have in mind, or you might be feeling obligated to invite some prudish member of your partners family to the night. Let’s face it, you don’t want to be partying while your future wife’s awkward brother stares on in blank disapproval, do you? One solution would be to hold two parties, one tame one for your quieter friends, and one mad one for the rest. Alternatively, you could get a couple of friends to help out by making a quiet guest feel comfortable and helping them to get involved.
4. What happens at the party, stays at the party
This is a relatively big deal for some people, and not a big deal at all for others. It all kind of depends on things like what sort of job you have, your in-laws, and your partner. Chances are that unless you specifically ask your friends not to, they will plaster the internet with photos, videos and status updates from the night. If you’re a court judge or a pediatric surgeon then it might not be a good idea for your entire network of contacts to see you chugging down a pint of gin with your shirt on fire, so plan ahead. Let your crew know that uploading photos of the night where the public can see them is not a good idea… but do set up a private group on Facebook where they can share some illicit snaps the next day, because let’s face it, you still totally want to remember the madness.
5. It’s okay to feel nostalgic and a little sad, for like a second
You’re getting married and that means that a part of your life is moving out so that a new part can move in. The old part had plenty of great stuff in it and you’re sad to see that go. The days when you answered to no-one, the spontaneous encounters, the meandering course of romantic life; these were things you got a kick out of at one time or another… and now they seem banished to the past. But hey, so what? Also being banished to the past are many of your insecurities, uncertainties and lack of direction. You’re trading UP, not down. To hell with your wild and crazy days, let’s face it, you’ve probably outgrown them anyway. And unless you want to become that over-the-hill person who shows up to parties about ten years too late, you’re better off putting the past in the past and letting nights like these become ‘an occasional thing’.