That Last Big Fling: Hen And Stag Parties

The wedding day is just around the corner. Your pals want to join you in one last big fling celebrating the end of your days as a single person. Yes, it’s time for the hen and stag parties!

Back in the day, it was enough to have one big night before the wedding rolled around. Today, though, hen and stag parties have bloomed into a weekend or even a week in advance of the ceremony.

Whatever the length of the event, the focus is on the bride-to-be at a hen party and on the groom-to-be at a stag party. The best man and groomsmen are in charge of organizing the stag party, while the maid or matron of honor and bridesmaids take care of the hen party. The attitude is all about having fun with the people nearest and dearest to the bride and the groom.

Two things will govern the choice of stag and hen parties: budget and theme. For budget, typically the friends of the happy couple provide for the event, although some more affluent couples give the events as part of their gifts to the wedding party, especially if it's a weekend or weeklong trip. If the hen or stag party is a one-night event, then it’s a good idea for the respective organizers to touch base with other participants and agree mutually on a per-person cost, which should include a portion of the event costs for the bride-to-be and the groom-to-be.

Next is to decide on the theme for the event, and here the choices are virtually endless. The only limits to a hen or stag party are the interests of the guests of honour.

When it comes to a stag party, it’s hard to go wrong with a sports theme. A weekend trip to another city for football, golf, skiing or other sports can be the ideal guys’ time away. Other activities for stag parties have included such things as paintball, hover crafting, clay pigeon shooting, indoor or off-road karting, quad biking, white water rafting, and even “special agent” role-playing events.

For the hen party, not much beats a VIP girls’ night out. No hanging about the rope this night, ladies! The venue could be a comedy club, a karaoke club, on a nightclub tour on board a double-decker bus, or a live music show featuring with male exotic dancers. You could even try for a “talent idol” weekend to record a pop song with the “girl group.”

Then there’s always the risque aspect of a stag or hen party. There’s just something about the last night or weekend as a single person that juices up a hen or stag party for some good-natured flexing and flirting. Stag parties have long had a tradition of some female burlesque, but hen parties these days can go in for pole dancing, cheerleading, “Charlie’s Angels” or “Bond girls.”

Nowadays there are even more exotic hen and stag party themes, such as a “Bollywood” experience, the thrill of doing the “hippy-hippy-shake” with some cocktail training, or a “chocoholics dream” filled with the luscious aromas and tastes of chocolate.

Among the popular sites in the U.K. for stag and hen parties are the beach and bars of Brighton, the clubs of Bristol, a punt-and-pub weekend in Oxford, sailing from Southampton or sampling the night life in Nottingham. With a well-managed budget, a hen or stag party can travel to Prague, Barcelona, Budapest, Amsterdam or even as far as New York City or Las Vegas.

The hen and stag party is a major rite of passage, so pull out all the stops and have a ball!