What do you need for a stag night? Some mates, some booze, some t-shirts with the grooms’ face on them, a 40 foot long stretch hummer, tickets to Monte Carlo for the Grand Prix and Dita Von Teese as a stripper. Stag dos are getting seriously expensive. What was once a quick cheap stag night out on the town has become an overnight stay in some foreign country, with entertainment laid on. Add this onto an equally expensive wedding with travel and over-nights and it can get quite unaffordable. You can be left with the scenario of friends not attending the stag because it’s too expensive or even worse attending the stag and not the wedding. The most important thing is that everyone’s there and is comfortable. There’s even a rumour that Henry VIII chopped his wives heads off because he was finally hoping to have a stag where all his mates could make it.
So how can you have a stag on a budget without losing any of the fun?
1. Stay in the UK
A few years ago it was still feasible to travel abroad for a cheap stag. Countries like Poland and the Czech Republic were just joining the European Union. There were no euros and sterling was strong. Hop on a Sleazy Jet and look forward to spending a cheap weekend in a beautiful city, with gorgeous women and irresistibly cheap beer. Sorry, but most of those countries are now firmly in the EU and they’re no longer cheap. The euro and the weak pound means the beer is so expensive you’ll be trying to smuggle your own home brew in with you (and probably end up in Guantanamo Bay). And whereas the ladies may be beautiful, they’re probably no longer going to be impressed by your massive pay packet.
You may try more exotic locales such as Bangkok, but they’ll even more efficiently divide you from your earnings. About the only affordable option is an “experience trip” to some area not quite exploited by the stag and tourism world. Except that as you get off Air Mongolia and approach the nearest Yurt, expecting cheap stag nights of fermented horse milk and throat singing, a surprise awaits. You pull back the flap to find an English pub selling Stella and the local throat singers performing the hits of Bruno Mars.If the groom suggests a more European capital such as Dublin or Helsinki, run.He is obviously an international arms/drugs dealer or planning to marry one.
2. If You’re Staying in the UK
Of course the UK isn’t necessarily any cheaper. Train fares in the UK can be higher than flights to some parts of Europe. And the Metropolitan police recently hired a werewolf hunter after hearing tales of strange howling in the Kings Cross area. Turns out it was the sound of thousands of northerners going “How much for a pint?”.
So find somewhere interesting, fairly local and at a time that’s affordable. Shop around for good prices on bed and breakfasts if you’re staying over. Cities as varied as Hull, Portsmouth and Birmingham all have reputations for having excellent night life, without the eye watering costs of London or Manchester. Of course an easier option is just stick locally. You know the area, or maybe there’s a bit you’ve never been to?
Also pay attention to the costs of pubs, etc. Do your research. Of course don’t take it too far. There’s few worse stags than sitting around the best man’s house sipping cans of beer, whilst his mum taps her foot and makes hints that “isn’t it time you lot left and got arrested for stealing traffic cones already?”
3. Be a Feminist
Stags have a long and ancient history of naughty shenanigans, from surprise strippers to nights at lap dancing clubs. Except it’s like it’s in the past when your dad and granddad went to strip clubs. It was an era when a glimpse of Barbara Windsor’s side boob, or Robert Asquith humping a Dr Who companion with his pants on was the height of pornography. Now with Channel 5 and the internet, it’s a bit passé. And it’s expensive, very expensive watching a depressed student with a massive overdraft, or an East European émigré who thought she was getting a job at ASDA dancing away with a grimace. IT is as erotically charged as it is also ridiculously expensive. You might as well just chuck your wallet in the fire. Offensive and expensive? This is a stag, night not the premier league!
So read the Guardian for a week and lecture your fellow stag nighters; about how offensive and demeaning it is to women to watch them dancing about in the altogether. Remind them that all those poor women are someone’s daughter, sister or mother. If that doesn’t work, tell them how expensive a night at Spearmint Rhinos is. And if that doesn’t work, tell them you’re bringing a camera and would you like them to link their daughter, sisters or mothers to the album?
4. Play Hard, Pay Smart
Stag nights are like so many things being taken over by the sentimentality industry. Soon you’ll be expected to buy your girlfriend a card for the first time you groped her at the cinema. Or your old school bully a card shaped like a toilet to commemorate when he first flushed your head down the bog. And stag weekends are just as bad. So dodge any of these value added taxes if you can. If you go paintballing, don’t announce it’s a stag. Or they’ll double the price, call it a “stag experience” and give you one bottle of fizzy Lambrini and probably make you use pink paint pellets, which makes it even worse. Don’t hire costumes. That’s just paying about a £100 to look like a wally. Make it a rule that if it’s fancy dress, it’s DIY costumes. It’s much more fun and much cheaper, and potentially far more entertaining. It also avoids awkward questions about why the groom’s dad has a top to tail, pink, rubber gimp suit “just for laughs.”
Cheap Stag Nights
In general you’ll probably find the cheaper and simpler the evening the more fun. A relaxed pre-stag drink at home may be easier than hitting the pubs straight away, a relaxed dinner and a couple of pubs more fun than a hectic attempt to “do a monopoly board crawl.” Besides you wouldn’t want to end up overshadowing the wedding, now would you?