A “stag and doe” party – otherwise known as a stag and drag, hen and stag, buck and doe or a Jack and Jill – is a great way for the soon-to-be-wed couple to fundraise. The money raised can either go towards the cost of the wedding, or a comfortable nest egg for when the couple starts their lives together.
How to Prepare for a Stag and Doe
The stag and doe takes place soon after the bridal shower and 4-6 weeks before the wedding. Planning responsibilities fall on the bridesmaids, groomsmen and maybe a few other close friends or family. Compared to the bridal shower, the stag and doe is very low-maintenance. There’s no dress code, and with the exception of some games, there are no formalities or traditions that you’re supposed to follow.
Great venues are community/recreation centres, legions, cultural clubs or even sporting arenas. Make sure that it has a capacity of at least 100 people and, more importantly, a valid liquor license. A cost-effective alternative is hosting the stag at a barn or field property of a friend or family member. Stag and does are meant to be at least a little bit country!
The wedding party is in charge of organizing the stag and doe and selling tickets (priced at $5-$10) to as many people as possible. As the point of the party is to raise money for the couple, there should be no limit to your guest list. Send out fun-natured hard copy and e-mail invites, and don’t be afraid to pick up the phone.
To help get the word out, you can also make a Facebook event and invite people from the couple’s “Friends” lists. Feel free to invite people that wouldn’t necessarily be invited to the wedding. That being said, use your discretion to avoid any uncomfortable situations.
How to Dress and Decorate at a Stag and Doe
A minimalist approach is best when decorating for a stag and doe party. As it’s not really meant to be a “classy” event, a few banners, confetti and balloons here and there are all that’s needed. Pictures of the couple should be posted around the room – try making an evolving timeline of their relationship. It makes for a great conversation starter. Go cheesy, or go home.
The bridal party and groomsmen run the show. Typically, the bride and groom are only meant to mingle and celebrate with their guests but on the rare occasion, they can also work the event. Either way, it’s important that the wedding party wear outfits that make them stand out from the crowd.
The bridesmaids, or other female friends working the event, should wear personalized t-shirts. Same goes for the groomsmen. The two teams will be working throughout the night to run games and distribute drinks. If guests need help, you’re the first person they’ll run to.
What to Serve at a Stag and Doe
As stag and does are evening events, don’t worry about serving full-on meals. Depending on your budget, you can serve some late-night pub fare or light appetizers. Besides games, drinks are the most lucrative aspect of a stag and doe. To make good money without charging an arm and a leg, keep drink costs between $2-$5. Most venues offer liquor and bar tending services, but if you’re on personal property, try to purchase as much discounted alcohol as you can and keep the drinks simple.
If there’s no professional bartender on staff, the wedding party can take rotating shifts serving drinks. Other bridesmaids or groomsmen can walk around serving drinks to people. No prior waitressing experience required.
What to Play at a Stag and Doe
Games are a great way to entertain your guests and raise money for the happy couple. Here are a few classic Stag and Doe traditions:
Near the entrance, sell tickets at a set price of $2 or $3 to guests as they walk in. All money collected from the raffle is put into a jar. Draw the winning ticket a few hours into the party. The winner splits the cash with the couple.
Purchase several collections of low-cost items, with maybe one or two pricier gifts in the mix. Keep it diverse – ex. a collection of wine glasses or a tote bags for the ladies, and a beer carrier or golf bag for the guys. Guests place their bids in boxes in front of their gift of choice. After the auction closes, the prize goes to the highest bidder.
This game is for anyone who’s wanted to throw a pie in the bride or groom’s face. Set out two jars labeled “Bride” and “Groom,” respectively. Encourage guests to drop money in the jar belonging to the person they’d like to see get “pied.” At the end of the night, the lucky one with the most money in his/her jar gets a pie thrown at them by his/her fiancée.
This is one game where guests DO NOT want to win. As guests walk in, ask if they’d like to purchase “goldfish insurance” at a low price of $1 or $2. If they say yes, drop their names into a bowl labeled “yes.” If they say no, do the same but place their names in a “no” bowl. Later on, draw a name from the “no” bowl – the lucky winner has to eat a live goldfish that you’ve hidden under the table. If that’s too extreme, substitute the goldfish for something else unappealing.
Toonie or Loonie Toss
Pick prizes that you know would appeal to your guests (necklaces, beer mugs, a case of beer, gift baskets, etc.) Place the items on the floor, and draw a line around 10 ft. away. Guests then have to take turns sliding their coins (loonies or toonies only) towards the prize. At the end of the night, the person with the closest coin wins!
Hammer and Nail Tournament
This tournament of strength requires a large log, a box of nails and a few hammers. Offer a buy-in price of $2-$5 to compete, and whoever wins splits the pot with the bride and groom. Guests face off against each other in a race to see who can hammer their nail into the log the fastest. Alternately taking turns, the first winner to get their nail flush in the wood wins.
If you’re not serving drinks, you can help run the games. Use your best Bob Barker voice to entice guests to play, and use carnie tactics to get them to stay. They should be happy to give you their money. After all, you’re all there for one purpose – to support the bride and groom.
As the party comes to an end, it’s time to start cleaning up. Don’t let the bride and groom lift a finger. Call cabs or arrange for responsible, sober drivers to bring your guests home. With any luck (and lots of hard work), you’ve raised enough money for the bride and groom to breathe easier about the wedding and, more importantly, their future.