It’s one of the most important roles a groom can ever assign, but also one of the most stressful for its incumbent. The Best Man must be friend, creator, administrative genius, storyteller, liaison and jester in one package for two completely different days – the stag do and the wedding itself.
Let’s put the wedding to one side and concentrate on the stag do, which is a balancing act of creating a glorious, unforgettable event that will be treasured by all involved for generations, and also a time to provide a platform for one of your best friends or family members to lapse into acts of bravado and light humiliation.
The stages of the stag do are these:
Rallying the troops
Getting the numbers assembled is a delicate balancing act – too few people could hurt the groom’s feelings, too many can be unwieldy and messy. Ultimately it’s up to the groom to decide who he wants to participate, so even if you detest his brother or friend you’ll have to stomach him for a weekend if the groom wants him there. If there are far too many potential participants you could always suggest two stag dos, where one is a meal for friends who didn’t quite make the cut for the main event. Get an email/mobile/Facebook list early and keep everyone in the loop.
Find out everyone’s preferences early, because the most difficult task is not usually the location or money, but the date of the actual event. Send out invitations for a date at some point near the wedding, but not too close – and definitely not the night before!
Be realistic – the groom might be desperate for the Caribbean or Vegas, but you’ll dramatically limit the number of people who will afford it. Similarly a weekend of paragliding and abseiling could preclude the less fit or brave.
The ideal scenario would be a blend of fun and games – one outdoor activity, perhaps – with drinking in an interesting venue. Quad biking, paintballing and golf are possible alternatives for any age, as are visits to casinos, breweries, restaurants and sporting events. The groom is really the only figure that really matters, and most true friends will put up with one activity that they don’t like for a true pal. If you’re struggling for novel ideas, this Pinterest site could help, featuring a Popemobile, a Jack the Ripper tour, zorbing and zombies.
The more you add, the more logistically difficult it all becomes – hence the rise of companies that arrange the entire experience, from attractions to hotel to buses to meal. It cuts down on hassle and sometimes cost. If you’re thinking of dressing up in silly outfits, spectacular Morph Costumes or something similar, then check with the hotel and organisers that this is allowed.
On the weekend
Arrange a time and meeting place for the bus or initial link-up – email, text and Facebook this so there are no excuses.
If you’re going out, suggest creating a kitty to pool money. Make sure everyone has each other’s numbers, and the number and address of the hotel. Even with a good itinerary of pubs on the visiting list people can get cut off and lonely and unfortunately disasters can happen when the weather turns cold, as this tragic Sky News story concerning a dreadful stag do in Prague shows.
On the same note don’t destroy the groom completely – don’t let him get up to anything too dangerous please, and certainly nothing too illicit. A stripper show may be OK for some, but consider the implications and if its something the groom really wants. You all have a responsibility to return him to his fiancée with nothing worse than a hangover.