Although I am not to marry soon, I will do so one day (reasons irrelevant for the question). The tradition among my friends is to organise stag/bachelor parties for soon-to-be married grooms. However, personally I do not agree with the dominant "macho" culture of such parties in my country (focusing primarily in drunkenness and sexual behaviour).

Although I will let my friends know that I do not want such a party, the tradition is so strong that it is very likely I will be forced to one (perhaps through some form of misleading invitation to e.g. a football match).

Surely attending my own stag party is not the end of the world, but I would like to be consistent with myself and truly avoid it. I am interested in successful examples that you or an acquaintance of you might have used to skip the stag (or hen) party. Being such an ubiquitous thing in the "west", there must be some proven technique for this.

PS: as requested, the context is Latin America.

PS2: I've got several interesting answers, albeit all focusing on "managing" the party, rather than not having one. These are indeed very helpful answers! Out of curiosity, however, I am still interested in experiences of avoiding such party altogether. I may be getting the impression that doing so is never desired.

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    I would note that "stag" parties cover a whole bunch of activities. I've seen big paintball matches, kayak raids, etc... It does not have to be a night of drinking/partying if this is not your thing. – Matthieu M. Jan 2 at 12:30
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    @MatthieuM. While it doesn't "have to" unless you explicitly said otherwise, the common person would assume a stag party involves strippers and booze. – corsiKa Jan 2 at 20:14
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    @luchonacho Is a stag party defined by the amount of booze consumed or as something fun friends organise for you? – Geliormth Jan 3 at 16:06
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    This is the first time I have heard of the term "stag party," and now I see it plastered all over this thread in the question and answers as if it's normal. Is "stag party" the common phrase used for this in some areas? I'm from New York, and I have only ever heard it referred to as a "bachelor party." If you had not included the word bachelor in the title, I would not even have clicked the question, not knowing what it was. – Aaron Jan 3 at 17:13
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    @Aaron Stag party is the name for bachelor party in the UK. – luchonacho Jan 3 at 17:34

13 Answers 13

up vote 154 down vote accepted

My suggestion would be to organize your own stag party, this way you get to control what happens and (more importantly) avoid whatever it is you don't want to do or don't agree with about stag parties.

A quiet meal might satisfy your friends with a little "send-off" whilst doing what you want to do.

I've seen a groomsman or two do this before, seemed to work out well for them.

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    So, organise a "stag party" which is not really a "stag party"? – luchonacho Jan 2 at 11:54
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    @luchonacho pretty much, I'd perhaps take the approach mentioned by Snow and get more involved with the 'masterminds' plans about the stag party to avoid something you don't like. – King Graham Jan 2 at 11:59
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    I basically did this. My best man and wife were heavily involved, they ran by me the ideas they had (comedy show and to the pub for drinks). It was enjoyable and I didn't hate it. (I hate the idea of not knowing what someone has planned for me.) – djsmiley2k Jan 2 at 12:45
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    I want to second this. A long time friend was uncomfortable with the "traditional" bachelor/stag party, so instead of drinking and carousing we played ultimate frisbee and videogames. Everyone had a great time. – Carl Kevinson Jan 2 at 14:31
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    This is pretty much what I did. I told my friends what I wanted (and what I didn't want). I organised it, and we had a good time (evening at a pub with my friends, my dad, and my uncle). – Jason Jan 2 at 22:16

You decide on a stag party: pick something that can't be corrupted.

I was very happy to have a stag party when I got married. However, like you, I wanted to avoid the traditional "masculine" themes of football, strippers and low-level ritual abuse of the groom. I trusted most of my friends to agree with this, but not all of them.

So instead I decided to so do something that felt masculine to me, but that wasn't open to any kind of misinterpretation. I opted for a weekend of camping and hill walking in the Welsh mountains, miles away from the nearest strip joint. I involved the best man in planning this - indeed he did most of it - but I made it clear this was what I wanted, and there was no negotiation. If you didn't like it, you didn't come. I also told him there were certain people we knew who would not get an invite and I was happy with any potential fallout that might result.

We got drunk each night, ate out in local pubs and in the day, climbed the best scenery Wales has to offer. The friends I didn't quite trust hated the first half-day, but in the end confided in me they thought it was way more fun that a weekend slumming in a red light district.

Hiking isn't for everyone, but I tell the story to make a point. You are in control here, and there is no doubt something you can do which appeals to you and which reduces or nullifies the risk of "monkey business". Set your red lines, tell your best man, and take it from there.

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    @luchonacho No. Everyone I wanted to come came, and everyone had a great time. – Bob Tway Jan 2 at 14:30
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    Great story. A great stag party/trip is something you can talk about for years, not necessarily something you should make into a movie franchise. – Bent Jan 2 at 15:59
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    @luchonacho this answer seems very good. I would choose something physical demanding, so that the body gets too tired for the brain to even think of other less morally healthy alternatives. – An old man in the sea. Jan 2 at 16:16
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    That's a great idea. We did something similar when I was best man - some drinking, some hiking, some hanging around in the mountains when it was way too cold for the time of the year, and a lot of bonding. I think everybody had a lot of fun. – xLeitix Jan 2 at 17:00
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    Great approach. The only thing I will add is that if you have "friends" who you can't trust not to get you involved in alcohol and sexual activities against your explicitly stated preferences, then those people are not your friends. – Wildcard Jan 3 at 4:17

First off, it is a party for you. You get to call the shots. My husband is introverted and literally just declared he wasn't going to have one and that was that. I had a kitchen tea with lady friends and didn't have a bachelorette party. So you have every right to say what happens and when.

So tell your friends, whoever are the most likely people to organise your party, what you want to do and what you don't. If you don't want one, or you want to do something else, you can tell them. Maybe they have something in mind that you're ok with.

Your friends should respect you well enough to listen to your wishes. If they know you and what you're like, they should not force the issue. If you tell them you don't want one and they "trick" you into it, then you don't feel bad about not participating or leaving. They are welcome to enjoy their party on their own. If you set boundaries and they don't respect them, you have every right to walk away.

My husband and I are both introverted and we have learned to be really strict with boundaries just because outgoing people just don't understand our personalities. It's really important to set boundaries on what you are comfortable with and not comfortable. Talking to your friends sets expectations all around for what can and can't happen, and that simplifies things for everyone.

I assume by "stag" party that you're in the UK.

Usually, stag parties are organised by your best man who should ideally discuss any high-level plans with you (i.e. what activity you want to do).

Discuss things with your best man and negotiate something that you want to do that also will appeal to the male side of the wedding guests.

This is how things normally happen.

Obviously, this depends on your choice of best man and it probably makes sense to discuss the general scope of your stag event as part of the whole "I'd like you to be my best man" conversation. If he's not willing to tone down the stag event, then choose a different best man.

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    Thanks for the suggestion. In my country the figure of "best man" does not exist though. But I see the point. I would need to talk to the masterminds. But precisely because such figure does not exist, there is usually the group of friends who organise it. – luchonacho Jan 2 at 11:30
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    Ok. In which case, you should think about what you'd like to do and declare this as soon as possible. – Snow Jan 2 at 11:32
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    No Best Man in some part of Latin America? Then start a tradition. Your most trusted male companion, best friend, etc. Talk it over with him, and introduce the tradition as your preferred way of doing things. – Rich Jan 2 at 19:05
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    @Rich It is very common for the brothers/sisters to act as key roles in the wedding (holding rings, speech, etc). I guess a bachelor party organised by a brother/sister (depending on gender) might well be a good way to make it in line with the desires/sensibilities of the groom/bride. – luchonacho Jan 3 at 11:38

Right after publicly stating that you are going to get married, gather your own close friends (and/or whoever you think might arrange the (possibly surprise-) bachelor party for you) for a pizza or anyway a dinner out. While inviting them, tell them the dinner/pizza is being called because you need to talk to them. This, alone, is already enough to catch their attention on a (mildly) superior level: the "we need to talk" line normally raises some questions.

Once you are at the table and you have their "heightened" attention/curiosity, go straight to the point and kindly but firmly state that you are not going to arrange and you are not going to participate in any bachelor party, you don't want to, for this reason and that reason.

This communication will be received with that "heightened" attention that will cause them to think "hey, this guy bothered to summon us all and arrange a dinner to tell us this, it must be very important to him".

If they are good friends or anyway care for you, they will comply.

Instead, should they arrange something regardless, you would be entitled to get up and go away abandoning them there. Should they accuse you of being rude, well, please notice that:

  • you did warn them you didn't want that kind of party;
  • you made clear it was very important to you and you weren't joking
  • nevertheless they were arrogant enough to go straight on and ignore your will

It is your party, therefore your will should be the only one to count.

When I was in college (I'm in the US), the bachelor parties amongst my group of friends generally avoided any sexual behavior; however, drunken behavior did get out of hand on multiple occasions (I can remember one party in particular where, after some drinking the participants decided to deposit the groom, duct-taped to a chair in his underwear (against his will, naturally), on his soon-to-be-wife's porch. He wound up with some bruised ribs at least, if not more serious injuries.)

As someone who's struggled with depression for his entire life, and with evidence of an "addictive personality", I have always personally chosen to not drink alcoholic beverages. So, in my case, in addition to the fear of physical injury, I was also concerned that my friends might think it would be fun to get me drunk - something I very much wanted to avoid.

I had one advantage - a pretty good idea of when such a party would happen (the night before the wedding - it's not necessarily a given, though it's pretty common).

I simply arranged to have other plans; plans that my friends would be unlikely to be able to get around. In my case, I arranged with my mom to spend the night at my parents' house, instead of where I was currently living. I didn't happen to mention that to anyone until right before my mom was to pick me up (too early for the party to be starting).

So, I guess my recommendation is to identify an incorruptible ally who can get you safely away from the party.

Since you state that you will get married 'one day', start to think about it as something that won't happen for another two years. The general rule (at least in the US) is that you don't have to invite anyone to your wedding that you haven't spoken to in two years.

This gives you two years to think about your friends and their values. With the start of the new year, now is a good time to tell your friends how you perceive these parties, and how you hope you never have to be the bachelor of one. Your true friends will respect you and your wishes - they may even feel the same way. If not, consider that this friendship might not fit with your personal values anymore, and if a great conflict exists, start cutting back on time with that person right now. Leave parties when they get to rowdy. Start a program (like fitness or learning) that requires early mornings. Work with your fiance to develop hobbies that don't involve heavy drinking and sketchy behavior.

Friendships tend to grow and change over time. If you start working on reshaping your friend group now to better reflect your values, you should find that by the time you actually have to face the bachelor party, you'll have a group of like-minded people who are interested in gentler parties.

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    I dont think we are here to judge his friends or that the OP asked on how to "filter" his friends. If he wants to stay friends with them or not is a entirely other issue. – Salvador Ruiz Guevara Jan 3 at 19:15

I thought I would provide my experience from my own bachelor party with the intention of showing you that you are not alone with such choices.

My friends have always been big into partying, which includes bars, clubs, and most certainly strip clubs. Knowing this, I informed my best man that I did not want to partake in such activities and instead, wanted to simply go to dinner, have some drinks, then play some video games (boring, I know..). Despite this, my best man and several of my friends went straight to the strip club for 'my bachelor party' while I hung out with my fiancé, simply because I didn't want to put myself in that kind of situation. Although somewhat selfish, I didn't take offense to their actions because that was what they knew and expected. Ultimately, they did what they did because they wanted to simply go to a strip club, and my bachelor party gave them a great excuse to their wives and girlfriends.

In the end, I do not regret my decision at all. After everything is said an done, you will be married to your fiancé, not your friends. Tell them your wishes. If they do not listen to your wishes, don't go. If they stay upset at you, they are not worth having as friends.

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    I don't know whether it is the times which have changed, or if my friends have. In the last ten years all of the bachelor parties I've been invited to have a clear line between the 'normal' activities and when you go see the 'dancers'. The invite lists approximate times for each activity so you can attend the one(s) you want. HTH – J. Chris Compton Jan 4 at 20:36
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    @J.ChrisCompton The only problem with that approach is that I would assume the groom is expected to attend everything, whereas other attendees can pick and choose. Regardless, should I ever be a best man, this fantastic advice. – T James Jan 4 at 21:42
  • @T James The groom can attend whatever he wants, IMO. I know of several people that went to dinner with a groom and then went to see 'dancers' because it seemed like a good idea to them at the time. If his friends are the same, I expect that luchonacho (OP) can just bring up this idea, and they'll all be okay with it. Maybe not, people are different everywhere - but maybe the ones that want to go, just need an excuse to go (for wives/girlfriends/etc.) You can also have multiple parties with different sets of friends - I did this, though for logistical (not for 'dancer') reasons :-) – J. Chris Compton Jan 11 at 21:26

Communicate with the Best Man, when the time comes. Details about the party are generally organized by the Best Man, and you can make your wishes known. EDIT: OP apparently has stated that "best man" is not a universal concept where he is from. In that case, I'd suggest taking the bull by the horns and communicating to your circle of friends and male relatives that you want to organize a big "stag" event, and skip to my third bullet point, by organizing the activity yourself.

  • You get to pick the Best Man. Hopefully the person you pick will be close enough to you and respect you enough that if you have strong opinions about activities, he will not disregard that.

  • Make it clear you don't want to be "surprised" with something more bawdy than what you stated you were comfortable with, and that if he goes against your wishes you will simply leave the party.

  • Perhaps a good way to assert some control is to suggest and help to plan a group activity that would be a "guy" thing, but that requires some advanced planning and financial commitment up front. This makes it very difficult to divert the activity to something else. If you are in Europe, perhaps tickets to a top-level football/soccer match or rugby game. If you're located in a smaller community that doesn't have an "A" or premiere level team, then make it a road trip. That makes it a pretty special, big deal on par with having excessive booze and semi-naked ladies. If sports isn't your thing, there are a lot of alternatives - group fishing charter, paintball outing, zip-lining in a rain forest, a trip to a respectable casino, etc. If you're in the USA, an NFL, Major League Baseball, NHL or NBA game will do, traveling is better than not.

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    Naively, I would have thought that travelling to a game would not preclude - in fact might even encourage - the procurement somehow of the sexual excitement/activities that the OP would not like to have. – davidbak Jan 3 at 5:57
  • @davidbak Why? I think it is a fair advice, specially if it is a "costly" event. – luchonacho Jan 3 at 10:58
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    @luchonacho I just don't see why a group of guys, who you think might be inclined to procure sexual treats for your party, wouldn't do that just because they traveled to another city. In some ways it would seem easier in another city - less inhibitions maybe, due to not being in the "home" location. That's all. – davidbak Jan 3 at 14:27
  • @davidbak - If people are already shelling out money, and there the schedule is full of travel, pre-game and the usual post-game social activities, I'm not sure why you'd think that would make something else, entirely, more likely. If the schedule is full with planned activities, they'd have to find a way to work it in, which they probably could not do without OP being alerted to the fact. – PoloHoleSet Jan 3 at 19:39

I had the same problem. Since the last two stag parties went that way I feared mine wouldn't except. So I told in advance to the two guys who were organizing the whole thing that I wanted something quiet and no embarassing situations. It came out a funny night of karting, eating and sharing memories. So, since it's your party why should be thrown something that just others like and not you? Good luck!

I organized a bachelor party for a friend of mine a few years ago. Original idea was beer and a lap dancer. He, like you, was not fond of a lap dancer. i knew this cause he told me in a very direct way that he would not come if we where bringing one. So the bachelor party was with out the lap dancer. Took me a little bit of effort to convince the rest of the guys, but they did understand.

The bachelor party its for you to enjoy, for bonding with friends. Beer, food, lap dancers, are those are all extras. They are not a must, what is a must is a fun last bachelor party for you to enjoy and share time with them.

Just tell the organizer, who should be your best friend, what you want, if you want sodas and just a bbq, it is ok. if they are your friends they will understand.

If they dont, well, you can always leave the party

Tl;Dr

The party is dedicated for you to have a good time with your friends. What happens is up to you and your friends. No stranger, whoever they are, is entitled even to bring suggestions. Period.

You have a chance to have a good time and good memories. If you miss that you won't have it for sure.


I'm not sure if it apply to any country but The best man [I don't know the proper feminine synonyme, feel free to edit] usually organises the stag/hen party. It is very common, that the best man is also the best friend of groom/bride.

Stag party is dedicated for groom; and his friends, by the way. Hen party is dedicated for bride; and her friends, by the way. What one person enjoys, the second one doesn't care about at all and the third hates, no matter what we are talking about.

All together, don't avoid the stag/hen party, find the organiser you trust. They should plan it to fit your preferences and invite the rest of the party to make a legen - wait for it! - dary night. If you like strip clubs, so be it. If you prefer weekend on a race track, so be it!

I think this tradition came from the idea, that after the ceremony, bride and groom shall care for the other's preferences and enjoy the life together. The night before is the very last night when they don't need to.

The tradition among my friends is to organise stag/bachelor parties for soon-to-be married grooms.

Do you attend the other stag parties in your circle? It's doubtful your friends would allow hypocrisy.

If you don't, then your friends are already familiar with your preferences and policy about debauchery. Stay consistent. With your behavior over the next few years, demonstrate that, while you're not looking for a fight, you are going to withdraw, physically and emotionally, when you see your friends behaving disrespectfully toward women in front of you (including comments).

When the time comes, unless you've seen a change of heart in the men in your social circle, secretly plan to spend the last week before the wedding out of town, or with a relative whose house the hedonists will respect, such as your mother, as described by RDFozz. Best would be if they didn't know where you are.

It will help if you build up your assertiveness with these friends, between now and then.

  • "Do you attend the other stag parties in your circle?" In the original question the OP wrote: "However, personally I do not agree with such parties, and I have not attended any at the moment (partly because I have been away)." but later removed it. – Anne Daunted Jan 8 at 16:21

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