Maybe a generation or so ago the idea behind a stag-do (or stag night as it was known back then) was simple. The best man would grab the grooms best friends together with his father and the father of the bride and any extended family too. A quiet drink at the pub with advice for the groom from the (already) married men in the group. We’ve come a little way since then.
Today the modern stag do is very, very different. So many stag and hen do’s end up becoming two, three or four day affairs. Maybe I’m a bit of an old fuddy duddy, but there’s no way I could make it through two days of drinking. I’d be on the floor after just one whole day of drinking!
Why am I talking about stag do’s? Well just a few days ago I had my stag do!
I wasn’t sure what to expect a few weeks ago when I gave my best man a list of people I’d like to come. He asked what I’d like to do and to be honest, I wasn’t sure what I did want to do. Also with people of ages from a teenager to a someone in their 70’s, there was a wide age range to fit the day around.
Thankfully way back last year I chose a great best man. Firstly I knew he wouldn’t plan anything that I either wouldn’t like to that would be too ‘krazy’ for the people coming. At this point I should say that, as a groom, choosing your best man is probably one of the most important decisions you’ll make when planning your wedding. I choose one of my oldest closest friends, someone I knew I could trust with a day like this.
I’d recommend planning your day as far in advance as you can. So it probably helps if you give your best man a list of guests to allow them to get it done. If, like me, you leave it till just a few weeks before the intended day – then it makes it more difficult for the best man (sorry!). The best man will probably want to run things, such possible activities and potential restaurants by you to make sure you are happy with it, unless you are choosing the activities yourself.
The day itself
Should be a fantastically fun day with one or two activities, a good meal where you can all sit down enjoy the food and chat (aka not too loud a restaurant) and a nice or quirky pub.
My Stag Do..or is it Stag Day?.. Or Stag Party?
With around eight weeks to go till the wedding, last Saturday I got up and headed out to join my best man, brother and one of the ushers to get a train to London, ready to meet up with everyone else and start having some fun. We whizzed down via West Hampstead and the Overground to London’s hip Shoreditch Highstreet.
We arrived bright and early in Shoreditch and found the first of our day’s activities, the one which I was a little apprehensive about before we got there – Zorb Football at the Lucozade Powerleague Shoreditch. I’m not a big football fan. In fact if you know me, you’ll know that I’m not a football fan in the least or at all. But it sounded like a Stag do activity and sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone.
What is Zorb footballing?
Zorb or bubble football is played by putting on a giant bubble. It covers your head and body with just your legs poking out the bottom. You’re strapped in and have a couple of handholds to hang on to. There’s a hole in the top as well as bottom so there is a circulation of air through it, but if it’s a hot day you may well bake just a little.
Well, after looking at a few videos on YouTube (see this one on Facebook from our day) I realised I didn’t have to worry too much about my total lack of football skills. If you play Zorb football (and you should give it a go) you don’t really need much skill. You’ll end up spending half your time falling over and trying to get back up again. Don’t worry, the falling over bit is a lot of fun as you’re wrapped up in a big bubble of air.
Before playing we met up with some more friends and Hana’s uncle and cousin who’d travelled up for the day. We played a few different games, four aside football, a variation on British Bulldog and last man standing – aka knock everyone over. it was a heck of a lot of fun but we did all end up quite sweaty afterwards.
Onion bhaji. Check. Chicken Tikka Masala. Check. Keema Naan bread. Check. Pint of lager. Check. This can only mean one thing, stag do lunch time!
Anyone who knows London should know that Shoreditch high street station is very close to London’s curry mecca – Brick Lane. The 9 of us headed over to get a curry, no plan in hand other than to get a good bit of grub to refuel after running around in the sun for an hour. We found a restaurant, got some beers in (just the one for me) and a two course meal – there were other activities to follow!
Across London to Charlton and on to the second activity of the day. We picked up a few more people along the way to Bunker 51 for Laser tag. I’ve not played it in years, not since the days of quasar when I was a teenager.
I really loved it. As with the Zorb football I wasn’t that great at it, my highest was a second place in one of the games, but I still had a lot of fun. Bunker 51 is basically a big sweaty underground hole. I stress more ‘hole in the ground’ than basement or anything else as some of the walls are rock and the ground is pretty muddy. Supposedly it is a former nuclear bunker but I’m not quite so sure…
If you’re a fan of first person shooters, Call of Duty, Halo etc, then it’s the activity for you. Probably wasn’t the best activity again when it’s a really warm day and none of you have had the thought to either drink anything or bring any water with you.
Feeling Black and Blue
After all the running around, into each other, walls and giant bubbles we might have been a little black and blue; however this Black and Blue is the steak restaurant in Borough Market. A return train ride back to London Bridge and a couple of swift drinks in a whisky pub and it was time for part three – dinner. This was probably the part that I had been looking forward to the most, a good steak dinner. We met up with a few more people here but as we’d lost a few along the way we didn’t quite fill the two tables which were booked. Instead we squeezed around one larger table.
Black and Blue is a proper steak house, beef, beef and more beef. I went for a sirloin steak – cooked blue with peppercorn sauce, fries, salad and green beans. Cooked properly blue, nice and red inside. This is where I would normally add in a restaurant review but by this point I was a little tipsy and frankly was there to have fun and enjoy the food, not to analyse each bit of it.
The steak was great, the wine was great and the drinks (and even a cheeky cigar) in the pubs after were brilliant as well. But what was really, really great and the best part of the day was getting to spend time with my friends and future family. I was really happy that so many people came out to celebrate my stag day.
This post is part of my series on getting engaged and starting to plan a wedding. See other posts in this series here.