Stag & Doe. What exactly is this?

One of the best parts of being involved in any wedding online community  is learning of different traditions from all over the globe. One has made me pretty envious. The Stag and Doe (also known as Jack & Jill).
I am  Midwest girl (just outside of Chicago) and this is nothing I had ever heard of. I really wish it was something practiced in the Midwest! This is a HUGE tradition in Canada and I think it is FAB!!

What is a "Stag & Doe" Party?

This tradition is very popular in Eastern Canada, and just starting to make it's way into Western Canada. This event is usually held about a month before your wedding and is meant for both the bride and groom. The party is usually hosted by the bridal party or the couple's parents. Tickets are sold for a small fee to friends and family who are and aren't attending your wedding. The ticket fee is to cover the costs of the event. Guests are also charged small fees for playing games at the event, and the proceeds go to the wedding couple. There is usually a 50/50 draw, raffle tickets are sold for prizes, and many other games and activities take place. A DJ is usually providing music and interactive entertainment. These events serve as a great fundraiser for the wedding couple, and are perfect for the couple that already has everything...and doesn't want a traditional bridal shower.


Stag and doe parties, or buck and doe parties as they're also called, are designed to raise money for the couple's wedding. Hosting this type of pre-wedding party requires a lot of careful planning. As the intent is to raise money for the couple's wedding the stag and doe party must make a profit, hopefully a large one.

The profits from a stag and doe party are raised through ticket sales. That's right - guests pay to attend a stag and doe. Far from being a point of contention most guests are all too pleased to buy a ticket. Not only does the money help the couple financially, but the guest also gets to enjoy good company and have a great time. Often if the guest can't attend the party personally they'll purchase the ticket just for the sake of the bride and groom - now that's a great friend!
As mentioned, hosting a stag and doe party requires careful planning. These are large events and require a hall (or other venue), refreshments (food and alcohol), entertainment (through a DJ or band) and other little "extras" to attract guests (karaoke machine, 50/50 draw, door prizes, etc.).
Start first by estimating the number of guests you expect to attend. Book a venue that will comfortably hold that number of guests as well as allowing room for dancing (there's always dancing at a stag and doe). Check to see if the venue has a valid liquor license - you'll need it if you plan to sell alcohol. Even better, try to get a hall that will allow you to bring your own alcohol on site; it's normally cheaper to bring and sell your own alcohol than have the hall provide it. The number of expected guests will dictate the required amount of alcohol. On average, figure each guest will buy four drinks (either beer or mixed drinks). Essentially the equation for determining the amount of alcohol to purchase is the "number of guests times 8 ounces of alcohol" (approximately 2 ounces of alcohol per drink). So if you were expecting 50 people you would require approximately two 60-ounce bottles each of vodka, rum and rye, 5 cases of beer and 20 bottles of wine. Most liquor stores will also refund unopened bottles, but check first. Liquor stores may also sell stag and doe insurance relatively cheaply. This covers you for falls, or other accidents and it is a good investment.
As for the food, finger food or appetizers work best. Popular events such as 50/50 draws (in which 50% of the jackpot goes the winning ticket, the other 50% to the couple), roulette, karaoke machine or door prizes should also be properly budgeted when planning the stag and doe party. Usually the 50/50 winner gives the money to the couple as a gesture of good faith.
The single most important aspect of hosting a stag and doe party is selling tickets. Don't count on a lot of "at the door" sales - they account for very little of the overall sales. Enlist the help of the wedding party, family and friends to sell as many tickets as possible. It also doesn't hurt to run an advertisement in the local paper to help spread the word. It can't be emphasized enough - you need to sell a lot of tickets to make a profit on a stag and doe party. The alcohol sales won't even begin to cover the costs. Just when you think you've sold enough, try to sell more! On average, stag and doe party tickets range in price from $8 - $15. This of course will depend on what other local couples are charging for their stag and doe party tickets. During popular wedding months (May through August) you may have to compete against other stag and doe parties - so sell, sell, sell. And of course, have fun.

Some other suggestions I have found were:
-Get as many prizes donated for the "auctions". Gotta love FREE!

-(From a Bride)Our biggest money makers were raffles, jello shots, and the who gets the pie in the face jar game.  We both ended up with a pie but our friends obviously don't like us because we made $500 on that! -Toonie toss rakes in a lot of cash. Buy a big bottle - everyone rolls/slides/throws toonies at it ( one a a time - leaving the closest toonie each time and sweeping away the not close one) The closest to the bottle wins the bottle and you win the cash.
This site has a good list of commonly played games for the Stag & Doe as well.
I think this tradition needs to find its way over to the U.S.!! 

Here are some links to ideas and games posted by my sisters on WBC!!



No comments: