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A bachelor being led to his party

A bachelor party, also known as a stag party, stag night, stag do, stag weekend (in the United Kingdom, Commonwealth countries, and Ireland), or a buck's night (in Australia)[1] is a party held by a man shortly before he enters marriage.

A bachelor party is usually planned by the groom and best man, occasionally with the assistance of a bachelor party planning company.

The first references to Western bachelor parties in the Oxford English Dictionary date to the 19th century.[2] Traditionally, bachelor parties involved a black tie banquet hosted by the father of the groom that included a toast in honour of the groom and bride.[3] Since the 1980s, bachelor parties in the United States have involved vacationing to a foreign destination,[3] or have featured female company such as strippers or topless waitresses.



The bachelor party dates back as early as the 5th century B.C. The ancient Spartans celebrated the groom's last night as a single man in which they held a dinner and made toasts on his behalf.

In 1896, Herbert Barnum Seeley, a grandson of P. T. Barnum, threw a stag party (known as the "Awful Seeley Dinner") for his brother at restaurant Sherry's in New York City. The party had a dancer, nicknamed "Little Egypt", who allegedly danced naked in desserts. The party was dissolved in the early morning by an officer. Afterwards, the Seeley family brought the police officer to the police board trial for "conduct unbecoming to an officer of the law." At that time, that incident brought the light to the "behind closed doors" matters with bachelor parties.

The term "bachelor", meaning "a young knight or a student with a bachelor's degree", was firstly mentioned in the 14th century to refer to an unmarried man in Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. In 1922, the term "bachelor party" was published in William Chambers's Journal of Literature, Science and Arts and was described as a "jolly old" party.[4]


The equivalent event for the bride-to-be is known as a bachelorette party or hens' night.

Some also choose instead to hold a so-called stag and doe party in the US, or a hag party or hag do in the UK ("hag" being a combination of the words "hen" and "stag"), in which both the bride and groom attend.[5]


In Germany, this event is called Junggesellenabschied, which literally means "farewell to bachelorhood." There is also a separate event that the couple celebrates together on the evening prior to their wedding, called Polterabend. At the Polterabend, the guests break old porcelain and earthenware to bring luck to the couple's marriage. The tradition is said to go back to pre-Christian times; by noisily breaking ceramics, evil spirits – especially spirits of envy – are supposed to be driven out. In the last couple of years, Anglo-style bachelor parties have become more and more popular among bachelors. In parts of northern Germany that lack a Carnival tradition, funny costuming has become a popular part of bachelor or bachelorette parties.

Some parts of Germany have a related custom, in which a person who is not yet married by their 29th birthday, is made to dress up in an embarrassing fashion by their friends and to do silly tasks that most often include some kind of cleaning work.


In France and in many French-speaking regions such as Quebec, the bachelor party is called enterrement de vie de garçon, which literally means "(the) burial of the life as a boy" or "burial/funeral of the life as a bachelor". For women it is enterrement de vie de jeune fille, translated as "burial/funeral of the life as a young girl/maiden". As in English-speaking countries, such parties often feature heavy drinking and various (although gentle) humiliations, and sometimes the presence of a stripper.[citation needed]


In Israel, the bachelor party is called מסיבת רווקים, literally meaning a party of single men. [clarification needed] Such parties may feature heavy drinking and sometimes the presence of strippers,[6] or else other recreational bonding activities undertaken together, such as paintball or an overseas trip lasting a few days.

United Kingdom and IrelandEdit

In the United Kingdom, it is now common for the party to last for more than one evening, hence the increasing prevalence of the phrase "stag weekend", or "stag do". A spin-off has been the growth of the stag weekend industry in the UK with various companies taking over the preparation of the event.[7]

In the UK, stag weekend trips are becoming mini-holidays with the groups taking part in various day-time activities as well as the expected night out on the town. Recent research shows Newcastle upon Tyne as the most popular location in the UK across the last three years.[8] With the rise of budget airlines, some stags in the UK go abroad,[9] with Kraków, Dublin, and Riga topping the list, followed by Prague, Amsterdam, Bratislava, and Budapest.[10] Stag parties abroad have been known to involve visits to brothels and prostitutes.[11]

Booking a stag do in the UK can be difficult, as many establishments can be wary about admitting such parties. Hoteliers and club owners in particular have a reputation for disallowing such events in their facilities, due to the activities that often accompany such groups.

Pre-Stags have become increasingly popular in the UK. These are less formal than the official stag do, often arranged by friends.

United States and CanadaEdit

In the United States, Las Vegas[12] is both a popular bachelor party destination and location for the wedding itself.[9] Increasingly, "destination bachelor parties" are replacing standard nights out, with Americans traveling to Montreal, Quebec or Mexico.[13]

Bachelor parties in the US stereotypically entail the mass consumption of alcohol, hiring a stripper, and general rowdiness toward which the bride might not have a positive reaction; in fact, the defining feature of the bachelor party is that the fiancée is not present. Increasingly, bachelor parties have come to symbolize the last time when the groom is free of the influence of his new wife/partner.[citation needed] Pop out cakes are sometimes associated.[citation needed]

Canadian bachelor parties generally consist of a group of bachelors celebrating their singleness.

Canadian cities such as Vancouver or Niagara Falls are popular stag party destinations due to their large number of strip clubs with "dance contact" (lap dancing). Montreal in particular is popular for this purpose with both Canadians and Americans alike.[citation needed]

As an alternative, the best man may plan an activity in secret with friends that they feel the groom will enjoy. Many grooms-to-be have been treated to camping trips with friends, fishing trips, sporting events, video games, poker, barbecuing, and other activities.[citation needed]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "10 Great Bucks Night Ideas". 2014. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  2. ^ Bradshaw, Graham; Bishop, Tom; Kishi, Tetsuo (2007). Special Section, Updating Shakespeare. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 174. ISBN 9780754690139. 
  3. ^ a b Haire, Meaghan (16 June 2009). "A Brief History Of Bachelor Parties". Time. Retrieved 15 December 2017. In the past, a bachelor party could commonly involve a black-tie dinner hosted by the groom's father, with toasts to the groom and the bride. The more recent traditions of hazing, humiliation and debauchery — often consuming entire weekends and involving travel to an exotic destination such as Las Vegas or its nearest available facsimile — became a staple of bad '80s sex comedies. 
  4. ^ "Bachelor Parties". Time. 16 June 2009. Retrieved 12 January 2018. 
  5. ^ [1] Hens and stags? So last century. It's all about the 'hag do' - The Telegraph
  6. ^ "A Very Israeli Bachelor Party". Times of Israel. Retrieved 18 February 2016. 
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b Boyer, David. Bachelor Party Confidential: A Real-Life Peek Behind the Closed-Door Tradition New York: Simon Spotlight Entertainment 2007. ISBN 1-4169-2808-1
  10. ^ Smith, Craig S. (8 May 2007). "British Bachelor-Partiers Are Taking Their Revels East". The New York Times. Prague. Retrieved 2012-03-17. 
  11. ^ Boazman, Simon (14 January 2010). "Stag parties 'fuel sex trafficking'". BBC News. Retrieved 2 October 2012. 
  12. ^ "Las Vegas Bachelor Party". Bachelor Party site. Retrieved 2016-05-22. 
  13. ^ Austin, Michael. "Bachelor parties skip town". Crain's Chicago Business. 7 May 2007. p. 53–58. MasterFILE Premier EBSCOHost. Retrieved 23 May 2007.