Evan McMaster Photography & Illustration

There’s no denying it, weddings are quite the financial investment. If your wallet is feeling a little too light, consider throwing a stag and doe before your big day. This party is specifically designed to raise funds for the happy couple through admission ticket charges and games. No, this is not another event to add to your own to-do list, like most pre-wedding parties, your wedding party will handle it.

Here’s how to plan a stag and doe.

Make the budget

The first step in putting together any pre-wedding soiree is setting the budget. Meet with the rest of your party planning committee (AKA the wedding party) and have a serious conversation about dollars and cents. Remember, not everyone will have the same budget, and you don’t want to force any friends into debt. Once you’ve settled on a number, you can move onto the fun stuff.

Set the date

The party should happen at least two months before the big day so that the couple can actually make use of the funds raised for their wedding. When setting the date make sure that it doesn’t overlap with any of the other pre-wedding bashes, like the bachelor and bachelorette parties or the bridal shower.

Choose your venue

You’ll want to find a venue that’s big enough to fit all your guests and still have room for the party games. Legion halls and rec centres are fan favourites for their size and chameleon abilities.

Decide on a theme

While stag and doe parties don’t necessarily need a theme, they do add that little something extra and will help you choose your decor later down the line. We love the idea of going with something seasonal or holiday-related. For example, if your event is taking place near the end of October, why not embrace the Halloween theme and throw a costume party?

Craft the guest list

Because this is a fundraiser, live by the rule “the more the merrier”. More people means more funds for the happy couple’s big day, so aim to fill that venue to capacity. Don’t forget to have the guests of honour review the list when you’re finished (you don’t want to accidentally invite a frenemy). Tip: Not everyone who comes to the stag and doe has to be invited to the big day, especially if the wedding is going to be a more intimate affair.

Set an admission price

Yes, you want to raise as much money as possible, but setting your admission price too high may deter guests from coming. We suggest keeping it in the $10-$15 dollar range - similar to the cover you’d pay to get into a bar or club.

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Send out invites

Invites to a stag and doe don’t have to be formal. Feel free to put social media to good use and make a private Facebook event or send out an e-vite. Of course, if you can work it into your budget, you can opt for something more formal, but it’s definitely not mandatory. Don’t forget to list the price of admission on the invite, your guests should know ahead of time.

Get the games in order

Games are another way you’ll be raising funds for the happy couple. Cornhole, 50/50 draws and toonie toss are tried and true options, but feel free to get creative (Pinterest has plenty of good suggestions). Remember not to price game tickets too high, go with around $1-$2 dollars each.

Decorate

If you’re opting for a barebones venue like a rec centre gym, you’ll want to put a bit of effort into decorating. You don’t have to invest in expensive floral arrangements or luxury linens - this isn’t a ritzy affair. Simply scour the web for some easy and budget-friendly DIY decorations and spend a day putting them together with the rest of your planning squad.

Stock the bar

What’s a party without a bit of booze? Selling alcoholic drinks is another great way to raise money. There’s no need to craft fancy signature cocktails with vermouth and bitters - all you need is a couple cases of beer and cider, some bottles of wine and maybe a few bar rail options. Price them around $3-$5 and you’re bound to make a few extra bucks.

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