A bachelor party (in the United States, Canada), also known as a stag party, stag night, stag do (in Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, and New Zealand), or a buck's night (in Australia) is a party held for a man shortly before he enters marriage, to celebrate his "last night of freedom". A bachelor party is usually planned by the best man or other friends of the groom, occasionally, with the assistance of a bachelor party planning company. As it is a celebration of a man's last night of freedom, it is quite common but not always the case that friends of the groom will organize female company such as strippers or topless waitresses as a last goodbye to that part of the groom's life. It is also common that it is a last-ditch attempt to lead the groom into temptation before the wedding and to make sure he is fully committed to his marriage proposal.
The equivalent event for the bride-to-be is known as a bachelorette party or hens' night; these are much less common, just as there are many fewer male than female strippers.
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.
In Germany, this event is called Junggesellenabschied. 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 30th 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.
United Kingdom and Ireland
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.
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. With the rise of budget airlines, some stags in the UK go abroad, with Kraków, Dublin, and Riga topping the list, followed by Prague, Amsterdam, Bratislava, and Budapest. Stag parties abroad have been known to involve visits to brothels and prostitutes, which then may encourage sex trafficking of vulnerable women.
United States and Canada
In the United States, Las Vegas is both a popular bachelor party destination and location for the wedding itself. Increasingly, "destination bachelor parties" are replacing standard nights out, with Americans traveling to Montreal, Quebec or Mexico.
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.
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.
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 been treated to camping trips with friends, fishing trips, pizza contests, staredowns, baseball games, video games, poker, barbecuing, and other activities.
Australia and New Zealand
Referred to most commonly as a "buck's" night celebration. It follows similar traditions to The United States and Canada such as high volumes of alcohol consumed by the buck and the hiring of strippers and topless waitresses. Females are not usually invited to attend unless they are erotic dancers or topless waitresses. A practice that is growing in popularity is for friends of the groom to honey trap or tempt the groom into cheating on his soon to be wife with strippers and topless bar girls.
- Bachelorette party
- Bridal shower
- STAG: A Test of Love, a reality television show about bachelor parties
- Bachelor Party, a 1984 film
- Very Bad Things, a 1998 film
- The Hangover, a 2009 film
- "10 Great Bucks Night Ideas". 2014. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
- 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 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]
- Smith, Craig S. (8 May 2007). "British Bachelor-Partiers Are Taking Their Revels East". The New York Times (Prague). Retrieved 2012-03-17.
- Boazman, Simon (14 January 2010). "Stag parties 'fuel sex trafficking'". BBC News. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
- Austin, Michael. "Bachelor parties skip town". Crain's Chicago Business. 7 May 2007. p. 53–58. MasterFILE Premier EBSCOHost. Retrieved 23 May 2007.