When the writer of this blog took his first tentative steps in the Stag and Hen industry back in 2004, an email from a bespoke-events outfit in the Baltics caught my attention, and went on to form the basis of this piece 14 years later. It was a reply to my request for “unusual” events that a Stag group might possibly experience, following a customer request to do “something a bit different” as part of their East European adventure, and it outlined two suggestions that were clearly anything but run-of-the-mill.
The first was something called “The Ambush Experience”, where a group on the way back from Go Karting or a Stag Dinner would be stopped on a back road by a group of extremely convincing actors wearing balaclavas and waving Kalashnikovs and baseball bats. They would force the group from the vehicle with shouts and threats, proceeding to get all of their victims on their knees, removing their watches and wallets with further intimidation, and then dragging the terrified Stag (the only person in the group not aware of what was happening previously) away from the others to meet what he assumes will be his violent demise at gunpoint, only to have the prank revealed when the main gang members’ English suddenly improves enough for them to ask “so when are you getting married then?” and whip off their balaclavas to reveal big, friendly, shit-eating grins beneath.
The other suggestion was “Nude Paintballing”, which was even worse than its title sounded and which, I must stress, was never remotely considered by us at any point to sell to our clients. It involved a Stag group hunting a naked woman (played by a local guide) in the woods with paintball guns. Yes, you read that right, and no, we never worked with the company offering these items, but the stunning strangeness of these events gave me an early hint that the downright bizarre is never too far from Stag planning, especially when it comes to locations outside of the UK.
Since then, despite the events company in question ceasing to trade, the kernel of that Ambush Experience has grown into the modern-day Stag Kidnap and all its various, location-specific forms. You can now get your groom-to-be falsely arrested and put into the back of a van before being lead blindfolded to what he believes will be police cells, but which turn out to be a room full of his mates sat stifling giggles as the hero is lead – sometimes sobbing for fear of the abusive treatment he has been promised by the fake police who arrested him – to the front of the room before the blindfold is removed, the music begins and a Stripper puts something rather more welcome than fists in his face. Incredibly, the vast majority of Stags who have gone through this unique hell go on to applaud the prank, and revel in the relief of it as the joke is revealed. This includes a well-known name in the Music industry, and a famous English cricketer, amongst hundreds of others, though not everyone takes it quite so well, and if you’re thinking of putting your Stag through this sort of mental torture, do it only if you are free of doubts. There is always the chance he will freak out, go home immediately and never speak to any of you again, as we understand one particular gentleman did following his own fake arrest. This tailored service is currently available in locations such as Tallinn, Bratislava, Krakow and Budapest.
There are also an increasing number of variations on the Kidnap theme, offering you multiple ways to give your Stag a small heart attack and make him briefly wish that he’d never met any of you. These include hiring a Fake Bride (played by a local guide, and currently available in Prague or Budapest) to turn up with fake documentation and a suitcase just in time for the flight home; and the Fake Bungee Jump, where your poor, simpering man-of-the-moment is lead to what he believes is a huge, scary fall while wearing a blindfold, and which, after much pleading and begging, turns out to be a small paddling pool of water only two feet away. That one is available in Prague, if you’re interested. You can also scare the hell out of him with angry canines in Krakow, courtesy of the ridiculous and totally wonderful Dog Attack, where big dogs set about a Stag ensconced in special clothing that safely withstands the savage attack but fails to mask his desperate screams for mercy.
Stripper surprises are a popular part of many Stag parties, but how would your Stag react if he had a fat woman straddling him and delighting in his discomfort? Roly Poly Strippers are widely available in many locations, such as Cologne, Dusseldorf, Prague and Budapest, as well as just being wide.
For a slight twist on the theme of Stag embarrassment, you can also book a Hitch Hiker Stripper (available in Bucharest, Krakow, Budapest and Prague). She stops the transfer coach, has a fake row with the driver, boards the vehicle and eventually makes her way to the Stag, with whom she flirts for a bit and then takes her kit off as the reality dawns on him that it has all been with him in mind. Similarly, if you’re going to Krakow or Budapest especially, you might fancy booking an Angry Neighbour Stripper or Cleaning Lady Stripper, both of which are self-explanatory but no less fun or memorable. Then there is the niche area that is Dwarf Hire for Stag parties, where you can book a very short person to be tied or handcuffed to the Stag for most of the first night’s pub crawl. Finding a reliable, professional, punctual and fun-loving dwarf to fit the bill is, as you might imagine, not an easy task, but at present we offer this service in locations such as Bucharest, Budapest, Prague, Amsterdam and Krakow. Our respect and admiration goes out to every dwarf who has helped us deliver this service, as we can only imagine it can’t be easy to be the butt of the joke amongst a group of excitable, drunken foreigners, but the service is one of THE most requested, if not one of the most commonly booked, and it might just prove the icing on the cake to some of you planning how best to celebrate your mate’s impending nuptials in style.
Looking at vehicle-related possibilities, one of the most enjoyableoptions right now is something we refer to as Car Smash Up! Available in Hamburg, Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Prague and Dusseldorf – the last of which allows you to combine it with Monster Truck Driving – the premise is brilliantly simple and immensely satisfying: You and your group smash the hell out of a few old cars with various heavy tools, including sledgehammers. If you’re truly looking for “something a bit different”, this is one of our top recommendations, and it always leads to good feedback from those who take on the task with relish. Speaking of Monster Trucks, that item can be booked on its own if you prefer, allowing your crew the chance to drive a huge metal beast around off-road terrain on the understanding that you don’t get carried away and flatten a nearby farmhouse before you finish.
As well as smashing up cars, you can also take part in a Rage Room event (Berlin), where your group apply axes, hammers, chisels, golf clubs and baseball bats to a room full of furniture, dishes and TVs. Sticking with Germany for a second, you can drive a Stunt Car (Dusseldorf) and master the art of turning and parking “Hollywood style”, or perhaps an excavator is more your thing? If so, we can offer your party a JCB Digger to climb aboard in locations like Munich, Cologne and Hamburg. You never know when that skill might come in handy back at home, and, of course, as with all these choices, we give you safety briefings and clear instruction beforehand to try and keep the death toll to an absolute minimum.
There are three more noteworthy items related to transport, and these are aside from the Rally Driving options in cities like Bucharest: firstly, we present you with a chance to drive the biggest beast of them all as part of a Tank Driving experience. There are several locations where you get to ride in a tank, but very few where you can actually drive one. You can do just that in Berlin, and, although it’s not cheap, you can add “driven a tank” to your CV afterwards – and there are military Generals who can’t even boast that. Probably. Penny Farthings are doubtless the furthest form of transport from your mind right now, but we can give you a chance to master the basics of this utterly-nuts old bicycle in Krakow, and it is an activity that you are not going to forget in a hurry. Rarely booked – as is the case with several of the items in this blog – it always fuels great feedback when a group do occasionally reserve it, which is also true for Jet Fighter Flying, which is currently only available in Prague, and which runs at something approaching 2,000 EUR per person – but if there is one activity you could conceivably spend that much on to treat the Stag to a once-in-a-lifetime thrill, it is surely flying a Jet Fighter! You’d have to be a very generous group to grant him that opportunity, admittedly, but every few years such a group pops up and treats their main man to a session of G-force thrills, and we are always delighted with the photos showing the Stag’s thumbs up and big smile once back on the ground.
Given the need to work up a thirst for the big night ahead of you, perhaps your group might be interested in Wrestling Training, available in both Hamburg and Berlin? With tongues firmly in cheek, this session ensures harmless competitiveness and a few belly laughs. The same could certainly be said of Sumo Fight (Berlin), with big, sweaty nappies the order of the day. Perhaps you could put a twist on the Stag T shirt theme by putting your adopted Sumo names on them for the trip that follows it? Just a thought. Then there’s Highland Games, where brawn meets… well, more brawn really. Currently available in both Hamburg and Amsterdam, our instructors are there to help you toss your cabers to maximum effect in a lively, funny few hours that you might just adore.
A game of football is always a good shout for a Stag weekend. Everyone is involved at the same time, and despite one lad in your group saying he nearly got picked by Ipswich when he was 16, most of us are about the same level, which is even lower once you add in the heavy session and lack of sleep from the night before. To make the standard of football even lower again, why not add Binoculars? With Binocular Football (Prague) you wear special goggles that make the ball look far away, which makes for a lot of chuckles and plenty of air shots as you struggle to comprehend how much of your failing is down to the goggles and how much is down to the 15th beer of the night before at 5am. An even more bizarre twist (of pain) on this is Electric Shock Football (Amsterdam), where each of you have an electric pad attached to your thigh during a game of 5 a side. One person sits as judge, jury and executioner (bagsy we’re him), pressing the buttons at various intervals to make each of the players twitch with shock as a few volts go through their body. This is something we feel should be introduced into the Premier League when a game is particularly dull, but in the meantime you can book it through us as part of a Stag package. We promise not to “charge you” too much for it…
If you want to make your Stag trip an underground success, why not literally take the boys underground? You can visit World War II bunkers in Germany, and you can also take them Caving to explore the city beneath the city (Krakow and Stuttgart).Never likely to be a huge seller, this excellent package firmly delivers on the “something a bit different” remit, and at a substantially sub-Jet-Fighter-Flying price to boot.
Strippers are usually a key ingredient in a successful Stag Do, as we covered a little earlier. And since we haven’t mentioned them for a few paragraphs, it’s about time we did so again, not least the welcome option of a Topless Referee to your group’s football in Bucharest. Nude Life Drawing is becoming more widely available as a titillating way of helping to put lead in your collective pencil at a very reasonable price, and this is currently available in both Bratislava and Berlin. Body Eating is a frightening term unless you are familiar with the activity, so before you start to think we have totally lost our remaining marbles, what we mean is that you get to eat off the body of a Stripper. This is available in Berlin, Bratislava and Budapest, with different food options depending on the taste of the group and skin sensitivity of the Stripper/table. Ljubljana can have the last word on unusual Stripper-related items here, with its unique (as yet) Naked Yoga activity. This is another Stag prank, where the group take the Stag to what he thinks is just a Yoga lesson but with beers. Every time the Stag takes a drink, the Yoga teacher (a Stripper, of course) removes an item of clothing. Ten out of ten to our Slovenian colleagues for ingenuity on the Yoga theme!
The last two special items we would like to draw your attention to are the Pie Fight in Berlin, where you get to throw pies, cakes and other bakery produce at each other for a sustained period of gleeful, childish joy; and Brazilian Waxing in Ljubljana, where your gift to the Stag is a bit of discomfort and downright pain in a beautician’s studio, with all of you watching him if you want to.
The conclusion to be drawn from all of this is that we are a weird sex, us blokes, but there is happily a lot to cater for our innate weirdness, especially when it comes to Stag activities overseas.
You might never book any of those mentioned here, but be honest, it’s fun just knowing that some of them are possible, isn’t it? Ok ok, all of them apart from the Nude Paintballing.