JGA: the perfect stag party
JGA – three letters, a big mystery and a lot of fun
The stag party, or JGA for short, and its female counterpart are among the most popular rituals before marriage. They give the bride and groom the opportunity to party once more. It’s as if party venues were closed to them forever after the wedding. Historically, this is actually true, because the custom of celebrating bachelor parties goes back much further than it seems.
Join us on a journey through the history of ritual farewell celebrations and get inspired by some of the most famous JGA games. At the same time, you’ll get ideas for when you’ve been entrusted with the planning of such a celebration. And you’re wondering how to organise a stag party.
What’s in store for you in our JGA feature?
In addition to tips on the best cities and locations for the planned stag party, we give you valuable advice on the dos and donts of such a celebration. We have a lot of tips on what you could do together and know many tricks for a harmonious end to the stag party. We also list some ideas for creative readers on how to make suitable accessories.
Are you ready?
Then we’ll start with a look back at the amazingly long history of the hen party and the ideas that previous generations have come up with for the occasion. For those who don’t want to go through our informative preface, we have summarised the Dos and Donts of planning, the tips and tricks of crafting, as well as games, snack suggestions and other stag party ideas separately.
Where does the custom of the JGA come from?
The origin of today’s hen parties lies in ancient Greece. Here it was customary to throw a party for the groom on the eve of the wedding. However, the budget spent on this was not for his pleasure. It was to test his strength of character. If he gave in to the temptation of large quantities of wine and tomboyish games, this could cost him social prestige and, in the worst case, even the favour of his future parents-in-law.
The ancient stag party was therefore the complete opposite of what is celebrated today as a JGA. Instead of celebrating without restraint, Greeks who wanted to get married had to preserve their dignity and were not allowed to make any missteps. This is not entirely incomprehensible, because there were usually less than 24 hours between the bachelor party and the wedding. This was the worst possible time to torpedo the wedding plans by a lapse or to lose the bride and dowry
How has the JGA evolved?
The situation was very similar in modern-day Great Britain. It is generally considered to be the motherland of the humid and cheerful JGA. But before the celebrations developed into this, they were just as difficult a test as the ancient Greek bachelor party. Instead of being tested by childhood friends, the groom was tested by both sets of parents. They invited the young man to introduce him to the “secrets of marriage” and give him ideas on how to go about it.
You bet! Fortunately, the conversation was increasingly passed on to other family members. Anyone who had a brother or brother-in-law who was no longer a bachelor could have the society initiation done by him. A situation that was certainly more pleasant than having to listen to the ideas, tips & tricks of the (in-) law parents. And it was probably also the turning point in the JGA process. It was better to talk about marriage secrets over a beer in the pub than over dinner in the parlour.
How did the JGAs get “out of the house”?
The real foundation for stag parties as we celebrate them today was laid in the clubs of the British upper class. Only men were welcome here. They found an ideal refuge from domestic problems among their peers. Depending on the annual budget they paid in, they could take their meals, consume stimulants, discuss ideas and play card or board games in the clubs.
On request and after a vote, paying members were allowed to bring a guest. Not infrequently this was a friendly bachelor on his way to married life. It was often in the club environment that the young men first came into contact with alcohol and “sensitive topics”. But often they also learned the basic rules of social life and some economic know-how here.
The famous Hangover movie
It is no coincidence that this description reminds you of the JGAs in British film comedies. To this day, a predominantly traditional approach to historical heritage prevails on “the island”. In the US, too, the stag party often takes place in a club atmosphere.
What characterises the “classic” JGA?
But there is another way! Since Todd Phillips’ “Hangover” trilogy at the latest, everyone knows how badly a stag party can get out of hand. Female-dominated groups can get “over it” just as quickly. High alcohol consumption, raunchy jokes, challenging JGA games and the craziest possible costume ideas are among the common clichés of modern hen parties. These are often served to the fullest extent.
The price for this is sometimes quite high. Not necessarily in terms of budget, but rather in terms of embarrassment and hangover. But both can be prevented! On the one hand, through careful planning of a sophisticated stag party with new ideas. On the other hand, by using high-quality alcohol and food as the basis. Add to this a few after-party shots as a special gadget for a better feeling of well-being the next day.
JGA Dos & Don’ts
The basis of any successful party is that it follows certain agreements. The bachelor or bachelorette for whom it is organised should agree to this form of celebration. Even though exuberant farewell events are commonplace in many circles of friends, not everyone agrees. The same applies to future spouses. It shows respect to include them in the planning and to consider any objections they may have.
In order not to jeopardise the couple’s “big day”, the stag party should take place some time before the wedding date. The risk of the bride or groom being tired and hungover after a night of partying is too great. This could spoil the carefully planned event of the wedding ceremony. To find a suitable date, Doodle lists with concrete date suggestions are recommended.
Undertakings equal votes?
The participants of the JGA group should also be able to vote on the activities themselves. Such an exchange is particularly advisable if the plans in question involve financial or organisational effort. For example, because rooms, events or overnight stays have to be booked for the stag party. For this, firm commitments and information on the number of persons are necessary.
The latter is also important if the party party is to wear uniform accessories. They must be ordered, made or bought in sufficient quantities. Please note that some accessories require special preparation. For example, if T-shirts are to be printed, the JGA participants have to state their clothing size. An aspect that can also be asked for and clearly recorded via doodle lists.
Tips & suggestions for a JGA
But the range of possible accessories goes far beyond T-shirts. Printing is also possible for JGA bags, caps or hats – and can even be extended to the design of temporary tattoos. These make great gadgets for a beach party. You can keep it colourful into the evening with surfing, a BBQ buffet and imaginative cocktails.
A little classier than printed caps and T-shirts are gadgets in the form of eye-catching hats or glittering ties. These can adorn you on a trip to the gambling casino, the pool table or when leaving an escape room. They are suitable for bachelor and bachelorette alike and also provide an occasion for delightful role reversal games.
You can also be passively entertained at the stag party. Go to the concert of your favourite band. Or attend an event of your favourite sport, rent a small cinema room just for you or go to the club where you used to go. Exclusive VIP passes are the perfect accessory for such activities. You can buy them ready-made or make them yourself in a simple way.
Another way to spend the JGA evening is to simply let yourself drift. So you go from one pub to the next. And you see what happens. Of course, this works best in small groups. Many cities now prohibit the gathering of larger JGA parties anyway, as they have gotten out of hand in some places.
JGA with a difference
Perhaps the most relaxing way to organise a stag party leads back to the starting point of our article: the historical roots of the events. To this day, it is customary in Near Eastern and Oriental countries to subject the bride to a beauty programme on the eve of the wedding. For this purpose, she meets with her friends and female relatives to bathe, chat and feast together.
A custom that can also be implemented in this country by visiting a swimming pool, sauna and/or wellness oasis. Here, both women and men can be pampered with massages, cosmetic treatments and the like. Depending on your budget, you can book the facility exclusively and order a small buffet.