Planning 101 1st November 2014

Winter Stags - Getting On Up In The Down Season!

This time of year we feel like we're already ensconced in winter's restrictive overcoat, a long summer (at least 2014's) closes to a short apologetic Autumn before winter sets in and quickly tucks you up like a wrestler with a grudge. For the more seasonally affected it can feel like we're in a parallel "Game of Thrones" territory and we're plunged into darkness until late Spring, only briefly rescued by an indulgent run into Chrimbo and the new year. Of course that's gloom spreading nonsense but it's surprisingly widespread, SAD (Seasonally Affected Disorder) is a recognised whinger's condition in the 21st century, it's even got an entry on Wikipedia! I'm sure the positively minded among you will agree there's far too much negativity around winter, it's a low gear hibernation for a lot of people where we just knuckle down and get through it without really using it to mark out some exceptional seasonal fun! And that's a shame because they're missing out on one of the greatest times of year. It's an enriching time to plan a memorable stag do.

When it comes to winter stags it's fair to say there are a few additional considerations to take into account such as the weather (potential for rain), temperature (potential for moaning rather than the cold) and availability (some events such as deep sea fishing, whitewater rafting and surfing for example, just don't work as well in winter). But those things considered and accommodated it's game on! There are however plenty of additional compensations, wintersports being the obvious one - you can ski and board, curling (one of our triumphant Olympic events), log fires, winter menus and cosy venues, crisp days clay or Kalashnikov shooting, off road karting in the mud, indoor paintballing! A "bracing" morning is also great for the hangover! It's also the time of year you're likely to get better value and more swag for your stag. There are plenty of options so do your research and you won't be disappointed, StagWeb's genuinely a great place to start!

When it comes to much of Europe, in my opinion and hotpsots like Marbella and Ibiza aside, it's potentially the best time to visit. Certainly it's my favourite time of year to get a trip into the Central European capitals where the atmosphere is almost perfect, the crowds are thinner and you get a few less people about. You also usually get better value - provided you know where to look, where to go and what to do. The low season's also marked at each end by two of the biggest lads events on the planet, Oktoberfest and St Patrick's Day - that's got to be a good omen!

As a company we do a lot of our research in low season ensuring we know how to party year round. I went to Tallinn one year with the boys and it was like a picture postcard, snow falling, hot ciders, Russian restaurants, tinselled dancers, we even bumped into culinary legend Lloyd Grossman! November didn't stop us having one helluva of a time and I wouldn't hesitate to go back "off season", in fact even though Tallinn's got a beach close by I'd choose the Christmas period without a moment's hesitation! I've been to the Baltics, Prague and Budapest early in the year before and it just seemed like the perfect time to visit. Getting stuck in a pine forest off roading in Lithuania in freezing temperatures with the snow falling is something I'll never forget - and that's what you want from a stag do! One of my personal favourites, Ljubljana's amazing anytime of year but in the winter you can transfer out to the slopes less than an hour away for a day or two's skiing. What's not to love! Of course in a lot of cases there's also a notable transport advantage, you'll find flights are cheaper aswell!

With winter weddings more common, winter stag and hens are here to stay and you deserve to get the most out of them, so embrace them and you'll have an amazing and possibly unbeatable time. As ever planning is the key. You want to think about the appeal of the itinerary and how you can enhance the experience, think also about contingency for what could go wrong and how you as the organiser can mitigate or salvage that. So start planning early, look at getting the best out of winter rather than though it and you'll potentially organise one of the year's greatest weekends! If you want to ensure the best result I'd always recommend you get the help of an experienced, bonded expert!

image courtest of: Wedding Planner Pinterest Board