Raucous single-sex teams of younger individuals tottering down the center of the street at 2am, asking policemen for selfies and carrying inflatable penises, can signify just one factor: the marriage season is below method.
But with combined friendship teams the norm, enforced gender segregation on the decline and weddings turning into more and more extravagant, obligatory enjoyable on separate hen and stag evenings may quickly appear a factor of the previous.
Ian Lucas, founding father of Red7, which provides bespoke travel and celebration packages, says the company’s combined travel bookings have grown by 200% prior to now two years. “We’ve made a conscious decision to de-gender our stag and hen experiences and appeal to joint parties,” he says. “It’s less about groups of women with L-plates and blokes going wild and more about having special experiences with friends.”
Another on-line travel agent, StagWeb, says it has observed a 50% rise within the variety of its “sten” or “hag” weekend bookings for 2018. “We are seeing a real demand for mixed-group travel in the 25-to-35-year-old age group,” says Kye Harman, head of PR. “It’s a trend that’s really just starting to take hold, and it’s an area we expect to grow over the next five years.”
Harman believes the rise is partly in response to a more in-depth give attention to cash. “It is certainly more cost-effective. You can pool resources, and two budgets means you can create more of an event.”
Others say it’s as a result of celebrations are occurring for longer. One survey found that one in 20 stag or hen dos now drags on for per week.
The ‘sten-fest’ features a dwell band, glamping and a hog roast
Matthew Green, 34, from London, goes to 2 sten dos within the coming months, considered one of them on the Nation of Gondwana pageant close to Berlin. “The idea of going to a strip club is so naff – it’s so 80s,” he says. “Stag dos are no longer just people going out for a drink; they’re now three-day trips to foreign festivals, and it’s more of an excuse for a holiday.”
Travel firms comparable to GoHen even supply their very own mini-festivals in honour of the bride and groom. The “sten-fest” features a dwell band, glamping and a hog roast, and is likely one of the agency’s hottest weekend actions.
Another issue is that single-sex celebrations are beginning to really feel regressive. Friendship teams are more and more combined gender, and it may seem to be too nice a sacrifice to not have male or feminine pals current in your “last night of freedom”. “Personally, I think the vibes are better when it’s mixed,” says Green. “One night with boys is good banter – but three days with all guys, and the chat gets a bit rubbish. You need girls to mix it up.”
Joe Marsh, from Manchester, agrees. The 31-year-old attended a good friend’s hen do final 12 months and is planning a joint event for his personal marriage this summer season. He says his friendship group is combined and he wouldn’t need anybody excluded from the celebrations due to their intercourse. “At my do I want to include all of my close friends. I don’t want to go to a strip club or get tied to a lamp-post after drinking 40 pints. Maybe I’m boring but I just want a nice, civilised night which maybe includes a bit of drunken dancing to Britpop.”
A hen celebration takes ‘nurses’ to the Old Town of Vilnius, Lithuania. Photograph: Alamy
Sheila Young, a cultural researcher on marriage on the University of Aberdeen, agrees that persons are spending much less time in gendered teams and extra time in combined company.
She says that though stag and hen dos give friends the chance to have interaction in collective actions that license in any other case taboo behaviour, comparable to utilizing dangerous language and sporting offensive T-shirts, there’s some proof that ranges of tolerance for this are reducing. Other individuals notably object when the misbehaviour is exhibited within the daytime in public areas.
Although the sexes are nowhere close to as segregated as they as soon as have been, combined celebrations are removed from widespread. “It is a particular type of person that chooses them,” Young says. “They are generally from a higher socioeconomic group, are university educated, and prefer mixed company.”
Some suppose that change can’t come quickly sufficient. One 33-year-old man from Cambridge, who will probably be attending a three-day-long stag do within the Netherlands subsequent month and didn’t need to be named, says he needs he was occurring a combined journey as a substitute.
“A stag do is a fun thing in itself, and you do get these sweet male bonding experiences, but the problem is that you’re at the whim of what others in the group want to do. If you go somewhere like Hamburg or Amsterdam, then it’s quite clearly because there are prostitutes there,” he says. “It’s embarrassing.”