James and Rox got engaged in January 2010. He’s a 6ft 3in Brummie, and she’s a Yorkshire lass who tops out at 5ft 2in on a good day. They were together for seven whole years before James proposed, so either Rox has the patience of a saint, or he was well worth the wait. Sadly, it’s the former. James will be representing the boys every week up until the big day in August.
No matter how progressive an impending groom is, or how excited he may genuinely be about getting married, one of the best spin-offs of the entire process has to be the stag do. Greedy as I am, I chose two best men: my older brother and my closest friend from school. They’re both full of ideas; some are inspired, but most are insane. Thankfully I’ve been granted powers of veto, so to date I’ve passed on the running of the bulls in Pamplona, the Tomatina Festival in Valencia (a.k.a. the tomato-throwing festival), and llama trekking in North Yorkshire.
I’m thrilled that they’re thinking outside the box though, because the standard clichéd stag dos fill me with dread. Travelling to another city just to get smashed in a Borat thong is my idea of hell. I’m not after a museum tour, far from it, but there has to be an alternative – or so I thought. I got together with my trusty best men last weekend to make some decisions, but despite literally hours trawling the net, we couldn’t find a single stag do company that wasn’t seemingly aimed at Neanderthal man.
Surely there’s an opportunity for someone there. I don’t believe that every guy who’s about to get married yearns to be degraded in a skanky strip club, and suffer alcohol poisoning for days after. And I certainly don’t buy into the nonsensical notion that it’ll be my last night of freedom either – as if until I actually get married I’m still free to writhe around with other women.
Unfortunately for my best men, I want to do something out of the ordinary for my stag party; something besides the standard fare. It’s pretty rare that all my mates get together these days, so I don’t really want to spend my time away handcuffed to a lamppost dressed only in squirty cream. Since the dedicated companies were no use, we decided to go it alone and create a bespoke trip tailored to my unreasonable demands.
I’ve been on enough stag dos to know what I like and also what makes me feel sub-human. Wearing a tutu and suspenders in Stockholm was a particular low point. The problem is keeping a big group of guys entertained and all together, so we decided to try and book a big house that could accommodate all 20 of us. Five hours and a case of lager later, we eventually struck gold with a beautiful private house in the Andalucían mountains. Newly restored, massive swimming pool, no carpet anywhere so we can spill at will, and wonderfully isolated so we can’t make enemies of the neighbours.
The majestic Alhambra Palace in Granada (pictured) is only about half an hour’s drive away, but the chances of being able to drag my mates there are slim to none. Unfortunately, my best men have now told me to butt out and leave the rest of the planning to them, so it’s highly likely that the weekend will descend into drinking contests and strip clubs after all. I’m sure when the time comes I’ll protest just hard enough to appear unwilling, but not so hard that we don’t actually do all those things.
W Day: 179 days and counting
Catch up on James’ sixteenth week of wedding planning (and links to earlier weeks) here.
Image of the Alhambra Palace, Granada courtesy of Turespaña. For more on visiting Spain, see spain.info