The best stag parties tend to be those that are organised jointly between the groom and his best man - that way there are no nasty surprises or disappointments. But while the final decision should be the groom's - it is his celebration after all - the research, leg-work and booking arrangements should ideally fall to the best man.
Who is usually included?
Since stag nights evolved from drinks at the local pub into more complicated and original occasions, there has been a tendency to have more than one gathering. A gung-ho weekend of quad-biking or paint-balling may not appeal to the older members of the groom's family, in which case it can be an idea to schedule something a bit more low-key, such as drinks at the golf club, for the dads and uncles.
Don't feel duty bound to include everyone either, otherwise you may spend your last night of freedom worrying whether your mates from the rugby club are getting on with your friends from work and why no-one is talking to your oldest friend from primary school.
When's the best time to go?
The obvious answer is NOT the night before, even if your plans are not centred around alcohol. Party hard the weekend before and give yourself the week to recover, but don't get so ahead of yourself that you are celebrating more than a month before the event and then face a lull.
Does everyone pay for themselves?
Tricky question. If you want to invite a group of friends away for the weekend, be sure you or your best man establish the total costs involved and find out whether people are prepared to pay this amount before you book up. Work out if you can offer to bear some of the financial burden yourself. On a weekend to Prague, for instance, if the guys are prepared to pay for their hotel and flights, you could offer to meet the bar bill on the first night or treat them all to a meal. The same goes for an activity-based day/weekend in the UK. If you are asking friends to pay for travel and accommodation costs, perhaps you could subsidise the cost of the activities themselves?
Who's responsible for getting the groom home?
This is where picking the right best man is crucial. If you're planning a pub-crawl /big club night out/anything involving copious amounts of booze, don't appoint a die-hard party animal as your guardian. Decide how late you want to be and ask your best man /trusted mate to arrange a cab home in advance - or even do it yourself.
What happens to any incriminating evidence?
Ahem - should there be any! Even the most innocent stag parties can give rise to nudge-nudge-wink-wink stories and many grooms do get stitched up by their over-excited mates. If some compromising pictures of pole dancers, strippergrams or anything involving baby oil should happen to surface, any decent best man will get them out of circulation as soon as possible. If you think there's a chance that they could be presented as a "joke" on the big day, get yourself a new best man.