Stag and Doe
June 10, 2008 6:51 AM   Subscribe

Are stag and does/buck and does a soley Ontario thing?

At my friends' stag and doe (also known as 'buck and doe') the other night, a group of us were talking with our friend from the US who came out. None of them could recall having a stag and doe or buck and doe 'back home'. They all came from a different state. Then someone from out east chimed in and said she hadn't recalled any stag and doe parties before she moved to Ontario.

Those of us who were local considered them as just one of the many pre-wedding parties and events that every couple goes through. Sure, some opt out, like my brother, but everyone knows at least one couple who had one to raise money for their wedding.

So, is it a local phenomenon? Ontario only? Canadian? A scattered thing around north america? Are there other types of 'wedding fundraiser' parties, just with different names?

I'm just curious.
posted by sandraregina to Society & Culture (40 answers total)
Having grown up in the mid-atlantic US, and having friends from all over the US' East Coast, I have no clue what you're talking about.
posted by Tomorrowful at 6:57 AM on June 10, 2008

I had to go look it up on wikipedia, and coincidentally enough, it mentions "stag and doe party" as a wedding tradition popular in Southern Ontario.
posted by jozxyqk at 6:59 AM on June 10, 2008

We have "stag" and "hen" parties in the UK, but generally they are separately organised (more like bachelor and bachelorette parties) and aren't fundraisers.
posted by ukdanae at 7:03 AM on June 10, 2008

I'm an American that moved to BC three years ago. I'm getting married next year and I've got absolutely no idea what a "stag and doe" party is. My Canadian fiancée has never spoken of such a thing.

The closest I can think of is I've heard bachelor parties being called "stag parties" up here sometimes.
posted by Nelsormensch at 7:03 AM on June 10, 2008

I grew up in New York and had never heard of a Stag and Doe (or even the concept of a pre-wedding fundraising party) until I moved to Toronto three years ago. I have to vote yes, it's a Southern Ontario thing.
posted by kate blank at 7:08 AM on June 10, 2008

I grew up in Ottawa and then went to undergrad in Southern Ontario (Guelph/Waterloo) and I can tell you it's a regional tradition. I had never heard of a stag and doe until I moved to this area.
posted by carabiner at 7:08 AM on June 10, 2008

for the love of God, speak English!!!

(I have no idea what these are.)
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 7:09 AM on June 10, 2008

(oh, and I'm from Illinois)
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 7:09 AM on June 10, 2008

I've only ever heard "stag and doe" in Southwestern Ontario.
posted by Succa at 7:13 AM on June 10, 2008

I've lived in six provinces and had never heard the term until I lived in Ontario.
posted by loiseau at 7:13 AM on June 10, 2008

Interesting! I grew up in southern Ontario and can confirm that buck n' does are rampant. I'm not a big fan of these (seems very money-grabbing) but they all seem to be similar: they are held at arenas and community centres, there is a "50/50" draw, other games, the bridal party walks around in some sort of identifiable t-shirt letting everyone know their role in the party.

You have to buy tickets for drinks, and there aren't a lot of options -- lots of beer. The arena floor gets sticky from all the spilled beer, and it's pretty much a guarantee you're gonna hear "you shook me all night long." I'm pretty sure there's a buck n' doe soundtrack out there - bob seger is also on it.
posted by Flying Squirrel at 7:14 AM on June 10, 2008

I've spent my life in Nova Scotia and Alberta and never heard of this - it sounds like an excellent opportunity for a couple to demonstrate the mercenary position.
posted by fish tick at 7:20 AM on June 10, 2008

This is a very localized term - Up in Thunder Bay (and closely surrounding areas) they are called "shags".. Here in Dryden, just 400 km northwest (400 km isn't really very far around here) they are called "socials".
posted by davey_darling at 7:26 AM on June 10, 2008

I'm from Alberta, and I had absolutely no idea what you were talking about until other people posted.
posted by aramaic at 7:44 AM on June 10, 2008

I never heard of "stag and does" until I moved to southern Ontario. I thought at first it was some kind of joint bachelor/bachelorette party that was tamed down for the family. Eventually I realized it was a moneygrab (we got invited to four of them in one year, by people we weren't close to who weren't inviting us to their weddings). (They also advertise in the newspaper when and where the parties are; do people that don't know the couple ever go? I'm curious. I can see it maybe if you're in a small town and there's not a lot of entertainment, but this is in the cities.) I asked around about them: my husband's grandmother says it's a more recent trend, for maybe the past 30 years; that she didn't hear of it before (born and raised southern Ontario). And some neighbors told me it's from small villages throwing a party to help raise money to start the couple off (so not originally to pay for the wedding, more like a wedding shower). If it were really a community event like that, back then, it's a nice enough idea, but now when the family throws it for themselves, I dunno, heh, strikes me as pretty tacky.
posted by Melinika at 7:51 AM on June 10, 2008

I'm from Ottawa, had not heard of them, but moved to the Ottawa Valley last year and they're announced in the little local papers here all the time. Here's one on page 40 of the "Arnprior Weekender."
posted by kmennie at 7:51 AM on June 10, 2008

I'm in Winnipeg, where they are also called "Socials", and they are completely common. You go to them over the years, so that people will feel obligated to come to yours when you have one.

Also, the DJ inevitably plays "Monie Monie" by Billy Idol, and the crowd shouts out "Hey motherf**ker, get laid, get drunk!" at certain parts. This is not a random occurance, but happens at virtually every social I have ever been to. No, I have no idea why.

It's possible we get a little squirrely up here.
posted by joelhunt at 8:06 AM on June 10, 2008

Just to add to the chorus of southern Ontarians: I grew up in small-town (southern) Ontario, and a stag and doe was a standard part of almost every wedding. And they were exactly as Flying Squirrel describes them.

Since I moved to Toronto about twelve years ago, I think I've been to one. There are plenty of engagement parties, and even combined bachelor/bachelorette things, but nothing as mercenary as the small-town stag and doe.
posted by flipper at 8:08 AM on June 10, 2008

I grew up near Toronto and didn't hear about stag and doe parties until I went to university with a lot of people from small-town southwestern Ontario.
posted by thisjax at 8:16 AM on June 10, 2008

I live in Ottawa and have never heard the term before.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 8:27 AM on June 10, 2008

I should add that I'm still a bit young for stag-and-doe parties, but you'd think I would've heard the term before in any case.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 8:29 AM on June 10, 2008

Wow, as someone from Southern Ontario, I didn't realize that these were a regional thing! I've been to a lot of Stag & Doe parties and I thought they were common everywhere.
posted by smitt at 8:46 AM on June 10, 2008

Just another voice chiming into say that I never heard of them before I moved to southern Ontario (from BC).
posted by synecdoche at 8:47 AM on June 10, 2008

I'm from Eastern Ontario (between Kingston and Ottawa), and hadn't heard of them until moving to Toronto.
posted by heatherann at 8:52 AM on June 10, 2008

In Australia we have buck's night (the guy) and hen's night (the girl), held separately. Exact happenings vary slightly by social group, but basically just a girls/guys night out getting drunk and having fun. No money or anything involved, although the bride/groom doesn't pay for anything themself. And some people go ridiculously overboard - a friend of a friend's fiance went to Thailand for a week long buck's party, which ended in such messiness they postponed the wedding while she reconsidered or something.
posted by jacalata at 9:02 AM on June 10, 2008

I'm from Southern, Ontario (Stratford) and I thought they were common everywhere too. Stag and Hens nights in the UK/Oz I think are equivalent to our bachelor/bachelorette parties. And yeah, you only go to them so people will come to yours eventually. Weddings are expensive, I'm generally glad to help out. Though, depending on how well you know the couple, they can be tedious.
posted by heavenstobetsy at 9:17 AM on June 10, 2008

There are sometimes joint "Stag" and "Stagette" functions, although these events are usually held apart. Must be an Ontario thing, I clicked on the post thinking you were discussing hunting.
posted by Deep Dish at 9:30 AM on June 10, 2008

I've lived near Toronto most of my life, and I didn't even know what a stag and doe was until I looked it up one day because my friends were going to them in increasing numbers. I thought it was like a theme party or something.
posted by chrominance at 9:41 AM on June 10, 2008

The "shag" is de rigeur for a Thunder Bay (Northwestern Ontario) wedding. I've been to plenty and always check the newspaper for them when I go home, though now it's mostly for nostalgia than for the underage drinking I did in my youth. My brother had one for his wedding and I'd actually say it might have been more fun than the wedding itself. I'm still disappointed I didn't win the chainsaw in the raffle.
posted by marylynn at 9:42 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

Seconding them being called Socials in Manitoba, where they are unfortunately common. I had thought this was something unique to Manitoba, but it seems not. Dryden, which was mentioned above, is closer to Manitoba than it is to Southern Ontario.

I avoid them as much as possible.
posted by Jupiter Jones at 9:47 AM on June 10, 2008

Grew up in Ontario, came to Winnipeg. There have been a few here, called Jack and Jills.

A Social is not a stag, it's a fundraiser for the wedding.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 10:10 AM on June 10, 2008

joelhunt, I remember the shouting during Mony Mony at a campus bar during my undergrad at the University of Western Ontario, so it's definitely not just a Winnipeg thing...unless the bar was always full of Winnipeggers (doubtful).

And yeah, I'm from near Toronto and never heard of stag and does until a few years ago when people in my age group started getting married. Definitely more of a rural thing than a city thing, I think. I've heard them called "buck and does", "stag and does" and "Jack and Jills" but not "socials" or "shags."
posted by pised at 10:19 AM on June 10, 2008


A "Stag and Doe", as described by the OP, is exactly a social. It's not a "stag" or bachelor party, it is a fundraiser for the engaged couple. So, while you're right that a stag is not a social, the OP wasn't asking about stag parties, but rather "Stag/Buck and Does", which seem to be a local variant name for what is called a Social here in The Peg.

Also, I've heard of Jack and Jill showers, but never Jack and Jill Bachelor Parties. It's an idea that would sure help avoid some tearful confessions and recriminations after the fact, though.
posted by joelhunt at 10:21 AM on June 10, 2008

Just to add to the winnipeg tradition... a social is not necessarily for a wedding, (That can be called a "wedding social") they can also be to fundraise for other things.

Obligatory elements include:

- absolutely horrible DJ playing cd's of crap

- Cash bar selling really bad beer and whiskey and vodka. Maybe something else if you're lucky

- Late evening snack consisting of the exact same goddamn pickles, rye bread, cold cuts, mustard, crackers and cheese.

- silent auction which consist of begged donations and maybe some bought high end prizes.

Most 20-somethings I am friends with will avoid these nights like the plague. I usually buy a ticket to support the co worker or friend of a friend with the explicit warning that I will not attend.
posted by utsutsu at 10:28 AM on June 10, 2008

I was raised just outside Toronto and knew about them but had only been to two (both a bit more classy, held at home with not so much expense for the guests). Now I live in small town ontario, yeah, at least half a dozen are advertised every week in our local paper. Since the ads aren't cheap I wondered why they were advertised instead of just calling to invite everyone to the party. But my town until recently only had one high school so maybe it was a way for distant/drifted away friends to get together and party?
posted by saucysault at 10:29 AM on June 10, 2008

I've gone to a few family ones out of sheer obligation, but I will never attend one of these again. They're just pure money-grabbers and I always feel embarrassed for the people who are throwing them.

Awful way to feel about family, but it's true. The stag and doe term is definitely southern Ontario, but they're common in a lot of places (I've heard of similar events in the UK, northeastern US, and other areas of Canada).

posted by purephase at 11:11 AM on June 10, 2008

I moved to Hamilton from the Ottawa region and was perplexed when the invitations for stag-and-does started rolling in. We were encouraged to put up advertisements, sell tickets, and to spread the word before the event. There were definitely people who didn't know the couple and were just looking to party, but apparently this was the norm (and encouraged). I stopped attending them recently because I couldn't handle having to buy more Worm Insurance.
posted by charlton at 1:46 PM on June 10, 2008

Stag parties for men in Northern BC. Can't recall what it is for women.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:54 AM on June 11, 2008

I've lived in CA, TX and WA and knew of stag/bachelor parties and bachelorette parties (always held separately). I currently live in BC, Canada (eight years) and have never heard of the parties the poster mentioned.

The only "tradition" I can think of that's even remotely similar is the "pay for a dance" with the bride or groom at the wedding reception.

I think both "traditions" are tacky.
posted by deborah at 10:35 PM on June 11, 2008

All you haters fail to appreciate that in rural Manitoba socials are one of the few opportunities for small towns to get together (New Year's, Canada Day, and Harvest Festivals making up most of the social calendar).
They're also a way to let your creepy cousins feel that they're a part of the nuptial celebrations, even if you didn't invite them to the wedding.

As far as I know in they don't have socials in Saskatchewan, but they do "pass the boot/guitar case/empty Pilsner case" either at the reception or an informal party before the wedding date and fill it with lucre for the bride and groom.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:56 AM on July 7, 2008

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