The days of separate hen and stag parties may soon be over. Picture: Wikipedia

Cross-gender friendships and cutting costs are fuelling the rise of hag parties

You know the saying “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”? Well, never have a group of friends taken it more literally than when it comes to hosting a hen or stag party.

It’s a rite of passage for couples who plan to spend the rest of their lives together - to have one more soiree in singledom before tying the knot.

Some take it so seriously that the participating parties are sworn to secrecy and banned from sharing the evening’s events on social media.

After all, hedonism, debauchery and risqué behaviour are the prerequisites of any banging bachelor and bachelorette party.

But times are changing. Many young couples are now opting for combined parties.

A new, millennial trend, sten and hag dos are growing in popularity.

Just one look at Instagram shows that couples are becoming more progressive with their celebratory mash-ups.

Robin Weil, the chief executive and founder at Weddingplanner.co.uk, spoke to The Independent’s Olivia Petter after noticing a marked increase in hag and sten parties on his booking site.

“Couples tend to share more friends than ever before and are looking to party as one big group, rather than splitting up the guys and the girls,” he said.

But isn’t it the experience we’re after? The memories made? What about the strippers? The drunken flirting with the bartender? It’s the things Hollywood movies are made of, right? The Hangover, Rough Night, Bridesmaids It might not end up as debauched as in the movie, but it’s what we strive for.

From weekends away to sunset yacht cruises, the possibilities are endless. Picture: PxHere

According to Wedding Ideas magazine, couples are spending more time together - which renders the “last night of freedom” concept dead.

A sten party can work to your advantage if you have a large group of friends and family, says the magazine.

“If your friends have never had the chance to spend a lot of time together, this is the perfect opportunity for everyone to come together and mingle before the big day,” it noted.

It’s also a sign of how hen and stag parties are shedding their gender bias.

These days couples share the same group of friends. Social circles are no longer constrained just to a single sex.

Weil hints at gender roles evolving by adding that most wedding guests are coupled and value their time off together. A sten or hag do kills two birds with one stone - they get to party and go on holiday together.

Then there are also the financial pay-offs. The cost of a wedding can run into the hundreds of thousands. Many couples need to start their marriage debt-free.

Hen and stag specialists GoHen believes that sten parties, while not common, make financial sense.

Couples are spending more time together, so combined dos would be a natural progression. Picture: Pixabay

“Rather than two potentially expensive weekends ahead of the wedding, the groups can pool their resources for a massive weekend to remember,” it said.

If a combined event is your thing, wedding planners company Celebration has a few suggestions:

  • A luxuriant wine tasting on a wine farm
  • A yacht cruise at sunset, with champagne and snacks
  • A visit to a spa that caters for men and women
  •  A travelling dinner party where starters, mains and desserts are all enjoyed at a different home or restaurant.
  •  A day trip to the beach for fun in the sun with your loved ones.