Event Case Study #2: Bucks Party Surprise


This is the second case study within the mini-series Event Production & Management, which consists of the following articles:

  1. General Introduction
  2. Christians 20/30 Great Gatsby Ball, held 26 July 2014
  3. Operation Christmas Child (OCC) – Surge Packing Party held 30 July 2014
  4. Friend’s Wedding held 9 August 2014
  5. Bucks Party Surprise held 30 August 2014  (this article)
  6. Birthday Party Surprise held 3 September 2014
  7. Friend’s Wedding held 13 September 2014
  8. Christians 20/30 Music Festival held 4 October 2014
  9. OCC – UCC Packing Party held 14 November, 2014
  10. Friend’s Wedding held 15 November, 2014
  11. Friend’s Proposal Surprise held 4 January 2015
  12. Friend’s Wedding held 11 July 2015
  13. OCC – Young Working Adults Packing Party held 29 July 2015
  14. Friend’s Wedding held 22 August 2015
  15. Friend’s Wedding held 26 September 2015
  16. Christians 20/30 OCC Charity Program held 9, 10 & 17 October 2015
  17. Friend’s Proposal Surprise held 3 January 2016

General Concept

Surprise is a key element in any bucks or bachelor party/celebration. The term “buck” originates from the terms applied to deer: a buck is a male deer whilst the female a doe. Interestingly, the bride’s equivalent of a bucks party is not a doe party, but a hen’s party/night. Traditionally, the buck is a soon to be married guy and the party guests are restricted to close male friends whereas the hen’s night is a ladies-only event. Part of the custom requires that the best man (maid of honour) take charge of organising the bucks (hen’s) party.

Culture has evolved over the years such that in secular non-religious communities, the adherence to the faith’s disciplines and beliefs persist; limited or no alcohol is present and this extends to no sex, drugs, or extreme activities. Nevertheless, the buck is generally subjected to humiliation and is required to perform activities as part of the progression through the night’s program. Challenges and punishments generally form a key part of a bucks night. Whilst a hen’s night may have challenges and punishments, generally the activities are not as extreme in nature. Challenges have typically included asking the buck/hen questions that the partner has been asked to provide answers for. Punishments can vary in impact from minor forms of humiliation to extreme activities (normally for the buck) which may involve other people (strangers). Generally, extrovert natured bucks are likely to enjoy and participate more fully and thus contribute to a more extreme and wild bucks party whereas the more timid and introvert guys tend to celebrate less wild and milder parties. One of the features of a bucks/hens is to dress the buck/hen up. Naturally, this feature creates for more interesting outcomes for the buck than the reverse situation, where the buck has to wear a various items of his fiancée’s clothing. The advent of the onesie has also no doubt contributed to memorable costumes for bucks and possibly hens too.

The timing of the bucks (and hen’s night) invariably determines what opportunities the best man (and the bucks party participants) have to make some of the challenges/punishments more extreme. The worst outcome is when a bucks party that is held too close/soon to the wedding results in physical impacts which show up at the wedding. For example, missing eyebrows, or a shaved head interfere too much with the wedding itself should the two events transpire sin a short period of time (say a fortnight). However, bucks and hens parties normally take place within a month of the wedding – any longer and it tends to lose meaning. After all, the purpose of both the bucks and hens nights is to celebrate the ending of a chapter in the buck/hen’s life – that their bachelorhood/singleness is coming to an end. It is this spirit that drives and motivates most if not all the activities of a bucks/hens night – doing things only a single person can do before they are committed to a marriage. Further, I would even suggest that these types of traditions and culture reinforce the whole concept that marriage is between a man and a woman. In this modern world where society want to accommodate same-sex marriage, how does a bucks or hens party play out when both partners are both guys or girls? Do they still keep them separate, or celebrate together? I am not saying it cannot work, but that there is a certain awkwardness that same-sex marriage creates when it comes to these side traditions.

Bucks Party Event Review

My friend’s bucks party was held on Saturday 30 August 2014 and relates to the wedding listed as #7 at the top of the article. As the dates suggest, there was a limited gap of two weeks between the bucks party and wedding. This event was not so much a surprise since the groom had a general awareness of the event being scheduled and instead was a surprise from a perspective of the activities planned as part of the bucks party. As per the “rules” of a bucks party, details of the event itself cannot be shared, but that does not prevent me from providing a general commentary on the overall event planning procedures.

The overall bucks experience spanned lunch, the entire afternoon, dinner and evening. In this way, the event was flexible with guests being able to attend for the activities that they could make, and then leave whilst others in the group continued on. As an example, I could only join for the first half and had to depart after the first afternoon activities were complete. My involvement was to help coordinate communication with half the attendees since the Best Man organiser of the event was not part of the groom’s immediate circle of friends that was our life-group. Supporting the best man in the main event planning, I helped to build the full list of contacts for the WhatsApp chat group. Collectively we discussed and planned out the various activities for the afternoon being held outdoors – we delegated and split up various roles so that individuals were tasked with the food preparation, and specific games/activities. One person took charge of the food preparation for the BBQ lunch held at the local public park, whilst the best man placed the bookings for go-karting and the dinner. The groom’s brother took charge of some of the challenges and items required for the punishments (food tasting). I helped to inform the best man that the groom had been given a onesie which became the buck’s attire for the party.

On the day itself, a few of us assisted the bride-to-be with the moving of furniture from a friend’s house one street down to the wedding couple’s residence in preparation for the parents of the bride to stay in the household. After moving mattresses and setting up beds, I provided transportation for the groom-to-be. Only able to attend the afternoon session of the bucks event, I later on returned key items to the bride and remained appropriately elusive to her questions on the afternoon’s bucks party events.