In Germany, there are so-called “Polterabend” celebrations and the stag party – this article sheds light on the background and planning.

The wedding reception is a tradition deeply rooted in European culture that has developed over the centuries. Originally intended to drive away evil spirits, the stag party has evolved into a social gathering that focuses on fun and fellowship.

Is a “Polterabend” the same as a stag party? How is it traditionally celebrated and what customs are there? Find out more here!

Stag Party
Source: Midjourney

Facts about the stag party

FactThe details
Typical customsBreaking porcelain and ceramics, sweeping up the broken pieces by the bride and groom, sometimes burning the groom’s trousers or nailing shoes.
TimingUsually a few days or weeks before the wedding. Traditionally on the Thursday before the wedding, but flexible nowadays.
Guest listFriends, family, neighbors, work colleagues – often a large, mixed group.
OrganizationTraditionally organized by friends of the bride and groom, but can also be organized by the bride and groom themselves or family members.
Celebrating togetherYes, the bride and groom usually celebrate together with their guests.
Location of the celebrationUsually at home, in the garden in summer. However, a venue can also be rented.

“Polterabend” vs. stag party: differences & similarities

When we talk about Polterabend and stag parties, the question often arises: What actually distinguishes these two celebrations from each other? Both are integral parts of the wedding preparations, but they have their own unique characteristics.

The differences:

  • Traditional vs. modern: The Polterabend is a traditional celebration that often involves smashing dishes to drive away evil spirits. The stag party, on the other hand, is a more modern invention that focuses on fun, partying and sometimes little pranks.
  • Guest list: There are usually many guests at the Polterabend , including friends, family and sometimes even neighbors or co-workers. The stag night is usually a more intimate affair, celebrated with only the closest friends or girlfriends.
  • Together vs. separately: A key difference is that the wedding reception is usually celebrated together by the bride and groom with a mixed group of guests. The stag party, on the other hand, is celebrated separately in all-male or all-female groups.
  • Mood and activities: The Polterabend is often a cozy get-together with traditional games and customs, while the stag night tends to be wilder and more exuberant, often with activities such as club visits, city trips or unusual challenges.

The similarities:

  • Pre-wedding celebration: both events are designed to celebrate the last few days before the wedding.
  • Get-together with friends: Both the Polterabend and the stag party focus on getting together with friends.
  • Creating memories: Both celebrations offer the opportunity to create unforgettable memories that will remind the bride and groom of the time leading up to their wedding for a long time to come.

To summarize, the stag and hen parties have similar aims, but differ significantly in their focus, tradition and the way they are celebrated. While the Polterabend focuses on tradition and celebrating together, the stag party is more about individual fun and exuberant activities in a narrower, gender-specific circle of friends.

Bachelor Party Friends
Source: Midjourney

Customs and traditions at a stag party

The bachelorette party is rich in customs and traditions that not only provide entertainment, but also have deep symbolic meanings. Here are some of the most important customs and their backgrounds:


“Poltern” is the core custom of the bachelorette party and has a long tradition. Here are the most important aspects:

  • Objects: Mainly dishes and ceramics. Sometimes humorous objects such as old toilet bowls are also added.
  • Taboos: Glass and mirrors should not be broken. Glass because it does not have the same symbolic value as porcelain, and mirrors because, according to ancient superstition, they bring seven years of bad luck.
  • Symbolism: Breaking porcelain is said to drive away evil spirits. It stands for luck and prosperity for the bride and groom.
  • Community aspect: This custom brings all the guests together and creates an exuberant, cheerful atmosphere.
  • Sweeping up the broken pieces: After breaking the dishes, the bride and groom sweep up the broken pieces together. This act symbolizes cooperation and overcoming obstacles in the marriage together.

Burning the groom’s trousers

The burning of the groom’s trousers is a less common but nonetheless distinctive custom at some stag parties. Here are the details:

  • Symbolism: this custom symbolizes the end of the groom’s bachelor life. It stands for the farewell to his previous, unattached lifestyle and the beginning of a new phase in his life as a husband.
  • Time: The burning of the trousers usually takes place at the end of the bachelor party, often as a symbolic conclusion to the celebrations.
  • Location: It is usually performed outdoors, for example in a garden or open field where it is safe to light a small fire.
  • Rite of passage: Similar to other wedding customs, the burning of the pants serves as a rite of passage, marking the change from being a bachelor to being married.

Nailing shoes

Nailing down the groom’s shoes is another interesting and symbolic custom at some bachelor parties. Here are the details:

  • Symbolism: This custom symbolizes the permanence and firm foundation of the upcoming marriage. It stands for the groom’s commitment and obligation to his future wife and their life together.
  • Location: This custom is usually performed at a central location of the ceremony, often a tree, wooden plank or other suitable place where the shoes can be securely fastened.
  • Commitment and steadfastness: Nailing the shoes is a symbolic act that represents the groom’s commitment and steadfastness in the marriage.

These customs are not just entertaining rituals, but also carry a deeper meaning. They reflect the transition from independence to partnership and overcoming challenges together. The wedding reception is therefore not just a celebration before the wedding, but also a symbolic act that prepares the bride and groom for their life together.

Polterabeend celebration
Source: Midjourney

Procedure and planning of a typical stag party

A stag party can be organized in many different ways, but here is an example of a typical schedule, supplemented by a few elements:

TimeProgram pointProgram description
17:00Welcoming the guestsReception of the guests, short welcoming speech by the bridal couple or the hosts.
17:30Champagne receptionToast together and relaxed get-together.
18:00Opening of the buffetStart of the meal with a selection of dishes available to all guests.
19:00Games and activitiesOrganized games or activities involving the bride and groom and guests.
20:00Program point 1Fun program point, e.g. rummaging through old pictures, a game, a competition, etc.
21:00Traditional clangingBreaking of porcelain and ceramics, followed by the bride and groom sweeping up together.
21:30Program point 2Further program point, e.g. a quiz, a game, etc.
22:30Special interludesSurprise interludes or special program items, e.g. speeches, performances by friends.
23:30Dancing and partyingTime to conquer the dance floor and celebrate together.
00:30Closing ritualPossibly the burning of the groom’s trousers or another symbolic ritual.
01:30ClosingSlow end to the celebration, last rounds at the bar, farewell to the first guests.

Fun program ideas: Entertainment and games

A stag party is the perfect opportunity to create a great atmosphere with creative and fun games. Here are some ideas that will involve both the bride and groom and the guests:

“Get to know each other quiz”

  • Concept: A quiz in which questions are asked about the bride and groom. Who knows the most?
  • Implementation: Prepare questions about the bride and groom, e.g. “Where did they have their first date?” The guests have to guess.
  • Aim: Fun way to see who knows the bride and groom best.

“Shoe game”

  • Concept: The bride and groom sit back to back and wear/hold one of their own shoes and one of their partner’s shoes.
  • Implementation: Questions such as “Who is tidier?”, “Who runs the household?”, “Who has better eating manners?” etc. are asked. The bride and groom lift the corresponding shoe.
  • Aim: Entertaining insights into the couple’s relationship.

“Community artwork”

  • Concept: Creation of a work of art by all guests.
  • Implementation: Provide a large canvas and paints. Each guest paints a small tile.
  • Goal: A unique memento for the bride and groom.

“Memory box”

  • Concept: A box in which guests can place written wishes or memories of the couple.
  • Implementation: Provide a beautiful box/guest book and paper. Guests can leave notes.
  • Goal: Personal and touching memories for the bride and groom.

“Photo rally”

  • Concept: A scavenger hunt with photo tasks.
  • Implementation: Create a list of photo tasks (e.g. “Take a photo with the bride and groom”). Guests must complete these.
  • Goal: Fun photos and active involvement of the guests.

These games and activities not only provide entertainment, but also strengthen the community among the guests and create lasting memories for the bride and groom.

Also check out our planning tips for the program of a stag party:

Invitations: Guest list & invitations

The invitations to the wedding reception are an important part of the preparations. Here are some details:

Who will be invited?

Typically, friends, family and acquaintances of the bride and groom are invited. In contrast to the stag party, which often only takes place with the closest circle of friends, the stag party is a more open event where more distant acquaintances and work colleagues are also welcome.

Types of invitation

  • Invitation via Messenger/WhatsApp: Practical for quick and informal invitations. Enables easy sharing of information and updates.
  • Invitation by card: More traditional and personal. Can be kept as a souvenir.

Ideas for sayings and texts

  • Classic with a twist: “Before we say ‘I do’, let’s make a real splash! Be there for [bride] and [groom]’s bachelorette party on [date]!”
  • Rhyming and witty: “Porcelain breaking is good luck, there’s no turning back when [bride] and [groom] bang! On [date] it’s time for a night of merriment!”
  • Modern and relaxed: “Party before the party! [Bride] and [groom] invite you to a stag party – fun, games and shards guaranteed. Save the date: [date]!”
  • With a wink: “We say goodbye to single life with a bang that will stick in your memory for a long time! Stag party time with [bride] and [groom] on [date]. Let’s party until the shards fly!”
  • For the tech-savvy: “Swipe right for an unforgettable night! Bachelorette party alarm at [bride] and [groom] on [date]. Bring a good mood and dancing shoes!”
  • For movie and series fans: “Before the final ‘yes’ sounds, there will be another real party! Be part of [bride] and [groom]’s wedding night episode on [date]. Spoiler: It’s going to be legendary!”
  • Short and sweet: “Banging? Check! Fun? Check! You? Check! [Date] – Save it!”
Bachelor Party Invitations
Source: Midjourney

Food and drink at a bachelorette party

A bachelorette party is not only a celebration of love and tradition, but also an opportunity to enjoy delicious food and drinks. Here are some recommendations:

Food recommendations

  • Rustic buffet: A buffet with a selection of hearty dishes such as cold meat and cheese platters, bread, dips and salads.
  • Barbecue: A popular and sociable option. Various types of meat, sausages, vegetable skewers and grilled cheese.
  • Finger food: Easy to eat and varied. Mini quiches, filled puff pastry pockets, vegetable sticks with dip.

Recipe instructions for party food

Recommendations for drinks

  • Beer: A classic at German stag parties.
  • Wine and sparkling wine: For those who like it a little more sophisticated.
  • Non-alcoholic alternatives: Soft drinks, juices and water should not be missing.
  • Cocktails: A selection of popular cocktails can lift the mood.
  • Coffee and tea: For later in the evening or as a non-alcoholic option.

The range of food and drink should be varied to suit the tastes of all guests. It is important that there is enough food and drink to keep the festive mood going throughout the evening.

Bachelor Party Buffet
Source: Midjourney

Decoration for the bachelorette party

Decorations play an important role in setting the right mood for the bachelorette party. Here are some ideas:

Decoration ideas

  • Themed decorations: Choose a theme that suits the bride and groom, e.g. “Vintage”, “Rustic” or “Glamorous”. Decorate accordingly with matching colors, fabrics and accessories.
  • Fairy lights and lanterns: Create a cozy atmosphere with fairy lights and colorful lanterns.
  • Photo corner: Set up a corner with a background and props where guests can take fun photos.
  • Table decorations: Use table runners, flower arrangements and candles to make the tables appealing.
  • Personalized elements: Use pictures of the couple, personalized signs or banners to add a personal touch.

Fun gimmicks for the guests

  • Hats and headpieces: Offers a selection of fun hats, tiaras or flower crowns.
  • Fake beards and mo ustaches: Provide laughs with self-adhesive beards and moustaches.
  • Photo props: Provides glasses, boas, inflatable instruments and other fun items for the photo corner.
  • Luminous items: Bracelets, necklaces or headbands that glow in the dark are a hit, especially at evening events.
  • Temporary tattoos: Offers fun tattoos with wedding themes or funny sayings.
Bachelor Party Location
Source: Midjourney

Five special tips for bachelorette party organizers

1. Tip: Music

  • Create a playlist: Put together a versatile playlist that has something for everyone. Include both current hits and timeless classics.
  • Cozy background music: Relaxed music that doesn’t disturb the conversation is suitable at the beginning of the evening.
  • Karaoke: Plan a karaoke session for later in the evening to lighten the mood and have fun.

2. Tip: Photos

  • Photographer or photo box: Hire a photographer or set up a photo box to capture the best moments.
  • Share photos: Organize a way for the photos to be easily shared with all guests after the event, e.g. via an online gallery or a shared cloud.

3. Tip: Plan for surprise guests. Always allow for a few unexpected guests and plan accordingly for more food and drink.

4.Tip: Guest book. Provide a guest book in which guests can leave congratulations, sayings or funny anecdotes. Ideally, combine this with photos from the evening.

5.Tip: Set a theme/style. Give the bachelorette party a special theme or style, such as “80s”, “beach party” or “movie stars”. This can influence the clothing, decorations and even the food and drinks and adds to the fun.

Costs for the stag party

The cost of a stag party can vary depending on the size and nature of the celebration. Here are some items to consider when planning your budget:

  1. Location: venue hire if not celebrating at home.
  2. Food and drink: Catering or costs for self-prepared food and drinks.
  3. Decoration: Materials for the decoration and any rental costs for additional decorative elements.
  4. Music and entertainment: Costs for a DJ, a band or a karaoke system.
  5. Photographer/photobox: Costs for a professional photographer or the hire of a photobox.
  6. Invitations: Cost of printing and mailing invitations if invitations are not digital.
  7. Extras: Costs for special activities, games or surprise elements.
  8. Emergency fund: A small additional amount for unforeseen expenses.

Cost per guest/total:

  • The total cost depends heavily on the number of guests and the chosen setting.
  • A simple rule of thumb could be to expect to pay around 20-40 euros per guest, depending on the factors mentioned above.
  • For a wedding reception with 20 guests, the costs are around 400€ – 800€; with 50 guests, the total costs could be around 1000€ – 2000€.
Bachelor Party Music
Source: Midjourney

Tips for guests at a stag party

As a guest at a stag party, there are a few things to consider to ensure that both the bride and groom and the other guests have a great time:


  • Typically: Gifts are not customary at a stag party. The focus is on celebrating together.
  • Gifts of money: Instead of traditional gifts, a piggy bank can be set up where guests can make a small donation if they wish.


  • Dress code: Find out in advance whether there is a special dress code, especially if the event has a specific theme.
  • Practical clothing: Since the bachelorette party often involves activities, comfortable and not too formal clothing is recommended.


  • Respectful and considerate: even though it is a boisterous celebration, you should always be respectful and considerate of the bride and groom and other guests.
  • Participation in activities: Be open to the games and activities planned to contribute to the good atmosphere.


  • Enquiry: Ask in advance whether it is okay to bring an accompanying person if this was not explicitly mentioned in the invitation.


  • Punctuality: Try to be on time, especially if there is a fixed program.
  • Photos: Be careful about sharing photos on social media, especially if not all guests agree.
Friends Bachelor Party
Source: Midjourney

Conclusion: Polterabend vs. hen party

Stag and hen parties each offer unique experiences and appeal to different tastes. The choice between these two traditions depends on the bride and groom’s personal ideas and wishes.

  • The Polterabend is ideal for couples who value tradition and want a celebration that brings together family and friends from all generations. It is an opportunity to celebrate in a larger circle, often with a relaxed and folk festival-like character.
  • The stag party is aimed at those who prefer an exuberant party, often with only their closest friends. It is ideal for brides and grooms who want to celebrate their last “free” evening in a smaller and more intimate setting.