Stag and Does and the new Liquor Laws

by millerinsurancebrokers

Stag and Does have long been a tradition in Bruce and Grey Counties. A way for the community to celebrate the impending nuptials and great opportunity to raise some funds to help the newlyweds get off on the right foot. Recently though, changes have been made to the Liquor License Act that impact the traditional Buck and Doe as we have known it.

Last night I attended a presentation given by AGCO Inspector Brian Johnston and OPP Sergeant M.L. (Mike) Pierzchalski on the recent changes to the Liquor Licence Act and Regulations and how they impact private and public events in our area.

There are now only three types of Special Occasion Permits: Private Events, Public Events and Industry Promotional Events. Family celebrations like buck and does or stag and does, weddings and anniversaries all fall under the category of Private Event. (For more on Private Event S.O.P.s check out )

Under a Private Event Special Occasion Permit:
– You can only have invited guests
– There can be no intention to profit from the sale of alcohol at the event
– You cannot advertise the event
– There can be no unlawful gambling

This is a change from the past where tickets were available at the door and if there was nothing else going on that night, the whole town might show up. Since you cannot advertise the event in the newspaper, radio or facebook in theory the only people who know about the event should be the ones that are invited. There is some added pressure on family and friends to sell tickets beforehand, but on the upside, all of those funds go to the bride and groom, so if you sell a lot before the event you know that the evening will have been a success.

You cannot profit from the sale of alcohol. Many people respond, “then what is the point of hosting the event?” The key in this regulation is that you cannot profit from the sale, however that is after all of the costs of the event have been covered. Organizers will have to do a bit more planning, but a simple budget (microsoft has several event budget templates) can be created that includes the hall rental, bartender costs, security, alcohol and mix expenses. Use your tickets sales to estimate the attendance, how many drinks you will sell and price the drinks to cover the event costs.

So how do you make money at a stag and doe? There are many ways, however many of the traditional games and raffles are no longer options since that would be unlawful gambling. OPP Sergeant Pierzchalski broke it down into five ways to generate revenue for the couple:
– Ticket Sales
– Donations (two jars at front, one with the bride’s name and one with the groom. Guests are encouraged to put a twoonie the jar of the person they do not want to see get a pie in the face.)
– Silent Auctions (get prizes donated – no liquor bottles, but you can get LCBO or Beer Store gift certificates – have people write their bids down on a piece of paper. Try to get the Bride’s side bidding against the Groom’s side to increase the bid amounts)
– Live Auction (same as above except with a lively auctioneer!)
– Games of Skill – not chance (putting contests, scoring contests, nailing the log, guessing how many jelly beans in a jar etc.)
All of the funds raised through these methods go directly to the Bride and Groom and there have been many couples hold very successful events adhering to the new regulations.

For more information on the new regulations, visit the AGCO website at
To find out about the kind of insurance coverage you need to host a great stag and doe, or any private or public event, give us a call at Miller Insurance 1-800-265-3000 or visit our website