So, you’ve been given the role of Maid of Honour, and it’s time to get planning a hen party. Your bestie is getting married and, as an important bridesmaid, you’ve been entrusted to plan her girls’ get-together ahead of her tying the knot.
It’s obvious for the visions of cheap feather boas, headbands and greasy male strippers to start filling your mind, but remember, hen parties have completely evolved these days.
No longer do they have to fit the stereotype, but if the bride would like a good old shindig with strippers, Prosecco, and pink sashes, that theme is also very much still going strong!
But nowadays hen parties cover everything from theatre nights, pool parties and burlesque shows, to gin tasting, glamping and adventure courses. Let the fun begin!
Whatever the style, planning a day out or a weekend away for a group of girls can be a tricky task. There are logistics to consider, an endless stream of Whatsapp messages to keep up with and lets face it: the dreaded budget to negotiate.
Here are some tips on how to make the process a whole lot easier and on how to have fun at the actual event!
Always think about the hen
This is ‘Number One’ on the to-do list and the most important part of planning a hen party. Your first port of call is: ask the bride-to-be what she wants, whether a relaxing weekend abroad or a night of tequila shots and dancing ’til sunrise in London.
Before working out what to spend, run some ideas for extras with her. If it’s a party, look at photobooths to capture some precious moments. A vintage photo booth has become a popular option on hen parties that don’t involve travelling (at-home parties or rented event spaces), where the cost can easily be split across the group.
When she has given you a few options, then you can start planning! Check with everyone early on too for how long they feel OK to go away for, if the hen party involves travelling. Once you have a time scale in place, you can plan away.
Choose your destination carefully
You know what they say: location, location, location! This also applies to hen parties. Do your research and opt for a place that is hen party friendly with plenty of activity options. The last thing you want to do is be stuck in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do.
A personal one for me is that I’ve noticed hen parties are so much more enjoyable when a large bunch of girls all get away to a new town or location the group haven’t been to before. There are some gorgeous hen party houses which are perfect for as many girls as you like to pile in.
You can have them in the middle of the countryside with stunning views, local pubs and walking routes on the doorstep. Or, you can get large houses in the centre of a bustling town, with shopping, restaurants and bars a stones throw away.
Don’t ask for everyone’s opinion
Once the bride has decided on her hen party style, it’s important to stick to it, no matter what. Even if her cousin or work colleague complains about the plan. You’ll never please everyone, as there will be too many people involved with different interests. If the Bride is happy and it’s do-able for all involved, try to stick to it.
Some people may want to ‘help out’ with the planning, and try and take over. Politely send them links to things like accommodation. Or even give them little tasks to make them feel important, like booking the restaurant, or being in charge of games.
Don’t leave booking it until the last minute
If you’ve ever attended a hen party, you’ll know that the cost of them can really add up, especially if it involves travelling somewhere for a weekend. These days, hens are going away for 3 to 4 nights or sometimes longer.
My big advice is to book 10 to 12 months in advance. You’ll get better deals, have the pick of where to stay and you can spread the cost monthly to include more friends.”
Do have activities planned
This doesn’t mean ‘pin the penis on the hunk’ 24/7! Although there’s nothing wrong with one or two cheeky games before heading out anywhere. But, there are plenty of other hen party game ideas, as well as larger activities that the bride and whole group will enjoy. Spa days are always great since the range of treatments on offer gets better each year.
And for a team-bonding challenge, you can’t beat an escape room experience, followed by a great meal out and VIP booth at a top club.
There’s also glamping trips you can do, which can work well with outdoor games, hot tubs, and hiking.
Don’t forget about the logistics
Once you’ve booked the accommodation and activities, don’t forget to plan for the logistics of the weekend too. The other big mistake people make is concentrating on the big fun things but forgetting to organise crucial things like transport. Imagine not being able to get a 12 seater taxi on the night, or no where to dine?
Don’t forget the little things: restaurant reservations, parking, planning time for drinks run and anything you might need to pack. Hen party bags are always appreciated, too.
Do set budget expectations
The cost of a hen party can be high so it’s important to be upfront from the beginning. As soon as you’ve decided on the destination, accommodation and activities, set up a group chat with all of the details and a breakdown of the cost.
By letting people know immediately how much they’ll need to spend, it’ll be easier to start collecting money closer to the date. The last thing people want is for you to ask them for money last minute when they haven’t budgeted for it. And if anyone can’t do it, they have enough time to pull out before it messes up the plan.