Hen Party Planning 101
So, you’ve squealed over the ring, sobbed as your bestie asked you to be her maid of honour, tactfully steered her towards a bridesmaid dress that makes you look smoking hot, and helped her figure out a seating plan that will prevent WW3 breaking out over the soufflé.
Now your real job can begin – planning the hen party to end all hen parties! Hen party planning can be a bit daunting, but we’ve got your back.
Now, we don’t want to downplay the wedding (especially not in front of the bride…), but we all know the hen party is where the real memories are made.
We’re not tooting our own horns, but after 4 years supplying the nation’s (and, if we can toot a little bit – the world’s!) hens with hen party accessories that won’t have great Aunt Doris squinting at the pics wondering why her angelic niece is sipping her cocktail through a willy straw, we think we have a few pearls of wisdom we can impart to cement your status as bridesmaid extraordinaire, and ensure the hen party is one to remember.
Even with those 2 for 1 fishbowl cocktails that seemed like a fab idea at the time…
Hen Party Planning Tip #1: The Bride
Keeping schtum around your bride so the hen party is a surprise is tricky, but will be well worth it to see her face when she finds out what you’ve planned for her!
Have a frank talk with her though before everything kicks off – does she want to be involved? What would she hate to do, and how does she feel about theming and fancy dress? However fab your ideas might be, if it’s your bride’s worst nightmare to wear a themed costume, you might need to shelve those awesome hen party ideas – and drop some heavy hints when it comes to planning yours!
Hen Party Planning Tip #2: The Guestlist
You will need her to let you know who she wants there – some brides are eager for their Mum, aunts, cousins and future Mother in Law to attend, others want to keep family and friends firmly separated.
It’s also worth talking to her and finding out what kind of send off she wants – her ideas around this will probably influence the guest list somewhat, unless great Aunt Doris is up for a boozy weekend away with a nude chef…
Hen Party Planning Tip #3: The Money
A major sticking point for a lot of plans usually comes down to the tricky subject of money.
Traditionally the hens pay for the bride, but depending on plans, this might not be feasible. We’d recommend getting rough quotes for the whole day as soon as possible to send to the hens when you first start planning, so you can get an idea of what people are able to spend.
Provide as many options as feasible – if you’re planning an activity, followed by dinner, followed by cocktails, can people sign up just for the afternoon, or just for dinner and cocktails? Let the hens know the costs as soon as possible so they can budget and ask for their shares before paying out – you don’t want to be covering the cost of a 10 bed country pile on your own!
Think about setting up an account or a separate paypal account so that people can send you money as and when they have it as well.
Be really clear about what the hens are paying for as well. Are you pooling for a kitty for drinks? Can you negotiate a set menu price with the restaurant to save people squabbling over price discrepancies? What about transport between venues if needed. All this seems really dull, but avoids any awkwardness on the night.
Okay. Boring bit over. Let’s get back to the fun hen party planning now!
Hen Party Planning Tip #4: The Where & When
When should you throw the hen party? We reckon about 4-6 weeks before the wedding is perfect. The last few weekends before the wedding will be spent in a flurry of fittings and last minute jobs, and the last thing you want after all your meticulous hen party planning is a stressed bride wondering if she’s booked the car or if the flowers are okay.
There’s no rule to say it can’t be earlier if you want it though – if you decide to go to a festival for the weekend, you need to work around those dates!
Hen Party Planning Tip #5: The Theme
Now for the most important part of any hen party planning – the outfits! Remember this is your bride’s night, and she should be the centre of attention. It’s possible to do this without making her wear a set of willy head boppers – you want her to feel and look fabulous!
Fancy dress is always an option – Sandy and her pink ladies is a stone cold classic for a reason, but it’s an additional cost to consider. Having the bride dress in white and everyone else in black or maybe her wedding colour is a more achievable option and will ensure your bride stands out for all the right reasons!
Hen Party Planning Tip #6: The Games
When you first get together, the chances are, there’ll be people there who don’t know each other. Think about planning some kind of ice breaker to well, break the ice!
A simple party game could work to get all the hens talking to each other – Taboo, Charades and Pictionary are all games that need minimal planning and equipment but when paired with the first bottle of Prosecco will get everyone working together and laughing!
Hen Party Planning Tip #7: The Gifts
You need to ensure your bride feels cherished and by planning to create some kind of keepsake you can give her something that gives her the warm and fuzzies whenever she sees it.
This could be a guest book where everyone writes their earliest or funniest memory about the bride, a fab group photo that you can get framed or maybe something like a kiss print for your bride to frame and treasure.
Finally, heed some advice we’re sure you’ve given your bride and remember to ASK FOR HELP.
You can’t do this on your own, and no one will expect you to.
People love to be asked to get involved, and if you can give people things to do, you can relax and enjoy the hen party as much as everyone else.