We all know that planning a wedding is stressful. But one thing that often gets overlooked is the planning of a hen party. Especially if you’ve never planned an event before, hen party planning can be a nightmare. Even for the seasoned planner, a lot rests on the success of this party.
If you’ve been asked to plan a hen party it’s safe to say you’re pretty close to the bride. And presumably, you want her to have the pre-wedding party she’s always dreamt of. Not only that, but if the party sucks, everyone has a bad time – not just the bride! That means there’s a lot of pressure to get it right. And you’ll find that everyone will have an opinion on what you should do.
So, how do you go about planning the perfect hen do when you’ve got the weight of the world on your shoulders? Fear not, we are here to help you create the best hen party anyone has ever seen!
1. Speak to the Bride
A lot of the time, hen parties are planned as a surprise for the bride. But it’s important to get at least a general feel for what she wants (and, more importantly, doesn’t want). Hers is really the only opinion that matters!
You don’t want to give too much away when talking to her about her likes and dislikes. To help get you started, here are a few examples of questions you could ask.
• Do you want to go away or stay local?
• What kind of budget did you have in mind?
• Would you like a one-night party, or more?
• How soon before the wedding do you want it?
• Would you prefer a public bar atmosphere, or a more private venue?
• Is there anything that’s a definite no-no?
Once you have the answers to these questions, you’ll have a much better idea of what you should be doing. Don’t forget that you know the bride better than we do, so make sure to include specific questions that are more tailored to her.
2. Draft the Guest List
Before you finish up your talk with the bride-to-be, make sure you get a guest list from her! You don’t know who she really wants, or doesn’t want, there. The worst thing would be to forget to invite someone really important. Or worse, inviting someone the bride doesn’t like!
U.K. wedding etiquette states that whoever is invited to the hen do (or stag do) should also receive an invitation to the wedding. So, running the guest list past the bride is really important – you don’t want to accidentally invite anyone who’s not attending on the big day.
Be sure to also gauge the bride’s opinion to having older members of her family there, such as her mother or grandma. Some brides wouldn’t want to have their hen do without their mum, while others couldn’t imagine anything worse.
Once you have a list of people that the bride definitely wants to invite, you can begin planning the rest of the party. Of course, this won’t be the final list, but having a rough idea of numbers will allow you to plan accordingly.
3. Find a Date That Works for Everyone
While having your hen-do chat with the bride, don’t forget to get some date options from her. The more dates she gives you, the better prepared you’ll be.
One of the biggest headaches that hen party planners come across is finding a date that works for everyone. This is especially true if the bride-to-be wants something that takes place over a few days. It’s harder to pin people down for an entire weekend, so the earlier you do this, the better. If you organise the party well in advance, there’s a better chance that all of the guests will be free.
Once you’ve found a date/s that works for as many people (including the bride!) as possible, get it locked down in everyone’s diary so that you can move on to planning the fun stuff!
4. Decide What to Do
You’ve got everyone committed to a date, so now it’s time to decide what to do (and where to go, but we’ll get to that). You’ll have some ideas from your bride-to-be, as well as just having an insight into the things she enjoys doing.
If you’re struggling to think of ideas, try asking yourself some of these questions.
• What is the ‘vibe’ of the hen party? Lowkey and mellow? Outrageous and wild? Classy and sophisticated? You’ll know what the bride would prefer, so go from here.
• Is it a one- or two-day event? If it’s more than one day or night don’t forget to have stuff to do on both the days!
• What does the bride love to do? Not just little things like going out for coffee, but really fun, extravagant things that aren’t an everyday occurrence. Is she an adrenaline junkie? Maybe she’d really love a day-trip to a theme park. Is she a foodie? Maybe a fancy restaurant would be more up her street.
• Are you going to be eating? Do you need to book a table somewhere, or is the hen more likely to enjoy somewhere more casual?
Don’t forget to get ideas from other people attending too! Sure, you’re the person the bride trusts to plan the party, but it’s always good to get other opinions. The more options you have to work with, the better.
5. Decide on a Location
Deciding on a location is actually a piece of (wedding) cake, once you’ve decided what to do. From there, you can narrow down locations based on what they offer.
For example, does the hen love to pamper herself? Book a weekend stay at a spa, or in a place with lots of salons. Does the hen want to go out dancing in the evening? Find a city renowned for its nightlife.
You also need to decide whether this is a one- or two-day thing. If it’s more than one night, or you’re going somewhere slightly further afield then booking accommodation is a must. You can go for a hotel, or B&B, but a lot of hen parties use Airbnb to find self-catering accommodation. This is a popular option as it’s often cheaper, and you can have more freedom to come and go as you please.
Don’t forget to keep checking in with the other attendees. They might be on limited budgets, so check how much they can afford to spend. Traditionally, all the hen party guests must pay for themselves – and everyone chips in to cover the bride.
Once you’ve narrowed down a location, book it as soon as possible. You don’t want to leave it to the last minute, and then find out it’s not available on your chosen date. And don’t forget to send out invitations!
6. Don’t Forget the Little Details
There are certain things that makes a hen party memorable – the company, what you do, where you are. But there’s also the little bits that really send a hen party from amazing to unforgettable. These are things like:
• Fancy dress
• Feather boas
• Goodie bags
A hen party is a great way for everyone to let their hair down and really have some girly fun. So, make the most of it by planning special outfits. For example, many hens love fancy dress – Disney princesses are a common theme. Or you can go for a more classic look – perhaps have the bride wear white and all the other girls wear black.
No hen outfit is complete without all the wonderful silly garments that can be paired with it. Hen-do sashes are incredibly popular as they tie everyone together in a group. Tiaras, feather boas and other wacky accessories also add in some fun and make things a little more than your average girly night out.
Sashes are also a great way to identify who’s in your group – perfect for those who don’t know everyone going, and perfect for spotting where your group is after you’ve had a couple glasses of wine!
Party favours are also a great way to commemorate the event, as well as giving everyone something to remember the weekend! For example: shot glasses, whistles, glow sticks – you name it. All just to add a little more fun to the proceedings.
7. Choose the Party Games
One last thing to really make this the perfect hen do: party games. Try some classics like ‘how well do you know the bride’ or ‘draw a picture of what the bride and groom’s children will look like’. These are also guaranteed to make everyone laugh, and it will really help to bond the group!
There, you’re all set. Don’t forget that this is just an example, and you know your friend better than anyone. So, make sure to personalise it, get their opinion, and most importantly send her off into married life with a bang!
Are you ready to start planning the perfect hen do? Head over to Bride and Groom Direct, where we stock a fabulous range of hen party essentials. You can even order your hen party invitations with us – and don’t forget thank you cards for everyone that attended!