Hen dos: no two words strike greater fear into the heart of a friendship group. From avoiding planning stress and petty arguments to the best budget ettiquette, here are our top tips for getting through the whole thing unscathed…
Like any event, the planning process will run much more smoothly if there’s only one person in charge. Decisions can be made more quickly, and the whole thing won’t descend into total chaos (we’ve seen it happen).
The main organiser, usually the Maid of Honour, should delegate jobs to other bridesmaids and helpers – this way, they can spread the load and people will know exactly what they’re responsible for.
Find A Balance
Evaluate the group you’ll be going with and really consider what other people enjoy doing, and what they’ll find annoying. An earlier train journey may be slightly cheaper, but will people want to get up at the crack of dawn? You really love camping, but how many of the bride’s friends do? You can’t please everyone, but try to find a compromise if possible.
I.e. if you’ve got a big night out planned as part of the hen, but not everyone wants to party ‘till 3am, consider organising additional transport home for those who need their beauty sleep.
Consider The Bride
Check if she’s happy with a complete surprise, or would prefer to have a say in what's happening. Then there’s the stripper conundrum: would she love it? Be mortified? Or perhaps prefer a less embarrassing ‘butler in the buff’? Try not to focus on what you or the group would prefer and always put the hen first – it’s her hen do and you want her to enjoy it.
Be Clear On Costs
Ask for money from attendees far in advance, and lay out the budget so they can see where their cash going and plan for any extra purchases. Asking for a small deposit at the start is also a great way to know who’s really committed, and can save you from covering costs if someone drops out at the last minute.
Balance is key when it comes to budgeting too – spending a fortune on accommodation and having nothing left for fun activities won’t be a wise move. Also remember that it’s generally considered good etiquette to pay for the bride, with guests usually splitting the cost equally between them. Don’t forget to factor this into your budget.
Choose Dates Wisely
Again, let people know the dates as far in advance as you again. You’ll have more attendees and most likely find accommodation at a much lower price.
People may not have spare holiday days to take, so hold the hen party over a weekend if you’re staying local, or keep it to three days maximum if you’re going abroad. Unless you’ve all decided on a holiday together, keeping it local is by far your best bet.
While hen dos don’t have to be boozy affairs, if you’re planning on having a few drinks try putting together some ‘hangover kits’ for guests. Alka Seltzer, water, ibuprofen, Berocca and hydrating sheet masks make a nice party gift, and will be a massive saviour if you have plans the next day.
Feeding guests well is also essential – only eating junk food for days will have everyone feeling grouchy. Planning proper meals, having healthy options and stocking up on snacks never goes amiss.
As a guest, don’t stress. Ahead of the hen do, try not to bombard the planners with endless questions – just trust them to have organised a good weekend.
Taking part in all the activities is also a must. Sure, some of them might not be to your taste, but you’re there to have a good time with the bride-to-be – so get involved, she’s sure to appreciate it.