So, you’ve been awarded the honour of being a Bridesmaid or Maid of Honour? Then it’s usually your responsibility, or that of a close friend or relative to plan the Hen Party.
We’ve all seen the Hangover and Bridesmaids… these are good examples of what not to do when organising a Hen Party! We do not want the Bride or any of the guests receiving unsightly tattoos on any part of their body. We do not want them dining in back alleys and getting food poisoning… and we certainly do not want to misplace the Bride or cause so much chaos she bans us from the wedding!
I can tell, you’re getting nervous already, it sounds like a lot of pressure doesn’t it? But don’t stress, with the right tips and a little planning the process will be super easy. You’ll create a memorable Hen Party to see the Bride’s single girl heydey out in style, do some girl bonding and celebrate friendship and being lucky in love! And all thanks to you – Hen Party planner extraordinaire - the girls will be giggling for weeks to come!
A Hen Party can also be called a bachelorette party. But don’t confuse it with a kitchen tea which is a ladies afternoon tea with the bride and a chance to meet other female guests in a relaxed atmosphere. There is also the bridal shower or bridesmaids luncheon which is for members of the wedding party only where the bride and bridesmaids exchange small gifts of appreciation.
First thing to do is catch-up with the Bride and find out her thoughts on the Hen Party. It’s a party in honour of her and it’s up to you to fill it with all things special to her!
Set a date a few weeks before the wedding date if you can, this will give everyone time to recover if you’re planning a wild one.
With her help put a list of guests together with phone and email contacts.
If you don’t know everyone attending, it’s important you get a good understanding of personalities and age range. This will help you keep the Hen Party appropriate for everyone. The last thing we want is granny being straddled by a stripper, the party girls from hell getting wasted at a sophisticated wine tasting or the sister-in-law-to-be sitting it out because she can’t play laser strike after her c-section!
You can generally send out ‘save the date’ teasers as soon as you’ve decided the date. Details can follow later with the formal invitation. Email is a great way to do this, you can set up an event on facebook or there are e-invitation websites you can use.
While you’re working on invitations, make some name tags up too - I always think they’re good to put faces to names and get people interacting.
Budget will dictate what the Hen Party consists of. Generally everyone will contribute to the cost and it’s a nice idea for guests to cover the bride’s share. But always get a feel for what guests budgets will allow. Request guests pay you before the big night to avoid you stressing out and having to hassle people.
As for the Hen Party – fantastic ideas are endless! But there are five general categories to consider; DIY, dinners or luncheons, Hen Party weekends, activity based and Stag & Doe Parties.
DIY is still the most popular – this one requires the most time and creativity as it requires high involvement from the party planner who will lead the night format. You can mix and match different scenarios too – in your home, the pub or combined with one of the other categories. Online resources are readily available to give you ideas and set you up for a fun night – whether that be an energetic Amazing Race or a round of bride and groom Q&A. It can be as tame or wild as you want - including drinking games and strippers if that’s your style! But feel free to keep it simple – you don’t have to go over-the-top and give away cute puppies on arrival or gift the bride a trip to Paris!
Dinners and luncheons – it’s always nice to sit down and enjoy delicious food with wonderful company. This is the perfect chance to have indepth conversations with fellow guests and share advice and reminisce with the bride. I’d recommend screening a ‘This is Your Life’ slideshow of the bride and groom –it always makes an impact. On the flipside you can always spice it up by dining at your local cabaret drag show. Cocktail functions fit into this category too and give the girls a great excuse to glam up.
Hen Party weekends – escape from reality for a while and have a complete bonding break with your girls. Remember, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
Activity based – I think these are the most fun and act as effective icebreakers. Guests may get the chance to try something new and it’s a great experiential event. Activities range from naughty but nice showcases of lingerie and sex toys. There are lucky in love themed companies who take care of the entertainment, taking the hassle away with interactive games in the comfort of your own home. Add a risqué element with pole fitness, hula hooping, burlesque or belly dancing! For something more chilled there are pamper parties, winery tours and cookery classes. And for the brides who want to go out with a bang - pub crawls karaoke and party buses, including condom covered veils will always be a smash!
Whatever you do – make it fun for everyone. That means providing great entertainment for all the girls, fussing over the Bride and overseeing guests wellbeing. Be the hostess with the mostess and make sure everyone has adequate and safe transport, enough non-alcoholic drinks and food on hand otherwise things can get messy!
We want you to be the Maid of Honour – not dishonour!
Happy Hen Party!