Everything You Need to Know to Throw the Perfect Hen Do
Is there anything more fun than getting your closest friends and family members together to celebrate your upcoming wedding and throwing a hen party?
With so many different hen party ideas out there, and whether you are arranging your own hen do or leaving it up to the bridesmaids it can easily become overwhelming so I’ve put together a complete guide with everything you need to know about planning a hen party that the whole bridal party can enjoy.
So gather all the bridesmaids, get those thinking caps on, pop open some bubbly and get ready to pull off an epic and above all - memorable occasion!
If you’ve been tasked with planning the hen party then the first thing you’ll need to do is to speak to the bride. The kind of hen do you’ll throw will depend on the bride or brides, the hard and fast rule to consider here is that the hen party is for her. It’s likely that you’ll want to plan some surprises but it’s important to have a rough idea of what the bride wants and is expecting when the time comes.
If you are planning for it to be a total surprise for the bride start gathering information early on, that way you can kick her out of the WhatsApp chat!
Some questions you may want to ask are:
What type of budget should there be?
This is something you will need to ask the other hens too but the bride will probably know roughly what budget most guests will be working towards. Beyond any accommodation and activities there may be other costs to consider such as meals, drinks out, printed t shirts etc. How will costs be split? This will be a discussion that is likely to evolve as the planning gets underway, however it’s always good to be aware of any budgets at the beginning.
When would you like it to go ahead?
I’d recommend holding the hen do around 6-8 weeks before the wedding but really, it’s up to the bride! The tradition of holding the hen and stag do’s the night before the wedding is long gone. Having the hen do with this much time to go leaves enough room for the bride to concentrate on the appointments and prep on the lead up to the wedding too.
Do you have any definite no-goes?
You should check in case the bride has particular fears or ideas of a nightmare. If she’s not really the high adrenaline junkie kind or she’s petrified of heights then steer clear. Likewise, if the thought of a spa day and subdued activity isn’t really her thing, don’t book that.
Is there anything you’d particularly like to do?
You’ll absolutely plan the best hen do possible if you include any activities that she loves or that she’s always wanted to try. Similarly see if the bride has any favourite cities or places that she’s wanted to visit. Ask what is important to her too, does she want to be blown away or have something more low-key but that more people may be able to attend.
Who do you want to attend?
Create an invite list with the bride, it’s likely you may revisit this a couple of times but it’s best to have an idea of numbers early on so you know the size and full scale of the party you are planning! It’s also worth getting an idea as to whether everyone knows each other or not so you are able to plan any ice breaking activities or games into the schedule.
Once you’ve got the basics covered you’ll be able to set up the WhatsApp Chat and start to make some plans.
You’ll need a list of possible dates from the bride to ensure nothing clashes with pre planned wedding prep – the weeks before a wedding can be a busy time!!
Once you’ve set the date and ensured that the brides top priority guests and bridesmaids can attend – let everyone to put it in their diaries ASAP. It’s also a good time to give the hens an indication of what’s going to be involved, how long the hen will last, whether they are expected to attend the everything or whether they can pick and choose and an idea of budget so that they can decide whether they’re going to come.
Once you have a rough idea of numbers and a set location in mind you can start to plan your activities and accommodation. Delegate this task to a few bridesmaids and ask them to get quotes from a few companies so you can shop around and take advantage of any deals. Don’t forget to research the company and read online reviews before you book.
If you decide to stay in a hotel rather than self-catering accommodation ask for any discounts for booking multiple rooms. You’ll need to know whether everyone needs accommodation or whether some people may just be joining for the daytime activities.
Top Tip: Book accommodation early: You may need extra time to find ones that accommodate hen parties.
Next it’s time to think about the type of activities that everyone will enjoy and also consider any limitations that guests may have. Is there anybody pregnant or with mobility issues that may need to be accommodated? It could have an impact on the type of activities you decide to plan. I’d suggest thinking of a couple of activities to do per day with space in between for photos, selfies, chatting and for any travel to the next activity. Not all of the activities on offer have to blow the bank but they definitely should be enjoyable. Not everyone in the hen party will have the same budget or time available and so we’d suggest flexibility and the offer for the hens to join in some or parts of the day, an activity and evening, one day or two etc.. Think back to the answers the bride or brides gave you to guide you in choosing the perfect activities. Whether you book a bottomless brunch, head to a karaoke bar, have a pajama party and games, head out dancing or spend the day skydiving and hitting adventure assault courses when there’s a lot of opinions to consider and guests to accommodate it’s important to not lose site of who’s hen do it is! Although the bride may have given you a list of activities or a schedule she’d like for you to plan try and throw in a surprise you know she’d love too!
No matter what you decide to do, the most important thing is that everyone has a good time celebrating. With some forward planning and creativity, you can throw an unforgettable hen party that the bride and your friends will be talking about for a long time to come!