Organising a hen party can be tricky, even when you know exactly what your bride-to-be wants.
So, before you get excited planning wild activities, ask her these 13 crucial questions. We promise it’ll make the entire process much more fun fun and easy — with a perfect hen party for your soon-to-be-bride and her hens at the end of it.
Is the hen party a surprise for your bride-to-be?
If she does want a surprise, perhaps cherry-pick the rest of these questions so you don’t give too much away.
Many soon-to-be brides are already stressed dealing with the wedding and want the hen party to be completely off their minds. However, some want to maintain a degree of control, even if it’s just to make sure your plans fit what she secretly has in mind...
Is it a surprise for the rest of the hens?
Keeping all the attending hens in the dark adds a bit of excitement to the event, but the almost mother-in-law might not be thrilled if your surprise is a pole-dancing class or blindfolded skydive. Solo-organising also means that you’ll have little help and it could add unnecessary stress if you’re a major crowd-pleaser.
Who should you invite?
A shorter guestlist, means less money to collect and fewer people to accommodate. However, we think what really matters is who is on the list. If your bride-to-be wants a generous mix of close friends and older family members, then your party plans might not involve shots, inflatables and crudely-named sashes. Overall, asking her this is a good gauge of what kind of hen party activities you should plan, too.
Who should you definitely not invite?
We all have our petty disputes and lifelong feuds. Make sure you check if there’s anyone that could potentially spoil her special event, or that she doesn’t think would fit in with the type of party she wants. You could always threaten to invite them if she starts getting overbearing, too.
When would she like to have it?
There are plenty of things to do whether it’s summer or winter, but you need to ensure that everyone on your guestlist has enough time to arrange their diary to attend your spectacular event.
Are we going abroad or staying in the UK?
Activities and funds change massively if she wants to go overseas. Everyone loves an excuse to take a holiday with their best friends, and places like Ibiza, Prague and Amsterdam make excitingly memorable hen party destinations. But, it’s obviously more expensive to go abroad and your hens will have to take time off work. So, find out if this is something she really wants, first.
Does she want a theme?
Themed parties are great for adding personality to your hen party and, if she has a favourite book or film, you could even make this part a surprise for her! Definitely check (however secretively) if she's up for a theme, as not all activities suit fancy dress and decorations (outdoor sports exploits, for example).
What is the budget?
Money dictates where you go and what you do, so make sure you ask your bride-to-be how much she’d be comfortable asking her hens to pay. There are plenty of unforgettable things to do out there regardless of money, so try not to worry too much about budget.
Are we paying for the bride-to-be?
If you decide to pay for her — great! It’ll be a nice gift and one less marriage-related outgoing she has to fund. If not, don’t worry. She’s probably not expecting you to pay for her anyway.
It also might be nice to let everyone vote in secret, since many will want to treat her but might not be able to afford it.
How long should the event last?
Long weekend? Afternoon tea? A final feral night out? Check how long she wants her hen party to last, so you can amend the budget and calendar accordingly.
Are we doubling the celebrations with separate events?
A popular way to please a diverse hen-melting pot of ages and relationships is to ask your bride-to-be if she wants to make two events. You could have a relaxing spa or wine-tasting session for the in-laws and grandmothers on one day. Followed by an adrenaline-fuelled activity or boozy glamping weekend for all her best friends!
How much time between wedding and hen party?
Perhaps it also annoys you that soap characters always seem to have their hen parties the night before the wedding, when no sane person would take this risk of hangover and tiredness in real life. Your soon-to-be bride probably has a few last-minute things to sort out just before the wedding, so don’t be surprised if there’s quite gap between the two events.
Is there anything to avoid?
A very open question, so leave this ‘til last. If your bride-to-be is a shy homebody, she might not be comfortable with leaving her relatives for a booze cruise in Benidorm. However, a more extroverted soon-to-be bride might adore the idea of action-packed expeditions and long weekends away with the girls. From fancy dress and activity-type, to guestlist and duration, ask her if there’s anything you need to leave out of your hen party planning.
Ask these questions to your bride-to-be and the rest of your hen party planning will breeze by.