Hen parties and bridal showers are polar-opposite celebrations designed to mark the same event. So, what makes both of them so popular?
From bridal shower decorations to hen night accessories, we’re going to look at the differences between hen parties and bridal showers and give you a few tips to help you arrange one — or both — yourself.
Not needing much explanation, the standard hen party is big, bold and loud with lots of naughty humour to make it a night of childish, carefree fun. Creating the right tone is vital to a good hen party. Firstly, you need lots of party games like truth or dare and adult scavenger hunts, along with plenty of iconic hen night accessories. This could be anything from amazingly-detailed straws for making drinking even more attractive, to personalised sashes so you can stand out on the dance floor.
On the other side of the coin, bridal showers aim for sophistication, elegance and (mainly) PG-rated conversations. It might not appear as fun as the party above, but bridal showers are perfect venues for friends to chat and laugh without loud music blaring and having to cram into a crowded bar. To set the right tone, make sure you go for dainty, pastel bridal shower decorations for the venue, like heart garlands and pretty paper lanterns.
Whatever you want, as long as it’s funny and fuelled by alcohol. You can take her out on the town in a top party city, or even fly abroad and spend a weekend on the beach. As long as there are plenty of hilarious hen night accessories — like the trusty male blow-up doll — it shouldn't matter where you are. There are plenty of hen party craft workshops that let you make anything from shoes to underwear, and you could always book in a cocktail-making class or belly dancing lesson before heading out for the night.
A bridal shower is often hosted at the soon-to-be-bride's home and revolves around delicious afternoon tea and decent conversation. A big bonus of bridal showers is that you have plenty of time for party games and lots of time to enjoy scones and cakes! Play something respectable that everyone will enjoy, like ‘Pin the Bouquet on the Bride’ and tame card games. For bridal shower decorations, dainty floral doilies are ideal for dressing up afternoon tea treats.
The reason behind most hen parties is to give the bride a final night of freedom with her friends. To let her hair down without a care, before wedding nerves and stresses kick in. Essentially, the organiser’s mission is to fulfill this purpose by throwing as many hen night accessories and themes her way, so the wedding never enters her mind for a second. A great way to do this is fancy dress. From neon and nurse, to sailor and schoolgirl; there are all kinds of themes out there and it’s a great way for her to get out of herself for a while.
A bridal shower is a pleasant alternative for soon-to-be-brides that don’t want a big night out or want to invite family members who wouldn’t be comfortable at a hen party. The aim of bridal showers is to let the bride-to-be unwind, spend quality time with everyone, and have a laugh without forgetting about it the next day. To create a calm and relaxed atmosphere; bridal shower decorations need to look as good as possible. There’ll be plenty of food, so you need some bright table decorations, such as tablecovers and glass clings. Cake will play a huge role in the day, so make sure you display them properly with stands, ribbons and cupcake wraps. And, of course, you’re bound to have lots of people moving around, so paper cups and plates that fit in with your classy theme are essential.
We hate to ask, but need to know. Generally, all the hens pay for themselves, which makes sense considering hen parties are often nights out, weekends away or outdoor excursions. Payment can be a disadvantage for hen parties, as some people might not be able to afford certain activities. But there are so many hen party options available across the country, there’s always a way around it.
A huge reason bridal showers are popular is because it’s generally cheaper for everyone, especially the hens. Usually, the bridal party or bride-to-be’s family hosts the event at the family home and pays for any food or drink, which means that (local) hens don’t have to travel far and brides-to-be can have bigger guestlists.
Another big difference between hen parties and bridal showers is gift-giving. At a hen party, the hens often receive hen party favours, which are gift bags filled with sweets, chocolates, beauty products, and novelty items. This is a popular touch to the hen night and you can easily make your own favours in just a few hours.
With a bridal shower, the clue is in the name. Guests are expected to bring — or ‘shower’ — the bride with gifts (usually of the housewarming variety). Still often cheaper than paying for a hen party space, it’s most likely a large reason soon-to-be-brides choose bridal showers!