Planning a hen party but don't know where to start? Here is a super-helpful guide packed with top tips to help you prepare and plan for the perfect day.
Although the hen party is there to focus and celebrate the bride there are also some girls we cannot forget about... the bridesmaids. They are the ones who the bride gets excited with, rant at, cry on and most of all embark on the challenge of planning the wedding with. So unless you are Jane from 27 Dresses and have had plenty of practice, the majority of us haven't been a bridesmaid before so will need a little helping hand in doing so and ensuring everything runs as smoothly as possible. So grab a notebook (a pretty one), a laptop and a cup of tea (or glass of prosecco depending how you roll) and lets get started.
It can be a daunting thoughit having to please everyone and be certain that all age groups will have a good time. Between staying local or weekends away, must-have activities, blending a mix of friends along with Mothers, Aunties and distant cousins, all while keeping the bride happy and making sure everyone is going to have the best time ever, you might say 'I'm a little overwhelmed'. But while it can seem like a humongous task, following our simple rules is guaranteed to have you dancing along with your bestie (bubbles in hand) in no time...
The best thing to do is sit down with the bride-to-be and decide on date. 4-6 weeks in advance of the big day is the perfect time as it provides the guests time to organise money between the hen do and the big day. Also of course, the bride needs time to recover!
2. Give Plenty of Notice
Once a guest list and date has been confirmed by the bride (and she's given contacts), send out a 'Save the Date' so that the guests can book time off work etc. Do this as early as possible, to avoid diary conflicts with other hens, weddings and holidays.
3. The Bride Knows best
Find out if your bride wants to be involved in the Hen Party preparations, its nice to be involved to some extent, but this is the time for the bride to let go a little and leave the planning to their gals. It is possibly a good idea to ask her what she loved and hated about other hens - best to know what kind of thing she'd enjoy. You don't want a bitter bride on the day.
4. Know Your Guests
When planning a Hen Party remember that you are catering for all age groups, and possibly/probably a diverse group from different parts of the bride's life. Don't plan something that will isolate the older generations or any of the guests. Plan an activity that will suit the entire group, from the start of planning you will get a feel for the guests that you are planning the party for, so keep that in mind when you're planning ice skating for the bride's 70 year old grandmother!
5. Channel your inner Monica from Friends
Be realistic about activities and timings. It's great to have a jam-packed day planned, just make sure you give people enough time in between to be prepared. You will have a few disgruntled guests if you only give people 15 minutes to glam up after a day of water sports! So think it all through and build in travel time. A more relaxed day is the one people will enjoy.
6. Keep an Eye on Costs
Whether you decide to stay local and head for a day of activities, dinner and drinks or go all out and plan a weekend away keep costs in mind. Not everyone has lots of money to spend these days, going to a wedding costs a bomb and those with 7 per year are facing bridal bankruptcy so watch the budget.
Just a Heads Up: The average Hen Party weekend away costs approx £200, this should include a nights stay, an activity, one evening meal, and some sort of drinks!
7. Sort the Travel...
If you're heading away, make sure to organise transport - taxis or minibuses - to take people from locations, and can include this in the budget so that it is paid for in advance (people love that! there's nothing worse than being hit up for "extras") It will be easier to keep the whole group together and reduces the risk of losing any guests, it happens, trust me!
8. Build in some Contingency
Allow for a small cushion (money-wise) by adding £10 to everyone's costs (make sure to tell them you're adding it in for unexpected extras) if it's not needed on the night you can use it to buy a round of drinks!
9. Be Transparent
When you do decide on the plan, email the guest list with a break down of costs. You can still keep some surprises, but if people are handing over £150-£200 they will want to know what it's being spent on!
10. A Bit of Bridal Bonding
Ask the group to send you on a photograph of themselves and the bride-to-be, for use in a memory book - as many friends of the bride might only be meeting for the first time at the party, it will help can explain to everyone the story of their friendship, and it's often the real tear-jerker that bonds the group together.
So there are some of our tips to help you on your way of planning a fabulous day. Just remember it's a fun day so relax and allow yourself to enjoy it as well...