DO Keep It Short & Sweet
Unless it’s the very first hen for this friendship group, chances are most guests won’t be keen to sacrifice an entire weekend – especially if the wedding, and other associated events, demand plenty of time and money, too. We recommend one day and one evening only, with the night before (or a sleepover the night of) reserved just for bridesmaids. That way, you keep the bride occupied and happy, while everyone else can still enjoy part of their weekend.
DO Build Up To A Night Out
If you have opted for a two-nighter instead of one, keep the first night chilled and save the hardcore partying for night two. A group of hens getting wrecked on night one is a guaranteed way to make the second evening a bit of a let-down – start with a relaxed, boozy dinner and build up to round two.
DON’T Charge A Fortune
Keeping it short and sweet should naturally keep costs down, but even so, do be mindful of budget. Weddings are expensive business, and few hens have hundreds to spend on multiple dos a year – plus, it only takes some careful, advanced planning to organise something that’s fun, but still affordable for all.
DO Lay Out The Costs In Advance
It’s frustrating for both you and your guests to keep requesting additional money in the build-up to a hen. Budget carefully in advance so you can let attendees know the full cost from the offset – and, specifically, what this will include. In our experience, guests are a lot happier if they can see where their cash is going upfront.
DO Give Guests Travel Options
This one applies more to grown-up hens. In your early 20s it might be fun to take a crawling coach to some far-flung destination, but it’s a more pleasant experience for everyone if they have the option of driving themselves or booking their own trains. We suggest taking a poll in advance – those who wish to travel as part of a group can have that cost built in, while those who opt for a quieter or speedier form of transport can cover their own fares.
DON’T Keep Everyone In The Dark
Naturally, you want to keep the bride from discovering the plans ahead of time, but guests are often more comfortable knowing the arrangements in advance. A slick – but confidential – itinerary not only stops everyone stressing about the unknown (and what to pack), but also gets your guests excited for the event.
DON’T Bother Doing It Abroad
Sorry – it’s not worth it. Even pre-pandemic it was a headache planning a foreign hen (and really, who wants a 4am flight out of Gatwick anyway?) so we suggest ditching the girls’ holiday and planning something more realistic and stress-free here at home.
DO Think Outside The Box
Tempting though it may be to default to the obvious, getting a hen right comes down to thinking about what people actually want to do. Does anyone really want to spend two hours making cocktails in the afternoon? Or a morning life drawing? While it’s important to keep the bride happy, you’re playing with peoples’ time and money – so try to come up with activities that are fun, different and entertaining. Here are some of our favourites.
DO Speak To The Hen In Advance
From whether she wants her mum involved to her rules on strippers, it’s important to chat to your hen before you start planning to see how she pictures her special weekend panning out. Don’t let her become too involved, though – you still want it to be a surprise – but it’s safer to have her non-negotiables down from word go.
DON’T Start Too Early
If it’s just a one-day event, it makes sense to pack in as much as possible – but don’t throw in superfluous activities just to pad the day. Chances are your guests will have already had a mani or can feed themselves before the event starts – make sure everything you do is fun, relevant and necessary.
DO Know Your Demographic
We’ve heard so many stories of pregnant women being dragged on hens filled with cocktail making, partying, assault courses and more. Bear in mind who’s attending the hen and plan accordingly – likewise, save Mr & Mrs for when mum’s gone home.
DO Be Mindful Of Social Distancing
In a post-Covid world, brides are entitled to be cautious of mixing in big crowds, especially as the wedding day draws closer. If the hen is within a few weeks of their big day, we suggest scaling things back – avoid clubs, festivals or anywhere else that feels too risky.