From guest lists and budgeting, to choosing a location and activities that will suit all personalities, here’s how to take control if you’ve got a hen party to plan.
The key to a successful hen party is finding something to do that the bride will love. Remember, this is not necessarily the same as what you and the other hens love too.
Speaking to the bride is a vital first step before planning a hen party. This is so you can get a sense of the musts, must-nots and anything that would be her idea of a nightmare! She might cringe at the idea of wearing fluffy ‘hen squad’ hairbands, or you might be surprised to learn she’d love a glitter theme. Just let her talk without giving anything away – you want an element of surprise after all – but make sure you get a real feeling of what she’d love or hate.
The very important people who make it onto the guest list is something that must be discussed with the bride straight off the bat. Some brides want mothers, aunts and grandmothers to be there, while others just want a group a small group of friends. This is not something you should be left guessing about, so get the guest list crystal clear from the start.
From your initial conversation with the bride, you should have a sense of what kind of audience you’re dealing with for the hen party. Remember that finances may be difficult for some. The main rule is to be upfront with everyone about the budget when you first make contact with them. Share with them a couple of ideas that you know the bride will be happy with and the associated costs, including when everything needs to be paid. Remember to include extras that may not be included by a venue, such as transport and meals. Ask for feedback from the group on the costs and adjust the plan if it’s necessary to bring the budget down.
Home or Away
Your initial conversation with the bride will be very influential in your final choice of location. Ask her what she did and didn’t like about other hen parties she’s been on, and get a feeling of whether she expects to go abroad or stay in the UK. Although it’s become popular to travel abroad, this can also hike up the cost and the hassle factor. Your money will go a lot further if you stay in the UK, plus you’ll have a little more quality time and a little less travel time.
Bungee Jumping or Afternoon Tea
Think of things you know the bride enjoys doing and choose the activities accordingly, but bear in mind the other hens too. It’s a little more difficult if the activities have to cater to multiple generations, but there are still plenty of options. Champagne afternoon tea, beauty treatments, cocktail making and a lovely evening meal are all brilliant, multi-generational experiences. You could also stay somewhere with lots of facilities, which gives people the freedom to do different activities, then come together again after a couple of hours. Just don’t organise anything too extreme without consulting the other hens first!
The Finer Details
A few weeks ahead of time, email the hens to remind them of things they need to bring with them, such as swimming costumes or glam outfits for the evening. If you’ve chosen a theme – which could be a colour – tell people well in advance so they have time to plan their accessories. Order any party bags, games or stationery that you want to use during the hen party well in advance. Be generous when planning the timings – it takes longer than you might think to organise groups of people, even if it’s only a small group, and if you’ve got a whole day of activities planned, leave plenty of time for people to get ready for the evening’s activities.
It may seem like you have a mountain to climb when tasked with planning a hen party. You’re anxious to get it just right for your friend, but you need to cater to many tastes, budgets and personalities too. The key is staying organised, communicating clearly with the hens and being open to suggestions, but being decisive too. Get that right, and the rest will click into place. And you’ll be able to relax and say ‘cheers’ over a glass of bubbly in no time!
If you're looking for a memorable place to celebrate a hen party in the UK, we have some fantastic packages at Highgate House in Northamptonshire and Woodside in Warwickshire. Let us take the stress away and organise a fun filled weekend whether you'd like to indulge in afternoon tea, try your hand at cocktail making or simply enjoy good food and wine, we promise to make it really special!