Guide to planning a hen party
The main questions to get answers to as early as possible in the planning stage are who, what, when, where and what to do! Some of this will largely be determined by how much guests are willing to spend – in other words setting a budget and sticking to it!
So, who is coming the party?
Research has shown that the average UK hen party is for 14 guests including the hen. That’s quite a large group to satisfy so inevitably compromises will need to be made. Deciding on the guest list is usually done in consultation with the hen – ask her to draw up a list of family and close friends who must be invited and another list of those people she would like to invite. See how the numbers look, remembering its unlikely everyone will be able to make it.
Setting a date
The earlier you go about planning a date and the more notice you give guests, the better. Check dates early on with the friends and family that must be present, no matter what. Then either let the rest of the hen party know the date or give them a couple of options to check first and choose the most popular date. In terms of booking accommodation allow at least 3 months for a UK-based weekend or suggest a hen party weekend at home!
Where to go?
The bride will hopefully have an idea or even a shortlist of possible locations for the hen party but the key is to work out how convenient and easy is the place for everyone to get to? To narrow down options and decide what sort of occasion you want to create make choices between country vs city, quiet vs lively, home vs away. The top UK cities for ‘hens’ include London, Edinburgh, Brighton, Bristol, Bournemouth, Nottingham, Manchester, Newcastle – its up to you if you want to join in or avoid these destinations completely. You could head for a country cottage for a cosy weekend away with evenings in front of a log fire and walks in the countryside. Alternatively, why not stay at home and invite everyone round for lunch and an afternoon activity before an evening out at a favourite restaurant or club.
If the party is starting on the Friday night, consider rush hour traffic and the possibility of late arrivals or some guests choosing to arrive on Saturday morning. Try not to plan too many activities on the Sunday when some people will prefer to have a late breakfast and go.
What to do?
You really are spoilt for choice when it comes to activities and entertainment to amuse your hens but the main thing to ask is will the activity appeal to the bride-to-be? It’s her weekend after all! Is she into action-packed outdoor pursuits or would she rather spend the day being pampered? Is she game for a laugh or the shy and retiring type? Does she have any particular hobbies or passions in life – other than her soon-to-be husband? When booking activities or services, allow sufficient time to ensure the company has availability. We consider 6 months in advance to be highly organised and reckon 2-3 months is about the norm. Anything less than a month in advance is cutting it a bit fine.