How to organise the ultimate hen party for your bestie

03 Apr 2017

Give your BFF the send-off she deserves with the ultimate hen party

You were the first to be called when your best friend announced her engagement. Now the big day is looming and your friendship duties include organising the best hen party ever. It’s a pretty daunting task. Get it wrong and you won’t end up being remembered for all of the good things you’ve done. Your friendship will survive, but a badly organised hen party with the wrong guests and poorly chosen surprises could test it to the limit.

To help you get the hen party absolutely nailed, here is a guide of dos and don’ts, plus a whole selection of ideas to make your bestie’s hen party a rip-roaring success. Here's how to make it a day/night/weekend to remember for all the right reasons.

1. Fixing the date

The first and foremost task is fixing the date/dates with the bride-to-be. There’s no point being clever. If you try and organise a surprise, it’s bound to clash with a final dress fitting or the eyebrow tint. Don’t settle for maybe dates. You want definite dates from your bride-to-be friend and you need to confirm that quickly.

2. Who’s on the hen party guest list?

The chances are you’ve already had oodles of conversations with your bestie about this scenario, long before the engagement was on the cards. Drunken nights out (and in) with your friends probably mean you have drawn up the list a hundred times over already.

Now here’s the tricky bit. Can everyone make the date? You’ll need to have a priority list and sadly it may mean dropping some ‘can’t dos'. C’est la vie. You can’t please everyone all of the time. Just make sure the key people are there.

If you’re really unsure about who to invite, it’s OK to check-in with the bride-to-be. You want to make sure you’ve covered all bases. It would be awful if she were upset because a long-lost cousin hadn’t been invited. Friends from abroad who she wouldn’t be expecting are a good way to add surprise appearances.

You’ll need to make the call about whether or not mums and mother-in-laws are to be included. There’s always the option of two separate hen nights.

3. What to do for the hen party

Deciding what you are going to do for a hen party can be an absolute minefield. There are so many great things to choose from. An important tip is to choose something the bride would like (not what you would like).

You may think it would be a fabulous idea to go for a massage and a day at a spa because you are desperate for some downtime. Now it’s not to say the bride-to-be wouldn’t also be delighted, but if she’s an outdoorsy type or loves to party all night, the spa experience may not cut it.

Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box, but don’t risk organising something you’re not sure your bestie will love. Don’t choose somewhere too far away from home unless everyone going agrees on it. Here are a few hen party ideas to get you started:

  • A pampering weekend away (which may or may not include a spa break). From a stunning city break to a country hotel retreat with horse-riding, take your pick for the perfect getaway.
  • Karaoke – if your bride-to-be mate has a passion for singing she’ll love this. Just make sure she’s the best singer – no one wants to be out-shone on their hen do. You can hire a karaoke room and tag it on to clubbing, dinner or other activities.

Unusual and fun activities:

  • If your bestie is the sporty type, there’s lots of fun to be had from outdoor challenges to inflatable games.
  • For a girl who loves to bust a few moves, there are all sorts of dance masterclasses from Burlesque to Beyoncé.
  • For the more sophisticated, afternoon tea or wine tasting can be incorporated into a special day or weekend away.
  • For something a little more quirky and tongue-in-cheek, nude model life drawing will get you all giggling without a doubt.
  • The epitome of the hen party is the cocktail masterclass. A great way to get the evening party going with giggles and a rosy glow.

4. Budget and payment

Set a realistic budget that everyone can afford and remember the bride doesn’t pay (her expense should be split between you all). Plan and book well in advance. You are more likely to get cheaper deals if you book early. Remember the transport costs.

Take charge of collecting money and make sure everyone pays up on time. Otherwise you’ll be left paying the bill. Online payment platforms are a good way to deal with multiple payments, such as Circle. You won’t want to bother the bride-to-be with money worries. She has enough on her plate.

5. Planning

Keep ahead of the game when you are organising the bookings. If people don’t get back to you quickly, call them. It’s likely that you are trying to co-ordinate more than one thing and that takes precision planning. For this you need to have your event planner head on; spreadsheets, iPhone notes and weekly reminders are your top tools. Use your initiative and try to negotiate deals. You never know, it could be the start a new vocation.