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Organising a Hen Party

Organising a Hen Party
You were delighted to be asked to be chief bridesmaid/matron-of-honour at your friend’s wedding. After all it is a chance to dress up and, other than helping the bride with her dress, how hard can it be? Or so you thought – until you realise that traditionally the chief bridesmaid organises the hen party. Now, we know that some people will relish the challenge, but we know plenty of others will throw their hands up in horror. But, whichever camp you are in, we have pulled together a list of points you need to consider when organising a hen party that should make your life much easier. 1. This is the bride’s party – you should know the bride well, so make sure what you organise is what she would like, don’t plan activities that might make her uncomfortable or embarrassed. 2. Who are you inviting – discuss the guest list with the bride, you won’t know everyone she wants on the list. There might be some people she feels are “must haves” at the hen do and others whom she feels are “should haves.” If you agree who are on these two lists it really helps with setting the date, the budget and the activity. 3. Setting the date – if there is a bride’s “must have” list give them a call to find out a couple of dates when they are available. Set the final date around them, making sure it is at least 1 week before the wedding date. In general 3 to 4 weeks before is ideal as the bride and her mother will probably be really busy in the two weeks up to the wedding. 4. Budget – People attending a hen party are expected to pay for themselves and often cover the bride’s cost too. Have a chat with your bride to find out whether any of the people on the “must have” list are on a tight budget eg unemployed or students. Bear in mind that some of the hens may have to travel and find accommodation for both the hen party and the wedding, making it an expensive commitment. Once you have ascertained a budget, tell the people who are coming the cost of the event (include an extra amount to cover the bride’s cost) and stick to it. Remember you will need food and drink and state whether this is included or not. 5. Activities – there are plenty of group activities available for hen parties and what you choose will depend on the four points above. Think about what the bride would like; who you are inviting (Granny might not be able to cope with an assault course, but will probably love a strip show!); what is available on the agreed date; what the budget is. Popular activities are: cocktail making classes; day at the races; burlesque nights; spa days and 4x4 driving, but the choice really is endless. 6. Invitations – once you have finalised the date and destination, you need to send out formal invitations. In these invitations you need to put date, time, where you are meeting (remember some hens may not be familiar with where you are going) and, if necessary, what to wear. If you are organising an event that requires up-front payment, you should also include how to pay and by when (this could be in instalments.) Even if you are organising something relatively simple like a meal or theatre tickets you will want to get payment up front to make sure people are committed to coming and that you are not out of pocket. 7. Organise an Itinerary – if the hen party is a full day or over a weekend provide everyone with an itinerary so they know where they should be and when. You don’t need to frog march them from place to place, but a timetable will help make sure that no-one misses the activities. Make sure there is plenty of time just to chat – hen parties are a great time to catch up with old school and Uni friends. Make sure you have everyone’s mobile number. If you are away for a weekend, make sure everyone has the details of where you are staying in case you get split up at the club. 8. Delegate – you don’t have to do all this yourself - ask for help from the other hens in areas that you are not so good at.