It’s so easy for the bride-to-be to get so caught up in wedding planning and the stresses that go alongside it that she loses touch of what is most important – enjoying the day, having fun and celebrating the first day of the rest of her life. The hen weekend is a great opportunity to remind her that it’s supposed to be fun and happy, but it’s down to you to show her that… talk about pressure! Charlotte Ricard from La Fete shared her top tips with me, and now I’m sharing them with you to help you navigate your way through all the possible bumps in the road to make sure your bride-to-be has a hen do she’ll never forget!
YOUR BRIDE IS QUEEN B
Don’t forget to keep your bride in the loop with everything you’re planning. You will need to know when she’s free, how long she is free for her hen do (one night or a long weekend?) and most importantly, who she wants to be there. Finding out on the day that you’ve forgotten one of her best friends from back in her uni days will not only upset the bride, but puts her in a tricky situation when she has to tell said friend that she has had her hen do without her… not good. It’s also a good opportunity to ask the other hens if she has ever mentioned something she really fancies doing or would be her worst nightmare. That butlers in the buff night you saw on Facebook may be right up your street and look like a laugh, but could make your bride feel uncomfortable and out of place, thus ruining her night. You may think you know your bride better than she knows herself but doing that extra bit of research will be totally worthwhile in the end!
WHEN, WHERE, WEEKEND?
First things first, set it with the bride. That should really go without saying. It is also advised that you try and set it for about 4 weeks before the big day where possible just so that everyone can get back in shape for the day if it’s a particularly indulgent weekend! Whether it’s lots of cake and meals out, or copious amounts of wine, the calories will add up and the bride may not be best pleased if after months and months of dieting and exercise she blows it at the last hurdle.
Just like every other part of a wedding, hen do’s are affected by trends and it’s commonplace now for hen do’s to not only be a weekend thing but to be a mini holiday abroad at the same time. Please don’t forget though, that just because you and the bride can afford it not all of her guests are guaranteed to be able to and the last thing you want to do is make people feel inadequate or embarrassed by that. You can have an incredible experience right here in Blighty so there really isn’t any need to jump on a plane! If you do choose to pack your bags and head to the sunshine make sure you organise this in plenty of advance, it’s likely a lot of people will need to book time off work so give everyone advance warning for the best chances of having this granted.
YOU ARE THE BOSS
I know I know, I’ve just said the bride is Queen B, but you’re her second in command and she’s picked you to be the boss so use your power wisely. I’ve been involved in planning a hen do recently and I can’t recommend a group chat enough but please, make sure you are super careful keeping a group chat with the bride and one with the bridal party separate or any surprises will be out the bag. Naturally whenever a group of people are trying to organise something together people will have differing opinions but remember, you’ve been put in charge and you can’t always please everyone. Ultimately the bride should be everyone’s main focus but in the politics of the bridal party things can sometimes go a little off tangent. Keep your cool, rise above it and try and be as fair as possible – you don’t want any tension on the hen do so make sure everyone get’s heard but don’t get pushed around.
SO MUCH TO DO, SO LITTLE TIME…
There really is something for everyone when it comes to hen activities, maybe the classic strip club or an afternoon of chocolate making, the possibilities are endless! Just be careful not to overdo it, it’s so tempting to pack 101 things into one weekend but try to do too much and everyone will end up tired and tetchy. One great way to approach the weekend is start with a tasty breakfast – it’s a great way for people to get to know one another and break the ice before spending the next couple of days with strangers. Then perhaps bond over a more sporty activity such as zumba or yoga to get the blood pumping and burn some energy before filling up on a tasty lunch together. Take to the great outdoors again in the afternoon and take a walk around the local area or head for some outdoor spa treatments to clear your heads before muddling them again with a boozy evening of drinks and laughter. There will be plenty of opportunity for everyone to get to know each other, and with the more active parts of the day it’ll fill the weekend with memories none of you will ever forget.
MONEY, MONEY, MONEY
Generally speaking, the rule goes that everyone pays for themselves and then the price of the bride is split evenly between the hands. For some people money is a deal breaker so make sure all the hens know how the costs have totted up so the plans can be adapted as early as possible if necessary. Don’t get frustrated if you have to change your plans to accommodate someone, the fact they are there will mean more to the bride than a luxury spa treatment.
THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAIL
Whatever you do, don’t embarrass your bride! Women don’t enjoy being embarrassed publicly, especially if someone’s caught it on video so if you’re choosing novelty elements to the weekend make sure you keep in mind what your bride will find funny and tasteful. This is down to you to judge as each bride is different, but as a rule of thumb if you’re not sure it’s best not to risk it.
You don’t see the hot pink feather boa or naughty headbands so much anymore, instead hen do’s have taken a step towards the personalised with sashes, velvet tracksuits and matching pyjamas instead. Anything you can personalise, do it, it’ll be a great keepsake for all involved, especially for the bride.
MEMORIES LAST FOREVER
The hen do should be one of the best parties your bride will ever have (after the wedding of course!) so make sure the whole group is snapping it away to put in a book at the end of the hen do. By getting everyone involved you’ll capture so many more moments that someone else may miss, and it should also mean you capture all of the guests across the weekend for a keepsake the bride can keep forever.
Why not all put some lipstick on and kiss one page in the back of the book with a personal message to the bride, these small extra details will make the world of difference and will guarantee a hen weekend she’ll never forget.