More hen do tips!

Today, hen parties involve anything from horse racing and nightclubbing to stripping firemen and week long trips abroad. But with all the planning and partying that's involved, how do you ensure that the celebratory send off is a rip roaring success? 

As I embark on being a bridesmaid for the sixth time, I know only too well about how much organising is needed for a hen do to go smoothly. Here are some top tips to ensure that the entire occasion goes without a hitch, and that everybody (especially the bride to be) is still talking to you come the big day!

I had to laugh the other day when I was talking to my Mum about hen dos and she said that all they did in their day was have a night around town and that was it. Nowadays, celebrations can last anything from one night to two weeks - or even to multiple hen dos. With the right amount of planning, these events can be extremely memorable for all (or may be not judging by the general levels of alcohol consumed!). Also if everyone feels involved, then it will ensure that people look forward to the wedding day even more than they did before.

The bride to be

Do have an initial chat with the bride to be (let’s call her the B2B) and find out as much as you can about exactly what she expects from her hen do. You can obviously deviate a little - or a lot - from this but I think it may well be worth having the "stripper chat" upfront (so to speak). Think twice, nay three times, before you even contemplate booking one. Saying that, I know a girl who actually wanted a stripper for her hen do. Come the actual moment, Fireman Fred wasn’t quite what we were all expecting, and the bride to be ended up in tears. And believe me, they weren’t tears of laughter. This hen do in Whitby was absolutely brilliant and ended up with us coining the catchphrase “But what ever you do, DON’T mention the stripper.”

Do ask the B2B for the best way of contacting all those she would like to invite. Are they friends from school, university, work or somewhere else?

Does she have any idea of dates for the do? If there are plans to stay overnight, bear in mind if any of the hennettes have children they will need some time to organise childcare.

Are the bride and groom's mothers invited? This can obviously change things a lot. Or may be not?!!

And finally - subtly try to get an idea of the costs the B2B thinks may be involved. Obviously a night out in Sheffield involves quite different expenditure from a week long party in Ibiza. The cost – and making sure that everyone pays the right amount – is no doubt the trickiest bit to manage in it all. Also bear in mind what costs the bride may reasonably expect to meet herself (I would suggest travel and hotel) and which others it would be nice – if possible - to offer to cover between you (possibly for example, the activity, food and the drinks.

The hens

If most hens prefer to be contacted by email or WhatsApp, keep your initial message friendly and personal, but try to keep it brief. Introduce yourself, give the proposed dates of the hen do, the location, any accommodation ideas, a very brief outline of the plans for the event and possibly a mention about costs. Ask people to respond by a certain date. You can always ask the B2B for her thoughts on this initial mail out before you send it – as long as you’re not giving the game away too much!

Note to hens

(and this is purely because I was terrible at doing this for the first few hen dos I was invited on and must have driven people insane) but please, please reply to these emails as promptly as you can. While I know there isn’t always an obvious answer to whether you can make it or not, the organisers are juggling a lot of variables and it helps immensely if you can give them your reply as soon as possible.

Now once you have all this information back – what do you do with it?

  • Do – start a spreadsheet with all the details. Sorry if this is teaching your grandma to suck eggs, but keeping the information all in one place will help you greatly in the future, especially with money. Start factoring in costs and anything you have spent already.

  • Try and book accommodation as soon as possible and think about room allocations. 

  • Also, try to book travel as soon as possible – as usually the earlier the better in terms of cost. Group travel can be cheaper too. 

  • If booking a meal, remember that with large parties they may ask you to make your menu choices in advance.

  • And most importantly, if it’s somewhere you’ve not visited before - do some research! Google can be especially useful for working out distances between bars, hotels, restaurants etc.


And ah yikes, I have just remembered, DO NOT mention the stripper.


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