The Maid of Honour’s Guide to Organising a Hen Night
As the Maid of Honour (MOH), you are often charged with organising the big party before the big party: the Hen Night.
While it’s an honour to be given the task, many MOH’s can find it overwhelming and racked with potential for slip ups and costly misadventures. If you’re getting stressed about your duties, don’t panic! We’ve answered your questions and created the definitive guide to organising one clucking great Hen Night! Read on….
How far in advance are you supposed to plan a Hen Night?
There is no right or wrong time to plan a Hen Night; it’s simply a matter of preference depending on a number of factors. If your Hen Night will involve travel or very specific activities, it’s usually a good idea to start getting in touch to organise it sooner rather than later. This gives people time to juggle their schedule and save up for it if needs be. If you’re planning a smaller party or something cheap, cheerful and local, there’s no real rush to start sending invites.
How close to the wedding is the Hen Night supposed to be?
On average, the Hen Night occurs 3-4 weeks before the wedding, but this can vary depending upon the bride. Make sure you ask her what she’d prefer before you plan.
To stick with the tradition of ‘the last night of freedom’, some brides opt to have their hen do on the night before the wedding. But for others who would prefer a bit of downtime in between the two events, Hen Nights can take place months ahead of the big day. It all comes down to the bride’s preference, so check with her before organising the party.
Who invites people to a Hen Night?
Traditionally, the duty of inviting people lies with you. However, the bride may sometimes choose to invite guests herself for a more personal touch (or if she’s keen to retain control of the list of attendees), and sometimes other members of the bridal party - such as the mother of the bride or a bridesmaid - will pitch in by helping to send invitations.
What are the best Hen Party themes?
Choosing a theme for the hen party can be difficult if you leave it to majority vote –
often it is best to decide on one as organizer and stick with it. So what do you choose?
- Unusual themes
These can include things like burlesque hen parties, vintage-inspired dos, superheroes, colours of the rainbow or an era, such as an ‘80s or ‘90s theme.
- Cheap themes
Great for bridal parties on a budget, simple theme such as pirates, sexy police or schoolgirls that require basic accessories are always fun for everyone! An element of make-do-and-mend brings out the creativity and fun in everyone. Why not raid charity shops during the day and create your cheap outfits as part of your hen party? They’re full of old bridal gowns and you could all go out as cost-effective brides-to-be! Matching feather boas can even be picked up at the pound shop.
- Classy themes
Moulin Rouge and Great Gatsby-inspired themes are great for classier dos. English garden parties and spa days also make for fabulous, classy fun.
- Classic themes
When in doubt, some L-plates and boas/sashes are a great way to let everyone know you’re out on the town as a team.
Are strippers appropriate?
This is really a call for the bride to make.
While strippers and strip clubs are often popular for Hen Nights, it depends on the bride. If she loves a laugh, it could be a perfect way to end the night with a giggle (and some eye candy!). However, if the bride is more conservative or the Hen Party will contain attendees who are (the mother of the bride, perhaps), then booking a stripper could cause embarrassment and lead to awkwardness afterwards. It’s best to check
with the bride if there are any “naughty” ideas planned for the night ahead of time to ensure they won’t cause offence.
What are some good Hen Night entertainment ideas?
According to recent research, out of 200 potential activities:
- 36% of parties book cocktail mixing
- 28% of parties book a pampering day
- 11% of parties book inflatable games
- 9% of parties book dirty dancing
If you’re looking for something a little more unique, there are a number of other ideas you might consider to create some Hen Night entertainment. You could hire a live band or DJ to provide the music for your event, or hire something more adventurous such as a magician, caricaturist, or even a photo booth or a chocolate fountain.
What are the best Hen Night activities?
There are several things your group could do to set the stage for a memorable event of bonding and boozing. They’re also a great alternative to a straightforward knees-up, and they give your Hen Night some structure, too.
If you’re on a budget, activities like dance lessons or karaoke are a cost-effective but fun way to set the mood. If you’re looking for something more abstract an unusual, you could try an experience day (often available on money saving sites like Groupon or Wowcher at a discount), on which you could take turns racing around a track in a luxury car, trying your hand at hover-crafting or even developing your own fragrance. These unusual days range in budget so you can choose how outlandish or simple you’d like your activity to be.
There are luxurious favourites too, such as chocolate making and champagne tasting. These make for a great event and a memorable day afterwards. And if you want to raunch it up a little, why not try a pole dancing class, nude drawing class or hire some male entertainment? There are a plethora of options to suit any budget, some of which are hosted by companies and some of which you can arrange yourself.
What are the best non-drinking activities for a Hen Night?
If you’re not into boozing, there are plenty of options for a dry hen night. You may want to take your party to a theatre show in the evening, or arrange a classy high tea for the afternoon. Either way, everyone has plenty to celebrate, so you’re sure to have lots of laughs without the booze. Taking a weekend away to a luxury spa or having a blow out Sunday lunch together are other great booze-free ideas.
What are the best daytime activities for a Hen Night?
If a big night out isn’t your style, there are plenty of daytime activities to do on a Hen Night (well, Hen Day!)
Shopping is always a crowd-pleaser, especially if you make a day of it by hitting up the high streets in conjunction with the best vintage thrift shops in town. Areas like London are perfect for this and provide ample dining options for when you’re all shopped out and feel like a meal and a wind-down with the girls.
If you prefer something a little sportier, why not pick a full-day outdoor activity such as paintballing, canoeing or punting, horse riding, abseiling or a theme park? These are great ways to get some exercise and bond with the other members of the party, creating memories that will last a lifetime and friendships that will make the wedding day itself even more fun!
Any Hen Night ideas for smaller groups?
Small Hen Parties are a great way to catch up with each other in an atmosphere that larger, rowdier parties don’t usually allow. To make the most of your small Hen Night, why not try a day of pampering at a spa? Several locations have wedding packages for exactly this purpose, offering champagne and a full TLC treatment giving you plenty of time to relax and recoup before the big day.
Alternatively, you could combine your culinary talents and put together a potluck feast. Each member of the Hen Party can bring a dish; to make it interesting you could pick a theme, or have each person bring a traditional dish that represents their heritage such as Italian or Irish. Combined with a menu of cocktails fit for a bride-to-be (such as a Blushing Bride or Flirtini), this is a great way to spend an evening: savoring good food, great drinks and even better company.
What are some good Hen Night ideas for large groups?
Somebody call the party bus! If you’re looking for activities to suit a large group, investing in a limo or bus to get everyone safely from A to B in one group is a must. Luckily several services offer this at a reasonable price.
If you’re a large group, you may want to consider extending the Hen Night into a Hen weekend. Pooling resources and renting a cottage or house in the country allows you more time to get to know everyone, and it often works out to be cheaper than staying in a hotel in a busy metropolis. Team activities and sports always work well for big groups, as does hiring out a room or booth in a club to ensure nobody gets split up (this too is often cheaper than paying individually for entry and cash and carry at the bar).
Where are good places to go on a Hen Night?
There are plenty of options, but the bride is the best judge of where the night should take you. You know her well, and generally have an idea of whether she likes clubs, bars, restaurants or an evening meal at home. Discuss some options to ensure you’re in the right direction, and then hone in on specifics using sites like Trip Advisor to get unbiased reviews of various venues.
An increasing number of parties are choosing to go abroad – depending on your party size and budget, this is another exciting option. Barcelona is an overwhelming favourite with nearly half of hens asked revealing they chose to go here for their Hen Night. Prague was also a popular option, while Amsterdam came in a close third. If you prefer something closer to home, traveling to Hen Night hotspots in the UK (such as Blackpool or Edinburgh) is another way to infuse your night with something different and memorable.
What is the best choice of Hen Party transport?
The best mode of transport for your party depends on its size. If you’re a larger group, limos and party buses will provide group discounts and ensure you all stay together. If you’re a smaller group, taking a few cabs, public transport or even walking are great ways to save some cash on the night whilst still ensuring everyone gets to the venue.