Last Saturday was my hen ‘do’. Thanks to my marvellous MoH and all my lovely hens, I had the most wonderful time and you can read all about it by visiting www.awarwickshirewedding.com.
Now that I am an old hen, I feel well placed to dispense some hen ‘dos’ and hen ‘don’ts’ to anyone who is looking to organise a hen party. So, cluck, cluck, here goes . . .
Do . . .
- Consider adopting a ‘pick ‘n mix’ approach to your hen party which takes into account the different ages and interests of your ‘hens’. If appropriate, structure the celebrations so that your guests can choose to join in those parts that they would most enjoy. My hen party comprised: afternoon tea; a visit to the cinema; cocktails; a meal and a spontaneous trip to a local bar for a bit of dancing. Whilst a hardcore of hens stayed for the duration, the majority just came along for part of the celebrations and, judging from all the enthusiastic text messages I’ve received, that arrangement seemed to work well for everyone.
- Find a way of celebrating with any friends you invited but who weren’t able to join you for the main hen party. A couple of my friends, who couldn’t make it last weekend, are coming over to my flat next week and I plan to bake a big batch of scones and serve afternoon tea wearing my Betty Draper outfit so that they can enjoy a mini-hen party experience.
- Use your hen party as an opportunity to try out some beauty treatments and products that you are planning to use for your wedding day. A couple of days before my hen party, I had a facial to check it wouldn’t bring me out in spots (it didn’t) and tested the durability of the MAC lipstick I will be wearing on The Big Day.
- Double-check the contact details of all your hens before you hand the list over to your Matron of Honour or Chief Bridesmaid. I didn’t. As a consequence two of my hens almost missed out receiving their invitations altogether.
- Ask one hen, in advance of the party, to take care of any cards, presents, mementos that you are likely to collect during the celebrations.
Don’t . . .
- Feel constrained by the stereotypical hen night. You don’t have to wear L plates and fluffy bunny ears if that’s not your bag. The hen party police aren’t going to book you! Think about what makes you tick and create a hen party that is as unique, quirky and individual as you are. Maybe you’re the crafty type and would like a pottery painting afternoon, or perhaps you’d enjoy a session with a colour and style analyst. The world is your oyster! And if you can’t find anyone offering quite what you are looking for, don’t be afraid to contact relevant suppliers to ask whether they would be able to provide a tailor-made package. Most people, particularly small-scale suppliers, are very flexible and are only too happy to oblige.
- Be afraid to dress up. Your hen party is the one occasion you can over-dress without embarrassment! I wore a 1950s style Karen Millen dress and exaggerated the MadMen look by buying a wonderful big petticoat from www.swingtimecollection.co.uk. I felt just like Betty Draper and loved every minute of it!
- Make your celebrations prohibitively expensive, thereby effectively excluding some of your hens. In particular, unless you know that all your guests can afford it without being financially over-stretched, don’t enforce a dress code that will pressurise everyone into buying an expensive new outfit. Most hens will already be fretting about what to wear on The Big Day so don’t force them on yet another retail mission.
- Notwithstanding the above, don’t automatically reject an idea just because you think it will cost too much. Work on facts, not assumptions. Part of my hen celebrations were spent at The Electric Cinema in Birmingham where we watched a private screening of one of my favourite films. When I first discovered that The Electric offered private screenings I almost dismissed it as a potential hen party venue on the grounds that it was bound to be far too expensive. But the cost, per head, was actually remarkably reasonable. So the morale of that little story is that you’ve nothing to loose by asking – and lots to gain!
- Get so caught up in preparing for the Big Day that you forget to get excited about the hen party. Devote some time to choosing your own outfit and accessories and enjoy the hen party as an event in its own right rather than just a preamble to the wedding. Like me, you’ll be glad you did!