I’ve never had to plan a hen do.
The last time I was a bridesmaid, I was seven so getting involved in planning naked life drawing and buying willy straws wasn’t quite on my radar.
But in this, the year of weddings for Maz and I, I do feel like I’m becoming a bit of an expert in attending hen dos. So I thought I’d give all you wonderful bridesmaids out there a few hints and tips from your guests’ perspectives when it comes to planning the bride-to-be’s last final hurrah. (This is just a bit of fun by the way and I have been lucky enough to go on and be going on super-fun hen dos organised by brilliant girls who would follow all of these rules; please don’t take my advice too seriously, remember, La Lux is all about the positive!)
1. DO PUT THE BRIDE FIRST
This is her hen do, not yours. As much as afternoon tea and a spa day might be your thing, if the bride is into trance music, chances are, she’s going to be a bit bored! No, trance music might not be what the majority of people want to do either, but you are here to celebrate your friend and make it the best night of HER life. Your time will come. Anyone who gets arsey about a suggestion you know the bride would love, because it’s not their cup of tea, shove them! I’ve been on the odd hen do where I’ve thought, eek, that’s not my thing, but you get on with it and in the end, you have a great time because at the end of the day, hen dos are about good friends and good times, not where you are or what you’re doing.
My own hen do was literally made for me; a 90’s tribute weekend in Butlin’s in Skegness. It was the best weekend of my life and what made it so amazing is how much thought had gone into it. My girls took a risk and it definitely paid off, even if the rooms smelled like mould and we had naked men trying to break into our rooms! Some of the other amazing suggestions I’ve heard is a cookery class for the bride who loves being in the kitchen, making flower crowns ands wearing them on the night out for a more bohemian bride and going to drive tractors on a farm for the bride who’s car is her pride and joy. All epic, personal ideas everyone will end up loving.
2. DO GIVE YOUR GROUP PLENTY OF NOTICE
If you’re asking people for a considerable amount of money, do not give them a week’s notice. I promise you, everyone will smile sweetly and say fine, but secretly, they won’t be impressed. The cost of hen dos can spiral out of control as it is and they’re getting more and more elaborate. If that’s what’s happening, fine, but give your group plenty of notice when it comes to payments. Gentle reminders are fine too and if you’ve given people enough notice, they won’t mind a subtle push, but if you’ve given them no time at all, don’t send out an mildly aggressive text the day before when you haven’t had payment. Not cool.
3. DO TELL PEOPLE HOW MUCH IT’S GOING TO COST STRAIGHT OFF
Following on from the second point, surprised costs are never fun for your guests. Outline what they’re paying for from the get go. Not only will it allow them to know what their hard earned money is paying for, it means they can budget for anything else they might need to pay for. I completely understand you might like to keep some elements a surprise for everyone but be as transparent as you can. Will the cost cover all your drinks for example? Is travel included? Are you all chipping in for the bride? You’ll avoid awkward questions in the run up and on the day.
4. BE CREATIVE!
Hen dos can get a little formulaic. And that’s cool. I mean, who doesn’t love a willy straw and a blow up doll tied to them all night! But think outside the box and I promise, it’ll be a hen do people don’t forget in a hurry. I’ve seen some brilliant ideas at hen dos; a recent do I went on had everyone write an idea for a date night for the future bride and groom on a lolly stick and place them in a big jar as a gift. So fun. Little black dresses as a theme is also brilliant and saves people the hassle of dressing up (which don’t get me wrong, can be fun but also a ball ache!). At my own hen do, each of my girls designed their own hen do tshirts, drawing pictures of me with fabric pens and whatever glitter they could get their hands on. So incredibly brilliant and a bit of a break from the usual diamante encrusted vest tops you buy down Birkenhead market.
5. REALISE THAT PEOPLE HAVE OTHER PRIORITIES
This is a really big deal, especially for you as the organiser. You want it to be perfect for your friend and if you’re like me, you’ll get really stressed about getting it bang on. But realise that whilst this might be a priority for you, for others, they have lots of things going on. If some of your guests can only come for part of the do, or if money is an issue and they’re not able to attend, be understanding. Just because they aren’t able to make it, for whatever reason, it doesn’t mean they don’t care or that the bride and her wedding aren’t important to them. Everyone has busy, expensive lives with lots of different priorities. If they can’t get the day off work or they’re struggling to afford that week in Majorca the bride wants, don’t make them feel worse about it than no doubt they’ll already feel. Still encourage them to be a part of the event with a video message for the bride or giving them a memento from the weekend as a sorry they couldn’t be there.
Like I say, this year I’ve been on and am going on some brilliant hen dos. I’m so excited. They’re such a great opportunity to meet new friends or hang out with old ones. And celebrating a friend and her special day is always worth a good knees up! I’d love to hear about the hen parties you’re going on this year? What are you getting up to? Have you heard of any brilliant ideas? Please do comment below to let me know.