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13th September 2022
After dreaming of the most perfect wedding, a girl often get’s excited for her most incredible hen party with her best bride squad. If you’re in charge of helping plan, it can be slightly overwhelming. All the more, you may even take full control, to take some stress off the bride.
You’d think that there were more tips & tricks on how to plan the most ideal hen, but it’s not often most discussed and is quite confusing. Don’t worry, we’re here to help.
Where do you start? How do you get everyone on the same page? How can you be sure that you’re planning the hen of your bride’s dreams?
1) Speak to the Bride
Whilst you want to keep the bride away from it all, either to ensure she stresses as little as possible, or to make sure it’s as much of a surprise for her as it can be; you still want to speak to her very early on to understand a couple of basic points.
Note: whilst the hen is traditionally planned by one or two, mainly the maid of honour, don’t hesitate to delegate responsibilities. Trust us, as it get’s closer to the time, there’s a lot to plan.
Be sure to ask the following:
What dates work for you / how long do you want the hen to be?
This will be reliant on a couple of things: how close to the wedding is it? Are there any available bank holidays prior to the wedding? How much annual leave does the bride have?
Do you want to do something local or abroad?
Whilst one bride might be dreaming of a couple of days boozing in Brighton, another might wish for a weekend away relaxing on under the Grecian sunset.
How many people would you like to attend?
Hen’s can range from strictly bridesmaids only, or an extension out to more friends and even family, it’s beneficial to know how many people you’re planning for early on. Find out their ideal wishlist.
Maybe even suggest splitting into 2 hens, one with the mum’s, aunties & cousins (often a nice bridal shower works best!).
Do you have a rough budget?
In her hen budget, the bride would ideally have accounted for a hen budget. If not, ask the questions above and provide them with some food for thought.
What’s an absolute no-go?
You want your bride to have fun, and most definitely not stress about what’s around the next corner. Some love the idea of matching bride squad merch, some absolutely hate it! This goes for a lot of things: butlers in the buff, hen party paraphernalia, and so much more.
What’s most important to you?
This is super important for the itinerary planning. Is it 4 nights away, with parties every evening, or do they want a 50/50 split with some relaxing? Maybe even a hike or two? Ask them of what they like, and then take into account some of their hobbies and interests and work it in.
2) Confirm the Date
Be sure to do this as soon as possible, even before messaging everyone in the group chat. This is ideal, because you don’t want to give people too much choice on the dates, as it will only cause more confusion and awkwardness in case you have to choose between which of her friends can and can’t come (due to their availability).
If easier, ask the bride to provide 2/3 variations of dates and suggest these going forward.
3) Get the Guest List going
All hail WhatsApp, making hen party planning easier since 2009 (!) Ask the bride to make the WhatsApp group, make you the admin, and then swiftly leave it (if she wants it to be a surprise, of course).
This will save you the hassle of adding everyones phone numbers etc., and the bride will also be at ease knowing that you’ve got everyone together in one place.
You want to get everyone involved where possible, the best thing you can do is ask them these questions via a Google Questionnaire
It captures more that just ideal dates: possible locations, fun activities for the bride, how involved each bridesmaid wants to be and so much more.
It’s so important to have these open conversation, and no formalities about speaking on budgets and involvement. Everyone’s busy and no-ones judging! The clarity will just make it 1000x easier for yourself.
4) Set an Itinerary for the basics
Gather the basic information and do your research: look at transport & travel, and locations & housing. When you find one that you think fits, send it over in the group explaining a breakdown of how much everything will cost per night etc.
This can be tricky, as you’ll still be waiting for people to confirm the dates. You’re bound to get a couple “I can only ask my manager for Annual Leave next month”, and that’s okay. Don’t wait up and try to be as relaxes as possible.
A good caveat is always: GBP XXX.XX is the rough price, but may vary depending on if there are any dropouts. This way your guests are aware of the range.
Villa or hotels?
Now, a traditional villa is extremely fun: having all your squad in one place, the freedom to decorate and cook your own meals, and sometimes even a private pool, hot tub or beach! However, just be aware that it can be difficult and expensive to search for villa’s if you have too much uncertainty with guests and people joining later ie. splitting costs for some guests staying all days and others staying for 50% of the days.
It’s all most definitely possible, but just something to be aware of, depending on the girls going. If you’re really getting stressed, be sure to consider fun apartments. Lots of local boutique hotels are often best for this, as they allow you a lot of unique hen-related activities.
Re-confirm, re-confirm, re-confirm! As you’ll be making a bulk payment for the accommodation, most likely, you want to make sure that everyone is ok and aware that you are booking. Depending on what’s easier for you, ask them to either pay in advance or straight after you’ve booked.
It’s best to leave everyone in charge of their own travel, ie. train tickets or flights. Often to retrieve tickets, they’ll need the original card they paid with; and for flights, they’ll be better off doing online check in with all their details. It’s one less headache for you.
Additionally, it’s worth letting everyone know about your travel allowances, if it’s a flight. Let them know if you’ll be purchasing one extra luggage to check-in, in case everyone wants to pop any large liquids in there.
This is also the best time to ask everyone if their passports are in date! As you’ll be booking in advance, it allows everyone enough time to get any replacements if needed.
6) The fun bit – the activities!
We love a bit of organised fun, especially when you’re on a hen with a number of different people. It’s best to keep everyone on the same page, so you’ll want to create a google doc as you go.
When planning the itinerary do not fall into the trap of planning every second of every day, it’s not practical. You want to have a rough guide of activities, meals and transportation; with their respective costs – but that’s about it.
Remember that everyones different, and that not everyone may want to be doing water sports on all 3 days, and alternatively, not everyone will be wanting to go on nights out for all 3 nights. Keep a balance. Perhaps a spa day after the big night out is your best option, because no one wants to be sea sick on a boat after a heavy one.
Allow for some free time and relaxation, and time to explore. A rule of thumb is often one activity a day – it’s also a lot more cost effective.
Again, centre it around the bride! If she’s into her spin classes, why not find a cute group spin cycle spot? These few days are all about celebrating her, and her new chapter; always remember that.
7) Plan the extra’s
When it comes to planning the extra’s, ie. snacks, drinks, shampoo, conditioner – create a combined pot or use a cost-sharing app like Splitwise (this will be your best friends!).
What’s Splitwise? It’s an app which allows you to split the bill between a number of people for a number of things. One of you covers the taxi? Split it with exactly whose in that cab. One of you covers a large meal? Split it exactly with everyone on the table. It’s so convenient.
Additionally, if you’re in charge of things like matching PJ’s, or hen goodie bags – think of how you want to do it. Either ask for a contribution, and let the hen’s know exactly what they’re paying for, or if you wish to cover it – be as efficient as possible!
For any alcohol, decide whether you all want to share, or if specific people wish to buy their own bottles so that it’s truly what they like. If you’re doing a shared drinks pot, ask everyone of their drinks preferences before buying. There’s no point getting 3 bottles of red wine, when everyone prefers white!
8) Share the full itinerary
Make sure everyones aware, and that you’re transparent with everything at all stages. Nearer to the time, share the exact activities, any booking times, meals, costs, and most important of all: outfits!
Provide guidelines for the hen’s: are you having one dressy night out with heels, or is it 3 days at the beach club for you? They’ll be able to pack accordingly and it will save you SO many questions.
Not a necessity, but definitely know each hen what they’re in charge of if it’s the case. Even if it’s as simple as putting balloons up in the apartment, make them aware in advance.
10) Give the Bride a guide
Decide exactly what you do and don’t want to tell the bride. You may want to give them a specific outfit itinerary, so she knows what kind of outfits and how many pairs of shoes to bring.
Maybe even a subtle hint itinerary will do the trick.
11) Make sure you enjoy
When you’re the one doing all the planning, it can be a bit stressful and you might be on time-keeping duty a lot of the time. Try and avoid that and build your itinerary to be as fluid as possible – you deserve to have fun too. It’s your best friend’s hen (!).
At the end of it, be proud that you’ve given her a dream hen, you’re now a pro.
Our top tips on where to start, and how to keep an eye out for the unexpected expenses
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Matching lehengas, blouses, colour schemes? Your options are endless.