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How to: Planning a Hen's Nights Party
It’s time for an exciting, fun evening that takes a step back from wedding planning! It’s time to let loose with your favourite ladies! It’s time to say, “goodbye” to being single and, “hello” to married life. It’s time, mes amies, for your Hen’s Night!
The number one rule of planning a Hen’s Night, as counter-intuitive as it may seem, is organisation! Without organisation, you may have a Hen’s Night that is too crazy or a waste of time. Nobody wants an unhappy bride, so here are some tips on how to plan the best Hen’s Night.
Before we begin, it should be known that the 99% of the time, the bride does not plan her own Hen’s Night! The Maid of Honour or bridesmaids should take the lead on planning their bride’s bachelorette party, and should start about 3 months prior to the wedding date.
Hen’s Nights are traditionally an all-female occasion, but some brides may want a close guy friend or two in attendance. Make sure to clear the guest list with the bride before taking any major steps in party planning. One wrong guest, or too many guests can have quite an impact on the evening.
Gather all guest contact info from the bride well in advance, and reach out to the hens you don’t know to introduce yourself and discover everyone’s ideas and preferences.
When Will It Be?
It’s common for Hen’s Night to occur a weekend or two prior to the wedding, but this varies depending on how many guests you are accommodating. Select a few dates/times and take a poll among the hens to determine what date will be most convenient. Hen’s Night should never be planned for the night before the wedding- no one wants to attend a wedding (most especially your own) hung-over.
Sit down with the bride and determine what she expects from the evening. Is it her dream to have a giant slumber party, or is she determined to have a drink at every bar downtown? Hen’s Nights should be carefully plotted to fulfill the desires of the bride, while remaining fun for the whole group of guests.
Common Hen’s Night activities include:
- Bar-hopping or Clubbing
- Costume Parties
- Scavenger Hunts
- Winery Tours
- Salon and Spa Packages
- Ballroom or Burlesque Dance Lessons
- Fine Dining or Catered Event
- Truth or Dare, Card or Other Game Night
Some guests may not know each other, so planning an icebreaker or two at the start of the evening, or incorporating guests in a variety of games throughout the night will help take some of the pressure off the bride to introduce everyone.
If there are older guests in attendance, consider planning your event in stages. Start, for example, with a quiet brunch or dinner with all of the hens, and then clubbing at night for all the younger guests.
Plan a budget and stick to it. Your budget may vary on the number of hens who are attending, but it is important to – much like with wedding planning – have an idea of how much you are willing to spend before searching for venues, activities, etc.
Will you have each hen contribute an equal amount prior to the event, or are hens expected to pay as the evening progresses? Though the Maid of Honour often foots most of the bill, it is vital to establish who will be covering what, and when.
Once you have a budget in place, it will be easier to plan dining, drinks, travel, accommodations and other key factors in your Hens Night. With a budget, a guest list, and some bride-approved ideas, you are ready to plan the event and contact vendors!
Usually the bride gets all her household items at her Bridal Shower, then, the couple gets all the rest of their household items, handmade gifts, and monetary gifts at their wedding. At the Hen’s Night, the gift giving is usually gags, or symbolic of the women in attendance.
Hen’s Night gifts usually fall into two categories: naughty or nice (of course).
The “nice” usually consists of something sweet and/ or sentimental, like an album signed by all of the hens or photos of the hens with the bride at various stages of her life.
“Naughty” gifts, on the other hand, are usually aimed to shock (and then almost certainly used by the bride with her hubby-to-be. DO NOT let any prudish reactions or vehement protestations fool you.) These are usually items such as naughty lingerie, handcuffs, bedazzled whips, etc.
Hen’s Night also warrants some unique accessories like a sash and tiara for the bride, custom hen’s t-shirt, feather boas, or tutus, and other silly items that designate the wife-to-be from her bridesmaids, or demarcate the single ladies from the coupled ones.
- Remember that Hen’s Night is often an evening of alcoholic beverages, and designated drivers or cabs should be decided in advance.
- Some vendors may give special discounts or treats for Hen’s Night groups, so let them know what you are planning, and how many guests will be in attendance.
- Bring cameras! Most ladies have photo-capable phones, but investing in a high-quality camera may be the right choice in documenting your bride’s once-in-a-lifetime Hen’s Night.
- Don’t forget about the day after. Lots of brides have hens from all over coming to their event. Take the extra time to plan a quiet brunch for the day after to reminisce about the fun you’ve had.
- Your bride is your priority. You will be planning for a group of people, but never forget that your bride is the star of the show.
Finally, for a successful Hen’s Night, leave all the drama behind you and enjoy yourself! The bride picked the right gal to be her Maid of Honour, and the right friends to celebrate with her on her Hen’s Night. Celebrate your friend’s upcoming nuptials with games and laughter! It’s time, in other words, to party.