Hens' and Bucks' Nights/ Showers
Emma Margeaux Bride Online Columnist

Organising Your Hen's Night on a Shoestring

It’s time to shake your tail feathers and strut your stuff – there’s a hen’s party to organise! It’s a rite of passage into married life that gives the bride-to-be a chance to forget about wedding stress for just a moment and have some fun. The job of party planner usually falls to the maid of honour (generally helped out by the other bridesmaids), but can also be organised by anyone - friends, family members or even the bride herself.

(Courtesy tansandshorts.tumblr.com) 

Weddings can be expensive, particularly when there’s an extravagant hen’s party taking a healthy bite out of your bank account. It’s not uncommon to be expected to pay for an exorbitant weekend away, lavish spa sessions, overpriced restaurants or plane trips abroad, but it doesn’t need to cost a fortune to have fun. Celebrate the bride’s final days of freedom without busting your bank balance when you bring the hen’s party back to basics.

Firstly, some general suggestions:

• Don’t use a party planner - bridesmaids, friends and family are generally more than happy to help (and can you imagine having a conversation about where to put the… err… decorations with your planner whilst keeping a straight face?).

• Organise a day or night event rather than an entire weekend.

• Have a conversation with fellow invitees to see what they can afford to pay. Propose a median budget, and once a specific number has been agreed to by all, stick to it.

• Let everyone know early what they are expected to pay for or bring to the hen’s night.

• Don’t invite every woman going to the wedding – it should be the bride-to-be’s nearest and dearest.

• Check online or at your local venues for group discounts and special deals.

• Look for dinner venues with a set menu- these generally come at a cheaper price.

• Get on the club or bar guest list and skip entrance fees.

• Hire a minibus with a designated or hired driver – it’s fun to all be together and you don’t pay separate taxi fares.

• Incorporate the small details that count, like putting together a playlist of the future bride’s favourite songs or printing her baby photos. This at-home crafting tends to be low cost and it’s high sentimental factor ensures it’ll be a hit.

Hatching An Idea

The most important thing about organising a hen’s night is that it’s a reflection of the soon-to-be Mrs Hen. If you know she’ll prefer a rowdy night on the town with a visit to a strip club or an afternoon spent sipping champagne and nibbling on cucumber sandwiches, then that’s what you should arrange.

Here are a few ideas for a budget-friendly hen’s night:

The Slumber Party 

Channel your inner teenager and organise a sleepover. Get the ladies to find their sleeping bags and bring pyjamas and drinks. Have a selection of DVDs, from thrillers to chick flicks, and you can spend an inexpensive evening bonding over tears or shrieks of fear. Throw in a few vodka jelly shots to get everyone in the mood and when you order pizza, popcorn and ice cream you can split the bill - but be sure everyone knows beforehand!

The Dinner Party

Find the Master Chef within and host a dinner party at your house where you get everyone to contribute a dish or an ingredient and a bottle of wine. You can also divide the courses into groups or have a friendly competition to see who produces the winning dish. It’s a relaxed evening where everyone can talk without competing against loud pub music. Add some spice to the night by organising topless or bare-bottomed waiters.

The Cocktail Party

Ask everyone to contribute to the bar bill and buy the necessary alcohol and mixers before the night. Make your favourite tipple by following an online tutorial and then bring out the karaoke machine for a fun and funny end to the evening.

A Couple of Extra Ideas

• Get local – wine tasting, sport event, concert, comedy club
• Get pampered – manicures and pedicures at home
• Get active – ice skating, roller blading, ten pin bowling, go karting, surfing
• Get outdoors – garden, beach, camping or tea party

The hen’s night is about spending time with the bride-to-be and making sure she has a memorable party. From the outrageous to the subdued, you can organise a fun event on a budget, you just have to be creative. This hen is crossing the road to get married, so make her last night of being single one that she won’t forget…

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