The Ultimate Guide to Organising a Hen Weekend
When your best friend calls you, you already have a feeling what she’s going to tell you. After discussing details of romantic proposals, talk turns to the hen do. She doesn’t even need to ask you to be her chief bridesmaid, you’ve both always known the line-up.
Here’s the ultimate guide to making sure that you do your friend proud with an unforgettable weekend of fun and bonding.
The lady of the moment
The most important place to start is to arrange a time with the hen to go through details. Although it is great to have a surprise weekend, you want to make sure that it’s a surprise weekend that she’s going to love.
What is the most important part of the hen do for her? Is it to make sure she has as many of her family and friends there to celebrate or to go abroad for a week long holiday for some pre-wedding sunshine?
You won’t want to have an itinerary from her but you need to know the style of weekend that she will enjoy, there’s no point booking a spa and cheer leading class type weekend if she is more of an outdoor events kind of a girl. It’s also important to make sure that her friends have similar tastes to her before you book anything as it only takes a couple of unhappy people to bring down the mood of the weekend.
Getting the details of the other bridesmaids at the start gives you a good opportunity to get to know her other close friends and to pool ideas so you have the perfect weekend for your bestie.
Party goer list
The hen’s availability is obviously crucial but you want to have a range of dates so as many of her nearest and dearest can be there too. You’ll need to make sure that she gives you a full list of email addresses and phone numbers of the people she wants to invite. If there are some key people it’s a good idea to contact them first to check that they will definitely be there and have a secondary list of people who are given less choice of the date as it might be difficult to find one that is perfect for everyone.
Getting in the numbers
Weddings can get expensive for everyone, not just the happy couple. As the chief organiser the responsibility of getting as many people as possible to turn up to the hen weekend lies with you, no pressure! It’s worth considering the stage of life of the hen do attendees before you start planning luxury escapes if it’s going to exclude half of the guest list. The same goes for the destination, if that’s going to be a deal breaker for people maybe a venue not too far from home would tick all the boxes.
The chances are the most important aspect for the hen will be having all of her friends together for a good ol’ knees up so the more the merrier.
If you can secure a list of definite people or who will be at each part of the weekend if dipping in and out is an option, it will make the planning far easier. Having a budget planned at the start helps keep things under control and allows people to decide their limitations before committing and they might be less likely to drop out. If you plan activities or book accommodation for a certain number and people do drop out it might be left to the other people share out the extra cost.
As a base for your hen weekend this needs careful consideration, you need to think about the type of weekend that you have planned.
Are you going to book a city break or an activity packed weekend with the accommodation just being used as a place to stumble back to in the early hours and sleep off a hangover before dragging yourselves back out for more action? If this is the case, maybe a hotel would be the best option. If you are you going to be looking for a place which is a feature of the hen weekend or a pad to relax and spend time together, a big house, camping or glamping might be better suited to you.
Just keep thinking back to the hen and the other types of people who will be partying with you for the weekend. If most of party goers are going to be city birds who baulk at the idea of getting mud on their pristine white stilettos, a weekend of camping and quad biking might not be the right approach.
A good hen weekend needs a fun activity in the day time. It’s a great time for everyone to get to know each other and gives the weekend some structure. There are so many different options that its worth exploring alternative ideas before going straight for the obvious activities that everyone has done before, you don’t want 12 cocktail making experts by the end of the weekend. Likewise, horse riding across Dartmoor followed by camping might not be the right activity if Great Aunt Maud is a key player.
Try to keep within the guidelines given by the hen as it is her hen weekend and it is all about making it as fun as possible for her, not planning your own ultimate weekend. Chatting to the bridesmaids throughout is a great way to rein it in and keep on track with your best buddy in mind.
And lift off
You’ve done it, you’ve booked the ultimate hen weekend that will just serve to remind your friend of how close you are and that you possibly know her even better than she knows herself. Sending an email to everyone before the weekend with the finer details such as timings, specific clothing for activities, fancy dress, how much cash people will need if its rural break for taxis etc will mean you have less questions to field and people will be more prepared. The hen will also need enough details to bring the right stuff and feel comfortable and you will need to bear in mind any spare clothes for her if it’s a messy activity and you don’t want to spoil the surprise. Plan the finer details such as taxis and food arrangements so people aren’t hanging around and looking to you all weekend to make decisions, you want to be busy having fun and not having to arrange anything as you go.
- Always think back to the hen and other people going to the hen weekend
- Know who are the most important people when arranging dates
- Consider budgets and logistics when you decide on the destination
- Get people to commit before securing bookings for accommodation and activities
- Do as much booking as you can before the big weekend, people like to know that it’s all under control and when you’re away you’ll just have to worry about where the next tray of Jager bombs are coming from
- Have her back – make yourself the responsible person for getting your friend home at the end of the night , put a pint of water by the bed and have hangover snacks ready for the morning after recovery.
- Have fun