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If you’ve never arranged a hen party, it may sound like a fairly simple task. If you have, however, you will know that trying to get a group of girls to agree what to do and where to go is nearly impossible, and that the politics of who to invite and who to exclude can make or break your friendship with the bride to be. Here are a few tips on arranging hen parties to get you started on the right track.
Always ask the hen who she wants to invite to the party, unless you are planning a surprise hen party in which case you could ask her fiancée. If possible ask the hen to split the guests into various categories; the best mates (they need to be there so check their schedules as soon as possible), the acquaintances (invite them but don’t worry if they can’t make it), the in-laws (you have to invite them but the hen will probably have a better time if they’re not there) and the black list (if they’re invited you’ve failed as a friend and bridesmaid!)
When you’re deciding where to go for the hen party, ask some of the hen’s best friends to get an idea of budget. Travel and accommodation will really bump up the cost of the hen party, so you should only look at going away for a hen weekend if everyone can afford it.
You need to go somewhere that is easy for everyone to get to, but is a bit different or special. Ideally you want somewhere that you can relax and let your hair down, but that won’t be full of other hen parties. Camping at the beach is always an option if you want to go away but you’re on a tight budget.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you can just book accommodation and work out the rest when you get there. You need to have a plan including where you are going to eat and drink and you need to make reservations well in advance. Making spontaneous decisions with a large group of ladies just isn’t going to work, and if you don’t have a plan you risk your hen being disappointed. Make sure the whole group are aware of the hen party itinerary so you don’t lose people.
When you are deciding what to do look at the kind of person the hen is. What would she really enjoy? Is she a party animal that wants to be clubbing until the small hours? Would she prefer a relaxing spa day? Would she see the funny side of hiring a stripper? Would a cooking class and a civilised dinner be more her style? Does she love action, adventure and the great outdoors or does she like to be warm and cosy at home?
Unless the whole group know each other well and have been friends for years, it can be hard to know how the dynamics of a hen party will work. As the organiser it is up to you to make sure the party goes with a swing, so you need to be prepared with games and activities if things start to get a bit quiet.
Here are a couple of popular hen party activities: