Hen party series ~ Planning a vintage hen party

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that I’ve been running a series of articles on hen parties – and with the summer wedding season fast approaching, I’m glad to be able to bring you some top-tips from lots of my fellow bloggers. Ellen previously sharing her article on personalising a hen party  and last week we had a guest blog on hen party activities. I’ve discussed 50s and his ‘n’ hers party themes and over the coming weeks there’ll be craft tutorials, ideas for games, budget planning and costume sewing tips from Kat. Today my friend Claire from LaceyinPlaces blog is sharing her tips for creating the perfect hen do, starting with the subject of planning:

After ten years together my very good friends Becky and James have decided to get married! She gave me the very special honour of being her bridesmaid – which means I got to play a key role in planning her hen do yaaay! I’ve been to a several hen dos over the years but was feeling nervous as want to make sure both Becky and the hens have an amazing time. To get inspiration I started to do research by speaking to friends with Mary Poppins-like hen party arranging powers and also turned to the power of Google. After a couple of hours searching, I became frustrated as I realised there was no one-stop-shop for inspiration and tools to use to plan a hen party.

So I’m going to change that – over the course of the next few weeks I’m going to take you step-by-step through the planning for Becky’s hen and provide you with lots of ideas for running your own glam and tasteful hen party – but not too tasteful as there will be naughty things and a few other surprises along the way!  I’m going to provide you with everything from templates for emails to hens, hen activity and budget tracker for you to download and customise, to lists of games, decoration ideas, mementos and most importantly cake ideas.

So don’t panic, sit back and relax while I guide you through the plans… 

Week 1 Planning – The who, what, where, when of the hen

I had two months to organise the hen so had to get things moving quickly, especially as the hen party was due to take place on a Bank Holiday weekend therefore I was concerned accommodation and activities would be getting booked up. The first thing I did was sit down with Becky and the other bridesmaid along with speaking to her close friends to gather ideas. I then drew up with Becky a list of the four ‘w’s as follows:

  • Who to invite.  A list of hen party attendees – she underestimated how popular she was as rather than her original estimate of eight hens this doubled to 16
  • What she would like to do:
    • Duration of the hen– in this case a minimum of two nights
    • The theme – We discussed a range of options from Barbie to bananas – but decided on Vintage as she is a classy lady
    • Activities – she is a super thoughtful person so wanted everyone to take home a memento. Make sure her stomach is lined for hard core drinking later and to have plenty of time to speak to all the hens. To go dancing.
    • Boundaries – how much naughtiness, she opted for a tasteful amount and specified  no oiled-up men
  • Where would she like to have her hen party. UK-based and, in turn, affordable, so as many people as possible could attend. She was torn as to where to hold the hen to make it as easy as possible for people to attend as half her friends are in London the other in the West Country. As she is based in Bath and wanted her fellow colleagues to attend I took the executive decision to hold the hen in Bristol.  Conveniently one of the hens lived in Bristol who proved an invaluable source of knowledge as to what activities to do.
  • When the hen party would be: over a bank holiday weekend when everyone has time off work on the Monday to recover!

Now that I had an outline of the basic plan and a rough idea of numbers attending, I was able to start provisionally booking activities, looking for accommodation and organising a budget for the whole weekend, including food, transport, decorations – everything! In next week’s hen party blog post I will share a spreadsheet for you to download and use for your own hen party to work out a cost-per-head for each of the guests AND I’ll share a party invitation template that you can send my email and it will help you get a quick response from the hens!

Claire’s top tips

  1. Agree what’s in and out of scope for the hen do– Sit down with the Bride to find out what she would like to do and to ensure she is not out of her comfort zone if you provide her with a troupe of strippers for example!!
  2. Pick a fun creative theme everyone will love – to make sure they all feel special and have a good giggle.  It also allows you to get your crafty gloves on and have lots of giggles – plus allows you to save lots of money.
  3. Delegate and take up offer of support – Don’t try to do everything. If a hen/s have said they are happy to help take them up on the offer and delegate activities.  The Bristol hen was a super star in going to scope out venues/activities to report back on whether they were suitable.  Two hens was super creative so wanted to sort out Becky’s dress and another hen loved to bake so offered to make a cheeky cake.
  4. Find out what everyone can afford – get their opinion on the costs and activities from the word go. It is difficult to please everyone but it is important to consult with the hens and make them appreciate that you have tried to plan the most fun and best value hen to the Bride’s specification
  5. Set firm deadlines and get the money upfront – You need to know who’s in and who’s out to finalise hen plans and also to pay the bills for activities.  Get people to commit, as I’ve heard so many stories of the hen party organiser being left out of pocket.
Hen party series articles

5 Responses

  1. Thanks so much Maxine, I’m glad you’re finding it helpful! Best of luck planning your sisters hen party, hope it all goes well! X

  2. Your blog has been so helpful to me! Planning my sisters Hen Party and I have never even been to a Hen party!! Your ideas are inspiring!

  3. Vintage Hen Parties are very ‘in’ at the moment, they’re a great way to add a bit of class and do something different! Great article, if only we could always stick to these tips!

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in Lifestyle Promotion Studies and is trained in Personal Money Management. She loves to ‘get the look for less’ so regularly shares thrifty-living advice, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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