Step by Step Guide
Step 1) Ask the Bride to be what she wants! - Sounds simple but so many people forget who the hen party is for and start planning what they want instead. Imagine if the bride wants a relaxing spa day with a few close friends and family and you start planning a weekend away to Ibiza with everyone she’s ever met.
Step 2) Get together a guest list. - When discussing with the bride her ideas for the party get her to write down a guest list. Make sure you understand who the most important attendees are. It is highly unlikely you will be able to find a date to suit everybody and it will be more important to the Bride that certain guests are there over others. For example a sister would usually come above a work colleague. But this is something only the Bride will no so its vital to ask her.
Step 3) Find a date - As a general rule the more in advance you pick the date the better. More people are likely to attend if they're given enough notice. It also means that the excuse "I haven't got enough money" won't be an issue as they are given time to save up. Just discuss with the Bride what dates work for her and go from there. Try and leave the meeting with at least 3 alternative date choices. If you want to go away for the hen party you need to remember to factor in peoples jobs. For example if anyone is a teacher will they be able to go outside of the school holidays?
Step 4) After you have talked things through with the Bride to be you should have enough information to crack on with the planning her a night to remember. If most of the guests are on facebook it is a good idea to start a group so everyone can be kept up with the planning. If anyone isn't on facebook then make sure you keep them posted via text / email so they don't feel left out. If any guests feel excluded it may make them not want to attend the party.
Step 5) This is where things start to become tricky. You can guarantee that as soon as you start suggesting dates and ideas that people will begin causing problems. It is important to remember you can't please everybody and to try and work through the problems as best you can. Don't get frustrated and stay calm when dealing with difficult guests. For example if someone is insisting the date is change because they are working maybe ask if they have considered swapping shifts with a colleague or simply attending the hen night after they finish work.
Step 6) Budget. This is another area where you get to see the true colours of a the brides friends and family. One of the easiest ways to avoid arguments is by separating the hen party into several sections. Such as:
*Daytime Activity* - e.g. Spa trips, theme parks etc
*Evening Activity* - Going for a meal
*Night Activity* - Night out in pubs / clubs
This way you are offering the guests a chance to explain what they can / want to go to. So if they attend the whole day it may cost £100 yet if they just come for the meal and night out it maybe more like £40. This is also an excellent way to address the "do I invite the mother of the bride to the hen party?” As they could just attend the spa and evening meal but can be at home before the drunken party times begin.
However don't let people use this as an excuse to not attend the costly parts of the party. Just remind them it’s important to the bride and it’s what she wants. However if they really can't afford it then it’s better for them to attend some parts rather than not at all.
Step 7) Theme - This again is something that the Bride needs to be happy with. Are they the kind of person who shies away from attention or do they adore the spotlight? If they hate the idea of people looking at them then it’s probably best to go for a more elegant and relaxed theme. Rather than splashing out on all the pink accessories and blow up men you can find. Check the themes tab at the top of the site for inspiration.
Common Dilemmas and questions -
Should the mums be at the Hen Do?
This really depends on the Bride. If she can't think of anything worse than her friends and her mother socialising then it’s probably not a good idea for them to be invited. It is likely all her friends are expecting a night filled with drinking and embarrassing stories. Will she really want her mother in law to hear the juicy gossip about her past? However some people can't imagine their hen party without their mum being there. So it really is down to personal preference. Most brides tend to invite mums and aunties to the more civilized part of the night - such as a nice meal or spa day.
How much will it cost?
With the average hen party costing each guest well over £100 you can see why this is a highly debated topic. As a general rule the more money you want people to spend the fewer guests who will attend. Would you prefer to do what you want but there are less people? Or would you prefer to cut back a bit and have everyone there? A weekend away to Barcelona costs approximately £250 per hen for the flights and accommodation.
Guests who won't pay to go
There will always be difficult guests who moan that they can't afford to go. You won't be able to please everyone with your choice so try and not let it affect you too much. People are more likely to attend if it seems like you are trying to get good deals and compromising with prices. You could try and cut back on one or two things to make it cheaper so they would be more likely to attend. For example if you are planning on taking a Limo on a night out then switching it to a normal taxi may save each hen £30. Although a taxi won't be as special as a limo you could get creative and "Pimp" it out with balloons and photos.
You will still have an amazing time no matter how you choose to arrive!
What to do about out of town guests?
Its likely that the Bride is going to know people who don't live locally. This can be difficult if the chief bridesmaid planning the party doesn't know the person. Be helpful to them and suggest hotels which would be near to where you are going. If they're worried about the cost you could always invite them to stay at your place after the party. Although this seems a bit odd now after you've spent the day partying and swopping stories you'll feel like old friends. Plus they'll feel more inclined to come if its shown that they are really wanted there. The harder you make it for the guests to say no the less likely people are to let you down last minute.
Pay for the bride?
As a standard rule it is expected that the Bride doesn't pay for things on her hen party. Imagine if someone was planning your hen night then asked you for £100. It just takes away for the night being special for the Bride. So when workings out how much it costs make sure you include the brides cost. So if there are 12 of you going in total you should split the cost between 11.
Hiring a Stripper?
If you are planning on hiring a stripper make sure the bride WOULD enjoy it!
If you’re not sure it’s probably now worth the risk. Also this will bump up the bill for the hens to pay so check with them before deciding if it’s worth it.