If your friend is getting married and you are the ‘organised one of the group’, then this blog is for you. I have put together a hen do checklist to ensure you give your friend the send-off she deserves, without making any mishaps or mistakes on the way. The helpful hints and tips have been created from my first-hand experience of going on numerous hen do’s both at home and abroad.
Decide on the location
Whether the bride to be is trusting you to decide upon a place to go or she is very hands-on, the first thing you will need to decide is a destination for the hen do and whether you will be having it in the UK or abroad. If you choose a UK one, it is likely to be cheaper and easier to organise, however, any excuse for a girl’s holiday is normally a winner.
Once you have decided on a destination, it’s a good idea to consult dates with the bride to be, after all, she may have other wedding commitments coming up, such as food tasting and dress fittings.
After choosing the dates with the bride to be, (and I cannot stress this enough), do not ask if this date suits everyone else. Depending on your group size, you could end up having to find a convenient date to fit in with 10-20 people’s busy lifestyle, it just won’t happen.
The best thing to do is send out a group message to everyone who is invited, stating the place and date you have chosen. Trust me if they want to go, (especially if it’s an abroad hen), they will rearrange their lives to get there.
This moves me neatly on to my next step:
Set up a group chat
This will be your go-to for all things hen do, passing on important information, sharing fun ideas and just a general collective countdown until you can all start the drinking games.
Depending on how hands-on, (bridezilla) the bride to be is you can opt to not invite her to the group chat to allow any gift or surprise ideas to be thrown around. You can also discuss how crazy she is being lately without upsetting her.
If you have opted for an abroad hen, the group chat is ideal for collecting important documents such as passport information and flight details. Because of all the annoying documents and bookings that come with an abroad hen, I would definitely recommend a ‘booking brunch’. I have been to a few and it does make things run a lot more smoothly. It is not really needed for a UK hen do, however it serves 2 purposes for an abroad hen.
Firstly you can get all the girls together to either book your trip online or you can arrange to meet at a travel agent. (I would personally recommend a travel agent, they do everything for you and they normally have deals for larger bookings such as hen do’s.) Check out this list for some of those which come recommended.
Secondly, it offers a chance for all the hen’s to meet up and you can introduce those that don’t know each other. If you notice, I did not suggest a night out, this is brunch, a very serious and organising brunch.
Yes you can get something to eat, maybe even a glass of wine but let’s not confuse that with a night out, where the bride’s sister and work colleagues end up arguing after one too many whilst the mother of the groom sits shocked in the corner, thinking do I even want to go on this hen do.
Speaking of the groom’s family, this moves me on to my next point, should you invite them or not?
I have found that each case is different, you may be planning quite a chilled and sophisticated hen do at a show and meal, where an invite to the groom’s gran would be perfect.
On the other hand, you may have 20 girls partying in Ibiza and you need to seriously consider whether you want to have your friend’s future mother in law present whilst the butler in the buff you organised for her grinds up against her for 15 minutes. It’s a hot topic within the wedding market – see here.
Speak to the bride and see how she feels about inviting her in-laws, if it’s a no, you can always organise a ‘family-friendly’ home hen with afternoon tea, this will make the future in-laws feel included whilst also avoiding them witnessing their precious son’s future wife vom in the street at 4 a.m.
Goodie bag checklist
For a UK hen do, this can be really easy, you have free rein to buy any outrageous toys, gifts, and generally hilariously inappropriate items. Your hen should include:
- A badge or sash – just to let everyone know if they didn’t already that you are on a hen do.
- A shot glass necklace – Great idea as you can normally blag a shot from either bar staff or frightened men.
- A card for everyone with a challenge on – This makes it a bit different to a ‘normal’ night on the town.
- Plasters – Shoe pain is inevitable
- Paracetamol – hangovers will ensue
Abroad hen’s are slightly different. You have to account for airport security and baggage allowance. DO NOT include small water (alcohol) pistols, getting through an airport with firearms, (albeit plastic ones) has not worked out well for us in the past. You can however include:
- A pool inflatable – new, to ensure pre-packed.
- A personalised t-shirt or beach towel, depending on your budget. Click here to check some of these items.
- Challenge cards – can be fun, however, be sensible in the airport
- Love heart sweets – On theme and keeps everyone’s sugar levels up
- Mini first aid kit – There is always an injury somehow. Check it includes all necessary items, as recommended here
- Photomasks of the groom – Don’t hand them out until arrival, someone will lose theirs.
Travel to and from destination
Don’t forget to organise how you will get to your hen, this does not go down well with a group of angry hen’s wanting a weekend away from the kids. If you are having a UK hen, trains go to most cities and can be direct and fairly inexpensive if you book in advance. Failing that you can always hire a coach/minibus which sometimes offers discounts for such a big booking.
If you are opting for an abroad hen you will obviously be taking a plane, however, travel to the airport needs to be considered. You could arrange separate travel I suppose but then you will miss out on the group singing, drinking and generally annoying the coach driver.
*Make sure everyone goes to the toilet before leaving, unplanned toilet stops on the way to catch a flight can be disastrous*
Nearly there – NIght before
Last-minute checks can be undertaken the night before, hair, tan and nails prep, as well as a last-minute reminder to the group chat, ensuring you tell everyone to be at the meeting point 15 minutes before you actually need to, 30 minutes in some extreme cases.
There you have it if you follow some of these tips you may have a great hen do that runs so smooth without any hiccups. Or it may still go wrong as I’m sure you already know, girls nights out come up with the craziest and random stories and disasters that cannot be prevented. But I tried my best and so did you and I’m sure the bride to be will thank you for it, regardless.