When you have taken up the mantle as hen party planner for “team bride”; it may feel as though you are planning the equivalent of a royal occasion. After all, a bride to be expects to feel like a queen – on the wedding day that goes without saying, but the hen party is almost just as important. This rite of passage will mark her last hurrah as a single lady so if you want to remain BFFs then it’s important you get it right for her and your crew – the pressure, undoubtably, is on.
We’ve all seen “Don’t tell the bride” where a hapless groom is in charge of planning the wedding in secret; leaving everything to the last minute and having an “anything goes” approach. We’ve all seen how it ends too – usually with a bridezilla wearing a meringue and crying in a corner so let this be a cautionary tale of how NOT to plan the hen party.
What you need is a handy checklist - a kind of hen party Filofax that covers all the essentials plus a few little extras that you may not have even considered to truly help the occasion to go with a bang and give the bride the send off she truly deserves.
Make the list
Obviously not all suggestions will apply - every hen party is as unique as your bride - so take what’s useful and ditch the rest. It’s very important however to state time IS of the essence - so much has affected by the pandemic so you need to get venues and activities booked months in advance.
4+ month countdown
- Set the scene
You probably know the bride better than anyone so you’ll know whether she’s the kind of woman that loves a good old fashioned knees up, fine dining or a pamper party but it doesn’t hurt to ask what kind of hen she has in mind and who will be on the guest list (check whether Mums/Grannies are allowed!)
- Set the date
Traditionally, hen and stag dos were held the eve before the wedding, but for obvious reasons this can be a bad idea. Set a provisional date when all key guests are free and ensure it’s at least a few days clear of the actual big day to recover, should some of the guests get a little tipsy.
- Location, location, location
Depending on how far flung guests are, you may need to choose a central location. You can then have fun brainstorming venues and activities but don’t be afraid to combine different experiences. There is nothing wrong with a spot of paintballing followed by a fine dining experience - just remember to get washed and changed! If you want to make it really special and add a touch of cheeky class, you can always hire a buff butler or two from Butler Bookings to wait on team bride – after all – you will need someone to pour the bubbly!
- Decisions, decisions
Decide on a general location and idea of what you’ll be doing. At this point it’s a good idea to set up a WhatsApp or Facebook group to get an idea of numbers for pricing and whether the activities you have planned are suitable for your guests. If so – full steam ahead!
- Save the date
This is self-explanatory but remember to provisionally book any venues/activities and ask guests to mark HEN DO on their calendars!
3 month countdown
- Your place or mine?
Depending on the location (and quantities of alcohol consumed), accommodation may need to be arranged for guests whether it’s an Airbnb or someone’s sofa! Taxi’s (or limos?) may also need to be reserved as will any restaurants/bar areas if you’re planning to mingle.
- Girls just wanna have fun
The world is your oyster regarding accessories and props – the only limit is your imagination! You can still have the cheeky stuff (always good for a giggle) but you may want to go all Downton Abbey or even combine the two – now that would be interesting! Imagine dressing up all prim and proper being served drinks in all your finery by some rather buff butlers!
- Mate’s rates
It’s only polite to cover the cost of the bride so don’t forget to price up the hen do minus one but do remember to include any decorations and goodie bags.
2 month countdown
- It’s all in the details
Send out the hen do agenda including general timing, locations, any travel arrangements and pricing. Don’t forget to let guests know if they need to book certain things themselves.
- Top secret
Inform guests which elements are a surprise for the hen (such as our butlers!) so they don’t spill the beans!
- Don’t forget your toothbrush
Request anything you need from guests e.g. photos for a hen book and what they need to bring on the day - certain clothing or props, for example.
- Show me the money
Set a deadline for deposits to guarantee a space in the “hen house”! Once the money is in – confirm all provisional bookings.
1 month countdown
Get your felt tips out and make a general timeline of how the day will go leaving plenty of time between activities for R&R.
Gather your hen party decs and decide on any last minute must-haves – matching t-shirts? Tiaras? Loot for goodie bags? More cheeky decorations?!
- Get crafty
Explore your creative side and get making any DIY gifts for the bride such as the photo book.
Collect the rest of the monies owing. Any spare goes on champagne!
2 weeks to go!
- Send out important reminders
- Decide on any party games/music play-lists
- Provide guests with the timeline prepared earlier including meeting points/times/eating arrangements etc.
- DO Tell The bride!
The day before
- Have a glam session and pamper
- Buy any drink/snacks
- Keep re-checking the list
- Get a good night’s sleep
HEN DO DAY
Stay calm, be firm but friendly to keep things on track and HAVE FUN! And if you’ve booked our butlers, relax and let them serve you a glass of something bubbly to celebrate the great job you’ve done.