We all intend to only marry once so it’s understandable that every bride-to-be wants to mark the end of their single status with a bang, but what if the traditional fireworks of a “hen party” is not your style? After all, it’s hard to throw off the associations of plastic ‘comedy willies’, bridal cosplay and getting legless; losing your favourite stilettos in the process like a drunken Cinderella. So, if you don’t want to turn into a pumpkin and be tucked up in bed before the stroke of midnight with your dignity intact – how about considering a bridal shower instead?
Ladette or lady?
There is nothing wrong with letting your hair down and having a raucous affair if that’s what you truly want. Hens are traditionally know to be wild – “party girls” celebrating a last night of freedom, but if risking tears and tantrums is definitely off your agenda then you may want to go more Downton Abbey in your approach. Bridal showers tend to be tamer, more sophisticated and definitely something you can invite mothers and grandmothers to without traumatising them in the process!
The focus is on showering the bride-to-be with gifts and love and it’s a great way to involve multi- generations and there’s no reason why you still can’t have some cheeky fun in the process whilst keeping it clean.
So, if you’re unsure about the actual difference between a bridal shower or traditional hen – here is our guide to what falls into each camp to help you decide which is your cup of tea – Earl Grey anyone?!
Party or tea party?
Hens can be like Duracell bunnies – running on alcohol, excitement and a general sense of naughtiness until the inevitable crash and burn. A hen party can be anywhere – a local night out, an outdoor adventure or even a weekend abroad – often accompanied by a male blow up doll to keep an eye on the proceedings. The general ethos is one of continual laughs with a mantra of fun, fun fun with a real sense of live in the moment to make the most of it.
Of course; you can bridge the gap between a hen party and bridal shower with activities to be had with the opportunity to learn and chat whilst having fun - think horse riding, a belly dancing class or learning to mix a cocktail or two (or three or four.....)
Bridal showers tend to be a more genteel affair with the focus on relaxing, unwinding and quality conversation mixed in with more traditional party games – think pin the train on the bride and jelly and ice cream. This is more about remembering the proceedings and making memories rather than dealing with an epic hangover and not being able to remember (or wanting to remember) what you actually did!
18+ or PG rating?
It has to be said that hen parties are usually full of adult humour that not everyone will appreciate. Fuelled by alcohol, games such as “truth or dare” and “never have I ever” may end in secrets coming to the fore and some guests needing the smelling salts! Of course, a naughty, childish party can be great fun when everyone is on board – think loud music, girly squeals of excitement and dancing queens in sashes and plastic tiaras.
A bridal shower, by contrast, is kinder on the nerves (and liver!) It may seem less raucous, but it can actually be more enjoyable and stress free for those who want to chat where you can hear yourself think and speak! Think manis and pedis, sipping champagne cocktails brought to you by one of our cheeky but charming Buff Butlers, eating cream cakes and adult conversation without the x rated humour. You can still have willy straws (if you must!) but think tea party decorations or even a garden party with bunting and lanterns galore.
Everyone loves receiving presents, but hen parties tend to be more about favours – think chocolate penises mixed with other novelty items and beauty products etc. A bridal shower is like a baby shower – think literally showering the bride-to-be with gifts that will enhance her life and living space as a married woman.
Money, money, money
Hen parties can be an expensive affair due to the hens usually paying for their own travel costs, food and drink and activities and these activities can preclude many of your guests due to age and fitness – not everyone wants to go zip wiring for instance! Because bridal showers are usually hosted by the bride’s family and often held at someone’s home; this means that they are “all inclusive” with the only financial outlay being the gift.