Jenny’s Stress Free Guide To Planning a Hen Weekend
Planning a hen weekend and not sure where to start? Check out our handy little hen party guide:
Hen weekends are brilliant fun; they’re the perfect way to celebrate a special time in your life with your closest friends and family and to create some unforgettable memories before the big day itself. However, being faced with the task of planning a hen weekend, as maid of honour, bridesmaid, or even bride herself, can be quite a daunting task sometimes. What activities to do, who to invite, what budget to set, where to go, and how on earth do you please everyone?
Over the years, since setting up City Dance Parties, I’ve spoken to many stressed out and upset brides, bridesmaids and MOH’s, who have found the organising of a hen party less of a honeymoon, and more of, well a bit of a nightmare. So we thought we’d try to offer a helping hand, and have put together this handy guide for you all, on how to plan the perfect hen weekend, without any of the stress!
1.Decide on a Budget
Although a trip to Ibiza, or even Las Vegas might seem like a great idea on initial discussion, try to take a step back and think about what guests might be able to afford. We all know how expensive hens can get, and although you might want to plan an absolutely show stopping, no holds barred weekend of excess, you might lose out on a lot of the brides nearest and dearest coming along because they simply can’t afford to. We all know how many hen parties are held over the summer months, and if you’re invited to even a couple in a year, the costs can start becoming slightly overwhelming!
Sit down with your bride tribe, and make a list of all the things you’re going to need to organise, and work out roughly how much each will cost. If you’re going away for the weekend, things to think of are a hotel, a couple of activities for the Saturday, hen party decorations/accessories, gift bags, and the bride’s place if you’re paying for her. You don’t want to keep having to go back to hens asking for more money for unexpected costs, so the better you hash out the budget early on, the dreamier the rest of the process will be!
If you decide to go low budget, it doesn’t have to mean you’re missing out! Earlier this summer, I went to a brilliant hen do myself, which cost everyone under £50.00 for the day, and under £100.00 for any hens who stayed over. The bridesmaids, Maid of Honour and Bride all had a Prosecco party with hen party games on the Friday Night, and on Saturday, over 20 of us went to a dance class, drinks at the hen apartment, cocktail making, before dinner and dancing! On Sunday morning, we all went round to the bride’s mums for a hungover brunch. It was affordable, relaxed, and so many people that were special to the bride were able to make it for that reason.
2.Count Up The Numbers:
Once you’ve decided a budget, start getting numbers collected After you’ve sent out the invites, get as solid as possible an idea of who’s coming, and get everyone to pay a deposit early on in the planning process if possible.
It’s tough, but the reason you need to get a solid commitment from ladies, is that many hen party activity companies offer quotes based on the group size, and can be quite unflexible with changes of numbers, which can mean you get landed with a load of extra costs to deal with if you have a lot of people dropping out last minute without having paid for anything. We understand how tough a job it can be, so at City Dance we are flexible with changes of numbers, however, a lot of companies aren’t.
If you aren’t a big group, or not many people can make it, DON’T WORRY! We’ve had groups of all sizes through our doors over the years, and whilst a big group can be an absolute hoot, smaller, more intimate hens can be brilliant fun. You get to know each other really well, spend more quality time together, and really make the most of each activity.
Read The Reviews
So, with the two toughest jobs out the way, it’s time for the fun part. Getting planning! If you aren’t sure where to start, hen agencies can be a good option, however, you can get a much more personal, and often cheaper experience if you book the activities yourself.
Before you book, do a little research! Websites can look great, but finding genuine customer feedback is so important, whether it’s for hen party activities or accommodation. As well as looking at the company’s sites, check out the companies Facebook Page, Trust Pilot or Google Reviews. If they don’t have any reviews activated, there’s probably a good reason for it, so just be a little savvy before you jump straight in to booking (we’re currently very proud to have a 5 Star rating on all of our platforms).
Get Yourself Options for a Night Out
You can often get guestlist or a table booked for free in many bars/clubs, so give yourself some options for later on in the evening, and get the group on guestlist at a few places! Once you’ve had a few drinks, the schedule can go out the window slightly, so if you have a few options of where to hit the town, you don’t have to stress as much if timings get a bit lax after a few G&T’s later on at night!
Leave Breathing Space Between Activities
While a jam packed day full of activities might seem like the best idea at the time, one of the most common issues we see at City Dance Parties is stressed out groups running from place to place, chasing their tail slightly after having overestimated how much could be fitted in to the day. Leave at least a good 30-minute buffer between activities, as that will give you room for traffic delays, overrunning of activities, getting lost, late taxi’s etc.
If you’re in a city centre, there will be plenty of bars and restaurants around, so if you find yourself with time on your hands, you can always take a quick prosecco pit stop before the next part of the hen do! It’ll mean you can relax on the day so much more than if you’re panicking about being late all the time.
It can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming if there’s tons of different ideas being thrown around, and loads of different opinions from the bridal party about what the bride would like best. How on earth do you keep everyone happy? Listen to everyone’s ideas, and try and get a balance of everything. You won’t always be able to please everyone, but if you listen to everyone’s ideas, and make decisions early on about what to do, it’ll mean less to worry about later on! It can be tough when lots of people want to get involved, but as maid of honour or bridesmaid, it’s you that has to make the final call.
Check over all the details
The week before you head off, take 30 minutes to sit down and check over ALL THE DETAILS. Check all the emails from your accommodation, activities, and other reservations, and make sure everything is paid for, and all the timings and dates are correct. I can’t stress how important this is – if you’ve been sending out emails to lots of companies, you may have made an error somewhere, and so it’s best to treble check everything before you head off!
We’ve had a couple of groups book in for the wrong time, and even day before by mistake, and often don’t realise until the very last minute because of confirmations being skimmed over. We’ve always managed to sort something out, but it’s good to avoid any last minute stresses by just treble checking all the details before the day.
Most importantly, once you’ve done all the hard work, HAVE FUN!! Let your hair down, and don’t spend the weekend fretting over small details, or constantly worrying if everyone’s having a good time. At the end of the day, a hen party is about celebrating with the brides nearest and dearest, so if a few minor things go wrong, it’s not the end of the world, the main thing, is that you’re all there together, having a smashing time and creating some special memories.