How to cut the drama and have fun on your hen party
Your wedding is supposed to be the best day of your life, but the hen party should come a close second. After all, you’re spending some time with your closest friends and relatives celebrating, well, YOU!
The problem is that while you may – or may not – get on with your family, they may not get on with your friends. Then when you throw in colleagues, university pals and your cousin Doreen because your Aunt Doris will be cross if you don’t, you may find yourself with a veritable smorgasbord of people that’s a little like mixing anchovies with cream – they taste great on their own but you really don’t want to put them together.
While nobody can ever guarantee a completely drama-free event, there are a few things you can to minimise the chances of a disastrous hen night. So whether you’re the bride planning your party or the bridesmaid charged with making it happen, take a few deep breathes and read on. We’ve got your back!
Feel free to have separate events for friends and family
It might sound obvious, but you don’t actually have to mix disparate groups at your hen night, especially if you suspect they won’t get along. Nothing ruins the mood more than Aunt Doris tutting every time you down a shot or you feeling obliged to organise a more sedate party than the adrenaline fuelled paintballing you had in mind.
If you think it’s going to cause problems having certain people at your hen night, then organise two. Have a delightful tea party for family and a hilarious hen event with your friends. Not only will everyone be able to relax and enjoy themselves, so will you and you’ll have two sets of amazing memories to look back on rather than one miserable night.
If you do have a friend who has a tendency to create drama or drink too much – and there’s always one – consider using the buddy system to have someone watching over them. You could take turns so no one feels like their party is ruined, but if you’re keeping an eye out for drama, you can head it off before it starts and that one person won’t spoil the event for everyone else.
Leave the control freakery to the wedding
While it’s important that every little detail of your wedding goes exactly how you want it, you can be a lot more laidback about your hen night. The important thing is that everyone has a good time. While some people like to know what to expect, others are more relaxed in their approach and may even find a detailed plan stressful.
Choose someone to organise your hen event who loves event management rather than pressuring your chief bridesmaid to do it because everyone thinks it should be her job. If you have more than one friend who would like to do this, feel free to set up a small committee, but make sure that the people involved know how to get things done, as well as what you would like to do so you don’t end up with a hen party filled with activities you’d hate.
If you’ve been asked to join the committee, try to divide tasks fairly between you so everyone has a chance to contribute and no one feels overworked or taken for granted. Hen night organisation is not a competitive sport – every job is important, so don’t get yourself tied up in knots over trying to grab the spotlight with your mad organisational skills.
Keep an eye on the budget
You might want to whisk everyone away on a private jet to a mansion where George Clooney once stayed, but if your friends’ budget won’t stretch to that, then you’re going to have to tone your plans down. While you might want to go away, consider whether this might mean people having to use up precious annual leave to attend and that’s on top of any time off they may need to take for the wedding itself.
If you’d like to go away with your friends, book a weekend event when everyone’s free. Make sure that whatever you’re doing is affordable and if there’s someone who may be struggling financially, talk to them discretely to see if you can sort something out for them rather than embarrassing them for not being able to afford the big night you’ve planned.
Set the cost of the hen do as soon as you can so everyone has a chance to set aside the funds and decide whether they can afford it. Give people a detailed breakdown of what the money is going towards so everyone knows what they’re contributing towards and if the price is starting to spiral, consider offering optional extras, such as an additional night, so that everyone can participate to some extent.
You may have to pay a deposit to secure an event or activities, so try to get this money from the hens ahead of time. Expect at least one or two drop outs, so if you have the funds in advance, you won’t be the one left covering the bill.
Choose appropriate activities
While it’s great to get everyone in the party spirit, not everyone enjoys drunken debauchery. A good hen party is inclusive and considers the guests’ needs as well as the bride’s wants.
While parading around with a giant L plate affixed to your dress and genital-themed foods might seem like the traditional thing to do, don’t feel obliged to do this if it’s something you and your friends won’t enjoy. The best hen nights focus on having fun with the people you care about. For example, Kippure’s chocolate treasure hunt is a chocaholic’s dream and combines adventure with plenty of giggles. Alternatively, our Wild Wicklow Woman event has plenty of games and friendly competitions to get everyone laughing without any embarrassment or awkward, forced participation.
Choose activities that don’t rely on previous experience or abilities so that everyone can join in, regardless of what you’re doing.
While you might want to cram in all the things – so many cool hen party options! – work in some breaks as well. You’ll enjoy yourselves so much more if you have time to talk about what you’ve just done, get ready together for the next activity or simply unwind with a cocktail or two without having to worry about where you’re going next.
Remember the bride!
It’s easy to get so caught up in organising the event that you forget that this meant to be about the bride. You want to give her a night tailored to her likes and preferences. Show her how much you care with little personal touches and choosing activities that she’ll love doing. Forget the stripper if you know it’ll only embarrass her. It’s not funny and it’s not clever.
Forget the bride!
If, after following our advice, you still end up with drama, then leave the bride out of it and deal with it yourself. This is her time to have a break from the stress of wedding preparations, so the greatest gift you can give her is a blissful rest from organising her big day and show her how much her friends and family care.