So, your best friend or sister is getting married, and as maid of honour or bridesmaid, you’ve been trusted with planning a once in a lifetime girly pre-wedding get together?! Don’t panic, planning a hen do doesn’t have to be a stressful uphill struggle. Whatever the style, be it a weekend away or a day out, here are 11 top tips to help you stay sane and on track, helping to make the whole hen-do planning experience run smoothly.
DO consult the Bride
Although surprises are important, not everything has to be a secret. Make sure you consult the bride on general aspects of the hen do, particularly the guest list. After all it is all about her, so you want to ensure she is going to be happy. You can also involve the groom as he most likely knows what she likes and doesn’t like. Keep smaller surprises, such as location or activities.
DO ask for help
Planning a hen do can be stressful, so make sure you enlist help. Having the offer of help from other guests, friends and family, will help you feel a massive weight has been lifted from your shoulders. Don’t be afraid to share the responsibility, for example, make someone else in charge or transport or budget tracking!
DO sort a budget
Make sure that you know everyone’s budget for the trip, you don’t want to assume everyone is on the same wavelength, to be disappointed last minute when not everyone can afford the get together! Once you are aware of everyone’s budget try and work within it. Some people may choose to leave out certain activities or not stay for the entire trip; this is not a problem! To keep track of this, it is a good idea to record the individual elements of the trip in a spreadsheet and make not as to which guests are taking part in which activities and when they have paid. It is also wise to ask for advance payment, that way you’ll feel prepared, relaxed and won’t get caught short.
DO choose your destination carefully
When choosing your destination, think about the overarching theme for the occasion. It’s out with the fancy dress and pink feathers, hen parties aren’t what they used to be! For a classy, luxury affair to remember, why don’t you consider a spa hotel as the perfect setting for a relaxing girly weekend. Many hotels offer pre-wedding celebration packages, sure to leave your party feeling relaxed and perfectly polished ahead of the big day.
DO Consider all the guests
Once you have finalised the guestlist, it is important to make sure that you keep the individual personalities, likes and dislikes in mind when planning your destination and activities. Be respectful of the Mother of the Bride and make sure they will feel comfortable and included in the day; their daughter is getting married after all, and they want to look back on the hen do with fond memories! Activities such as afternoon tea at The Grand, York, a cookery school experience, a cocktail making class or spa get together could work well and make for both a fun and memorable day!
DO be firm with the deadline
You need to make sure you are firm with the RSVP date, if you aren’t you may face last minute additions to the guest list. This can be particularly problematic if you are booking accommodation and travel, so it is best to pick and deadline and stick to it!
Top tip: create a WhatsApp group to ensure fluid communication with the group and clearly announce deadlines and important information!
DON’T forget the party favours
A hen do is all about having fun; everyone loves a party favour, especially when tailored to the theme or destination. A combination of fun and practical gifts is a safe bet – don’t shy from personalisation!
You may be tempted to fit a million things into the party, determined to please everyone, however, this can backfire massively. Make sure you leave room for relaxation and impromptu activities. Nobody wants to be forced into back to back activities the entire trip, this would be stressful for you and everyone involved.
DON’T forget the essentials
It is not necessary for every single person to bring a hairdryer but the last thing you want is to have no straighteners! If you are going on an extended trip, such as a weekend away, it may be a good idea to co-ordinate your packing so that you pack effectively without forgetting anything – WhatsApp will be your best friend with organising this!
DON’T book it too close to the wedding
The Bride will want to relax in the weekends before her wedding, and with the stress of an imminent wedding, you don’t want to add to it. It is best to book the hen do weeks or months in advance so that everyone can enjoy it and have time to recover before the big day.