‘This is definitely one of the most stressful aspects of organising a hen party,’ says Alex. ‘If you’re the Maid of Honour, you’re normally in charge of organising and making arrangements for a lot of people - and chances are that you don’t know everyone that well.’
‘My advice would be to get online - set up a Facebook group or a group email, so you’re not getting swamped in phone calls and voicemails and losing track of who needs to know what. It’s also a good way for the people who don’t know each other to break the ice and chat before the big night out or weekend away.’
2. Think About What the Hen Wants
This might sound obvious, but an amazing hen party delivers just what the hen is after, and it’s different for everyone. For some hens, Blue WKD, L-Plates and a naked stripper gyrating in their face would be their idea of heaven. For others, it would be their idea of hell. Throw out your misconceptions about stereotypical hen parties, get back to basics and think about the bride-to-be.
‘You’d be surprised how many people phone up and basically just say ‘Help!’’ says Cheryl. ‘There are a lot of options, which can be overwhelming, but that’s what we do best- helping you to get what is right for your hen.’
3. Experiment and Explore (before the weekend)
Ever considered archery or nude life drawing? (Not together, that would be a recipe for disaster.) A vintage-style photo-shoot? Or glamping? ‘Hen parties have evolved over the years,’ says Cheryl. ‘The stereotype of one, huge, hedonistic night in town has remained, but there are so many options for hens now, so you have to explore. You might find something that you didn’t even know existed.’
Here at LNOF, we have pamper packages for the spa-seekers, beach locations for the sun-worshippers, quiet and classy places for the refined and sophisticated, party cities for wild weekends and adventurous activities that could rival any adrenaline-fuelled quad-biking stag weekend.
4. Money, money, money
Ah, money – the source of all evil, plenty of arguments and most hen-party-related stresses. It’s certainly the tricky part of arranging a hen weekend; you don’t necessarily know what the rest of the party can afford, so you must be mindful. ‘Try and set a budget per person early on – and stick to it!’ says Alex. ‘It’s tempting to get carried away but we’ll help you to prioritise - for example, don’t spend your entire budget on a swanky hotel if you’re planning on just using it as a crash-pad at the end of the night. We’ll find out what sort of experience you want and help you to get bang for your buck.’
As for collecting money, LNOF have started a brand-spanking new online ‘kitty’, so that you don’t need to be chasing up people for their share, which, let’s face it, is awkward at best. Give us some details about your group and we’ll do the rest.
5. Get Personal – The Little Things Count
This isn’t just another night out. You may have perfectly nailed the location, the accommodation, the food, the drink and the activities… but sometimes it’s the little things that count.
Do you have some stories to tell about the hen? Or embarrassing photographs from your teenage years together? The wedding day is NOT the day to be sharing this. You’ll not be forgiven for revealing her 1990s outfit on that holiday in Mallorca as she’s being carried by some Spanish hunk with a bottle of Bacardi and a straw… but the hen party is fine for embarrassment.
However, personal touches don’t just need to be humiliating – get crafty, make personal invitations, give little goody bags to everyone with disposable cameras that you can collect at the end of the weekend, decorate the venue to her taste. The little things show the hen how much you care and help to make the weekend extra special.
If you’re the Maid of Honour, take the lead with this stuff. You’ll probably not hear the bride-to-be saying ‘I think it would be really fun if, at my hen do, there was a game of ‘pin the cock on the naked sailor,’’ so you’ll have to take charge of this department!
When it comes to accessories, Will’s our man: ‘Our accessories department has everything from the traditional to the outrageous - from L-plates, sashes and tiaras to an 'inflatable midget ring-toss’ (we’re not kidding). ‘It also unifies the group, which is an important aspect of the night – personalised items or a costume theme unites everyone and gets the party going – as well as making for much better photo potential.’
7. Hen Gets Special Props
Remember that it’s not just a fancy dress party – this night is about all about putting the focus on the hen, so go for some extra accessories for the bride-to-be.
‘They don’t need to be anything off-the-wall,’ says Will. ‘Our most popular bridal accessories are the traditional veil and tiara, which no hen party would be complete without – they just put extra focus on the hen, and that’s what the night is all about.'
8. Get Practical (and boring)
Ladies, even the rowdiest hen party weekend needs some careful planning and research. Going out drinking in a new city? Get yourself a map beforehand and check little details. Are all the bars are in easy walking distance? Do you have local taxi numbers? What time are clubs open until?
If you’re going on a spa weekend – check about towels, slippers, etc. Is anyone pregnant? It’s not just the booze to think about – certain essential oils will need to be avoided, certain foods will need to be considered – as well as mobility and stamina! Food: does anyone in the group have a food allergy? Are there any vegetarians? You don’t want to book a table at a grill restaurant if you’re going to have people queasy at the sight of meat.
This detailed planning might seem to sap the joy out of the more exciting planning, but without it, these little things can turn an amazing night into one that is distinctly average. So get your events planner head on – you’ll be thankful for it on the night when all you have to think about drinking tequila shots of a stripper’s ripped abdomen.
9. Break the Ice
You could be in a new place with new people, so it’s always a good idea to have some things lined up to break the ice. On the other hand, you may be with your oldest chums, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help the party get underway.
Some of our games are rude and some are just silly, but most of them are both. ‘Dick-Head Hoopla’ is one of our best-sellers (you can guess how to play that from the title!), as is ‘Pin the Cucumber on the Hunk’. They’re daft and they’re naughty, but the combination of this and a glass/bottle of fizz and you’ll be giggling like school-girls.
10. The Morning After the Night Before
Make sure you have something planned for the morning after. Yes, you may all be feeling ropey and not up for much activity, but it can be a bit of an anti-climax if you’re all at a loose end the morning after an amazing night out. Organise a big breakfast (if you’re heading to the toon, we’ve just reviewed the top breckie venues in Newcastle – it’s a hard life) or maybe a recovery massage.
Or why not use it to recall the night before? Award the party ‘best quote of the night’, ‘best dancer of the night’, ‘best costume’ etc. I.e. keep the party spirits high before the headaches kick in! In fact, have a pre-prepared hangover pack – painkillers, resolve, multi-vits, plasters for sore feet, sunglasses for tired eyes – now that’s a top Maid of Honour.