The hen party is a bride’s last time to have some fun with her close friends before she becomes a married woman. Whether you are the bride or the maid of honor hosting that epic event, there is a lot to do.
What is a Hen Party and Why Do We Have Them?
The history of a Hen party goes back as early as the 5th Century BC. But the sexual revolution in the 1960s is what sparked the right to have a Hen or all woman party. Before the late 19th Century, women could still have their bridal showers, which was where they would acquire gifts as well as their dowry to prepare them for marriage – and of course, becoming a wife and mother.
When the tradition of a hen party came about, it allowed women to express their sexual freedom – through games, festivities, and sometimes strippers.
Some couples are uncomfortable with these parties – often worried that something will go wrong during one that could become detrimental to the marriage or wedding event. Which is why some couples do the joint party.
While traditionally the female party is meant only for other unmarried women, today, Hen parties include both married and unmarried women looking to celebrate one last time before their friend is married off.
Hen Party Trends
The past few years have seen some dramatic changes to how hen parties are. While traditionally they were a time for women to get out and party, these days the hen events are much more creative, unique and don’t always involve drinking.
For example, some brides have a spa day that includes martinis, or an exotic dance lesson with a professional instructor. And, of course, more couples are just joining their parties rather than having separate ones – which are referred to as “Jack and Jill” or “Stag and Doe” or “Stag and Hen” parties.
Planning a Hen Party
Taking on the task of planning one of these events is not easy. But, the good news is, your bride will give you plenty of notice beforehand. Most parties are thrown a few weeks before the wedding day – that way there is no hungover bride. But, also hosting it a few weeks early gives you time to setup the events and ensure everyone can show up – and that no one is too busy doing last minute wedding planning to-do’s.
To host this party, you want to do something the bride will enjoy and of course, stick to her values. If your bride does not drink, try to avoid alcohol at the party – just out of respect. If the bride doesn’t want to do anything too outrageous or wants to keep it local, you should also respect her wishes. After all, this is her last party – not yours.
When planning these events, there are a few things you will want to do to make sure everything goes as planned.
1. Pick your theme first. A theme can be as fun and as funky as you want it to be – such as a Barbie theme, tea party or even Vegas style (even if you are miles from Las Vegas). The theme will determine party favours, venue and even the food or drinks, so you will need to come up with this first.
2. Get a guest list. You will need to consult the bride to see who she wants to invite to her hen party. If you are surprising her with her own party, ask a close family member who the bride would want there so that you have the guest list close enough. Also, your guest list will determine your venue and catering – so again, cannot skip this step.
3. Think of the bride’s interests. Is she a wine drinker? Does she love art? Try to incorporate her interests into the party. For the wine lover, you could visit a winery and have a party there.
4. Book your event early. Even though you may have a small party, you don’t want to be embarrassed when the venue you told everyone to meet at was booked out. Book the venue and any suppliers you need at least four weeks before the party.
5. Give an itinerary. You can let guests know what you are doing and where things will happen. This is especially important if your group will be travelling to multiple locations for the party.
6. Leave room in the schedule for the unknown. The bride may be having too much fun at a spot to leave or your caterer is still serving. No matter what, don’t have a rigid party schedule – the bride is most likely stressed enough about her wedding schedule and this is a time to relax.
7. Set a budget and stick to it. As the maid of honor, the hen party most likely comes out of yours and the other bridesmaids pockets. So, consider your budget when making plans – and make sure everyone is on board to chip in some money.
8. Send out official invitations early. You want guests to have time to plan, especially if it will take a whole day or go late into the night.
9. Try something new that everyone will enjoy. For example, you could do a pole dancing class and let everyone have some fun while learning something new – and it will be something the bride will never forget.
10. Use party games. The games can be as fun as you would like. There are plenty of ideas online and even Pinterest. Some popular games include: Name that Lingerie, the Groom Quiz, Hone a Sex Skill, and more.
11. Include favours. Your favours don’t have to be expensive. They could be everything from funky sunglasses to flip flops to pictures taken at the event. But, give guests something to remember the party.
Planning that perfect hen party is supposed to be exciting. While you should involve the bride, don’t involve her too much. This is a party you want her to relax at – so try to limit how much she has to do.
Readers: What was your most memorable moment at a hen party? Got any fun ideas to share?