How To Plan A Hen Do
One of the most important tasks of being a bridesmaid is making sure you give the bride to be the best send off possible into married life. There’s also no denying that it can also be a very, if not the most, stressful part of your role.
Stags seem so unbelievably easy to sort compared to a hen (“we’re going to X on X date, see you there!”) but, hopefully, with our top tips arranging a fantastic weekend for all won’t be all that hard….
1. Think about appointing one person to be in charge
Planning a hen is notorious for lots of I don’t minds and I’ll do whatever’s. If you’re a group prone to this when planning any old night out then avoid it from the start by appointing someone to be in charge. This would probably naturally fall under the responsibility of the Maid of Honour but it could be any of you maids if any other is happy to take charge. Basically, the less opinions being thrown around the better, especially in a large group, so it’s best to have the most decisive or most organised person in charge who won’t let planning drag on.
2. Pick a date
Between the bridal party and the bride to be choose the date that works best. Don’t go out to the entire guest list at this point as you’ll never get a date to please everyone and don’t try to cater for everyone, especially if it’s a large group. Prioritise the bride & her maids (and the Mother of the Bride if included!) and then treat everyone else as ‘nice if they can make it’.
Pick a date at least 4-6 weeks before the big day. This leaves enough time in between events for guests and their finances and also gives the bride a decent amount of time to just have the wedding to concentrate on. Also, don’t go to early. You want it close enough to the wedding to start the build up of excitement for the main event.
3. Speak to the bride to be about what she wants from her hen
Discuss with your bride to be what she’d love to do on her hen. Does she want to do a single day/night or does she want a weekend away? Does she want to stay in the UK or would she prefer to go abroad? Ask her if there’s anything she’s liked from other hens that she’s attended or if there’s anything she most definitively doesn’t want? Also ask her what budget she’d be comfortable with people spending.
Once you have this information, do some research on possible destinations and get a rough budget for the event as a whole. You’ll want to give people an idea of what they’re signing up for in terms of costs.
Bear in mind that whilst people will only agree to attend if they can definitely afford to, there will be people who will feel pressure to attend so try to be as reasonable as possible in what you’re offering for the money spent whilst still giving the bride the weekend she’d love.
4. Get the bride to give you a list of guests
You’ll need to know who exactly to invite so ask the bride to be for a list of names and numbers or, even better, get her to make a What’s App group with everyone and then she can be removed so you can crack on with the planning without her knowing the details !
Let everyone know the date , destination and budget estimate so they can confirm if they’re available and able to make it. Try to give people enough notice so they can arrange time off work etc , if required. You’ll now have a better idea of what numbers you’re working with so you can look at getting things sorted.
5. Arrange accommodation/transport
The first thing you’ll need to get sorted is where you’ll be staying and how you’ll be getting there. This is a lot easier once you know how many people are attending.
If you’re staying in a hotel somewhere and will be looking to venture out for activities, remember that whilst a better, more central location may be more expensive than somewhere further out, you’ll be thankful of spending that little bit extra on this when it saves you both time and costs on transport when you’re there.
If you’re abroad, book the brides and bridal teams flights and accommodation and let the group know what flights you’re on and where you’re staying so they can book on. People can be reluctant to book until they know the bride is definitely confirmed!
If you’re staying in a villa/apartment, it’ll need to be booked by one person, usually with a deposit or full payment upfront, so bear this in mind when considering finances.
Look at what activities you can do at your destination. Think about arranging 2-3 activities per day. You don’t want to cram as many things in as possible and then find you’re rushing round trying to get from one thing to the other. Leave a decent amount of time in between plans and also time to get ready in the evenings. You’ll be surprised how a few hours downtime will fly by when you’re in a great group in a new location.
Keep your audience in mind when looking at what to do, for e.g. any older people or pregnant women. You don’t want to isolate anyone and have them standing by watching all the fun happen.
7. Factor in food
You’re obviously going to need to eat during a hen weekend so make sure you plan this in. Your activities may include food but, if they don’t, its a good idea to make reservations beforehand so you don’t waste time on trying to find somewhere last minute that can cater for a large group.
8. Give the group a total cost and decide how to get the money together
Once you know the cost of accommodation, transport & activities, send a price breakdown to the group along with an approximate of what spends they’ll need for any food & drinks (if these are included in the confirmed costs then let them know that it’s covered).
You may find people drop out once faced with actual costs so once you have the confirmed numbers based on this you can get booking. Consider how to go about getting the money together. You may ask people for their share as and when things are booked but it could be a lot for one person alone to pay upfront, especially if a large group is attending. If payments need to be finalised before the event then a good way of going about it is letting people know costs and setting up a payment plan of instalments to be transferred to one person so they’re not having to pay in one go.
If payments need to be made when you’re there then let people know how much they’ll need and take their share when required.
Tell the group how you want them to pay and give plenty of notice. Build in a bit of contingency time for any payment deadlines to allow for the usual chasing of funds.
9. Don’t forget the bride
Nearer the date, make sure you give the bride an idea of what she needs to pack and what time she needs to be ready by. As nice as it is for the hen to be a surprise for her, you don’t want her to have no idea of when she’s going or what clothes she’ll need to take!
10. Have the best time!
As stressful as it can be planning a hen, it’s always worth the time and efforts spent organising when you see the bride having the best time. So, once you’re there, relax and enjoy the results of all your hard work!
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