So you are either getting married (in which case, congratulations!) or you’re a bridesmaid. If it’s the latter case, you’ve probably been tasked with planning one hell of a hen party for a young bride-to-be. Whether you’re the bride or her maid, it’s exciting; when a well-organised hen night is looming in the distance it can mean only one thing… fun, fun and more fun!
An ill-thought-out hen party on the other hand… well, it would be one more to add to the long list of clichés that give modern hen parties a bad reputation! No bride wants to remember her pre-wedding celebrations that way. If we’re in agreement that being well-organised is vital, we may also be in agreement that a six step plan is in order.
Here’s our guide to organising a hen party worthy of a mention for years to come. We’ve left no stone unturned as to the why, what, when, where, who and how. Enjoy your party planning!
The prevailing hen night reputation speaks of cackling, raucous, screaming, drunken women. The idea that this is the ‘last night of freedom’ isn’t the domain of men only; females don’t take too much encouraging when it comes to finding excuses to let their lustrous locks down. That’s certainly true in Australia, where lots of ladies love to party and visitors who come here generally want to celebrate the fact that they are here.
We know you wouldn’t be here reading this if you were planning a low-key event, but unless you’ve lived in a cave for the last twenty years, you will know that the words ‘hen’ and ‘party’ have become synonymous with trouble in recent times. Bride or organiser, we doubt very much that you’re aiming to look back on regrets, embarrassment, lost shoes and handbags, horribly drunken escapades and the kind of hangovers cultivated solely to drown out inevitable disappointment.
Quite simply, the bog standard hen night is old news. You and your girls want the same thing we do: to put the fun back into hen nights; it would be a shame to wave goodbye to this fun tradition just because it’s usually done in a less than classy way. With just a little extra effort and planning (perhaps using our ideas below) you’ll be in a position to create the most amazing pre-wedding memories for your bride-to-be friend. Memories are a gift she’ll treasure way longer than any wedding gift.
What will you girls do when the night in question arrives? If there will be large group of you, this part will definitely take a fair bit of planning. There are a lot of ‘whats’. What do you actually want to do? What activities will you plan? What will you eat? What will you drink? What time will you start? What will you wear? What theme will you go for? What will the groom think of you if this gets out of hand? All worth considering in advance!
Activity-wise, you could make a day of it with some pole dancing classes ahead of the party, a girlie makeover, a cocktail-making class or Burlesque lessons. We can’t help with all your ‘whats’, but we can certainly help with theme ideas. You can’t go wrong with a good party theme, even if you have no intention of holding the party at home. Hen parties at home don’t hold quite the same appeal; the idea of a hen party is that you ‘go out with a bang’… you want to be seen!
In fact, a theme is very beneficial; it’s easier to implement, for a start. Secondly, there’s a lot less competition when it comes to outfits. Just as bridesmaids will dress the same on the wedding day, a hen party ‘uniform’ keeps everybody feeling like part of the crew – nobody feels like the odd one out. It’s also a lot less likely that you’ll lose anyone! We’ve got some great theme ideas for hell-raising hen nights below, in ‘The Who’. For the bride who has decided on a less wild celebration, we’ve got her covered too: check out our creative ideas for a hen party to remember.
When to have the party? This is a very important one, albeit a bit of a no-brainer. There are countless tales out there of grooms turning up for their big day with half their hair missing, marker-penned insults scrawled on their foreheads and a black eye. Not many brides-to-be would take a leaf out of those grooms’ books, no matter how reckless they plan to be on the night.
Just to be on the safe side though, we recommend planning the hen party at least a week in advance of the wedding – if not before. Hangovers combined with lack of sleep can have a knock-on effect, potentially leaving the bride worn out and less enthusiastic when the big day arrives. Besides, a week is long enough for even the most robust of marker pen curses to fade out.
Another point to consider is that if your group is a big one, you should make any venue bookings well in advance to avoid disappointment; especially if there’s food involved.
This brings us to ‘the where’. Again, we are assuming you’ll be taking to the streets at the very least, but you may be planning a house party if it’s for a shyer bride – or a frightened bride, for that matter. Most of us have that one old friend who is such a liability she makes it seem like a safer bet to hold the party at home. God help the bride if that friend is you and you’re doing the planning!
If you do decide to go for the house party option, theme it. Broadway would make for an excellent hen party theme; only the neighbours would bear witness to the myriad ear-splitting caterwauls. If something a little more classy appeals, how about an Egyptian party? Why not hire a group of handsome Pharaohs for the night? Nefertiti and Cleopatra can rest assured that their hen-party secrets are safe between the four walls of your urban crypt.
Those that are going out on the town might want to check out Magic Hens. This venue has been designed with you and your girls in mind. Service with little more than a smile is extended by young men with rippling torsos and bow ties. They’ll even do private shows for you, at a price! This highly-rated nightclub on City Road offers ‘Hunk Hire’, shows and a number of different ‘packages’ to keep you ladies sweet.
You could also go down to the Carlton Club for an animal-themed night. Here you’ll be find unique, psychedelic décor, a deck lined with palm trees and a red velvet-walled dining room where you can dine on gastronomic delights. The cocktail menu should suit your party well, and you can retreat into a plush booth to listen to the DJ if things are getting a bit too hairy.
First of all, who do you want to invite? Popular brides often have ridiculously long friends lists. Unless you’re going to hire an entire venue for the night, you’ll need to get some idea of who her favourites are. You might want to consider coming up with a tactful rebuff for anyone who doesn’t make it onto the list. Ouch! Bridesmaids get all the best jobs…
More importantly, who do you want to be on the night? This is the really fun part. Like Cyndi Lauper said, girls just wanna have fun; one guaranteed way to do this is to push the boundaries with some funny (or downright crazy) costumes. If you’re not too inhibited a group, you could go as a group of fat strippers; if you’re a little more angelic, perhaps a group of prom queens is more in order.
If sexy and sassy is the name of the game, that final night of freedom could be spent as a Burlesque dancer, or Vegas showgirl. That should be enough to make the groom sweat a little! A bunch of Nefertitis and Cleopatras would make for an eye-catching sight out on the town, as would a gaggle of girls straight from an Alice in Wonderland theme, with a few Snow Whites in tow. How far does that rabbit hole really go? Do let us know.
Organising a hell-raising hen party takes a bit of forward thinking if it’s to be a success. First of all, you’ll need to make like a personal assistant, coordinating all of your guests’ calendars to make sure nobody important is missing. This part alone can be quite testing!
Once you’ve ascertained that all will be present, you will need to make sure they are fully briefed on the what, when and where. Get the official RSVPs in, then make sure that they all agree to your chosen theme. Next up, organise yet another date: a costume fitting – if necessary. Otherwise you can order your costumes online, but that too can take some organising! It might benefit your stress levels if you can rope a couple of other guests in to the planning.
Make sure you’re aware of any food allergies or preferences before you go ahead and book a dinner anywhere. Give guests a rough idea of the budget so that nobody drops out last-minute for financial reasons. Don’t forget to keep everyone updated; consider sending out an itinerary, collect phone numbers and double-check on attendance the day before. That’s it… you’re ready to rumble! We would warn you about, safety, dehydration etc., but we know you know how to party.