So, you’ve been given the task of organising the hen party and you’ve got no idea where to start? Look no further! Planning a hen party can be daunting if you’ve never done it before… Read on – We’ve got your back!
1. Speak to the Bride to Be
Before you go any further, find out how much involvement she wants in the planning. Is she a complete control freak who wants to be involved every step of the way or super laid back and game for all the surprises you can throw at her? Any excuse for a chat about all things hen party over a cheeky drink right?!
2. Set a Date
Even if she’s game for a surprise, you will need her involvement on setting a date… You don’t want to be clashing with her mums’ big birthday, cousins wedding or Sister-in-Laws baby shower! Pick a couple of dates that might work and make sure all her A listers can attend. If you’re on a budget, consider weekdays during term time, and avoid bank holidays. Try and plan ahead with 6-9 months’ notice if possible. The more warning you can give guests, the more likely they are to be able to save up!
3. Write the Guest List
If she hasn’t already told you, think carefully about who she’d want there. Make sure you include Mums/Grandma’s/Aunties etc if she’s specifically requested their attendance. NEVER forget the future Mother-In-Law, and even if potential guests are unlikely to attend, it’s always better to send an invite that they can politely decline!
4. Get Organised
Now is a great time to get things down on paper (or a PC!). Make use of phone apps to create a list of everything you need to do, and as geeky as it sounds, set up an Excel spreadsheet. It will help you keep track of who you’ve invited and whether they’ve responded and have confirmed they’re attending. You can also use it to add things like payments, accommodation arrangements, and dietary requirements further down the line.
Don’t forget to set up the all-important private Facebook group – the perfect way to update everyone on the plans, ask questions, get feedback on locations and activities, and give people reminders. Just make sure you remove the hen after she’s invited everyone if it’s a surprise. WhatsApp is a great option too but personally, I get annoyed with the millions of notifications and having to scroll through a lengthy conversations!
5. Set a (Realistic) Budget
Have a look at possible locations and get approximate costs for accommodation, travel and activities. Remember to include the cost of the bride if you’re splitting that between you, plus allowances for spending money, accessories and fancy dress. Once you’ve added that all up, whack on a bit more just to make sure you don’t have people struggling to pay up when balance payments are due. If there’s money left over, it can always go towards ANOTHER round of drinks!
6. Get Deposits from EVERYONE!
There’s no better way to get people to commit that asking them to dig deep! Confirming they’ll be attending is one thing, but paying up is something else entirely. Something around the £30 – £50 per person mark is affordable enough but will make them think twice before securing their spot and pulling out. It also means you’ve got money to spend if providers need deposits to secure your booking. Give everyone a deadline on this, and make it a ‘no payment, no place’ kinda thing! Brutal, but effective!
7. Get it Booked!
Once you’ve decided on a location, it’s time to start getting things booked in. Create an itinerary with sensible allowances for travel time between activities. Avoid early starts and try not to make it too jam-packed – Some time for a proper catch up over a cuppa, exploring the place where you’re staying, and hangover recovery is NEVER a bad idea.
8. Send out the Itinerary & ‘Kit List’
Be sure to include info on:
- Meeting points
- Departure times
- Check-in/out times
- Activities booked (including locations and start/finish times)
People may need to make travel arrangements, book time off work or arrange childcare so give plenty of notice. Don’t forget the Kit List – Everything they need to pack. Check if towels and bedding are provided at your accommodation and include fancy dress / dress code items that they’ll need. Aim for things that people are likely to already have in their wardrobe to minimise extra cost. One last all-important thing – Your phone number. Just in case anyone needs to get in touch with you before/during the hen party. Oh, and don’t forget to invite the Bride to Be of course!
9. Set a Deadline
Aim to get balance payments from everyone, WAY before you actually need them! You’ll always get stragglers when you send out a request for payment. If your suppliers need payment 4 weeks before the event, ask for payment 8 weeks before! You get the gist. Consider giving them a date around the first week of the month too, just after everyone has been paid.
10. Launch a Countdown
Get online to order some little hen party accessories for the VIP, and make sure you’ve got all your confirmations printed off, along with your itinerary, and neatly organised in a folder or plastic wallet. Then pack that Prosecco and get ready to PARTY! Pour yourself a big drink as soon as you arrive – You’ve definitely earned it!