Advertiser Brides' Club: Hen parties and stag dos - where to start
Long gone are the days of a simple night out on the town before the wedding...nowadays brides and grooms-to-be have weekends abroad, hire cottages and take part in various activities to celebrate their final days of singledom.
Planning of the hen and stag dos usually falls to the bridesmaids (with the chief in charge) and best man. Some keep the bride and groom in the know, others keep the milestone event a big surprise.
So with lots of different options out there it can be difficult to know where to start.
It really depends on the individuals involved and whether they have any ideas about what to do.
Where to start?
Sit down with the bridesmaids / best man and have a general chat about ideas. At this point it’s a good idea to make it clear whether you want to be involved or not and highlight any DOS or DON’TS.
Remember - your friends may have other plans for you so if it is your dream to go to the races or a football match in Prague then is the time to say so.
You will have to accept that some of the things they plan for you could be a little embarrassing - unfortunately that’s part of being a hen or a stag. Your friends know you well enough to make sure it all works out.
It is worth collecting a list of emails for the guests to keep people up to speed with progress.
Some people set up a Facebook site with info on for guests -an itinerary or agenda is always useful.
Make sure people have the mobile numbers of the bridesmaids / groomsmen for the event itself.
You will need to think about who you would like to go on your hen party. Some people will have more money than others so for example if you’re planning a two-night break why not offer a one-night option-this may affect where you choose to go.
Can people car share? Are there any offers on train? (ticket are available around 12 weeks ahead of the date so shop early).
Barter with hotels or other suppliers - a big group is big money to them so try and get a discount for numbers.
Who will pay for things upfront? It may or may not be suitable to ask the bride to collect the money from guests who have confirmed they are attending.
If you are keeping things a surprise maybe see if one of the bridesmaids can handle the money but get it in upfront so you are not subbing for anyone.
When you are asking for money, give people plenty of notice and make sure they know what it is for. Some people may opt out of certain elements - stay flexible when thinking about the group as a whole.
Is it worth having a kitty? Some people may like to take control of their own finances as they are on a budget but ask people in advance to see if they are happy to do so. This may make it easier on the actual hen party for things like taxis, food and drinks.
When to have the party?
How much recovery time will you need before the wedding? Check people’s diaries in advance and give people time to budget.
The wedding itself will be an expense for friends and family so if possible why not host the hen / stag four weeks before?
Check that your dates don’t clash with any big events that may affect transport / prices.
This really depends on the friendship group. It can be an added cost but also a fab way to mark the special occasion. Common themes include burlesque, 70s, school girls, cheerleaders and police officers. You will need to check with venues ahead of the event to make sure that they allow large groups and / or fancy dress. Some will not even allow hen party tiaras or sashes.
A few ideas:
Wine / beer tasting
Cocktail making workshop
Sporting event - football / rugby match