The Bride is going to LOVE you…
OK look, I’ve known my friend since we WERE TWO!!! So when she got engaged and asked me and our mate to plan her hen party, we had many, many years of discussions and ideas to pull from. It was SO exciting! But a lot went into planning and I really struggled to find things online that were helpful, so maybe this can be that for you? I’ll try to pack in as much detail here and add links and bits and bobs that might help you in your hen party planning journey, so HERE WE GO…
Here was the brief from my friend:
A 2-day U.K based stay.
A good bathroom to person ratio. Ever stayed in a place with 8 girls to one bathroom!? I’ll rest my case.
No bunkbeds!! We basically all have young kids and appreciated a good night of sleep!
Chill vibes with a bit of party. I’ve previously planned a city-centre hen for a friend, but this mate wanted something a bit more relaxed. A bit of a party, but with time to actually have some R&R and chat because we never get a chance to do that these days! So it didn’t need to be a city location.
BEFORE YOU START
Before you start properly planning you need to work out two things – guest list and budget. The good ol’ WhatsApp group is the way to organise everyone and so we did a poll on there to work out what the best weekend dates were for everyone. We also wanted to give people a rough idea of costs before they committed so did a poll of our friends for what the going rates were for hen parties these days as it’s been YEARS since I’ve been on one. The average cost came back at around £350, which sometimes included food and booze and sometimes didn’t. Seeing as the guest list came to 16 people we knew that we didn’t want anyone to have to cook all weekend so we committed to the hen being £400 or less (in the end it came to £400 with the organisers putting in a little extra to cover last-minute costs). The cost could easily be reduced by doing a pot luck on the Friday night and everyone bring a dish (I’ve been to a hen that did that and it went down really well!), and putting some pizzas in the oven on the Saturday night, or by taking away some the activities.
Once the guest list is sorted I’d really recommend putting together a typeform questionnaire just to easily collate people’s answers to essential questions like – email addresses, whether they have any dietary requirements or allergies, what alcohol do they like to drink, estimated arrival times and things like that. I also found Canva super helpful to make PDF’s for attendees with all the essential information on like planned itineraries, what to bring, dress codes and payment schedules. I also used it to make and print out personalised itineraries for everyone’s rooms and signs for the doors too so everyone knew what room they were in. I got INTO it. Ha!
Here are a few other tasks we did before the big day:
Planned the itinerary for the weekend and secured vendors
Booked accommodation – we stayed at Ridgeview, that I found on Sleeps12.
Printed out and prepped all the games and filmed a Mr & Mrs quiz with the groom secretly (that’s ALWAYS a good’un!)
Made a shopping list of things we needed to buy on the way there (things for teas and coffees, snacks and booze mostly).
Made little goodie bags for all attendees with some pampering beauty bits (ear plugs and paracetamol are always a good thing to add!).
Made a special goodie bag for the bride with some nice pyjamas for the first night and a little veil and sash from Ginger Ray.
Ok here was the plan for the weekend – let’s chat through it all…
7:30PM – Arrival & Pizzas. Because we were really out in the sticks there was nowhere local that delivered pizza, but I ended up sweet-talking the closest Domino’s into delivering with a little extra delivery fee and ordering a few more pizzas than we really needed. It saved one of us a 1 hour round-trip and meant that food was sorted for the evening so THANK YOU to the lovely delivery guy on the end of the phone!
8:30PM – Cocktail Bar. We booked a company called Tipsy Parties who can set up a little section in your kitchen and have a bartender come to make cocktails for you. It’s lush! You can pick the menu, personalise it how you like and drinks are sorted for two hours. Looking back though if you were trying to keep costs down this is one part that could go. Realistically people were a bit knackered from the week and would have been fine with a glass of wine!!
9PM – Games & Entertainment. The place we stayed had a massive projector which was great for playing the two games that I’d prerecorded with the Groom – a Mr & Mrs Quiz and also a ‘How well do you know each other’- type quiz, you know where you say ‘Who’s the better dancer?‘ – for that one we printed out little cutouts of the Bride and Groom’s faces and stuck them onto lollypop sticks so everyone could join in. I always LOVE a personalised quiz as well so we split the group into random teams and did a a quiz that we wrote about the bride, which went down so well.
10AM – Brunch. Continuing on with our ‘no-one cooks’ plan, we got in Kelly from Fed & Pickled to do a brunch platter for us and it was utterly delicious AND HUGE! Everyone took leftovers home with them the following morning for the car drive home which was great. It was a big hit!
12-3PM – Spa Treatments. We toyed with so many ideas for how to fill the afternoon time, but given the brides ‘chill weekend‘ brief and the fact that the house that we’d rented was just so lovely, we decided to stay in and got Serenity in to do 30 minute spa treatments for us all. These guys were so easy to work with and it all ran so smoothly with everyone having their slot for their specific treatment they’d chosen (I went for an Indian head massage and I was SO SAD when it was over!). We also lucked out with the weather because it ended up being 23℃!! The place had an outdoor heated pool so we spent the day sunbathing, going in the pool and testing out to the TWO hot tubs and sauna that were available. It was mad. Couldn’t have predicted it for an October hen and we were so lucky!
2:30PM – Afternoon Tea. Instead of getting in another person to cater for lunch, Kelly left behind an afternoon tea for us to unbox in the fridge with sandwiches, cakes and scones for us all. I KNOW. Again there were so many leftovers for everyone to take home on the Sunday and it kept us all going until dinner. The Coronation chicken sandwiches were a big hit!
6PM – Get Ready. Having some time to chill before dinner was so nice. Me and my friend laid in bed and talked the other one through our skincare routines and makeup bags. I felt 15 again. Some people napped, others chatted. We truly got to chill which was so nice.
7:30PM – 3-Course Dinner. I’d forgotten to mention that when we arrived on the Friday to set-up, Janet from Blue Shed Flowers arrived to create a gorgeous arrangement on the dining table that really came into it’s own on the Saturday night when we all sat down for dinner. I’d also sorted out Papier name cards and menus for all the place settings (definitely an added extra that was added on to my bill for the hen – but I wanted it to look cute!). Gayla did the catering for the evening and everyone said how good it was. We were STUFFED by the end! Highly recommend. She sorts out a fairy service too so everything is cleared away when they leave – it’s like no one was ever there! Then we headed to bed and after a good night’s sleep we set off the following morning.
I feel like that’s everything, but if there’s anything I’ve missed then just pop a comment below and I’ll try my best to get back you.
Happy hen planning!