Weddings are expensive. We’re not talking about the bride and groom — we mean for guests, too.
You’ve usually got the engagement party (to which you take a gift), hens or bucks party, maybe a kitchen tea (another gift), the wedding itself (which involves yet another gift and often a new outfit to comply with dress code) and sometimes accommodation and travel costs if the shindig is out of town.
It’s enough to wish you had fewer friends. And when your girl group gets to ‘that stage’ in life, the celebrations come thick and fast from all directions.
The result is a serious blow to your bank balance, which is why the bridesmaids organising the hen’s party need to take everyone’s circumstances into account. After all, the bride generally doesn’t know the details of the day, let alone what her friends are being asked to pay.
So you are throwing your best friend the hens night of her dreams – congratulations on being a MOH or Bridesmaid at such a special time in her life! This is such a beautiful milestone in your friendship, and the selfies and memories will be adored forever after! Once the initial glitter and excitement settle from being asked to be in her bride tribe, more practical questions come flooding in – who pays for the hens night? Does the hen pay for herself? Are the bridesmaids expected to pay for the hens night? How do I get people to pay on time for the hen’s party package? Never fear – the hen’s party experts at Boutique Events Group has you covered – with our pro tips and tricks to ensure smooth sailing when it comes to the logistics of planning her final fling before the ring!
In Australia, it is a tradition for each guest to pay for herself to attend the hen’s party. When sending out your invites, be specific about what the hen’s party package includes, so people know exactly how much they are spending and what they are spending it on. It is not expected that the bridal party forks out the cash for everyone attending. Typically, the deposit that needs to be paid for the hen’s party package would be covered by the bridal party, by the bridesmaids or Maid of Honour paying upfront for their cost. The rest of the invitees then pay the chief bridesmaid their per head cost.
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What about the Hens own cost?
There is no hard and fast rule for this one when it comes to whether or not the bride to pay for her own hen’s party. There are a few ways that this is done, so settle in for some reading, and Hens will take you through the options!
The bridal party covers the bride’s cost – sometimes the gals in the bridal party divide the hens head cost between themselves, as a tip of the cap to their best friend when being asked to be in the bridal party. This involves each of the bridal party chipping in a little more to cover your bride to be.
Divide the cost of the bride between the whole party. Quite often, the bridesmaids will add a bit of an extra cost on their invites, above what the hen’s party package is costing them. This is to cover the bride’s cost – and sometimes to also cover other hens party bits like merch, hens night sashes, decorations, cupcakes at the like. A bonus of organising the hen’s party package payments this way means that if lots more people do end up coming, the BM’s will have a pool of money left over to use to spoil the hen – perhaps by buying her favourite bottle of bubbly or perfume as a gift for the night!
The Mother Of The Bride! Often here in the Boutique Events Group our Ultimate Hens hears truly lovely stories of the MOB chipping in for her daughters cost – to cover the bride’s payment for the hen’s party. Feel out your hens Mum to see if this is something she would be willing to consider, and to keep it fair perhaps the bridal party then agree to chip in for decorations or little extras to save one person having to carry the load!
The Fiancé – this one always makes our hearts go ‘awwww’ here at My Ultimate Hens HQ! We have had many fiancés in the past work with the bridal party to ensure that their bride to be doesn’t need to fork out the cost of her hens. We have even had the betrothed contact us to add on surprises such as a stretch limousine or additional drinks package so that their soon to be Mrs has the hens she deserves – how cute is that! Have a chat to her fiancé about how much they want to be involved in adding in some surprises for their bride to be on her hens night – so you know where you can splurge on the things that matter to her!
Buyer beware! Lots of companies have a ‘hen goes free’ offer – however, we all know that there is no such thing as a free lunch! What they often do, is they falsely inflate their prices to cover the hens cost in their retail rate, and then claim that ‘the hen goes for free!’ – be careful with this type of hens party package – not only will you end up paying far more overall if you come in with more than the minimum amount of people on the package, you also won’t be getting the fair price of what the package is worth! Don’t let tacky marketing get in the way of ensuring your best friend has the night she deserves!
It’s a horrible word and a total PAIN to do, but one of the big essentials, when you start planning a hen party, is to set your budget. It’s one of the first things people do before deciding on wedding venues and suppliers, so treat your hen party in the same way. If your figures don’t add up, the bride-to-be’s big night could descend into chaos.
As always, The Hen Planner is here to help. We’ve drawn up a comprehensive list of EVERYTHING you should include in your hen party budget to get you on the right track.
Before we get started, there are a couple of things to consider. What are your numbers? If you have a big group, remember that the cost of activities and accommodation could be a lot cheaper as suppliers tend to bargain better with bigger groups. The cost of the bride’s expenses will be much easier to spread out over a big group as well! However, if you are considering making up party bags for 20 or more people, bear in mind that each item you put in has to be bought 20 or more times, and even the cheapest item could end up hitting your budget hard. On the other hand, if you are organising a party for a much smaller group of, say, the bride’s very best friends, the group might be willing to spend a little bit extra to get a more luxurious package.
In both cases, consider your guests’ limits at all times when preparing your budget. It would be horrible to have people pulling out of the night because they simply can’t afford it.
Here are some of the basic things to factor into your budget, double up if you’re making a weekend out of it.
Decide how many people will be sharing rooms. If you are considering putting three people into a room to lower the cost, remember that this, more often than not, means two people have to share a double bed. Make sure this is something your guests would be agreeable with before budgeting for this option.
Packages, like the great variety we have on offer at myhenplanner.com, can start from as little as €20, and after that, the sky’s the limit. Remember, the price doesn’t determine how much fun you will have, that’s all down to your group on the day, so set a limit that won’t push your guests out of the running. We’d use this nugget of wisdom when deciding on all aspects of your hen party budget.
Divide this section into three parts: lunch/arrival food (especially if you are hoping to fit in a day-time activity), snacks (e.g. cupcakes/sweets/crisps that you might purchase in advance to bring to the party for when the guests are playing games etc.), and dinner. Dinner may be included in your accommodation package, particularly if you choose a hotel. Still, if you are planning on renting a country house, for example, a caterer could be a cost than you might not have considered. If breakfast isn’t included in your accommodation price, factor it into your snacks budget to make sure your hungover hens get fed the morning after the big night before.
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How to Plan a Hen Party on a Budget
Get yourself a Hen Party Planner
If this is the first hen party you’ve had to arrange and you’re feeling the pressure, then why not consider hiring a professional hen party planner who can carry out all the research for you and remove all the unnecessary stress? You may pay a little more for the services, but it’ll make the whole experience a little more enjoyable if party planning isn’t your thing. Just make sure to communicate your budget with the hen party planner beforehand so they can find activities that will suit everyone’s needs.
Alternatively, there are plenty of hen party planner books available online or free checklists offering a list of everything you need to make sure everything goes to plan.
Prioritise your budget over plans
One of the biggest reasons for planning a hen party can get a little out of control is normally down to costs. Our first tip to avoid any stress is to have a rough idea of your budget. By having a number in your head, you’ll be able to quickly get an idea of how much you’ll want to spend on your games and activities.
Bear in mind what is affordable to one person may not necessarily be affordable for your guests. One thing you wouldn’t want is people dropping out last minute. To make sure there are no dramas, share a few options, including the cost of each activity so you can get a sense of everyone’s interest.
For example, are you planning a whole day event which includes an activity, followed by cocktails and dinner? Perhaps you just want a night out? Where does transport fall into this plan? Can people opt for just dinner and cocktails or are do they need to attend all parts of the event? Try to include these details within your rough plan, so your guests are clear.
Plan in advance
Planning a hen party can end up being a lot more expensive if you leave it till the last minute. Last minute deals on hen parties isn’t a thing like it is with 2-week holiday packages, so you’ll want to start planning with as much time as possible to ensure you get everything you need to make it one to remember.
Whether you’re looking to go out of the country for a long weekend, on the search for a glitzy venue or booking a spa day, try to get the main bookings out of the way early so you can make the most of the early-bird bargains. This will give you the chance to spread the cost over several months, making it much more manageable for everyone.
Not only that, leaving plenty of time for planning will give you the opportunity to search for the best deals and keep your options open.
Take the time to plan your guest list
Something to consider when you’re trying to keep the costs down is how many people you invite? You’ll be surprised how much money can be saved from just cutting the guest list down to your nearest and dearest.
You may want to put in some time to sit down with the bride and ask her who she wants to be at her hen party. Some brides only want close friends, whereas others don’t want to leave anyone out so just make sure your communication is clear.
If you feel the guest list is blowing your budget, be ruthless! You should never invite anyone you feel an obligation to do so – it’s your hen party after all!
Ask Don’t Guess
Don’t waste time guessing what your friend would like to do at her hens’ party. Simply ask. Speak to her to get an idea of what she has in mind. Some people are clear from the beginning while some are confused. If you are handling the confusing kind, make sure both of you are on the same page.
Talk to her about the budget. This will give you a heads up as to how you should begin planning. A trip to Barcelona is not possible with her friends having only $100 in their pockets. So be realistic and practical.
Options In Mind
First, develop a rough plan, including the date, activities, and costs; then, let everyone know. It’s much easier than asking everyone individually. This will also allow people to choose from the several activities that you have planned. Not everyone is interested in the same activities. This will further control the costs for those who have a small budget and ensure maximum attendance.
Hunt For Deals
This one is important. Search around for places offering budget-friendly deals and packages. When booking a hotel, restaurant, cruise, etc. make sure to let them know that you are a hen party, you might get some discount. Search online for hen party deals near you, and you will get a bunch of them.
Be An Early Bird
Just like you book your air tickets way before the season begins, same is the case with hen parties. Making reservations on time will help you save bucks. It allows you to get the best venues at your desired dates and ensures the majority of your guests’ attendance. Also, it gives your friends enough time to make payments. You don’t want to bug people for payments till the last moment.
Check out our post on What is supposed to happen at a bridal shower?
Plan Low-cost Activities
Go for activities that are less elaborate and costly. Ultimately, a hens party is just about having fun with your girl squad, playing games, clicking photos, drinking, and dancing. For a hens’ party on a budget, here are a few games that you can incorporate in your hens’ party.
- Scavenger Hunt
- Marshmallow Monologue
- Finish Her Sentence
- Forbidden Clothes Pegs
- R-Rated Pictionary
- Family In Law Heads
- Never Have I Ever
Keep it simple
To put it simply, the longer your hen party lasts, the more expensive it’ll be! You can still organise an unforgettable hen party that is just for one night. The reason hen parties are so expensive nowadays is because everyone feels an obligation to go away for a long weekend. Once you factor in flights, accommodation, food and spending costs, you’re looking at a pricey affair!
For budget-friendly options, keep it simple and plan a fun night out with lots of free activities and personal touches without half the cost! If you feel that one night is too short and doesn’t give you enough time for all you have planned, then why not start early and make a day of it.
This doesn’t mean you skimp on all the major and kinky stuff. While it’s smart to save money, it is also important to remember these events allow you to make some lasting memories. So try and make the most of it.