Planning a hen party can be pretty stressful – particularly if you have never planned a large event before.
Take a look at our step-by-step guide to planning the perfect hen party to make sure you know the timeline for throwing the hen and how to make it go without a hitch.
Normally the task of planning falls to the maid of honour, but don’t be afraid to delegate to the other bridesmaids. Some brides even like to plan their hen party – hey, if it makes her happy!
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Speak to the Bride
If you have been tasked with planning your BFF’s hen party, then the first thing you need to do is talk to her. You likely want to keep the celebrations a surprise, but it’s important to have at least a rough idea of what the bride is expecting. Take a look at the questions below that will help you plan the perfect do for your best friend.
Plan The Guest List
If you followed step one, you’d now know who’s invited to the hen party. Once you know who’s invited, ask the bride for the guests’ contact details. Create a spreadsheet to record the names of all your guests and their contact details. You may want to ask the bride how she knows each guest if you don’t know who they are. You can update your spreadsheet with relevant information about your guests as you plan the hen party. For example, you could note down whether your guests have paid and what dates they are available.
Establish The Hen Party Budget
The bride should help you with this step. If you asked the questions in step one, you should now know a per person budget. Work out your total budget by multiplying the number of guests by the per person budget.
Once you know the total budget, you can start working out what you can afford. Take into consideration hen party accommodation, activities, accessories, food, drink and transportation. Every hen party is different, so please be aware you may need to consider more than what we have listed in this blog post.
To help you keep track of your budget, create another spreadsheet. Note down everything, you know you will need to pay for. Once you know the kind of things you need to book, you can start contacting hen party businesses. Note down any quotes you receive on your spreadsheet as you get them. Once you have all quotes, you can decide what to book.
Make sure you consider whether the bride will pay for herself or whether the rest of the hen party will cover her costs. This can have a huge impact on your hen party budget. Find this out early to avoid any financial mishaps.
Have A Meeting To Make The Big Decisions
Whether you’re planning the hen do with the bride’s sister or her bridesmaids, you must communicate. You don’t have to meet in person. You can call each other or email, whatever works best for you.
Find out whether the bride would like one person to be in charge of all decision making. Once you know this, discuss ways in which you can all help out. Everyone has their strengths.
Once you’ve established everyone’s strengths, be sure to delegate! Sharing the workload will make hen party planning that much easier. It can be a big undertaking so don’t try and do it all by yourself. Organise regular catch-ups so that you can update one another on your progress.
To help you with this step, read this blog post, Hen Party Planning | How To Delegate Diplomatically.
Email The Hen Party Guest List
Once you’ve reached this stage, you can send your first email to your guests. Your first email should provide information about potential dates for the hen party and what you think the per person budget will be. If you think the budget may slightly change once you’ve received all the quotes, make your guests aware of this.
You should also tell your guests the kind of hen party the bride wants. For example, if the bride wants a weekend away in the UK, let your guests know. After all, they’ll need to have a general idea of what they’re saying yes to.
Once you have all your replies, you should get an idea of a date for the hen party, and you’ll know your final numbers.
Collect Money From Your Guests
At this point, you will need to start collecting money so that you can pay deposits and start paying your suppliers. Depending on your per person budget, you may want to ask your guests for their money in instalments. Or you may decide you want it in one lump sum.
If you decide to ask for instalments, you may want to consider telling your guests that if they’ve told you they would attend the hen party, you’re expecting them to attend and pay the full amount. The last thing you want is to be out of pocket for a hen party activity because five of your guests drop out at the very last minute. And give your guests plenty of time to give you the money so that they can save!
Start Planning And Booking The Hen Party
Now you know the date of the hen do and your final guest list numbers, you can start planning the hen party. Have a meeting with your fellow hen party planners and decide what you need to book. You should already have a list of all the different things you’ll need to book. And you should know what kind of hen party the bride wants. If you don’t, revisit steps one and three.
Make an itinerary and plan what you’ll do when. This way, you won’t book too much stuff.
Now it’s time to start finding the right hen party companies for you. At this point, you may want to use our Hen Party Supplier Directory! You can search our Supplier Directory by category and location to find activities, accommodation, accessories, food and drink companies for your hen do. We only work with super cool and unique UK-based hen party companies.
Once you find hen party companies you like, contact them and get quotes. Make a note of any quotes you receive on your hen party spreadsheet. Once you find businesses that fit your budget and your requirements, book them!
If you’re planning a hen weekend away, we recommend sourcing your accommodation first. Hen party houses will take up a good proportion of your budget, can get booked up quickly and be challenging to find.
The process of booking your hen party may be ongoing progress. Just make sure you keep a record of what you’ve booked, paid for and your timings so that you don’t get confused. Once everything is booked, confirm the plan and timings with your guests. Let them know whether they need to sort out their transportation. And if the hen party plans are a secret from the bride, make sure your guests are aware so they can keep their lips sealed!
Buy Hen Party Accessories And Decorations
Once the hen party date approaches, you may want to buy some fun hen party accessories and decorations. You may not need to follow this step. Find out whether the bride wants any accessories or decorations before you start spending money,
If the bride wants accessories, consider whether she wants to be decked out head to toe. Or whether she just wants to wear a few subtle accessories.
You should also think about colours and a theme. Does your bride want a vintage hen party? Or is a classic cream and gold colour scheme more her thing? Does she want to wear a flower crown? Or just wear pink head to toe? Whatever she’s looking for, visit our Hen Party Directory to find super cool hen party accessories and decorations. Need help deciding your theme? Check out our hen party themes blog post.
If you want to decorate your hen party accommodation or activity venue, the good idea is to ask the business whether you have permission to decorate their venue.
Personalise Your Hen Party
Take this step if you want to go the extra mile! You can either DIY your hen party accessories and decorations yourself to personalise your hen do. Or you can buy fun personalised hen party accessories from a variety of shops these days.
If you’re interested in getting crafty, check out our favourite hen party personalised DIY projects. This hen party balloon tutorial is easy to replicate and will have a big impact! Are you stuck for ideas? You can personalise hen party bags, wrap a hen do pass the parcel or make hen party invitations. The list goes on.
Decide Which Hen Party Games You Will Play
Your bride may not want to play any hen party games. Find out before you start following this step.
We love hen party games! They can break the ice and get the party started.
When choosing your hen party games, think about how much time you want to fill and whether the game is appropriate for all your guests. If the bride’s mum and gran attend the hen party, you may want to save the ‘sillier’ games for later when they’ve gone home. Every hen party is different. Ask the bride if you need guidance here.
To help you choose your hen party games, check out our Ultimate Guide To Hen Party Games.
Make A Playlist
Get the party started by playing your best friend’s favourite songs! The great idea is to ask your guests for a song suggestion. That way, you know all your guests will enjoy at least one song. We recommend creating the playlist at least a week before the hen party. Bear in mind, and it can take longer to make than you expect, so give yourself plenty of time.
Send Out The Final Email
By now, you will probably have gone back and forward emailing your guests. All your guests should have paid you, and they should know all the hen party details.
As there is a lot of information to take in, we recommend sending your entire guest list one final email. The purpose of this email is to confirm the date and timings and remind them whether they need to bring anything in particular. You can also remind them of the address and any other important information they should know.
Make sure your hen party guests have a phone number so that they can reach you in case they need help on the day. Start building the hype by telling your guests how excited you are to see them all! If the hen party is a secret, remind them. You don’t want the surprise ruined at the last minute.
It’s Hen Party Time!
Hurrah! All the hard work is done. You’ve planned everything. Now you just need to execute what you’ve planned.
Have a folder filled with all your hen party accommodation and activity confirmations and receipts. Make sure you have a record of any phone numbers you may need for activities or accommodation. We recommend having your itinerary to hand so that you know what you’re doing when.
Once the hen party rolls around, there really shouldn’t be much to do. Just make sure you enjoy yourself. The bride will have an incredible time, so make sure you do too!
We have created the ultimate list of Hens Party Ideas for you and the girls to create a day and night she’ll never forget.
Top Do’s & Don’t for Organising a Hen Party
You’ve landed yourself the maid of honour gig, and now you have lots of planning to do. One of your biggest responsibilities is to make sure your bride-to-be has the time of her life before her big day at her hen party. So let’s get started with what to do, and then we’ll move on with what not to do!
Do ask for help, don’t do it alone
Ask other bridesmaids to chip in and help you out. Ask your bride-to-be specific questions about what she has in mind, and what she doesn’t want. Look online for guidance.
Do set a budget, don’t break the bank
Being in charge of throwing the hen party doesn’t mean it is your responsibility to pay for the entire event. Ask everyone invited, especially girls in the wedding party to chip in equally. Set your budget early on, and then set the number each person pays. The earlier you set your hen party budget, the better chance you have of getting money collected from all of the girls.
Do ask the bride questions, don’t surprise her with something she hates
Every bride-to-be is different and thus has a different taste. Some brides want to go to the bar with their girlfriends and party the night away. In contrast, other brides want to hit up the local museum and have a late lunch. It is your responsibility as the head honcho to figure out what your bride-to-be wants her hen party to be like. Did big booze fill bash or quiet luncheon?
Do think about traditional hen parties, don’t be afraid to step outside the box
Sure, tradition is great but switching things up a bit is fun too. Ask your bride-to-be if she wants her hen party to be the traditional ladies night, or if she would like to coordinate a coed party with her fiance. These days it’s not unheard of for the couple to want to celebrate together with their mutual friends.
To learn more, check out our post How to host a bridal shower tea party?
Do buy fun party favours, don’t embarrass your bride-to-be
You know your best friend or sister more than anyone else, so you know if passing out penis necklaces is going to make her uncomfortable or make her laugh. Every hen party should have fun party favours, but it is up to you to make them fit for your bride-to-be’s taste. Make your guests leave with a favour that makes them remember your unforgettable hen party!
Hope this better helps all you ladies in charge of party planning! Good luck!
Many thanks to Rebecca from Chillisauce for sharing these fab tips.
Having just helped to organise my gorgeous, soon to be wed, cousin’s hen do (photos coming soon!), and after organising my darling friend Kelly’s hen do last year, I’d like to add a few more tips:
Do make it personal, don’t just make it another night out
Show the bride to be how special she is to you with personal and thoughtful touches such as doing an activity she loves, incorporating photos of her when she was little / photos of the girls and her / messages from the rest of the girls ~ these can be printed onto cupcakes, bunting or in a keepsake book.
Put a playlist together of her favourite tunes or pop her favourite girly film on to play while you’re getting ready. Have her favourite cocktail/mocktail on hand or even simply request her favourite song from the DJ.
Little, inexpensive details like these will make her feel special on this once in a lifetime kind of day (and hopefully, when it’s your turn, she’ll return the favour!)
Do make sure you get everyone’s email addresses/contact details in good time
Send out an email outlining the day, so everyone knows what to expect and be prepared to send out quite a few reminder emails. Honestly getting a bunch of busy women to respond to emails / get stuff done can be a nightmare!
Do consider some kind of prop(s)
Lots of brides to be will enjoy being the centre of attention for one night only (other than on their wedding day of course) so give them a prop or two to make it clear who the hen is in your party. If sashes or veils aren’t heard things, why not raid a fancy dress shop for funny wigs, sunglasses, angel wings or princess crowns? Little props like these can be worn for a few fun photos then easily removed.
Don’t be nervous about meeting everyone
(This is one I struggled with, being rather shy at the best of times but I soon got over it.)
You and the other ladies may all come from different backgrounds, but you’re all there for one reason ~ to give your friend/sister, the hen, a fabulous celebration and to have fun! Trust me, and all the hen wants is for everybody to get along and have a good time.
So embrace your differences, enjoy getting to know a new group of people ~ who knows you make new friends and you’ll have a few friendly faces to chat to on the wedding day.
If you get yourself organised in advance, it means you can relax and enjoy the day/weekend with the bride tribe! Planning a hen party isn’t an easy task; however, using the above ‘How to plan a hen party’ guide above will help you with the planning process.
Break the hen party planning process into small steps, and allow yourself one day to complete each of the steps, so you do not become overwhelmed. When you have finished planning the hen party, crack the vino open and pat yourself on the back!