Who Pays For The Hens Night?
So you are throwing your bestie 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?
In Australia, it is a tradition for each guest to pay for herself to attend the hens’ party. When sending out your invites, be specific about what the hens’ 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 regarding 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 we 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 bestie when 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 bridge between the whole party.
The bridesmaids will often 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 we hear truly lovely stories of the MOB chipping in for her daughter’s 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!
This one always makes our hearts go ‘awwww’ here. 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!
Many 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 bestie has the night she deserves!
WHO PAYS FOR THE HEN PARTY?
Nobody likes discussing who pays for what! Even less so when it’s in relation to a hen do, a time for partying, celebrating and giving the bride an unforgettable send-off. But there’s just so much to consider when it comes to the financial side of things.
- Do the bridesmaids pay for everything?
- Do all the guests pay for themselves?
- Does everyone cover the cost of the bride’s place?
- Does the bride pay for herself?
OK, don’t sigh, we know that’s not particularly helpful, but hear us out! There are various factors that dictate who pays for what, so here are a few scenarios and useful tips so you can figure out what’s best for you.
The General Etiquette
Whilst there’s no hard and fast rule, tradition dictates that the bridesmaids and the other attendees cover the cost of the bride’s place on her hen weekend. HOWEVER…
- Cost – If the cost is astronomical, some hens may not be able to afford the extra expense, so you’ll need to gauge the situation appropriately
- The Bride Insists On Paying – The bride may insist on paying for herself. If that’s the case, you and the girls could club together for a little something extra or cover the cost of her drinks for an evening/the weekend
- Wedding Gift – You and the girls could pay for her as a wedding present, that way you wouldn’t need to fork out for two separate things
Splitting The Cost
OK, let’s face it, nobody wants to pay more than they have to, and splitting the cost of the bride’s place between the rest of the girls might seem like it’ll make the price per person skyrocket! So, for the majority of you, splitting the cost of the bride’s place wouldn’t set you back an awful lot!
The Plan of Action
Speak to the girls and decide what you think would be the best option for your group. If the bride has made noises about paying for herself, you could discuss it with her somehow. If not, think about the price and associated cost and make a decision which works for everyone.
Collecting the Money
Whilst discussing who pays for what can be awkward, chasing people up for money can worsen! Take the hassle, stress and uncomfortable text exchanges out of proceedings by booking with GoHen. With our easy to use individual payment system, all the girls login and pay us directly in their own time, so you won’t have the responsibility of chasing payments or looking after a substantial amount of money!
Arranging the Hen Party
Once you’ve worked out who will be paying for what, it’s probably time you started organising the thing!
BRIDAL SHOWERS & HEN NIGHTS: WHO PAYS?
In talking etiquette, I find it helpful to go back to the rules’ principles. The key ones here are:
- Hosting: The rule is that if you host an event, you pay for it.
- Gifts: Generally, guests attending an event where they are expected to give a gift should not have to pay for themselves.
- Consideration: In situations where guests are expected to pay, the organiser should always take their budget into account. Aim towards the lower end of the scale, not the highest. Let people know costs upfront, and allow them the opportunity to withdraw. When the costs are shared, you need to be democratic.
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Hen Parties/Bachelorette Nights:
In general these days, costs for hen parties are broken upper head. Guests contribute to the cost of their activities, their dinners, their drinks and if it’s a weekend, accommodation and travel costs. It isn’t a hosted activity (although the bridal party may organise it) so this is generally acceptable. Gifts shouldn’t be expected. If there are decorations and goodie bags, the bridal party will usually cover these.
The single biggest mistake I have seen bridesmaids make is getting carried away and organising a spectacular event that is out of budget for some (or even many) of the guests. I know you want to spoil the bride, but what will spoil things for her is if nobody attends outside of the bridal party because they can’t afford it. NEVER make anyone who declines for financial reasons feel guilty. I’ve seen this done and it is the WORST.
Some organisers nowadays seem to expect the guests to pay their share and split the cost of the bride. I don’t like this, and I’ll be honest. It’s a sweet gesture, but it should never be an obligation. Accept contributions when offered, and (if you do want to treat the bride) split the remainder between the bridal party.
Bridal Showers/Kitchen Teas:
The key difference between showers and hen nights (apart from the tequila shots, obvs) is that generally guests will be expected to bring gifts to a shower. For this reason, it is usually a hosted event. And what does that mean? Yup, that’s right – the guests don’t pay for themselves. The shower might be hosted by the bridal party or a friend of the bride or her family, often at their home, and the host provides food and refreshments, as well as décor. Depending on the budget, a shower can be as simple or as elaborate as you like, but a couple of cost-cutting tips keep numbers low and split costs between the bridesmaids. The MoB and the groom’s mother should never be asked outright to contribute financially, but if they offer, then it’s perfectly fine to accept.
The question of who hosts is an important one. As I mentioned, a friend or bridesmaid is ideal. Generally, family members are discouraged from hosting, because it’s a poor taste for someone to be seen to ask for gifts for their relation. Realistically, there will be times when a mom or a sister will want or need to do the hosting – follow what common sense dictates (but make sure that gifts aren’t mentioned, even though guests will probably bring them anyway).
But WHAT IF you’re planning a bridal shower in a restaurant? Should the host still pay? Well… this is where it gets tricky. Technically, yes. But I know in real life, it’s not always going to be practical. Ideally, if nobody is prepared to host at the restaurant or venue (and by the host, I mean pay), then you should keep it simple and go back to the idea of a tea at a private home or limit the guest list. But another option is to sort of combining the idea of a shower and a hen night (co-ordinate the two if a hen night is already planned, so there aren’t two separate events that the same guests have to pay for). Plan it for the late afternoon (so it can go on into the hen party), take gifts out of the equation, and be sure to consider your guests’ budget when you choose the location and let them know in good time what it will cost. I think it’s a good compromise, and it takes guests’ expectations into account.
As I said when in doubt, go back to first principles. Etiquette is based on respect and consideration, and if you can show that for your bride and the guests, then you’ve followed the most important rule of all.
Bridal showers: what are they?
The tradition of bridal showers dates back to the 16th century when brides who couldn’t afford dowries were ‘showered’ in gifts by relatives and friends, so she may have cash and household items to help her set up her marital home.
However, these days, many brides may already live with their spouse and have all their necessary household items, so the tradition of hosting a bridal shower is more focused on celebrating the bride’s upcoming marriage.
Does the bridal shower replace the hen’s party or kitchen tea?
A bride may only have a bridal shower in the lead up to her wedding, and not have a kitchen tea or hen’s party. However, if the bride wishes to do so she may have all three, for example, family members could be invited to the kitchen tea, friends could be invited to the hen’s night, and work colleagues could be invited to a bridal shower.
It is perfectly acceptable for the bride to have several bridal showers, but where possible different groups of women should be invited to these. In a modern context, many brides will have either a kitchen tea or bridal shower and a hen’s night too, however, it’s the bride’s choice, and there is no right or wrong.
What food and drinks can I serve at a bridal shower?
Bridal shower etiquette suggests that the host provides guests with food and drink, as the occasion is a celebration of nature. Popular food styles include sweets such as cupcakes, cake, biscuits, slices, scones, fruit, and pastries, as well as savoury h’orderves such as sandwiches, tarts, wraps, pies, quiches, and even salads and cold soups. As a bridal shower is a celebration, alcoholic beverages are acceptable, and drinks such as champagne and cocktails are popular choices and tea, coffee, and juice.
However, this is entirely up to the bride and host of the shower as to what food they would like to serve. Many modern bridal showers have food themes such as the bride’s favourite colours, and hosts may opt to have the event catered, including novelty food items such as a lolly or spud bar, and even hire a food truck for the occasion. Check out our customized hens packages for easy ladies night planning.
Who should be invited to a bridal shower?
Traditionally bridal showers were small events, with around ten to twenty guests. The female members of the wedding party, such as the maid of honour, the bridesmaids, and the flower girls would be included and the mothers and sisters of the bride and groom. Additional invitations would be sent to close female friends and work colleagues.
There is a current trend for larger bridal showers, with every female wedding guest getting an invite. Although this is perfectly acceptable, it is not always necessary. Just because you are inviting someone to the wedding, they shouldn’t expect and invite to the shower, although if you invite someone to the shower, they can expect an invite to the wedding. The exception to this is an office shower, as it is usually difficult to invite all of your work colleagues to the wedding.
The essential guests for a traditional bridal shower are the mothers and sisters of the couple. These should always be invited to take part in the organisation of the bridal shower. Perhaps one could be asked to assist with the catering while another is asked to keep track of any gifts and another is asked to help with decorations.