June 23, 2010. Written by Paula Jones
Q&A with Hen Heaven’s hen and stag expert, Harriet Charlesworth! Harriet helps brides and grooms have the best send off possible by arranging the perfect hen or stag do to match your group. Here, Harriet answers the questions you’ve been asking on the Confetti forums.
Who you invite to your hen or stag party is entirely up to you. Most parties always start off with high numbers which include a variety of friends, family and neighbours, but inevitably some people will always drop out or become unavailable. We would advise you to sit down with your chief Bridesmaid or Best man to write a list of those people you really would like to spend the day/night with. The whole idea of a hen/stag do is to celebrate your last night as a single man/woman with those people who are closest to you. So don’t feel pressured into inviting everyone you know, as this is your special night!
This is a very important factor when beginning to organise a hen or stag party! Of course you will be looking at it through rose tinted glasses as it’s the only one you ever plan on having, so a weekend in Las Vegas isn’t much to ask, is it?!! Your mates unfortunately will take a slightly different view, and their RSVP will be bank balance dependant!! I suggest you ask a few friends what they think is a reasonable amount of money, or if you can think to yourself what you would be happy to spend on someone else’s hen/stag weekend? If you would grumble at spending £200 on your nearest and dearest it may be a good idea to set your budget a bit lower. It’s better to have a reasonably priced party with all your mates there than an extortionate one on your own!
This is totally up to you. If a weekend away with the girls/guys sounds good and you think everyone will be able to afford it then this is a great option as you can combine a few different activities, along with a night (or two) out on the town. This is the most popular option, however, one night of fun can be just as exciting and action packed as a weekend away and will not have such an impact on the finances. The choice is yours!
Usually the bridesmaid/best man take control of the organising as they know the hen/stag well and can create a fantastic do for a memorable send off! If you think there is someone other than the bridesmaid/best that fits the job description better, then feel free to bestow the honour on them. Getting too many people involved in the planning stage can make it difficult as everyone has their own idea on what to do. Keep the planning down to the most important people only. Some people are completely fine with the idea of being surprised on their hen/stag do, but if the thought of this brings you out in a cold sweat, sit down with the bridesmaid/best man and let them know the kind of thing you are looking for. This way you can put your two pence worth in and sit back and let them do the organising for you.
If you feel you are a very fussy person and want particular things on your hen/stag do, then sit down with your head bridesmaid/best man and let them know how you feel. Detail what you want and don’t want and go through different ideas with them so you feel comfortable. Once they are fully aware of what you want they can customise the party around this. If you still feel you want to organise the whole thing yourself and have a very hands on approach, then the girls/guys should understand and respect your wishes. But do try and let the bridesmaids/best man help with parts of the organisation so that they feel involved and can add little touches to make it special for you. There is nothing wrong with being fussy, just as long as you keep in mind that a hen/stag do is about having fun and being spoilt!
The biggest pro for a hag do is that you and your fiancé are able to spend your special night/weekend together. A hag do is fantastic for couples that have the same friends as each other and it allows the hen/stag to invite all of their male and female friends that they are as close to as their same sex friends. Furthermore, by organising both together, you may be able to get special discounts or special offers for booking a large group, so remember to ask when booking.
However, some people think that having a hag do takes the “sister/brotherhood” out of the pre‐nuptial experience. Some of your friends may feel that it doesn’t give them the opportunity to stick you up, as they would on a traditional hen/stag party, as your other half will be there to witness everything!
You may also find that you have problems organising a hag do, as the group will generally be much bigger. It may also be difficult to keep both sides of the party happy, as guys usually want to do traditional stag party activities such as lap dancing, quad biking etc and the women would generally prefer a spa day or pole dancing lessons.
Here at Hen Heaven and The Stag Company, we have an easy online payment system where the guests, attending the hen/stag parties, can pay online. We will give you a reference number which will take you to your personal payment page, so each party member can pay their individual amount in without you having to personally collect the money. You will have up until six weeks before the actual weekend to pay the balance in full. All you have to do is give those who have been invited to the party your personal reference number, balance, cut‐off date and our website address. Or make things even easier for yourself by forwarding your confirmation email onto each guest, so that they are able to see what package you have chosen and read up on exactly how to make payment online ‐ simple!
When putting together invites you will need to relay all the relevant information that your friends will need for the hen/stag do. Essential elements will be:
• Date of hen night
• Price of package
• Description of package
• What they need to bring
• Payment details (Final payment dates etc)
• Contact details to RSVP
To make the invites a little bit more fun, you can always customise them to include pictures of the stag/hen to make it personal to them. You will need to make it clear that everyone should RSVP to the invite so that you can get a good idea of how many people will be coming.
The majority of hen parties have the situation of people not knowing each other, but this is not a problem. A hen party is all about the hen and having a great time and moreover, as you all have a shared interest, the hen/stag, it will not be long before the group are getting on fine., It can be helpful to organise an icebreaking activity early in the night/weekend that will really bring your friends together and create the perfect party mood. Another good idea is to maybe play a game that gets people into groups and then make sure that the groups are made up of people who do not know each other, so the become acquainted more easily.
Absolutely! This can be a great way to prepare for the evening ahead, and for those who may not know each other, an excellent opportunity to get familiar with one another. If this doesn’t suit your friends then keep the ones that know each other together where possible, but after a long night of partying your friends, you will want to fall asleep no matter who you are sharing with. By sharing rooms it also helps to keep the cost of the package down, as some hotels will charge a single supplement for single occupancy.
Even though the classic idea of a hen do is that it’s meant to be a surprise, this doesn’t mean you can’t step in when things aren’t being organised properly. Pick two of your closest friends or family members and get them round for a girlie night of wine and nibbles and a chat about your hen do. Next draw up a list of people who you want at the hen party and the date you want to go. Then look on the internet for a reputable hen company and check out the different locations and activities they have on offer. Once you have got the package you want, your bridesmaids can hand over all responsibility to the hen company and you can rest happy knowing that everything is being taken care of by hen specialists and you are in for a fantastic hen do!
When considering ideas for fancy dress there are a few things that you should take into consideration:
• Do the venues you are going to allow fancy dress?
• Budget person, as this will be an extra cost for the group.
• Not everyone will be comfortable dressing up so take into account the different age groups.
For guys there isn’t really much thought, as it’s usually just the stag that gets dressed up with the theme being, anything that makes him look like a massive prat! For the ladies there tends to be more thought, because although you want to have a laugh, looking good definitely plays a big part. The most popular themes are: Cowgirls, Moulin Rouge, Playboy Bunnies, School Girls, Police Women, Sexy Pirates, Sailor Girls, 70’s or 80’s and Icons. If you don’t want to dress up in costumes you can always coordinate what everyone wears so that there is a theme and you look like a cohesive group.
Should I invite my mum/dad/mother-in-law/father-in-law to my hen/stag night?
As the hen/stag this is entirely up to you; if you feel comfortable with them being there then by all means invite them along and have a great time. However if you have a big weekend planned which involves a lot of debauched and physical activity then you might feel it’s best sticking to inviting just your friends. If you feel bad, you can always do two hen/stag do’s where, on an alternate night you have a night out with the parents and in laws, so that they can celebrate this special event with you.
To be honest, 99% of the time hens are a lot more wild and raucous on their hen weekend! Unless your partner is generally unfaithful you will have nothing to worry about as he will probably spend most of his stag weekend doing the following:
• Getting stitched up by his mates and being made to wear a selection of silly outfits.
• Having the most disgusting shots forced upon him.
• Being laughed at by his mates because he has his head in a kebab whilst droning on about how much he loves you!