While there’s a certain amount of wild abandon allowed in the celebration of the bride’s last night of freedom, it’s worth considering these few hen night etiquette pointers, to ensure a good time is had by all.
Martine McCutcheon’s hen night, image courtesy of Hello magazine
1. Don’t get too drunk
Having a few drinks is fine but consuming so much you need someone to look after you can ruin the night for everyone. It’s also embarrassing being the one who stole the show from the bride-to-be by stripping off, dancing on tables or accidentally ‘decorating’ their shoes… Avoid this by going out for a meal before you hit the bars and try to remember to have the occasional glass of water throughout the evening.
2. Do pay for the bride
It’s not expected but it’s a lovely gesture to all contribute towards the cost of the hen night for the bride. She has a whole wedding to pay for and she’ll be thrilled if you all chip in to help her out.
If you happen to fall in love at first sight during the hen night and want to pursue your new love interest, it’s fine to do so – to a point. Remember this is the bride’s hen night celebration and she wants all her girls with her. So, take his number and arrange a date another time then go back to the group. You don’t want to be remembered as the one who ruined the night by going off with a bloke and not telling anyone where you were going.
4. The rule of fancy dress
If your hen night has a fancy dress theme, the only rule should be to make sure it’s the bride who stands out. It’s her night, after all. There’s nothing worse than going out as a group and having one person attract all the attention for the amount of cleavage they have on show for instance, especially when it takes the spotlight off the bride. Also cheeky willy and condom costume accessories are not for everyone but most brides-to-be love to wear a sash…
5. Do give keepsakes
Arrange a small keepsake of the occasion for everyone present, perhaps something extra special for the bride-to-be. A framed photo of the night for the bride-to-be and an engraved shot glass for everyone is just right.
If there are two separate camps of people to invite to the hen night, it is worth considering having two small celebrations. One could be a relaxed afternoon tea or spa party that could include the mothers of the bride and groom and even the grandmas while the other could be a wild all-nighter complete with drinking games!
7. The stripper dilemma
Should you or shouldn’t you? There could be some who feel it’s only a hen night if there’s a stripper, but you should only book a stripper if you are sure the bride would like it. It’s worth bearing in mind how she might feel about her groom-to-be having a female stripper. If you know she’s not likely to be thrilled at that idea, the male stripper for her is probably also not going to be appreciated. A drawing class with a male nude, on the other hand…
Kate Thompson is Confetti's features editor and wedding expert, and has worked in the wedding industry for 15 years. A widely published lifestyle writer, she has made BBC television and radio appearances discussing wedding trends in the UK.