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Hen & stag parties on a budget

6th June 2006 |By

While expensive can mean glamorous, it’s amazing how much fun you can have by spending very little! Here are a few ideas to suit different budgets.

How to have a great time without spending a fortune

When you plan a hen or stag event you need to think about how much it’s going to cost. Expense will have a huge effect on who is able to come, so the ideal situation is to plan something that everyone will enjoy but that is well within budget. Never fear. While expensive can mean glamorous, it’s amazing how much fun you can have by spending very little! Here are a few ideas to suit different budgets.

Under £50 per person

  • A night on the town. Dinner and drinks followed by a nightclub. Look out for restaurants with a set menu or ask if they will do any offers for groups so that you don’t end up spending too much money on food. Equally, see whether you can get on the guest list to a club and, if the entry charge goes up after a certain time, make sure you get in there before the deadline!
  • A girls’ night in with takeaways, manicures and DVDs. This is a guaranteed fun, inexpensive night. Rent out a few chick flicks (Pride and Prejudice, Bridget Jones and anything with Brad Pitt!), gather plenty of takeaway menus and fill the freezer with ice cream. Ask everyone to bring a sleeping bag and spend any remaining money on face packs, nail varnish and other beauty items so you can enjoy a bit of pampering.
  • A paintballing or go‐karting day, followed by a few beers in the pub. Outdoor activities don’t have to be hugely expensive, so shop around for something that suits you. When it comes to transport, it might even be economical to hire a minibus for the weekend. After a few hours in the fresh air, you’ll enjoy nothing more than dinner and a fair few pints in the local pub. Paintballing isn’t the thing to do less than a week before the wedding though ‐‐ bruises are not a good look.

Around £100 per person

  • A night out on the town, with an overnight stay in an inexpensive hotel or guest house. Dinner and clubbing makes for a great night out. If you have a little more money to spend, why not travel a little further and book some accommodation for the night. This doesn’t have to cost the earth ‐‐ a cosy b&b can be just as lovely as a luxurious hotel ‐‐ and it means you get to reminisce over breakfast the next morning!
  • A glam night out with cocktails and dinner at a smart restaurant. If you’re just organising an evening and don’t need to think about overnight accommodation, you can splash out a little with this budget. Organise dinner in a great restaurant and move on to a swanky bar for cocktails afterwards. It’s amazing how much you can spend on a few Margaritas!
  • A camping weekend. An entire weekend away can start getting expensive and you’re unlikely to stay within a £100 per head budget… unless you go camping! Sleeping under canvas is perhaps one of the least expensive forms of accommodation, but also one of the most fun. Camping is great for hens and stags alike… but only those who enjoy the great outdoors. Think camp fires, long walks and pub lunches. Perfect ‐‐ but not for those who are worried about damaging their manicures.
  • A day at a health spa. For under £100, you really can enjoy a luxurious day at a health spa, hopefully including lunch and a few treatments. Health spas are always a good idea for hen days or weekends as people can generally do what they want to do, and spend as much (or as little) money as they like. Look out for any offers that could give you the opportunity to stay overnight.

£150 to £200 per person

  • A cottage weekend. This is perfect for a hen or stag weekend ‐‐ but costs do tend to spiral. Although accommodation can be relatively inexpensive, you need to think of the extras such as money for the food and drink kitty, and at least one night out for dinner, or a lovely lunch. Be sure to ask your fellow hens or stags to bring along a selection of games, CDs and DVDs to while away the evenings.
  • A day trip to France, possibly with an overnight stay. Costs vary enormously depending on how you want to travel and where you want to stay. A ferry crossing with the car and a night or two in Le Touquet or Bolougne, for example, could even work out as less than £100 per person, but you’re likely to want to sample some French cuisine and a few glasses of vino. Those who can splash out a little more might take the Eurotunnel and stay in a chateaux, or even head to Paris for the day on the Eurostar. If you’re prepared to party all night, you could even forget about the hotel and come home on the morning train!
  • An overnight stay at a health spa. There’s nothing more luxurious than spending the night at a health spa. Just as you’ve reached a total state of relaxation, you can fall in to bed, get up in the morning and be pampered all over again.

£200 to £300 per person

  • A city break, perhaps to Paris, Barcelona, or Dublin. With a little more money to spend, you can organise a long weekend abroad. Plan your destination carefully, taking in to account what you think everyone will enjoy. Prague and Dublin make great destinations for stag weekend (sorry to generalise but men do tend to enjoy their beer) while Paris, Barcelona or Madrid might be just the thing for a girls’ weekend (plenty of glamour and lots of lovely shops!).
  • A package week away to a sunny destination. If you’re planning for a close group of friends, think about organising a whole week away. However, this isn’t ideal for a large group that includes people who don’t know each other that well ‐‐ you simply can’t expect that everyone will want to spend a whole week together. Scour the Internet and travel agents for any offers where you can fly away to the sunshine and enjoy a great week. So long as it’s not excessively alcohol‐fuelled, this is a great idea as you get closer to the wedding ‐‐ sun tans and wedding photos are a great combination!
  • Get active! If paintballing and go‐karting don’t float your boat and you have a little more budget to play with, look out for other adrenaline‐filled activities. You could be driving Ferraris around a race track or bungee jumping from a great height. Alternatively, organise to go and watch a sporting event ‐‐ perhaps a rugby cup final or a favourite football team.

Blow the budget!

  • A long weekend (or a week) in Las Vegas. If the sky really is the limit, head to Vegas. Accommodation is remarkably reasonable and fabulous, so you can splash out on shows and in the casino. You never know, you might even win more than you spend!
  • A week’s holiday to a villa in the sunshine. A similar idea to the package week away ‐‐ if you have more money to spend, book a villa with private pool. You’ll have a great time in the sun, with just a little extra luxury!
  • The ultimate hen day. Oh yes, it’s truly amazing what you can spend over the course of 24 hours. Arrange accommodation for your hens in a London hotel before meeting for afternoon tea at The Ritz. Spend the afternoon being pampered in your choice of hair salon or spa, before getting ready for your night out. Cocktails at The Sanderson could be a good start, perhaps followed by dinner in the chef’s kitchen at Claridges. Enjoy a few after dinner drinks at The Blue Bar at The Berkeley hotel before collapsing in to bed. And, of course, you’ll need a chauffeur to ferry you from place to place.
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