A hen party, or bachelorette party, is an event planned to celebrate a bride’s singlehood before she ties the knot. Typically, it involves the bride’s closest female friends and family getting dressed up and hitting the town – many hen parties will travel to another town or city for a full weekend of fun, including group activities, dinner, cocktails and then dancing the night away. The bride herself is usually adorned with a mini veil, garter and ‘L’ plates. In recent years, the themed hen party has become more and more popular, with gaggles of bunnies, devils and even nuns being spotted in various nighttime hot spots. An effort is really being made now, however, to steer away from the typical hen party activities, and create a more unusual and unique theme for the girls to enjoy.
I spoke to Claire of thehenplanner.com about what she thinks are some of the best ideas for the modern hen. As not every hen can afford to fly off to a foreign country for a long weekend (some costing thousands of euros!), budget is very much a consideration that the bride and bridesmaids will want to take into account. “Just hang out! There is so much pressure on hen parties to do an “activity” and the reality of it is, a bunch of ladies together is usually an activity in itself. My recommendation if you want to keep a budget down, don’t feel pressure to do an organised activity and keep it simple. Depending on where you are, head out for a walk, have a nice meal, play some games, DIY cocktails, a good playlist, get dressed up and just have a laugh. Stick to one night. One night hen parties are definitely becoming more common. Brides are more mindful of the hen party budget which will go a lot further for a one day and night event.”
Claire also recommends DIY for the budget-conscious hen. “If the bridesmaids are into events, DIY activities are a great way to keep the budget down. From lovely girls competitions to flower crown workshops in the garden to manis and pedis… or just something totally random that plays on the bride to be.”
For something different, and especially for those who can’t stand the idea of a booze-fueled weekend, a healthy hen is a great idea. “In line with the latest healthy and celebrity advocated trend, healthy hens are in! From yoga, to ballet barre classes to stand up paddle boarding, a healthy activity is a great way to spend an afternoon and prepare for whatever the night entails. Healthy hens are great when teamed with glamping. There are some gorgeous sites around the country and they work really well on the hen party budget. They usually have special offers and will include a barbecue and breakfast. There will also be activity options to choose from, from foraging to crafts to bushcraft. Some ladies will love this for the fashion side of it – boho dresses, flowers and messy hair.”
For those seeking something a little more luxurious, Claire recommends checking into a boutique hotel with spa facilities, or luxury self-catering. Murder mysteries and Gatsby parties are a great way to get the girls all glammed up, and luxury yacht cruises on the Shannon will make you and your hens feel like you’re sailing on the Riviera, if only for the weekend!
For the hens who love retro and rockabilly, look no further than Betty Bang in Leitrim! Angi Dixon has created the most fabulous 19050′s ‘frock shop and pin-up parlour’, hosting glamorous retro tea parties and styling pin-up and rockabilly photoshoots. Check out their ‘Nifty Fifties in a Jiffy’ package – “We roll up to your venue of choice in Betty our vintage caravan. We krank up the choons, you crack on with the cocktails and we commence our Rockabilly Riot! Expect Victory rolls. quiffs, bombshell lips & feline eyes and a Marilyn beauty spot!”. Not just for hen parties, this is ideal for birthdays and weddings too!
Regardless of what hen party style or theme you choose, some personalised goodies are a must-have. Check out The Hen Planner for great vintage style accesories and decor. Zazzle were also so kind to send me on some great personalised canvas tote bags, which are perfect for your hens to store their party swag, such as shot glasses, photos, hangover kits and, ahem, ‘phallic’ straws!