Sure, it’s just a girl’s weekend away with a few sashes and bride to be banners…………eh no, NO its not……. Its sleepless nights, weight gain (In my case!!) anxiety, secret keeping, mathematically challenging and the rest to say the least!!! Well that’s how it was for me for all the hen’s I’ve organised over the last number of years reason being I’m literally like Monica from friends! I remember the first hen party I’d organised I found myself standing in the sitting room on the Saturday evening saying to the other bridesmaids “WTF we are like, an hour late for organised fun”!!!…………yeah, I said that, I’m scarlet for my ma for having me!!!!
The main thing I’ve learned and come to accept is when it comes to the actual hen weekend almost NOTHING will run to the time scale you have planned so give yourself a buffer on times, oh and give the girls plenty of time to get ready to head out….one hen party we only had 1 bathroom and 12 girls staying in the house……. DISASTER!
Below are a few tips to help you get started:
1st things first:
Start planning about 7/8 months in advance longer if you like, I think one of my best friends had just said “yes” to the proposal and us bridesmaids where like OK so we will go on the hen in August and we started contacting people in January and honestly it made it so much easier!
Ask the bride how involved she wants to be, for most of the hen’s I’ve organised the bride has just wanted to know the dates and nothing else, some will tell you where and when they want their hen so best to check with them!
Know your audience, if you have older aunties etc, they might not want to do certain activities or you might have a bride that the great outdoors is her worst nightmare!!
Decide on the location:
With location remember some girls might only make 1 night (usually Saturday) so you don’t want them driving 4 or more hours to get to the location especially if your activity is going to start early.
Try and get as much as you can for the money you are charging so everyone feels they are getting value for their money, for example one hen I organised the price was €195 each for the weekend, included in that was, prosecco and finger food at the meeting point, minibus there and back, accommodation, activity, full Irish Breakfast both mornings, BBQ the first night, T-shirts, Hen party bags with survival items, transport to and from the activity, dinner and wine on the Saturday night. So, the only extra cost for people was their few drinks both nights.
Add a contingency amount to everyone’s payment of maybe €10-€15 depending on the overall cost per person, you will be surprised the extra costs that creep up! And sure, if they don’t you have a “kitty fund” for drinks for all the hen party girls!!
Break the payment up:
Once you have decided on the price for everyone for the hen, break the payments up over 3 or 4 payments to make it easier for people to budget for the hen weekend.
Also take into consideration Christmas (I know I’ve mentioned it in September!) if you are starting to organise now maybe take the 1st payment end of October (remember most people are paid by the month so try not to ask for payments halfway through the month you will find you are chasing girls for payments then) and then none till the end of January.
If you are like me and terrible with money your bank account is probably the worst place for girls to make payments into, so maybe ask the other bridesmaids to take charge of the payments or if you have a spare account (by spare I mean an old one that your wages/direct debits aren’t taken out of!) or see how easily it is to add an account to your current account so you can keep things separate.
Another note on payments, make sure the girls all state their name on the transfers otherwise you will find yourself trying to figure out who has paid and who has not……. that’s just one of the hair pulling out stages I hit a few times!
Excel will be your new bestie:
Set up an excel sheet, list all girls invited and then have columns for responded, 1 night, 2nights, payments made. Then have another excel sheet, with the payments broken down into accommodation/activity/transport/hen supplies/date payments due etc.
Set up an event…. a private one!!
If most of the girls the bride wants at her hen are on Facebook, a private event page can be a great way of keeping in contact with everyone, reason I say a private one is if you are keeping it a secret from the bride she won’t be able to see anything about it then ;). It’s also an easy way to check who is going and give them any information needed. The girls not on Facebook you can have a whats app group for to keep them informed also.
This list should help you get started, yeah, I’m no good at short bullet points but sure I’ll work on it!!!
Hope this helps any stressed bridesmaids out there 🙂
Thanks again for reading,