The hen party is a rite of passage like no other – one last chance to let your hair down before married life, but an experience that many brides-to-be have little control over. This can be a daunting prospect, since we all know the hen do stereotypes: pink feathers, L plates, and for some reason, a fascination with everything phallic. For many brides, the prospect of introducing your future mother-in-law into an unknown mix of loud and risqué celebration is too much to bear. Then there’s the very real possibility that your bridesmaids have booked a stripper – it’s not the ideal way to make a great impression with distant relatives and in-laws. Bringing together women from all areas of life is one of the biggest worries for hens.
At the same time, it can seem a shame to skip the naughtiness completely – you only get one shot at throwing a raucous celebration to rival any stag do, after all. So, what can you do to accommodate older or more conservative guests, but also let your hair down with the girls? One solution is to throw two separate parties.
One or two? Maybe the whole weekend?
It is now common for a hen party to stretch over a whole weekend, so throwing a ‘do’ in several parts is not as unusual as it once was. If you’re thinking of organizing a weekend away, first be sure to check everyone’s availability – you don’t want to plan the festivities only to find out your closest friends can’t make it.
A weekend-long option can combine a relaxing spa morning and louder evening celebrations. Head to London and stay in a luxury hotel like the Dean Street Townhouse, for a hint of sophistication. Then, head out to one of Soho’s many secret bars, like Basement Sate – if you can find the entrance.
There are more options than ever for quirky hen parties suitable for all – think treasure hunts, a retro styling experience or chocolate making. After dark, the bride and her closest circle of friends can take on a burlesque experience and all manner of other surprises the maid of honor has up her sleeve.
If you’d prefer to host the party closer to home, create a theme for each day, appropriate for each guest list. Day one will focus on relative and in-law bonding – games can involve advice for the bride, or a Mr and Mrs quiz. On Day two, unleash the naughtier side. There is a wide range of naughty and nice hen party games to set the tone for each event.
There’s also no reason why your hen party needs to be single-sex – 2018 has seen the rise of the mixed ‘sten party’ celebration. Separating parties by age or friends versus family can make more sense than celebrating by gender. The bride and groom can merge parties, or keep them separate – and they can accommodate the traditionalist idea of bonding with in-laws along with the boisterous ‘last night of freedom’ – now customary in the run-up to a wedding.
For those who prefer to preserve the idea of a great bridal party with female friends and relatives, splitting the occasion in two is a great way to make sure everyone feels comfortable. Not only do you get the best of both worlds, but you get two parties, and who can argue with that?