Planning 101 16th October 2013

Hen and Stag Events are a BIG Deal!

Make no mistake about it, Hen and Stag events are a big deal. Gone are the days of a Stag ‘Night’ or Hen ‘Party’ a week or two before the big day. Modern Hen and Stag events usually span a long weekend, at the very least include a night away and can even stretch to a week or more with different events for the various groups involved. This leads to the first big question:

Who to invite?

Close female friends? That’s a given, plus they won’t mind spending money on something a bit special
Mother’s, aunties, older ladies? - Perhaps they would they prefer a separate ladies lunch?
His sisters, female friends and relatives? - Just so long as you can you relax and let your hair down in their company
The girls from work? - Would drinks after work be more appropriate?
Everyone! - Why worry about the politics – let them all muck in together!

The answers to the above can very much depend on the type of event you are planning. One big meal followed by a night on the town and pretty much everyone will come, even if it’s not their usual scene, they can always call it a night after the meal. A spa weekend, girl’s trip away or an organised event and the cost may put off all but the diehards, which is not necessary a bad thing...

When to have it?

Sensibly? About 4 to 6 weeks before the wedding. Any more than that it lessens the excitement and you’ll end up with various impromptu nights out as the big day approaches. Any earlier and you run the risk of having too much on your plate – plus you need to give your groom-to-be chance to untie himself from a lamppost and hitchhike home wearing nothing but suspenders!

Who’s going to organise it? Another crucial question – traditionally this honour falls to the Bridesmaids and Groomsmen and it offers a great chance for them to get involved. However, with so much riding on it, couples are increasingly choosing to step in and sort it out themselves, which makes sense since they are the only ones who everyone invited has in common.

If you choose the traditional route and opt for a surprise, make sure that whoever’s arranging it knows your limits and the type of thing you’ll enjoy – if your ideal Hen Event involves a good girly natter in the spa followed by dinner and cocktails at a club, you’re not going to be thrilled by team building exercises in Wales followed by a night wearing L-plates and doing shots on a pub crawl – or vice versa for that matter!

Decide on a theme

Themes can be anything and everything from fairies to cowgirls; think about who is coming and how easy is it to find costumes/props? Other ideas include printed t-shirts or simply the Hen wears one colour and everyone else wears another – this can look particularly effective in the photos. Even if you’re not organising things yourself, you can still have a say in the theme. Plus, it’s a good idea to whisper in the right ears as to whether or not you’d be up for a few ‘games’ or scantily glad dancers...

Handy Hints and Finishing Touches

Set up a Facebook Group – this way you can choose whether or not to include the Hen. If it’s a surprise you can arrange things between all the girls online without her knowing. Do this early on so that you can share ideas etc.
Set a budget early on and Stick to It! Don’t forget that even inclusive Hen Packages you may still need a kitty for drinks, ‘entertainment’, extras for the Hen etc.
Think about arranging a photographer for a least part of the event, otherwise someone is always behind the camera and you miss out on good group shots. Plus if they know someone is documenting the fun for you, the girls may down the smart phones and concentrate on having fun!
If you’re having a night away it’s a nice idea to write personal ‘Thank-you for coming’ cards for the ladies rooms. It’s a good opportunity to thank them for their friendship and let them know how much it means to have them celebrate with you.
If you’re feeling particularly creative there is a growing trend to make the Ladies Favours as part of the Hen Event – this can be anything from chocolatiering, jewellery making or simply sitting round popping sweets into little lace bags, with a few bottles of wine and a favourite chick-flick on in the background.

And finally...

Amidst all the fun, find the time to at least text hubby-to-be and let him know you’re ok and thinking of him; you know you’d appreciate the gesture when it’s his turn.