Join us for the second instalment of the electric three-part Alternative Hen series, penned by Mistress of Mayhem Siobhan Scanlon, founder of The Peacock Bride. In part two Siobhan proffers poultry pearls of wisdom, explaining how you can throw a sizzling bash for even the most disgruntled of hens.
Anyone who has had the pain, I mean pleasure, of organising a hen party knows all too well the challenges sometimes faced. Trying to please 20 ladies can be difficult at the best of times but throw location, cost, food, activities and sleeping arrangements into the mix and unless you carefully manage this you’re likely to end up with hen’s egg on your face. Below are a couple of simple tips that can really make the difference between a ‘MEH’ party and an ‘Sha-mazing’ bash.
1. Save money on the RIGHT things
In the last few years, the price of hen parties has sky rocketed. But there are some clever ways to save money so you don’t have to sacrifice a month’s salary on pleasing the bridezilla.
– Consider self-serve options for accommodation, such as glamping or renting a house. You can pre-load the place with bubbles and breakfast, saving you a fortune on sleeps and eats.
– Call restaurants/cafés in advance for any group deals. You’d be surprised how often they are willing to create a set menu for group bookings. That way the cost is set, everyone is clear and you don’t have Greedy Gertrude at the top of the table ordering steak to get her money’s worth.
– Fish around for any BYOB (bring your own booze) options in the area. These are becoming more and more popular, and are a massive relief to the budget without actually sacrificing anything.
2. Nobody likes to be dictated to – a hen party is NOT a military operation
I’m all for having set plans, and for a hen party it’s a must – but there are certain ‘rules’ to be considered when it comes to planning. Before bulldozing ahead with a one-size-fits-all approach, it’s worth bearing in mind that people’s expectations of a hen party can vary massively depending on their own situation. Understanding this is the key to a successful hen party!
Let people dip in and out of activities as they wish. I organised my sister’s hen party last year, and we decided to take a jaunt on some electric bikes for a couple of hours. This wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so I had arranged a masseuse to come to the venue for anyone who preferred that. There’s little worse than feeling obliged to do something you don’t want to do, especially when you’ve paid good money to be there. Besides, when the pressure is off, people will most likely get involved of their own accord. By setting the tone for a relaxed and flexible weekend early on, the hens will be onside from the get go!
3. Never underestimate the power of FUN FUELERS
‘Fun Fuelers’ are what we like to call any paraphernalia that, in a nutshell, generate fun! Remember, often hens are meeting for the first time or you may be flying solo for the weekend, so having a couple of icebreakers are a great way to quickly unite a group in a natural way.
Things such a photo props, hats, inflatables and piñatas goad people to get involved. There’s nothing more unifying that discussing your outlandish costumes or watching the blindfolded bride-to-be beat the living daylights out of a unicorn piñata.
4. Arrange as much as you can advance
Where possible, prebook and pay for as much as you can. The only thing worse than being forced to wear matching pink t-shirts that say ‘Zilla’s Hen Party’ is being landed with another £200 bill at the end of the weekend. The last hen I went to included food for the weekend, taxis, drinks, dinner, club entry, even some champagne caviar! It was such a relief to all the hens at the end of the weekend, and there was no begrudgery over the price tag.
5. Don’t be afraid to switch it up
Don’t be afraid to switch up the traditional format of the hen party and stray from the ever popular two-night/one-day activity format. One-nighters are becoming more and more the done thing, and you’ll find that people generally tend to give it socks for the night. Another trend is that of day parties – still life painting, ice cream making, laughter yoga and clay pigeon shooting are all the rage amongst 2015 hens. Do what your little heart heart desires but for pete’s sake consider your hens in the process.
Stay tuned next week for the third and final instalment of the Alternative Hen series, where Siobhan will be exploring the art of Peacocking with party accessories.
We leave you to ponder the words of Charlotte Brontë, ‘I would always rather be happy than dignified,’ she says. Second that Charlotte. Cluck fucking cluck.