Your bestie has asked you to stand by her side on her special day and your mind has raced ahead to throwing her the perfect send off! Of course… The hens party is one of the most fun parts of being a bridesmaid and an amazing way to show your best girl just how much you care.
But planning a hens party can be quite a daunting task, especially if you’ve never planned one before. There’s activities, décor and catering to plan; you need keep all of the girls invited happy and most importantly, you need to give the bride-to-be the ultimate send-off. All while not blowing the budget! Keep the overwhelm at bay by following these ten steps to planning the perfect hens party.
1. Check in with the bride-to-be
The bride-to-be may be a super relaxed anything goes kinda bride or she could have a few ideas up her sleeve. Never assume you know what kind of hens party she wants. The best place to start is by checking in with her regarding any preferences she may have. Flick her through a series of questions via email or phone, or take her out for a drink to run through the details.
But, what details?
Most importantly, you need to know who she’d like to invite as this will influence the kind of event you plan. Does she want to include her mum, her grandmothers, or even her flower girl? Or would she prefer to celebrate with just her girl gang or an intimate celebration with the bridesmaids only? Perhaps she would like two celebrations: a kitchen tea or bridal shower as well as a hens party, and split her guests between the two.
Next, ask her when she’d like to have her hens party. Which weekends work for her? Does she want a daytime, night-time or overnight event? Would she like to stay local or would she prefer a destination hens?
Check whether there are any activities she’d love to do and equally, whether there is anything she definitely would not like to do on her hens day.
And then there is the money talk… The bride-to-be may also be able to give you a guide of how much she would expect her guests to contribute financially. Be sure to have discussed this before you start planning that incredible destination hens at the bride’s favourite tropical destination: You wouldn’t want to waste your time only to find your budget doesn’t stretch that far.
To make it super easy for you, we have put together a questionnaire of everything you need to ask the bride-to-be in order to get planning her hens underway. Enter your details at the end of this article to have it sent to your inbox.
2. Save the date
Now that you have the invite list, it’s time to send out a save the date for the event. This will give you an idea of the number of guests attending so you can start planning. You can send an electronic save the date or post a beautifully designed paper version to each guest. Either have a designer create one, purchase an editable template online, or have a go yourself if you’re handy with a design program such as Canva. Creating a Facebook group is another way to ask guests to save the date. It is also a great way to stay in touch with everyone, keep them updated along the way and answer any questions that may come up.
3. Research & plan
Right, now to start planning the fun stuff! You will now likely have an idea of what the bride-to-be wants and doesn’t want. And after that money talk, you may have an idea of a budget you need to stick to. Although sometimes it is hard to set a budget without knowing how much things cost. With these factors in mind, now is the time to research, research, research!
When researching hens party activities make sure you take into consideration the ages and abilities of all guests particularly if mums and grandmothers are invited. There are so many places you can find fun hens activity providers, event vendors and party products to help bring your event together. You can stalk your socials (Instagram is a great source of party inspo), a good ol’ Google search, make a Pinterest board of the vibe you’d like to create, and search the Pretty Zen Hen directoryfor hens party experiences and providers in your area.
At this point you can also pick a theme if you’d like to have one. It’s also a great idea to offer flexibility by having different stages to the event so that the guests can choose to attend the whole shebang or just part of the day. If moving from location to location, keep transportation in mind and leave a little room in the schedule for a relaxed day. No one wants to be rushing around from one place to the next.
4. Check the budget & book vendors
After some research you will have an idea of how much various activities cost and what works within your budget. With this in mind you can create a plan for the event and book all activities and venues. Remember to factor in the cost of food and drink for various parts of the event; transportation if it is required between locations; and styling, decorations or accessories.
5. Fill the girls in on the plan
Yay, you now have a plan of attack! It’s time to confirm with all the girls invited a rough outline of the event, what activities they’ll be doing, and how much they need to pay. Give them the bank account details and a due date for their payment, giving yourself a bit of extra time in case you need to chase late payments (as you always do!)
It’s best not to go to the group for opinions before this point. Have you heard the saying, ‘too many cooks in the kitchen…’? Too many opinions will just confuse you and make your task of planning difficult. Keep the bride in mind always, consider the group, but never involve more than a few people in the planning process.
6. Double check your catering plan
You may have booked a restaurant for a portion of the event but be sure to have food and drink available throughout the entire day. For example, you will likely need some bottles of champagne on arrival along with some light snacks before the event really gets underway. The last thing you want is to be attempting to organise a bunch of girls who’ve had too much to drink and too little to eat. Remember to check dietary requirements of guests and bear in mind any pregnant ladies.
7. Think decor, styling & favours
Time to think about prettying the place up. If you’re starting at someone’s home or celebrating at a restaurant, consider décor such as flowers, balloons or a photo backdrop. Now is also the time to order any bits and pieces you’d like to make the hens day extra special, such as a beautiful floral crown for the bride-to-be, sashes and accessories, or party bags for the guests. If you want to play a few games throughout the event, do a little research and pick a couple you think the bride would like.
Boring but crucial! Please, don’t just wing it on the day! Write up a run sheet outlining all the important details like where you have to be at what time, how you are getting from one place to the next, contact details of activity vendors and venues, and which guests are attending which parts of the day.
Your run sheet doesn’t need to be complicated. If you’re familiar with Excel or Google spreadsheets, use that. If you use Asana or Trello for project management, whip up a list or board there. Use the notes app on your phone, or there is nothing wrong with old fashioned pen and paper. Remember to bring this with you on the day, either on your phone or a printed version.
Delegate various tasks out to the bridesmaids or sisters of the bride ensuring the set-up of the hens party and the day itself runs smoothly.
9. Confirm guests & vendors
A few weeks ahead of the hens party, confirm with guests an overview of how the day will run, where to meet, what to bring, and your contact details should they need to get in touch. A week or so prior, re-confirm all of your hens party bookings with vendors, ensuring the date, time, guest number and any other important details are correct. Make sure all your guests are paid up and pay your vendors before their due dates.
10. Party time!
The big day is here! Well, the second biggest day… Enjoy the amazing event you and your superstar organisational skills have pulled off! More importantly ensure the bride-to-be has the time of her life before she heads down the aisle.
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