With our years of expertise organising hen do’s, our team have put together their top advice for reducing stress, avoiding conflict and creating a successful and memorable event. So, before you start planning the bride-to-be’s big hen weekend, make sure you do your research and avoid these most common hen party planning mistakes.
1. Not communicating enough with the bride
Before the planning begins
Before you start any hen do planning at all, your first step should be a detailed chat with the bride-to-be. We recommend touching base about:
- The date
- The destination
- The guest list
- The budget
- Activity preferences
- Her absolute do’s and don’ts
If you don’t cover these basics before you start planning, you might head down a path with the trip that the bride will end up hating. This is easily avoided by just having that conversation right away at the beginning.
When changes or problems arise
If there is a problem with the hen party (e.g. supplier falling through or conflict within the group), you’ll face a decision about what to chat with the bride about and what to keep from her. We use the following criteria to make that decision:
- If it is stressful information that the bride can’t have any effect on: Our advice is not to tell her. As the hen party planner, your job is to shield her from stresses before her wedding if you can handle them yourself.
- However, if the information will affect her experience at the hen party (e.g. her loved one can’t attend or a supplier cancelled an item): It’s important to let her know about it. Partly so you can get her opinion about how to fix it but also to try and avoid some of those ‘bridezilla’ moments where she might make demands on yourself or other group members that could be seen as unreasonable. Tread lightly but just make sure you’re communicating honestly and as positively as possible.
2. Going it alone
Planning a hen do alone is no easy thing. You’ll be liaising with suppliers, dealing with changes, making decisions about which items to book, putting out fires when things go wrong and being the central point of contact for everyone involved. If you’re a superwoman organiser extraordinaire, then we applaud you and we’re sure it’ll be amazing.
If you’re like most people and it’s all a bit overwhelming, then getting help is one of the best ways to avoid this hen party planning mistake.
Planning with the bridal party
If there are a few members of the bridal party, then work together to share the load of the hen do planning. Assign different tasks and chat regularly to make sure everything is getting done on time and you’re all working together toward the same goal.
Using a hen party planning company
We know we’re a bit biased but we genuinely believe that booking your hen party with a company like ourselves really does help reduce the stress of the whole process:
- We become the central point of contact with suppliers, so you don’t have to deal with them.
- You have the flexibility to make changes.
- You don’t have to collect any money from the girls to pay to the suppliers – everyone pays for themselves online.
3. Making difficult decisions by committee
It’s really common for the hen party planning to be done by the whole bridal party as a group, which can be really great to spread the work between multiple people but it also can be dangerous, for a few reasons:
- If the bridal party members don’t know each other very well, then they might not get along well enough to plan the hen do together.
- If you all have different ideas or preferences about the hen party, then you could be working towards different goals. In this case, it’s usually best to get clear directions from the bride so that everyone can work towards her preferences.
- Finding time for the group to communicate about booking decisions (what to book, budget amounts etc) can be difficult, which can delay the planning process. It’s definitely best to set up a WhatsApp group, Facebook group or another channel to make sure there is clear and regular communication.
4. Going over budget
If you chatted with the bride and got a clear idea of the budget limitations from your group, then you should have a pretty good idea of how much this hen party is allowed to cost per person.
There are still some important budget considerations to keep in mind to avoid this sensitive hen party planning mistake:
- If you’re organising a hen do abroad, then consider that girls will have to add the cost of the flights to the cost of the accommodation, activities and nightlife.
- Chat with the bride before you start planning to decide whether she wants to pay for her own spot or if she’d like the group to split the cost of her trip. If she prefers the second option, then this will have to be added to the cost per person when planning the package and trying to stay within budget.
- When building your hen party package or trip, remember that the cost of the package doesn’t always represent the entire cost of the trip per person. Members may have to pay for extra meals, drinks each night, shopping and local transport.
- If you’re planning some hen party surprises, themes or games, then you’ll need to factor these into your budget plans. It’s easy to plan these fun bits without spending a lot of money, particularly if you DIY things like games and decorations.
To help keep track of the hen party budget, you can set up a Google Sheet or similar.
5. Conflict when someone can’t make the trip
So the question we have at The Foxy Hen is, when is it ok NOT to go to the brideâs hen??
Under all circumstances, common sense and kindness should prevail. If one of the bridesmaids or group members can’t attend, whether this is due to an illness in her family, a big life change or any other personal reason, there has to be room for people to drop out if circumstances require it.
Donât forgetâ¦ âThe show will go onâ without her (though sadly) and the bride and the rest of the party should stick to their plans and go out and enjoy the night or weekend. But at least spare her a thought, she is probably not only feeling down over the circumstances but hugely guilty for missing out on the brideâs hen.
Maybe when things improve for her and she is feeling up to it, she can take the bride out to lunch and the two of them can do something together, without the âmadding crowdâ! There are lots of ways to help each girl feel included and to make sure the bride is shown lots of love and pampering during the lead-up to her big day.
If you can avoid these common hen party planning mistakes, then you’re already well on your way to an incredible event with minimal stress on the journey.
The most important thing to remember is to always communicate with everyone often and honestly and to ask for help when you need it.
Image credits: Anatoliy Karlyuk, by Shutterstock