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Hen Party Planning Guide & How To

Wondering how to plan a hen do? This guide runs you through the main steps to complete your hen party planning without a hitch!

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Introduction

Hen party planning can be super stressful if you go in unprepared. It’s the most important event in the lead up to the bride-to-be’s big day and we know you want to make it special and personal to her. We also know you want everything to go to plan and to leave no hen do ideas left unturned.

The good news is, you definitely don’t need to panic – here at The Foxy Hen, we have your back! We’ve been planning heavenly hen parties for years and it’s our passion to help you create an unforgettable and personalised celebration for the bride-to-be.

We have built a comprehensive 8 step “How To Plan A Hen Party” guide to ensure everything goes as smoothly and as stress free as possible! Think of it as an essential checklist to refer back to during the key stages of planning a once-in-her-lifetime hen do.

Hen party planning: 8 step checklist

The ideal first ingredient for your hen party planning recipe: time. Count out the time between now and the wedding and map out your initial hen do planning timeline. Picking a definite hen party date will come but, for now, just check to see if you’ll be calmly meandering your way to the hen night or if it’s going to be a mad dash.

Then it’s time to start brainstorming the next planning steps with your bride squad. To help make this super easy, we’ve created one for you! Here is our (well-practised) hen party planning checklist to help you ensure all your hen dreams go off without a hitch.

  1. Research the hen guest list
  2. Pick your hen do dates
  3. Do you want hen party themes and games?
  4. Agree on a hen trip budget
  5. Pick a hen party destination
  6. Book your flights or transport
  7. Choose or build your hen party package
  8. Organise payments and special touches

Honourable mention: You should probably also check out our smart top tips for organising a hen do and the most common hen party planning mistakes, just so you can avoid stress right from the beginning.

1. Create the invite list

You’re planning this incredible hen party for the bride and you know her so well! But that doesn’t necessarily mean you know all of the most important women (or sten men) in her life. Imagine if you miss out on her best friend from primary school or a cousin who lives overseas but would totally come (i.e. major hen party planning fail)!

Creating your hen do invitation list may take a bit of research but it will be worth it to make sure the bride sees all of the smiling face she expects at the hen do.

Follow these steps to get the list just right:

  1. Brainstorm every gal you know that is close to the bride.
  2. Chat with the bride! She won’t mind you checking with her and she’ll appreciate you making sure you have everyone.
  3. If you can, also just touch base with the bride’s mum or family about who you should invite and what their needs might be. Check whether her 90 year old gran can come (though she might skip the paintball…) or if anybody wants a room to themselves.
  4. Decide how you’re going to communicate (see below)
  5. Invite the bride! And make it something truly special… (see below)
Note: If you’re planning a sten do with a mixed-gender group, then your guest list will look a little different. Check out our guide for how to plan a sten do or hag party.

What's the best way to stay in touch with the group?

Ideas for how to invite the bride to her Hen Party

Our favourite ideas for inviting the hen to her hen party are:

  • Send her a hand-written or themed invitation in the mail
  • Give her a gift pack where each item is a clue to what the hen party entails
  • If you’re travelling to another city or overseas for the hen, give her a postcard from that city inviting her to come join
  • Create a video with the bride’s loved ones giving her clues about the hen and sharing a fav memory
  • Write her a funny or heartfelt poem that makes her feel special and gives her clues about what will happen on the hen!
  • Check out our full list of ideas for inviting the bride.

2. Pick the date

Choosing a date for the hen party can be a bit of a headache. We recommend trying to keep it simple with these 4 easy steps:

  1. Ask the bride when she would prefer and if certain dates are out.
  2. Check for bank holidays, football finals, local festivals and events that draw a crowd to your chosen hen party destination to make sure there are no clashes.
  3. Choose 2-3 possible dates / weekends for the hen.
  4. Create a poll in your Facebook group or a free Google form and share the link with your hen group so they tick which date(s) they’re free.

And, voila! Hen do date chosen.

Woman sitting down with a calendar to plan a UK hen do during covid19

3. Games and themes

Hen party games

A hen party game is the perfect way to add some class, some cheek and some outright LOLs to your hen weekend with the girls.

If you’ve booked your own hen party house, you could take over the lounge for a round of your favourite hen do game. Or you could sort out a room in your hotel or local bar/pub so you can enjoy some bubbly and giggles during the game, no matter where you are.

Some of our most popular games are:

Check out our full list of games, get inspiration and free downloadable game packs on our Hen Party Games page.

Hen party themes

For detailed guides on all of the most popular options, check out our Hen Party Themes page.

A woman sitting on a bed planning her hen party on the computer

4. Agree on a budget

Nailing down a trip budget can be a daunting task and is one of the most notorious hen party planning headaches. Will it be a 5 star hotel or a simple hostel? 5 hen party activities in 1 day or a simple night out on the town with the girls?

It’s natural that people’s tastes and income will influence what they think is an appropriate amount to pay for a hen night or hen weekend away. We can help you work out your group’s budget with these stress-saving tips:

  1. Chat with the bride to see if she’s thinking of a multi-day or single night event.
  2. Get a rough idea of what she has in mind so you can meet or manage her expectations.
  3. Chat with the bridal party and come to an agreement on a rough budget that you think is fair to everyone.
  4. Book your hen party accommodation, activities or meals with a company (ahem…us) that lets your girls opt out of any items they don’t want to do or can’t afford). They could just stay for 1 of 2 nights or skip the day activity, whatever suits their needs.
  5. Do your research and make sure you choose one hen do activity or meal that everyone will be able to take part in and afford. That way, there is at least one item where all the bride’s loved ones can be there, even if they opt out of everything else.

5. Pick your destination

Picking your destination is the fun part about hen party planning! You might be dreaming of a girly beach getaway, a city hen fling or a quiet country house with hen do games and good food. There are so many ways your group can go!

At home, close by, domestic or abroad?

There are 4 different categories we place hen do destinations into:

  1. Hen party at home: Host an event in your own home, book dinner in a local restaurant or plan a night out on the town in your local area. A hen do kitchen tea is becoming a super popular laid back hen option.
  2. Hen party nearby: Travel outside your local area to a town or city nearby.
  3. Domestic hen party: Travel to a town or city within your country but not very close to home.
  4. Hen party abroad: Jet set to a destination overseas.

Destination ideas

You might be planning to stay at home in the UK or Ireland. Or can your group afford to jet off abroad to hen do destinations in Europe and go wild in Amsterdam, Prague or Marbella?

Check out our full list of hen party destinations for inspiration.

Decision factors

Ultimately, it comes down to:

  • The bride’s wishes (if you’re giving her a choice)
  • Budget
  • Time off work (if planning a long weekend)
  • Family responsibilities
  • Other commitments

It’s important to be realistic, so that as many of the bride’s favourite ladies can join in the hen party trip as possible.

Girl sitting on top of a suitcase

6. Transport or flights

If you’re hosting your hen party in your actual home, then you can gloat, chuckle and skip this section, caus you ain’t going nowhere – nice!

Hen party transport within your own country

If you’re travelling north or south within the UK or Ireland to your chosen hen party destination, then it’s worth considering:

  • Can you carpool with anyone else driving there?
  • Do trains and/or buses stop in your destination? And which one is cheapest?
  • Do you need to contact local bus or taxi companies to organise transport to and from your hen party activities? Ask us for local company recommendations!
  • Can you book hen accommodation that allows you to walk into town? See our recommendations in Step 7.

Flights for a hen do abroad

Booking a whole hen party in for flights to your chosen hen destination abroad can be a bit tricky (another major hen party planning headache you don’t need).

To try and keep things as simple as possible, we recommend:

  • Setting up alerts on Skyscanner (or similar) so you’ll get notifications about the cheapest flight options.
  • Be realistic about the flight times – if your girls are all meeting at the airport, then a 6am departure isn’t going to make for happy hen campers.
  • Consider flying there and back on weekdays – it’s cheaper and not so crowded.
  • If you’re travelling on a bank holiday, try to book as early as possible! It will become super expensive the closer you get.
  • Make sure you choose to fly into an airport that is definitely near your destination city. Some smaller European airports can be a bit out of the way…
  • Organise for a hen party game your girls can play on their phones. This will keep you busy in the air or come to the hen party vibe rescue in the airport if you’re delayed!

7. Book your Hen Party package

There are three ways you can book your hen party:

  1. Book it yourself: Deal direct with suppliers, collect all the money yourself (headache) and try to keep track of everyone and everything in the lead-up to the day.
  2. Book a pre-designed package:Browse our packages that have been built with the most popular items for both 1 and 2 night hen weekends.
  3. Build your own package: Go to your chosen destination page, add items to your basket to build a package and submit your request to check availability for free!
A group of girls doing a hen party activity

What makes up a hen do package?

The following items are usually included in hen party packages. However, you can book anything you need – a whole package, just one activity, or just accommodation!

Accommodation

Choosing the right hen party accommodation for your group depends on:

  • your destination
  • your budget
  • your group’s size
  • your group’s ages
  • and what kinds of hen activities and games you’ve chosen.

Since you should have your destination and budget roughly worked out by this stage in your hen party planning, your accommodation really comes down to the style and events you’ve planned for this hen weekend away.

For example, private games and home-cooked meals mean self-catering hen party houses are your best bet. A focus on nightlife and minimal transport means a central hotel is best.

Day activities

Choosing your hen party activities is definitely one of the most fun items on your hen party planning checklist. It’s like window shopping your bucket list!

Remember to factor in the budget, personalities, age groups and physical needs of your hen party group before choosing.

Party brides might like a draw a nude class or a cocktail-making class in town.

Creative brides would love a lip sync battle, treasure hunt, murder mystery experience, CSI save the groom or maybe a dance class.

Outdoorsy brides might prefer surfing, paintballing, kayaking or hiking.

Food & drink

A girl’s gotta eat and your hen party needs the energy to party hard for the night ahead or the whole weekend!

The best way to keep your girls fueled and to share some quality time together is by booking some delicious hen party food and drink experiences in your chosen destination.

You could book:

  • Breakfast or brunch
  • Finger food for a quick snack
  • Just a main course in a local restaurant
  • Or a whole 2, 3 or 4 course meal.

Nightlife

The hen night out is your group’s chance to really let loose and go have fun out on the town.

The point is to plan your hen party night out with activities that suit your bride-to-be and give all the ladies something they’ll remember for a long time to come. For example:

  • Stripogram
  • Karaoke
  • Late bar
  • Nightclub entry
  • Drag show
  • Pub crawl

Inviting the girls into the booking

Once you have your hen party package finalised, it’s time to invite the girls!

We’ve seen some really creative hen party invitation ideas that you can send out to make the event feel extra special.

If you booked your hen do through us, all you need to do is log in to your booking, copy the invite link and share it with the girls. They can then create an account, log in and view the booking for themselves.

4 hen party members clinking champagne glasses to celebrate

8. Payments & special touches

Getting the girls to pay for their spot on the hen can be a little bit tricky but, with some careful planning and good communication, we can help it to go more smoothly.

Once you get to this stag of your hen do planning, you should have much more free time to plan those special touches and hen party surprises that will make it an unforgettable event for everyone.

Payments

If you have booked everything in yourself, then we’re sorry to say that you’ll probably have to collect money from the girls yourself and py the suppliers directly.

However, if you’ve booked through us here at The Foxy Hen, there are 3 ways your hen group can make payments to join the trip:

  1. Log into the booking page, click the payment button on their name in the list and submit a secure payment online for their whole cost.
  2. Pay in instalments over time! Your ladies can log into their account, click the payment button on their name and simply untick any items in the list they don’t want to pay for yet before making the payment. Log back in and repeat as many times as needed.
  3. Or they can pay for themselves (or a group of people) over the phone with one of The Foxy Hen team members. Just note there is a small admin fee for phone payments.

Special touches

We’ve already spoken about hen party games and themes but there are plenty of ways you can add special touches to the whole hen do to make the bride and the whole group feel special and excited.

We’ll give a quick recap here:

We’d love to hear your ideas!

Conclusion

Ok, so this isn’t really a step in your hen party planning checklist but it’s certainly the last stop on your hen organising journey.

We hope this guide has helped to de-mystify and de-stress the steps to planning the perfect hen do. We’re sure yours is going to be beautiful and remembered by the bride and all the girls for a long time.

If you have any questions, please get in touch!

Now, go have fun! xx

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Let's get the party started! What kind of hen party would you like and where?

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