Planning a hen do

You might feel a degree in event management would be useful before launching into your best friend's ultimate party before the big day.

Friends, relations, activities, transport, places to stay, food, outfits and budgets. It's almost like planning a wedding.

If you're feeling the pressure to make sure your bride and her closest friends and family have the best time ever, start by keeping these five helpful hints in mind:

A hen weekend draws together the brides many and varied friends and relations.

1 When

First things first - decide on a date.

If you have been given a list of people the bride is keen to involve you could launch into a consultation-style exercise over a potential day or weekend.

Alternatively talk to the bride and get her to suggest some potential dates. She is likely to know when any of her nearest and dearest are away or otherwise engaged.

It is also worth remembering that you need to leave enough time in between the hen do and the big day to ensure people have sufficient funds to cover both.

Put your feet up or party? The choice is yours..

2 Know your audience

Friends are more than likely to be top of the list when it comes to a hen do. But mums, aunts, third cousins, aunts, godmothers and family friends may also all have their place.

You may even have those who are pregnant, breastfeeding or need to get back to young children.

Knowing your audience - their circumstances and age range - will help you plan something that everyone will feel able to attend or get involved in. It's important not to make any of your hens feel excluded.

3 Be realistic

A weekend in Marbella, cocktail making, a luxury boutique hotel, prosecco every night and first class flights there and back. It's a nice idea but perhaps not entirely practical with a wedding on the horizon - unless money really is no object.

Have a chat with the bride to find out what sort of hen weekend she envisages.

Speak to the bride about what she may want or like to do, what she may have enjoyed from other hen events she has been to and what she thinks those she has asked will be willing to get involved in. After this you can take on most of the planning.

And be realistic how much you can really cram into a day, an evening or a weekend. A relaxed hen do, where people can get to know each other and spend time with the bride, will be the most enjoyable.

4 Keep an eye on costs

The pressure to organise the party to end all parties could see your costs easily spiral.

Food, transport, a place to stay, can soon all add up.

Not everyone will have lots of money to spend, particularly with the wedding to also attend and the costs which that will bring, so it is important to seek views and be open and transparent about how much things will cost before making any firm bookings.

Planning a hen-do to remember?

5 Be flexible

Hen parties are very often a group of girls from all sorts of different backgrounds.

Finances, circumstances, likes and dislikes - all of these may contribute to your hens not all feeling able to do exactly the same thing.

Build in options. If there's a two-night stay away, consider trying to offer the option of only one for those who may have small children or where money is an issue.

If there's dinner and an activity - don't make both compulsory if people only wish to join for one.

Alternatively, if there is an activity older members might not be so keen to take part in - find them an alternative, or at the very least a really nice place to sit and talk or watch the others, so they don't feel entirely excluded.

It's a nice idea to offer options and alternatives outside of the main plan.

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