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By way of introduction my name is Ciara O’Reilly, a 30 year old not yet married (although applying daily pressure) lady living in Dublin city. I seem to have spent the latter half of my 20s being a bridesmaid organising and attending hen parties. My first hen was party was a “Cheerleader” themed hen. The excitement of a weekend away with a group of friends was subsequently ruined by a theme which was nothing short of horrific. I am not sure what need there is ever for a group of twenty something year olds to dress up as 17 year old American teenagers in real life!! With the majority of the ladies who attended opting for cycling shorts under the skirts it was a bad mixture of slutty meets Tour de France. Not to mention the “pregnant” cheerleader and the sight of my friends elderly aunt drinking from a pen** shaped straw!!!
Hen parties will inevitably have a mixture of girls all shapes and sizes but a common denominator for all ladies is a desire to look and feel fabulous. It is so easy to succumb to the cheap and cheerful hen party paraphernalia and adopt the “run in and grab it the night before” mentality but I think with a little planning, a classy and fabulous hen can be achieved without having to cost an arm and a leg. Based on this logic I outlined below what I consider are the main factors which contribute to a fabulous hen party.
1. Be Different
The theme needs to align with the brides personality. There are very few themes which you can’t apply a little bit of glamour too and we all know that classy gals get a lot more attention than those shaking a pair of pom- poms- well the right sort of attention anyway.
2. Stay Together
It’s a girls weekend! With hen parties varying in size from maybe 5 to 40 the bride will want her guests to mingle. These are a brides closest friends and family and she will want the hen party to set the foundations for the wedding therefore when planning the weekend, activities need to considerate of this. There are so many activities out there whether it be the silky pyjama prosecco party or the cocktail making class which can accommodate varying group sizes. The key is choosing the right one.
3. Cost Effective
The bride wants her guests to be relaxed and comfortable, and achieve this through the minimal amount of cost to the guest. I’ll admit it’s easy to cut costs on a hen but in reality proper planning and negotiating can get the right deal for a hen party. Also a key factor is notice!! Giving people sufficient notice & facilitating payment in stages works best. If a weekend is prepaid, guests feel like it’s a virtually free weekend and hence people relax more.
Play lists are key!!! Need I say more.
5. Tears and Laughter
Video messages collated from a brides friends and family or personalised memory books are a fabulous way of collating lifelong memories that a bride can hold on to forever. They usually incorporate the right balance of humour , emotion and nostalgia
6. Gift from the Main Man
Whether it’s a bottle of champagne in her room, or a tiffany bracelet; nothing means more to a bride than a card and a wee gift from the future groom.
A hen weekend is an extremely special occasion. Many different groups come together and a hen, well organised, will see friendships being formed, old friendships rekindled and leaves a bride feeling on top of the world as she prepares for her big day!!