Calling all bridesmaids! Want to give your bride-to-be the hen of her dreams? Then check out our ultimate list of class hen party ideas to suit every bride and budget. This is the ultimate list of hen party activities. But beware! It’s essential to know what she will really love before you start making plans. Think of all those poor girls you see on ‘Don’t Tell the Bride’ that get sent paintballing in high heels! So do your research and ASK what she doesn’t like. Listen to what she says about hens she has been on and take the hint. Every bride is different, and one gal’s relaxing spa day would be another GI Jane’s idea of hell! We’ve got everyone covered below for bridesmaids looking for some serious henspo.
1. The Boozy Bride
Every girl has her go-to tipple and there’s no shortage of ideas for boozy fun to suit every taste. Stay on-trend with a gin cruise or bottomless brunch. Tour a distillery, brewery or wine bar with samples galore or go for a classic cocktail making class or champagne tasting. Or why not make your own gin?!
Cocktail-making is always a good fall back hen party option. It’s an easy activity that everyone will enjoy, it’s fun, lets the hens chat, mingle (and drink!) as well as learning a few new shaking and stirring skills! Lots of bars around the country offer cocktail-making classes but we recommend specialists if you’re cocktail snobs (like The Vintage Cocktail Club in Dublin) or try cocktailclasses.ie for classes around the country.
If you are tempted on a booze cruise (we recommend for summer only in Ireland obvs!) Start your hen party in style with a mini cruise on the Lough Corrib with the Corrib Princess, the Shannon has the Moon River Pleasure Cruiser and River Run Pleasure Cruiser or if you’re staying south side, head to West Cork on the Inishbeg, All of these all offer great hen party packages. In Dublin, La Peniche allows you to dine and dance while barge cruising on the Grand Canal or you can take a tour around the harbour with Dublin Bay Cruises.
2. The Cover Girl
For the glamour girl, get her dolled up from head to toe. Give her a VIP day out with a makeover and photoshoot for the squad. Sip prosecco at a swish blow dry bar, learn to do your make-up like a pro at a masterclass, or nail your hen party with a trip to a shellac bar.
In Dublin, our favourite blow dry bars are Dry and Fly, an effortlessly trendy blow dry bar with a range of styles including loose curls and beachy, boho waves. Depending on the size of your group, they do whizz you in and out so if you’re looking for a more relaxing experience check out some of the other options. Roller is in Grand Canal and offer a flexible hen party blow dry experience. We’re big fans of the Brown Thomas Beauty Lounge who use Aveda products and offer dry styling from €19! They also have a nail bar. The Crow Street Collective offers a more eclectic setting for your pamper party.
3. The Retro Bride
Image from Planet Sputnik
Get the nostalgia flowing with some old-school entertainment. Why not organise a school sports day event, complete with sack races (much more interesting after a few glasses of bubbly!) Try some hula hooping and hold a contest. Get your skates on and head to the roller disco. Or organise a 90s dance class (Spice Girls costumes essential!) There’s also bowling and karaoke as fun, retro hen party ideas.
Another old school hen party activity (which is actually ridiculously fun!) is a hen party scavenger hunt. These are also perfect for bringing the hen ladies together. Whether you DIY or book via a company, you’ll provide a list of clues and set the hen ladies free. Check out treasurehunts.ie or Dublin Treasure Hunts to get the hunt set up for you (we do recommend the DIY version however).
A themed afternoon tea hen party somewhere like Ruby Ellen’s in Co. Louth provides a quirky, vintage afternoon tea hen party experience. If you want to take in the sites with your cake, hop on the Vintage Tea Tour bus for a fun city tea party experience. If you want to bring it to you, sip tea in the comfort of your own home or hotel room with Social Bee or Oh So Sweet Occasions who can travel to various locations Ireland. Head to Kippure for a Mad Hatters Tea Party experience. Or, for the ultimate mix of vintage and tea party, check out the Downton Abbey hen party experience here.
4. The Zen Bride
Book in for some bridal pampering in a spa hotel before the big day. Snap up a special for groups that includes treatments, food and plenty of time lounging in a sumptuous thermal suite. A nice touch would be to get the guest of honour a ‘Bride’ robe that she can rock again on her wedding morning. Another idea for a chilled bride is a private yoga class followed by some Champers to wash away any inkling of wedding stress.
Check out The Imperial Hotel in Cork for pampering and the ultimate base for your classy Cork hen weekend. The Seafield Hotel is near Gorey town in Wexford and very hen friendly. For a taste of the west, Delphi Mountain Resort is a gorgeous hotel packed with a spa and adventure centre with an impressive range of outdoor activities. Galway is always a fun hen party hotspot and has some of the best nightlife in Ireland. Check out The G hotel for a boutique spa experience right next to the infamous nightlife.
5. The Gastronaut
Treat your fabulous foodie to a mouth-watering hen. For the girl with a sweet tooth, check out chocolate making or Bake-Off-style meringue making with Delish Melish in Dublin or Meringue Girls in London. Book a cookery class (maybe a Japanese or pizza theme) and enjoy your dish with some drinks afterwards. Dublin Cookery School have endless options and are highly recommended. But if you’re not in the capital check out Ballyknocken Cookery School in Wicklow, Ballymaloe Cookery School in Cork, Cloughjordan House Cookery School in Tipperary and Fairyhouse Cookery School in Co. Meath.
In the UK, check out Bake with a legend where you learn to bake with a GBBO contestant! Check out a local guided food trail (tapas anyone?) or stick to a fancy French theme (macarons and cheese please). Team fashion and food together with a unique trail in Dublin.
6. The Festival Goddess
Channel Coachella, pack the prosecco and make the weekend a bridefest to remember. Take the bride glamping and get the outdoor buzz of camping … but with showers and phone chargers! Book in for a flower crown making workshop and make the bride the festival queen or set up an on-site glitter bar to get the gang decorated with festival sparkles.
So where to go? That’s the problem as every part of the country has a little hidden glamping gem! The hardest part is picking the right one for your hen party weekend. Popular and highly recommended options are Teapot Lane Luxury Camp in Leitrim, Rock Farm Slane in Meath and Tee Pee Valley in Armagh
7. The Badass
For the unconventional bride, why not arrange a day of (supervised!) axe throwing? Archery lessons or a clay-pigeon shooting are other great options for a wannabe warrior princess. Go on a ‘Game of Thrones’ tour and explore the real-life Westeros. Or discover your spray can skills with a graffiti workshop!
Another option for the not so bride like bride is a murder mystery hen party experience. We recommend that you throw some costumes into the mix for the perfect murder evening. Check out Murder on the Menu, Murder Mystery Ireland and The Old Rectory.
8. The Active/Competitive Bride
For the outdoorsy gal, hit the beach for some surfing, kayaking or kitesurfing and warm up afterwards with drinks in a cosy seaside pub. For a city location, check out SUP or wakeboarding lessons. Other options in the great outdoors include ziplining or an assault course adventure. Check out ZipIt Forest Adventure in Dublin, Lilliput Adventure Centre in Westmeath, Out-Doors and Dirty Cavan, Kippure Estate in Wicklow, Collanmore Island Lodge in Mayo and Loughcrew Adventure Centre in Meath. One or our personal favourites is Galz Gone Wild in Co Wicklow.
Or, for some indoors competition, try out an escape room or an adventure room challenge (perfect for Crystal Maze fans). And make sure to organise some hentastic prizes for the winners! Our current favourite is Escape Boats in Dublin!
9. The Five-Star Bride
Spoil the bride with an afternoon tea treat of delicious nibbles and plenty of bubbles in the luxurious surroundings of a five-star hotel. This is a great option if you want to include mothers/aunts/mothers-in-law/bosses etc earlier in the day. With beautiful china, delicious cake, a glass of bubbly and bottomless tea (or something stronger!), afternoon tea hen parties are the low key hen party people pleaser. Check out The Shelbourne, the Westbury or the Dylan in Dublin City or Castle Leslie in Co. Monaghan for 5 star afternoon tea treatment. You could also book an evening at an exclusive cocktail bar (check out The Marker Rooftop in Dublin for the ultimate hen party drinks). If the budget permits, check the bride into a 5 start hotel or luxury B&B for the night. In Cork the penthouse at the Clayton is fab or check out the champagne tasting hen party experience at The Imperial. The Dean penthouse or the Morgan penthouse are dream settings in Dublin.
10. The Crafty Fox
For all those make-and-do queens, there are lots of activities perfect for a hen party. You could check out headpiece making, jewellery and ring making or calligraphy workshops (a great skill to master for those wedding invitations). And there’s no rule against getting her creative juices flowing while enjoying a few beverages!
In Dublin, check out boho flower crown-making with Kay’s Flower School or The Crate, perfect for summer hen party vibes. Kippure Estate in. Wicklow offers a felt experience. You’ll find Pottery Painting at The Pottery Shed in Kilkenny or Giddy Studios in Dublin (we really want to try make our own boozy tea cup set!) or nude life drawing at My Art Class in Galway. Check out The Three Towers Crafty Hens packages. The latest trend in Dublin is painting and prosecco or paint with pints.
11. The Boogie Bride
If your bride-to-be is always first on the dancefloor, then a dance workshop should be top of your list. Try a routine based around the bride’s favourites (Beyoncé workshop you say?) Get schooled in some Strictly style skills or maybe burlesque or belly dancing. It will get everyone footloose and fancy free for the night ahead.
Stay tuned to thehenplanner.com for lots more henspo, tips and suggestions.
Happy henning ladies!