Planning a Hens Night – Who Pays and Everything in Between

girl on pole

22 Mar 2020

What do you do on a hens night?

Your big day is approaching, and you want to celebrate with one last hurrah with the girls. But because every bride-to-be is different, one hen’s party does not suit all.

While backyard parties with all the quirky hen’s attire is still a popular go-to if you are on a bit of a budget, but there are plenty more options out there if you want to get a bit adventurous.

If you’re a first-time bridesmaid facing into the hen party gauntlet right now, you’ve come to the right place. Here at the hen planner, we’ll show you what you need to do (and when), we’ll take you through budgets, the pros and cons of different activities and accommodation, we’ll give you unique ideas for hen party themes, and we’ll even throw in the best Mr & Mrs quiz questions. To get you on the right track, we’ve put together a guide with everything you need to know about how to start planning a hen party. So gather all the bridesmaids, pop open some prosecco, get out your hen planner notebooks and let us help you make those first essential decisions. Once the hard stuff is done, it all becomes so much fun! Remember, the more you put in, the more you and the bride will get out of her big night. 

The old traditions have mostly gone, the l-plates, the veils, something old, something new ,we’ve all moved on a little bit. But that doesn’t mean you can’t start a few hen party traditions of your own. Laughing, singing, dancing, drinking too many cocktails, these are the rites of passage for any pre-wedding sisterhood. Here’s Gohan’s checklist of party pleasures that make every pre-wedding weekend complete.

hair make up and photoshoot hens

How to plan a hen party

Step 1. Numbers and nights

Get the bride to make up a list of exactly who she wants to attend her hen party. This means you won’t forget about that second cousin or school friend that you’ve never heard of. Once you have the numbers settled, decide whether the hen party will take place over one night or two (or more if you’re thinking of heading to sunnier climes!) There are advantages and disadvantages to both, so think carefully about this one and involve the bride. She will probably have a preference.

Step 2. Set your budget

Budget is the most important thing to decide on and should be done before any research goes into activities and locations. Everything that happens on the hen will depend on how much you can spend. Most one-night hen parties will probably come in under the €150pp mark. But there are significant discounts to be had by staying two nights, putting three people into hotel rooms, and doing lots of DIY. More significant numbers can mean much better deals also. Check out our more detailed blog on this here 

Step 3. Pick a hen party theme

If you plan on having a themed hen party, decide now, as your accommodation and choice of activities can add to an item. For example, glamping and a flower-crown workshop would add to a festival-themed hen, while a quirky hotel and 1960s makeover would be perfect for a vintage hen. There are so many options, from gatsby to glitter balls. A theme can make a hen party much more memorable.

Step 4. Choose a hen party location

In your local town or jetting off further afield, the choice is endless. Consider those attending the hen party, like people with children, anyone who is pregnant or those with weekend work schedules. It’s lovely to go far away, but if it means some essential people won’t be able to come, how will the bride feel? 

Step 5. Pick suitable accommodation

From hotels and b&bs to renting out a big house in the country, glamping and traditional camping, there is something to suit all tastes and budgets. A hotel can be very convenient, but self-catering options can make any event more intimate and personal.

Step 6. Start researching activities

Keep your audience in mind when you are deciding on what exercises to do. Again, the choice is vast, from craft, dance and beauty treat to high-adrenaline adventure and dress-up photoshoots. Check out myhenplanner.com for the most modern and unique range of hen party activities that will keep your hen party bang on-trend. 

hens party girls with earphones silent disco

Things every hen party should do

Get ready together

Getting ready for a big night out is half the fun. Singing, dancing, deciding what to wear, plus a few pre-drinks drinks.

Laugh at nothing in particular 

Real friends are just on the same weird wavelength. It’s the weirdness that holds you together.

Share a few cocktails 

Not drinking cocktails at a hen party? That’s against the law, isn’t it? Well, if it isn’t, it should be!

Eat too much 

Because calories don’t count on holiday.

Look at old photos of the bride

You were there through her teenage years, and somehow you let her go out in public with that hair!

Relive the memories

This is one of those occasions when you’ll relive the old times and maybe shed a tear.

Try something completely new

It could be a dance class, and it could be bungee jumping while playing the harp, whatever takes your fancy, hen parties are the perfect time to do something new/crazy.

Pamper yourselves

After weeks of wedding planning, it could be just what you all need.

Drink tequila

One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, four. Five tequila, six tequila, seven tequila, floor!

Watch a sunrise

Have you ever stayed up until dawn just to watch the sunrise? It’s a truly magical experience best shared with friends.

Take too many selfies

At least you’ll be able to reconstruct the previous night’s events by the evidence gathered on your phone. Just pray you weren’t posting drunk.

Group toilet trips

The more women in any group, the more of them need to go to the bathroom together. One of our many powers that confuse and scare men.

Where hen parties and stag dos differ is in the treatment of the bride/groom. The object of a stag does humiliate the groom as much as possible, whereas hen dos are all about protecting the bride at all costs. If anyone poses a threat to the group, in any way, the hens will close ranks faster than you can blink. We’re a scary bunch.

hens party sleepover

To do’s & don’t for organizing a hen party

You’ve landed yourself the maid of honour gig, and now you have lots of planning to do. One of your most significant responsibilities is to make sure your bride-to-be has the time of her life before her big day at her hen party. So let’s get started with what to do, and then we’ll move on with what not to do!

Do ask for help, don’t do it alone

Ask other bridesmaids to chip in and help you out. Ask your bride-to-be specific questions about what she has in mind, and what she doesn’t want. Look online for guidance.

You and the other ladies may all come from different backgrounds, but you’re all there for one reason ~ to give your friend/sister, the hen, a fabulous celebration and to have fun! Trust me, and all the hen wants is for everybody to get along and have a good time.

So embrace your differences, enjoy getting to know a new group of people ~ who knows you make new friends, and you’ll have a few friendly faces to chat with on the wedding day.

How much should a hens night cost? – Calculating the cost of a Hen Party 

When it comes to planning special events, there are no hard and fast rules. But when it comes to how much you should spend on a hen’s party, the internet seems to have some reasonably bright ideas.

ONCE upon a time, a hen’s party involved a simple night out on the town, but these days, they can often be a fantastic weekend away — with a price tag to match.

So how much is too much to expect others to pay for a hen’s do?

How to Calculate the Cost of the Hen Party

In Ireland, the typical cost of a Hen Party per person ranges from €120 to over €400 depending on the elements involved in the event. Wondering how it can cost so much and vary so widely? 

Every Hen Party follows a typical formula: an activity, a meal and drinks, usually accompanied by dancing the night away.

The additional options you might want to consider and include in the budget are:

  • Travelling away from home – accommodation
  • Making it a two-night event – extra night accommodation, meal and drinks
  • Contribution to the bride’s costs
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Decor and accessories for the party
  • Travel – taxis, trains etc

Many hotels offer packages with a night’s stay, dinner and activity, so while they may initially seem more expensive, when you put the elements together, they may end up being a pretty good value.  

The UK woman had organized two nights in a Scottish castle with all food, games, activities and decor plus one and a half bottles of prosecco for each person for a total of $A437 apiece. She asked a forum about whether that price tag was “unreasonable.”

“I wanted it to cost a lot less than this, but this is the cheapest I’ve managed to get it and still accommodate the bride’s wishes,” the woman explained.

cooking school girls drinking red wine

Before you Start – Consider your Guests

It’s essential to take into consideration those who will be attending and keep costs in mind through every part of the planning process. Not everyone has the same spending power, going to the wedding will cost quite a bit, and of course, many girls will have more than one wedding or hen party to attend, so it’s worth

The All-important Meal

The Hen Night meal is traditionally the most set activity of the Hen Party. Depending on where you choose, many restaurants offer a unique set menu or an early bird menu from which you can choose from. 

Drinks

This is optional, but sometimes hen parties decide to have a drink in the location/hotel or organize drinks in the club if you’re heading out on the town. 

Essential Stuff: Transport

If you’re heading away, make sure to organize transport such as taxis or minibuses to take people from location to location, and make sure to include this in the budget so that it is paid for in advance, so there are no surprises on the day (there’s nothing worse than being hit up for “extras”) It will be easier to keep the whole group together, everyone can enjoy a drink (or two!) and reduces the risk of losing any guests along the way! 

Paying for the Bride

Many Hen Parties now put money towards paying for the bride. It is a sweet gesture, but it should never be an obligation. To do this, divide the per-person cost of the Hen Party by the number of those attending to work out an acceptable contribution from each guest for the Hen.

Depends on the final cost and number of guests but usually around 10% of the ultimate price, any extra is paid for by the bridesmaids.

Better have some Contingency Budget

Allow for a small contingency budget by adding €10 to everyone’s costs (make sure to tell them you’re adding it in for unexpected extras) if it’s not needed on the night you can use it to buy a round of drinks.

When did Hen’s parties become so expensive?

 Hen’s nights, or more specifically, the exorbitant costs they now incur. Research has revealed the average cost of a wedding in Australia is $36,200. My research has revealed the average cost of attending a wedding, including the Hen’s night is, around $18,243.10. What once used to be a boozy night out with the girls has turned into a production that rivals that of any Andrew Lloyd Webber musical.

All of a sudden, the local bars that have been more than adequate to make a fool of yourselves over the years are no longer good enough. No, now we all need to travel to the other side of the country, and in some cases, the world, to hardly remember a thing from the night. I honestly can’t see the difference between having your Hen’s at the local Rissole with genuine 1970 prices or a two-day extravaganza in Bali.

The outcome is the same: someone will cry, someone will think it’s a great time to tell the bride what they feel about their hubby to be, someone will regret giving their number to the stripper, and you’re all going home with a headache. However, several posters said the $437 was “reasonable” and that guests were free to turn down the invitation.

“Sounds very good for two nights in a castle, and food and activities — if people cannot afford it, they can decline,” one said.

According to a 2017 study, the average cost of hens and bucks parties in the UK is now the equivalent of $AU924. That’s beautiful, wise even, but don’t expect us to do both. The truth is gathering your nearest and dearest girls for a night of debauchery is a sacred tradition that is worth upholding.

But it doesn’t need to cost more than a university degree.

How do I ask for money for hens night? – The Best Ways to Ask for Money from your Hen Party

Planning a stag or hen party can be a stressful job, especially if you’re jetting off abroad to one of the popular destinations like Majorca. When it comes to getting people to cough up their fair share for the activities, however, things can get even more complicated.

Who Should Pay For The Bachelorette Party?

In general, it’s tacky indeed to throw a party and demand an entrance fee, and that includes weddings (though that doesn’t seem to stop some couples from expecting guests to pay for the food and drink). But the bachelorette party is the exception to this rule. This is one night when guests should expect to pay their own way and help chip in for the guest of honor. No, it’s not fair that you should have to shell out for cocktails when you also have to spring for a set of espresso cups or designer table linens as a gift and, in your case, for a bridesmaid’s dress. But it’s the way things are done. So don’t bother asking the hostess if you’ll be helping to pay for the rest of the evening. You definitely will.

If you’re the maid of honour or the one organizing the party, it’s best to ask for money well before the actual event as you’re the one expected to make the reservation and any necessary deposits. Add up the prices for all the activities (including hotel, dinner, limo rentals, etc.) and ask each person to pitch in for the bride-to-be. This extra money should be used to cover her food, drinks, and anything extra like a deluxe spa treatment or even taking a mini-shopping spree.

Ensure everyone makes it clear which part they’re coming to, though, to avoid any disappointment from dwindling numbers.

Be clear on costs from the start

When it comes to matters of money, transparency is critical. Make sure that everyone in your party has a clear understanding of what each part of the “do” is going to cost. Get this information as early as possible, so people don’t have an excuse to get annoyed later down the line.

Start collecting early

Getting the money raised for any group activities should be made as soon as possible. Wait until nearer the time, and you could risk last minute drop-outs, which is never a good thing when you’ve managed to get a deal based on the size of your party. On top of that, it forces people to plan and get saving money if they need to.

Give a deadline

It might sound a bit extreme, but giving people a set date by which to transfer the money is critical. If you don’t want to look like a control freak, you can always say that you want to book ASAP, so you don’t get pipped to the post by another party. Make it the start of the month if you can: most people get paid at the end of the month, so they’re more likely to feel flush around this time.

Keep in contact

Create a group message in WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger so that it’s easy to keep everyone in the loop. This way, you only have to send out your account details once. It also makes it easier to send a gentle reminder when it’s coming up to the time you need the money as well as getting people excited for the party, of course!

Break it up

It might be that one person can’t afford some of the more expensive activities because they’re strapped for cash, or one friend can’t drink because she’s pregnant. If that’s the case, why not give the option for people to dip in and out of the activities they want to do? If they can’t afford to go for a meal and a night out, then giving them the option to come for lunch only will avoid anyone feeling left out. After all, it’s better for them to go for part of the night than not at all. Ensure everyone makes it clear which region they’re coming to, though, to avoid any disappointment from dwindling numbers.

Don’t change the plans

Giving people the option to dip into the activities that they can afford is one thing, but changing the plans to suit them is quite another. The only people that should be deciding what you’re doing is the bride or groom-to-be and their maid of honour or best man (delete as appropriate). Don’t forget: too many cooks spoil the broth, and asking people how much they can afford to spend and getting too much input is going to make your job much harder.

Whatever you’re doing for your stag or hen party, remember that it’s all in the name of fun. Don’t let the stress get to you, and if people are being awkward about paying their way, don’t be tempted to compromise!

Everyone unanimously agreed that the bridal shower would be held at the bride’s favourite café and decided that the cost would be split evenly among the maid of honour, three bridesmaids, and the bride’s mom. Your entire group of 12 said they were on board for the weekend-long bachelorette party in Vegas. Each ‘maid said “yes” to pitching in $100 for a group gift at the engagement party. But when the deposit was due, the hotel had to be booked, or the gift ordered, it was the the maid of honor who put it on her Visa. Are the girls good for the money? Let’s hope so. Even if everyone has good intentions to pay, the MOH has the unpleasant task of asking them for money. It shouldn’t really come down to one adult chasing after other adults to pay their due, but it’s pretty standard, especially when groups are involved. Here’s what the maid of honour should do to make sure she gets paid.

Is There A Fair Way To Split The Costs Of A Bachelorette Party?

Most people expect to pay their way when it comes to bachelorette parties. Ideally, you plan and know all the costs, but it can be hard to figure the exact amounts beforehand. We’ve heard of some people designating one person as the bank for the entire bachelorette party then splitting everything evenly at the end. Alternatively, you could ask friends to bring cash, which is sometimes easier to break when working out the bills as you go. I’ve attended my fair share of bachelorette parties, and each one has been handled differently when it comes to cost. There is no right answer, so hopefully, you can work it out impartially and evenly without letting the bills get in the way of your fun.