... AND NOT COMPLAINING.
This year I have/ will be bridesmaid to TWO of my best friends. In the past couple of years I have been to Berlin twice for hen do's, Amsterdam once, and stayed in London a couple of times. Its got to the point where my friends joke that I must be "attending another hen" if I can't make something.
So, for my readers (hi mum), I figured I would do my hen planning advice.
1.) GET GEEKY. When you chat to the bride-to-be about her impending hen, get a clear idea of where she would like to go, the budget she and others would like to spend and a document with all the hens and their email addresses to sort the invites out. You will be no doubt going back and forth with everyone A CRAP load of times. Ensure your emails are clear and to the point as often you will be emailing girls at work who are being busy Beyonces.
2.) RESEARCH IT UP. When you have an idea of what, where and when, leave the planning aside and get some good old research done. Look at options on how to get there, where to stay and what to do. Organise an itinerary and sign this off with the bride. DO NOT START ASKING EVERYONE FOR THEIR TWOPENCE. Everyone has opinions and you cannot please them all. The one person you do need to please is the bride, so when that's done, get yourself a cup of tea and sit all smug knowing you are the "Queen of Research". Hell, get yourself a biscuit, you deserve that too.
- AIRBNB offer some great inner city rentals for a fraction of hotel costs. We had an amazing place in Berlin that cost us £30 a night! Kinda feels like you really get to know a city when you are in an apartment too.
In London, we rented an amazing apartment with Merino Hospitality. It was a great big plush place that catered for everyone and allowed us to save money on eating in. Check them out http://www.merinohospitality.com
Think outside the box. Get inspiration from hen organising companies but I'd advice no to go with them, unless you like those 18 - 30's type pub crawls and feather bowers. *shudders
Make it personal. My best friend loves Camden, so we hired a canal boat, made bunting and finger sandwiches, drank too much prosecco and travelled through the canals of Camden. We booked ours via The Pirate Castle.
3.) GET THE DOLLAR UPFRONT. Over average the cost of the trip and round the figure up. Flights go up, accommodation requires deposits etc. If the trip is averaging at £220 ask for £250 - £300. The excess money can cover the first nights dinner, drinks for the apartment or group taxis. As long as people are informed throughout, I have found this the best way. Oh, and use a calculator! I just had to pay more than every other hen because I am a pleb who is shit at Maths.
4.) GOODIE BAGS. I have spent lots on these and I've spent pennies and my advice is VISIT A POUND SHOP. Its a nice gesture but in all honesty, that is all it is. The last hen I organised I went to a pound shop, shared out some paracetamols and sweets and some cheesy princess crown things I bought. The paracetamols ALWAYS go down the best the following day.
5.) PACE YOURSELVES. I don't know if you agree, but on holiday my hangovers seem to bugger off quicker. For some reason on hen parties, we tend to try to drink like stags, FORGETTING THAT WE CAN'T. Let your hair down by all means, but remember your limits. Ensure there is down time to let everyone shower, sleep and re-boot. Make sure everyone eats and try to prevent the bride from hurling (I've not succeeded in that one yet...)
I won't name names, but the bride to be was asleep by 5pm on the last hen do I went to. (Jenna.)
Hen do's are a great chance to meet the funniest people from the wedding. I have made some great friends from them, it's a celebration of the person you all mutually love. I wish you all a ball on your future hen do activities.