What is a Hen Do? Your Top Questions Answered
An unforgettable celebration, almost all of us have either seen or been on a hen weekend… but exactly what is a hen party?
Across the UK and the rest of the world, thousands of groups head out on their last night of freedom every year, but many have no idea how or why this legendary event came about… so today, we’re going to look at why is it called a hen party and go over plenty of other useful tips and tricks to help you out with planning and organising the perfect weekend for the bride-to-be.
What is a Hen Party?
In a nutshell, the hen party is the bride-to-be’s final celebration before her wedding day. Whether it takes place over one night, a weekend or an entire week, hundreds of thousands of girls flock to all kinds of locations to party it up on the last night of freedom. Although these celebrations can take form in all sorts of shapes and sizes, they almost always involve lots of drinking, dancing and making memories!
Why is it Called a Hen Party?
The origins of the name are actually quite simple - the word “hen” was (and still is in some places) a term of endearment referring to females, human or otherwise. Symbolically, the hen is also seen as a matriarchal figure that looks after her chicks, which is pretty accurate considering the bride-to-be is right at the front-and-centre of the celebrations!
When did Hen Parties Start?
Historically, both male and female pre-wedding celebrations have been a big part of getting married, even as far back as Ancient Greece. For the men, it was about toasting the last days of his single life with lots of feasting and drinking. For women, the hen celebrations were more about preparing for marriage rather than “fun”, which has overtaken the former in modern times.
What Happens at a Hen Party?
Whilst no two celebrations are the same, one thing that you’ll consistently find with last weekends of freedom is lots of drinking, dancing and some exciting hen party activities! With so many choices out there, it’s really up to you and the girls how you celebrate this special occasion. Many groups choose to go for an evening meal before the big night out and/or brunch the next morning too, because let’s face it… there’s nothing worse than having a hangover! Some opt for a longer stay than just one night, such as a long weekend from Friday to Monday, or even for a full week!
Can the Hen Party be a Surprise?
Yes, of course! If you’re set on hosting a surprise hen party, then you may need more than one pair of hands to bring it all together and pull it off. That’s why we highly recommend floating the idea with the rest of the girls first, not only to see what they think but also to get some insight as to whether or not the bride will be happy with it.
Who Should Organise a Hen Party?
As a rule, the maid of honour is usually the one to put all the plans into place and organise bookings, timings, transport and the rest of it. However, if you’re the one that’s been tasked with arranging the whole event, don’t panic! There’s nothing wrong with reaching out to the other girls in the group for some inspiration, advice and hands-on help with the arrangements.
Is the Bridal Shower the same as the Hen Party?
It’s close, but they’re not quite the same. The hen celebrations tend to take place over an evening or a weekend and tend to involve drinking in bars, partying in nightclubs and taking part in crazy hen activities. The bridal shower, on the other hand, is a more relaxed and low-key affair. These usually take place during the day at a private venue like the bride’s home and don’t involve much (if any) heavy drinking! Instead, this occasion is more about gift-giving as it’s an opportunity for those closest to the bride to treat her with lots of goodies before her wedding day. They might involve a few hen party games, but tend to be much less debauched than the last night of freedom!
How many Girls attend a Hen Party?
The amount of people you bring along for the last weekend of freedom is totally up to you. Whilst the phrase “the more the merrier” can apply here, it’s also good to keep in mind that the more people you invite along for the celebration, the harder it gets when it comes to making sure everyone is happy. You’ll also have to bear in mind that the cost-per-head will likely increase, so make sure you keep the attendee numbers at a point where things don’t get to expensive for everyone taking part.
What to Bring along to a Hen Party?
Aside from your fancy dress, ridiculous props and make-up, there are a few other extras that are worth packing for the last night of freedom. For example - are you and the girls planning on having a massive night out and an activity the next day? If that’s the case, then you’ll definitely need to pack a small hangover kit! Even if it’s just a can of Red Bull and some paracetamol, your future self will be thanking you later. If you know you’ll have some downtime during the weekend as well, then a few hen party games wouldn’t go amiss either!