It feels like forever since I was a bridesmaid and it feels like even longer since the hen do but it’s not a night that will be forgotten in a hurry.
Apparently in my mother’s day (the mid-80s) a hen do consisted of going down the local with your best friends and that was that. Twenty-five years on and things have evolved somewhat. Luckily in my case I wasn’t organising a trip to Faliraki or anything equally horrific, expensive and classless to see my best friend enter married life.
To get me prepared for what was involved I read a book on how to be a good bridesmaid. Sadly it was aimed at the sort of vacuous woman who thinks liking cocktails and shoes constitutes as a personality. The key, so the book told me, to all elements of being a bridesmaid was to be ‘fabulous’. This was not the practical advice I had hoped for. See below the picture of the aforementioned useless book.
The hen that I organised was for 26 people. That is a lot of folk. But whether organising for six hens or a hundred, the only thing you have to do is make sure whatever you do the bride has fun. Obviously nothing so niche that the rest of the group are going to hate it but as long as you play to the bride’s tastes she is going to love it and that is all that matters.
The bride picked the venue, the activity and the meal as she was 1. incredibly organised and 2. she lives in Glasgow, I no longer do, so it ensured she got the night she wanted rather than me guessing on what places would be good.
I asked everyone for a deposit about four months prior to the event. This weeded out the people who were never going to come but who may have dropped out later. On the actual day I only had one person drop out due to illness rather than seven who could have quietly agreed to attend but had no real intention of being there.
On the evening itself games are incredibly important. They give structure to proceedings and define it as something different to an ordinary night out. We played Mr and Mrs. It’s easy to find questions online, just compile your list of favourite questions from a simple Google and adapt it to be more personal to your friend. I made it multiple choice and added in extra answers that I knew might catch her out. For every question she answered correctly I gave her a bit of hen do tat - tiara and veil, sash, bride to be straw and shot glass etc. I opted for nothing in the shape of a veiny penis. She’s going to see one veiny penis for the rest of her life, one in neon pink is neither romantic nor becoming of an evening for ladies in their mid-twenties.
We played a second game that was of my own devising. It was called ‘Play Your Kevs Right’, a rare moment where I used a pun for the purposes of enjoyment. I sent a group email to those attending asking for pictures of the bride and groom looking happy together and ones of Kev (the groom) doing generally stupid things. I then put the best on bits of card and the bride had to guess if the next picture in the pile was a good one (Moragulous) or him being daft (Kevastating). It was in the style of Play Your Cards Right and highlighted something you should not underestimate in planning a hen - you will have to deal with stupidity in people you’d previously assumed were intelligent. I asked for unique pictures that Morag may not have seen and more than three people copied ones from Facebook and then sent them to me thinking they were doing me a favour. I could have done that, why would I be asking strangers to do this for me?
Nudity was also not part of my plans, I chose not to have a stripper. I did have a ganders to see what was available locally. It turns out strippers are surprisingly expensive and none that I found in the Glasgow area were remotely attractive - tattooed middle aged muscle man anyone?
Obviously every person is different but as the bridesmaid you should know what makes your bride different and what she will and will not love. Once the activity and games are out the way you get to enjoy the night like all the rest of your hens and you get the added thrill, if everyone is having fun, that you organised it and helped do something special in preparation of the big day. Remember, should the worse happen and it is an absolute disaster everyone is guaranteed to get drunk and probably won’t remember how bad it was in the morning anyway.