Over the past month, I’ve organised one hen do, attended another bringing my hen do games experience, and also organised games for a baby shower!
It can feel like such a pressure, and expense, to organise entertainment – especially when the guest of honour is normally not involved in the organisation, and you might be working with some of their other friends who you don’t know very well. It can get a bit fraught!
What’s more, the bride in question from the hen do I was organising had been a bridesmaid with me last year to another friend. She had been so excited, so generous with her cash for props and presents, so imaginative with ideas for making group keep sakes on the day to give to the bride, that it filled me with dread thinking of organising a hen do that would meet her standards! What didn’t help is that I don’t know the other bridesmaids very well, and they all seemed to ignore my Facebook messages! So, I had to live with my own decisions, book venues and outings, make a Facebook group with all the invitees, collect monies, think up games and activities, organise transport, and source some costumes or props to ensure everyone knew we were in a group on a hen do!
So, first of all I made a Facebook group to save the date which the bride and about 6 others of us could all definitely make. Then had a look for what to do! In the end, we decided to go to London for the day, we bought a groupon for all of us to go on a fancy Thames cruise with afternoon tea, and then booked in at the Proud Cabaret for the evening, where you get dinner around a huge table all together, before the show starts. I’d been there before and there were cabaret acts, burlesque, circus-type impressive contortions and tricks. It was set to be a delightful night. The bride has always gone on about a friend’s birthday many years ago, where they travelled to and from London in a party limo. I knew this was going to be an essential feature of the hen do for her, so we scoured the internet for a less-ridiculous priced offer and booked a chauffeured car service in too.
Next up, I needed to think of what costumes or props to buy. Even looking almost 2 weeks before the event (after not hearing from any other bridesmaids!) I realised I’d missed the deadline for the best deals. As I was going to be covering the cost myself, I tried to think what would unify us all without costing the earth. The Proud Cabaret club encourages fancy dress in 1920s/1930s flapper girl theme, so I decided it would be a nice touch to order all of us a feather boa, in the bride’s favourite colour and wedding theme colour, purple. So £50 later, I hoped they would arrive in time! I also ordered a few sets of long evening gloves, some flapper head bands with feathers, and a couple of cigarette holders for us all to share to complete the look. On the day everyone arrived in costume dress and the extra props and boas added an excellent finishing touch – we have some great photos to remember the day by!
After ordering costumes, I needed to think of some activities! I think it’s customary to think of games and quizzes etc. which help everyone get to know each other, and also help everyone to join in making a fuss of the bride, or perhaps more importantly, embarrassing her! I chose 3 games which worked really well.
Who knows the bride best – ordered for £5 online, loads of questions which the bride asks, all the hens have their own answer paper, and at the end the bride tells everyone the correct answers. Whoever wins at the end gets a prize and whoever loses has to have a booby prize. This one is really good for making sure everyone feels closer to the bride, as everyone will learn things about the bride from different stages of her life that they may not have been around for. It’s very bride focused and fun.
Guess who – this game doesn’t cost anything except for bringing paper and pens. At the beginning of the day give everyone except the bride a bit of paper – it can be blank, but I printed the ‘task’ at the top of mine in case people wanted to re-read what they were supposed to be doing. Tell them that over the next few hours they need to think of either their first impression of the bride, their most hilarious or touching memory, and write it down, without giving away who you are. The bride then picks all the memories out of a bag one by one, shares them with everyone by saying them aloud, and has to guess who the memory is from. It’s another way to get everyone’s favourite memories out and to make the bride feel special.
Mr. & Mrs. – this game is again totally free! It does require some preparation though. Between a few of you, or by looking on google, try to think of about 40 questions to ask the groom in advance of the hen do, when the bride isn’t going to be around. I started asking my questions and then realised it would be more fun to put the questions under headers, so I used ‘How they met’ which covered who made the first move, his first impression of her, first gifts, hilarious first stories etc, ‘about him’ to test how well she knows him, ‘about her’ to see how well he knows her, and ‘the relationship’, covering who is most likely to get rid of a spider to who wears the trousers in the relationship etc. It’s such a fun game, and the more thought you put in to the questions the better!
In terms of making a keep sake for the bride, another friend suggested that we get a piece of nice quality card, and get all the hens to use different shades of lipstick and put a lipstick-kiss onto the card, writing a short note with their name underneath. It worked really well and is another lovely inexpensive way to treat the bride.
I had everything ready a couple of days prior to the hen do and was starting to feel quite excited! My own costume only arrived the day before, but worked. I bought some apple sourz for shots in the limo and promptly left it home! But the limo actually had 2 bottles of (lambrini) fizz in so it was fine! We arrived in London, had an absolutely great day on the river. The Cabaret show was hilarious, and by the time the show started there was no time to play games so we didn’t need to have anything planned for then. The acts were great, the waitresses went around selling nipple clamps and tassels, which some of my friends bought! It was all of course exactly the sort of thing you want when you’re at a hen do and want a group of girls who don’t all know each other to have a great night!