I thought it would be a good idea to wrap it all up by sharing some top tips for planning a hen do. I am by no means an expert, but I do know that it helps to have a helping hand along the way pointing you in the right direction…
We stayed at Grace House in Barton, near Stratford upon Avon. I have to say it was absolutely amazing – stylishly decorated, clean and contemporary. It was set away from the road, seemingly in its own little forest, but wasn’t isolated as it was only a short walk from the village.
Unfortunately, Grace House doesn’t seem to be up for rent anymore, but we found it via Owners Direct, which I would wholeheartedly recommend if you are planning a weekend away for the hen do you are planning. It is easy to navigate, you can search by area and number of people staying, and give you lots of options across the country.
Big Domain is another one to try, which is specifically targeted at large houses. I found the accommodation for my 30th birthday on here (don’t worry, I will reveal all the party planning details nearer the time), and there are some absolutely exquisite places on there. Beware though, some come with a hefty price tag.
We were at the house from Friday to Monday, but with people arriving later on Friday after work, and some leaving Sunday, there wasn’t really a time to have a formal dinner. So instead we whipped up a pot of Nigella’s Quick Chilli – a group favourite that we could cook up and leave to stand until everyone had arrived, and eat around a table together.
It is worth planning out every meal that you will have at the house so that you know exactly what food you will need. We planned all of the food that we needed in advance and put it into a Tesco online shop so that we knew how much it would cost per person, we then ordered it in time for us to pick up from Click and Collect before we headed to the house. In the past though, we have had deliveries sent directly to the accommodation, check when you book whether this is possible. Cooking
top hen party planning tips
- Don’t be afraid to talk to your hen about what she wants from the party / weekend – find out if she wants it to be a secret or if she would really rather know. Find out if she has anything that she really wants to do, anywhere she particularly wants to go, but also anything that she doesn’t want. Even if she doesn’t have anything to share, at least you will know if you are dealing with a blank canvas or if there are some expectations there.
- Google is your friend and will help you find activities and venues if you are going somewhere you are unfamiliar with. Makes sure you do your research and don’t necessarily just go with the first option that pops up. Use reviews to help guide you, but remember to weigh up good ones against bad, and visa versa. You can normally tell if someone has just had a one-off bad experience.
- If you are renting accommodation and are unsure about any of the activities, restaurants or bars that you are thinking of in the area – ask the person or company you are renting from what they think. They might also be able to provide you with taxi numbers and information about other local services.
- A few decorations are a great way to brighten up the house ready for the hens arrival, and give it the party feel. We got most of ours from Amazon, but there are lots of places you can try depending on the theme you want to go for!
- We focused on making sure we had one daytime activity and evening plan for each day – don’t be tempted to try to cram too much in because your guests will want some chill time in between as well. If you go armed with lots of games, DVDs and fun activities, you can fill any lull points that you need to.
- If you want to have a big night out, in the past we have found that a big dinner before hand can be a mistake because everyone gets full and lethargic – if you want to plan a nice meal why not make it a lunchtime instead, so you can all enjoy at leisure and then get ready for your night out later, with some snacks and pizzas and drinks.
- If you are planning to do Mr and Mrs, why not record the hubby to be doing his answers? It can be a great way to create some interaction on the day – and is fun for everyone to watch. There are lots of really simple ways to do this, you could just film it in one chunk and make sure you are ready to pause at the relevant places. Or you could get a bit more fancy, I used MovieMaker and Powerpoint to knit together the questions and answers, with some fun photos in-between – but actually you could do it all on Powerpoint now using some simple animations and the ‘export to video’ function. Get your google on and I promise you will be a pro in no time!
If you have any tips, please do leave them in the comments box below! Hen party planning can be different for everyone, but as long as you keep the bride to be in mind and what you think she will like, hopefully she will love the effort and care and attention that you put into planning it, whatever the outcome.