Hurrah, your best friend is getting married and she wants you to be her bridesmaid! This good news comes with responsibilities and now you are trying to plan the hen party of her dreams.
It can be hard work trying to please 20 different girls. Not everyone knows each other and there will be differences of opinions and budgets. It’s important to delight the bride - but it’s also essential to get the balance right, or you’ll have an expensive weekend away in Marbella with only 2 people able to attend.
Be organised and take control, the bride-to-be should be able to step away and leave everything in your capable hands. Get an email list of who is invited and start the planning. Introduce yourself and you could even politely ask everyone to email you individually with their maximum spend.
Once you have a list of definite attendees it’s time to start getting into action. Here are ten great ideas for under £100 per person.
Country cottage weekend
Sounds expensive! Wrong. As long as you are organised a weekend away in a cottage together can easily be arranged for no more than £100 per person.
Look at sites such as www.airbnb.com , www.holidaylettings.co.uk and www.ownersdirect.co.uk where you contact the owners directly and can sometimes negotiate on cost rather than having to go through pricey tour operators.
You can make this weekend as raucous or as chilled-out as you like. And you don’t even have to leave the cottage grounds if you don’t want to. Organise a treasure hunt, learn a dance together, have beach Olympics (if you’re close to the coast) and the evenings can be everyone playing games and enjoying a BBQ. Or maybe even treat yourself to a night in with caterers serving your dinner and doing the washing-up. It’s a lovely way to get to know everyone in a relaxed environment before the big day.
If this is just a long weekend away try and keep the cottage within a 2.5 hour drive/train journey.
A great idea whether you are near the sea or in a town – a day out on the water is a way to ensure everyone talks to each other. There’s no escaping here! Unless you swim for it…
There are canals and rivers in most big cities and it’s a nice way of seeing where you live from a different perspective. www.canalandrivercruises.com is good for Londoners looking for a chartered boat for the day. You’ll get fed, watered and dropped at different pubs and beauty spots all for about £60 per person. And that’s from 10am until 5pm. Once you’re on dry land you could finish the night off at a nightclub or a pub with live music depending on everyone’s taste.
On some river/canal excursions there are maximum numbers, so this might not be so practical for very large groups.
The ultimate in friendly hen parties – you just need use of a nice garden to fit everyone in.
This is an all-round people pleaser. No one has to give up their weekend, those with kids can bring them and oldies can drop in for a glass of wine and no one gets left out. You’ll find that 99% of invites will come back with a YES PLEASE for this idea.
Decorate the garden with bunting and make it personal with plenty of photographs dotted around. You can have all the fun of going out – music, food and free-flowing booze – but for a fraction of the price. Ask everyone to chip in £20 each and you’ll easily have enough money for a buffet or BBQ and plenty of wine.
Extras you could consider: caterers – choose your bride-to-be’s favourite type of food, butlers in the buff to serve, cocktail experts to teach you a few tricks or even a choregropharer to teach you a flash dance that could then be performed at the wedding.
You can get a good size marquee or gazebo for a reasonable sum if you want to make sure there’s shelter available. As well all know, the British weather can rarely be relied upon!
This good all-rounder will work whatever the weather. Choose a favourite pub or bar and hire out an area that has plenty of room for you all to easily fit in.
Pub parties have the benefit of being able to embarrass everyone slightly in public! You’ll need a theme to decorate and get everyone dressed up, we like: pirates, superheroes, Moulin Rouge or even grannies! You know your friend, so choose something that she would love and if she’s not an extravert, maybe just pick an ‘all-in-pink’ plan.
If you’re going to do a pub crawl, pick 3 destinations maximum as rounding-up everyone gets harder the more that is drunk. In charge of the rounding-up? Take a whistle or a megaphone. You’ll need it!
You shouldn’t have to pay to reserve an area of a bar, after all you’re providing them with lots of thirsty women! Ask the pub if you can decorate with photos and other bits and pieces.