Ultimate Guide to Planning a Hen's Party
— By Luke Ellery
11 December 2018
The wedding’s on the way, but before the big day arrives there’s an event your bridesmaids (or bridespeople - whatever floats your boat) are all looking forward to: the hen’s night!
It can be easy to stick to a script of how you’re supposed to throw a hen’s party as Hollywood would like it (i.e. wild night out, strippers, maybe a plane trip) but it doesn't need to be difficult to steer clear of the cliches – nor will it make your event less fun. On the contrary, throwing a unique hen’s party that doesn’t follow the script will more than likely end up being an event that caters to everyone's interests and personalities. Here are a few of our tips for throwing that off-script hen’s night that your squad will love, along with a few specific ideas to give you some inspiration.
Traditionally, the grunt of the planning falls on the maid-of-honour. Though this can be a fun way to turn the party into a fun surprise for the bride-to-be, we highly recommend allowing everyone to be involved in the planning in some way or another – even if that just means contributing ideas. By having open communication and involving everyone who will be attending, it ensures that everyone will have a good time.
Consider potential wedding vendors
From the brides perspective (depending on how close the wedding is to your hen’s night) this party is an opportunity to meet or test out some Auckland wedding vendors. Maybe you want to hire a professional caterer for your event who happens to also cater for weddings. You can use the hen’s night as an opportunity to literally taste test their service (you might find they end up being perfect for your wedding). This same idea goes for stylists/ florists (if you decide to have your event professionally styled), or even venues; many of inner-city Auckland’s finest hotel venues also offer personalised hen’s night packages. So, whoever gets blessed with the majority of the planning needs to consider the vendors the bride has or has not booked and who she is considering.
1/ Glamping with the Girls
Image sourced from Valley Views Glamping
If you’re an adventurous soul and want a getaway with your friends, glamping is a great option that will give you that immersion in the beautiful outdoors while keeping even your homebody mates happy. Once you’ve picked the venue, you’ll have the flexibility to put in as little or as much into the schedule as you desire. Maybe you want to bask in the sunlight and savour the freedom of having nothing to do but relax, or maybe you want to spend the day taking part in some wilder outdoor activities. Either way, glamping gives you the best combination of the outdoors and indoors (and a comfortable bed to snuggle into at the end of the day). One nearby spot for glamping in Auckland is at Castaways Resort - which also happens to function as a popular beachside wedding venue.
2/ Cook Up a Storm
Image sourced from Kauri Bay Boomrock
Classiness and a great hen’s party don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Cooking classes, for example, can be a really sophisticated way to add some tricks to your culinary repertoire (and you get to enjoy the meal at the end of the class). If you’re not afraid to introduce some friendly competition to increase the excitement, you could opt for a cooking challenge in the Master Chef style to get people more invested in the process.
3/ Pole Dancing Classes
Image by Cheol Nam Photographer
If you’re looking for something that’ll help bring out the sexier sides of your squad, you should definitely consider a group pole dancing class! Don’t be concerned about not having enough core strength - for this kind of group a flow class will be ideal. A beginners flow class focuses on easy moves incorporated into a simple yet striking dance routine using the pole - this means everyone will be able to take part and look amazing, irrespective of their physical strength.
Image sourced from Jorge Flores
When it comes to karaoke, unless you come from dancing backgrounds it’s unlikely your troupe will resemble Donna and The Dynamos on stage. But you’ll absolutely have as fantastic a time. A night with your nearest and dearest spent singing your favourite hits will inevitably bring together nostalgia, celebration, and the sheer hilarity that comes with embarrassing yourselves a little (or a lot) in public. If you and your friends are on the shyer side, book a private room at a karaoke bar instead so that you can get equally wild without the audience full of strangers.
5/ Cocktail Masterclass
Image sourced from Bellini
Instead of doing the typical hen’s party activity of going out to get cocktails, why not learn how to make them yourselves (as well as drinking them of course)? Bellini, for example, runs fun cocktail classes where experienced professionals share their tips and tricks on how to make the perfect drink, then give you the chance to experiment and make your own. Whether your drink of choice is a mojito, cosmopolitan, moscow mule … by the end of the session, you’ll be mistresses of mixology (not to mention thoroughly refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the night).
6/ Pamper Session
Image by Forme Spa
Swap the cocktails and dancing for a green juice and a massage (as relaxing as it is healthy). Take time out from wedding planning and give your body and mind some much needed TLC. You don’t even have to leave the house. There are plenty of companies who will come right to you! It will be the perfect night-in with your besties.
7/ High Tea
Image by The Caker
Appeal to your girlfriends’ posh side with fine china and mini treats. Spend a fun afternoon dressed up to the nines and nibbling on mini delicacies. It doesn’t have to be all tea; many places offer a champagne option which is perfect for celebrations.
8/ Scavenger Hunt
Image by Forme Spa
This one takes a little bit of planning but it’s perfect for the bride who can’t sit still! Teams are a great way to get everyone involved, particularly if the guests don’t already know each other well. Friendly competition always breaks the ice.
9/ Weekend Getaway
Image by Simon Maage
Pack your bags and get out of town. It doesn’t matter if it’s a few hours drive away to your favourite beach or a 3-hour flight to Sydney. Rent a bach or apartment and spend a fun weekend exploring a new place. It will be an excellent time for bonding between close friends.
10/ Wine Tour
Image by Master of Ceremonies
A day spent sipping wine in a gorgeous vineyard accompanied by delicious food and your best friends’ sounds like perfection! Hop on the ferry over to Waiheke for a tour or make it a weekend event in Marlborough or Central Otago. It maintains some class but still caters to that one wine-o friend we all have.
11/ Comedy Club
Image by Beretta at Bracu
Call ahead and book a table front and centre at a comedy club and order yourself a cheese board and some drinks. Let them know what you’re celebrating (and who the bride is) for some good-natured ribbing that’ll leave you all in stitches. This is great for the outgoing bride who doesn’t mind a bit of attention.
12/ Try Something New
Image by Beretta at Bracu
This is a little vague, but whether its kite surfing or burlesque dancing, take advantage of the occasion to try something new and out of the box. There are lessons all over the city for absolutely anything you can think of. At the end of the day, even with a fairly comprehensive list of ideas (like we have tried to create), there is always going to be something that you or one of your squad members has always wanted to try. What better time to do something bold and unexpected than on this once in a lifetime event dedicated to you and the friendships you have.
By Luke Ellery with contributions from Maria Yeonhee Ji and Brieonie Jenkins