I don’t think there’s enough of the ‘heart-warming’ in hen nights these days.
Last night I went on a mammoth 3-hen ‘bride off’ and had the most hilarious night. Beautifully organised with plenty of competitive games, decorative costumes and generous prizes for the winning team; the Chief Hen. Brilliant.
However, I felt like there was something poignant and powerful missing. We didn’t spend any time listening to their stories, hearing about the men involved or painting a picture of what’s to come.
So it got me thinking about what a hen night is all about. And what it should be.
It strikes me that this occasion is the one opportunity to show your friend, the bride-to-be, how much you think of her, how much you’ll miss her when things change in her life and wish her luck for the adventures ahead.
So how can you do that? And how can you do it in a way that uplifts the bride, leaving her feeling proud, loved and excited rather than hung-over with deep regrets?
There’s a fine line between hen night hilarity and hen night humiliation. When I see gaggles of girls out forcing the bride-to-be into situations they’re obviously uncomfortable with, I feel a sense of shame. Yes, let’s go out and have a brilliant night, a crazy night, a lot of laughs and fun. But no, let’s not use it as an excuse to force punishments onto the hen that we ourselves would hate to suffer.
Perhaps I’m too reflective. But for me, I believe hen dos should be about the celebration of friendship and looking forward to a new chapter in life.
I don’t believe that has to end with tacky costumes, crude jokes or male strippers. However, if that’s what the hen enjoys, then of course that can be completely appropriate and lots of fun.
On the other hand what about a day of cake-making, a spa holiday, dancing lessons, or a home-cooked meal with all the friends around the table having good conversation; what about a theatre trip, a Red Letter day, an action assault course or museum visits?
One thing’s certain, pre-wedding celebrations should be completely tailored for the bride in question. And perhaps it doesn’t matter where you go as much as how you spend the time with the people you love.
What does a hen night mean to you? And what would you plan for your best friend?
Final thought: I think we need a new name. ‘Hen’ versus ‘Stag’ parties certainly seems stuck in social stereotypes. How else could we celebrate this momentous occasion and refer to our brides?
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