Hen Party Ideas: Planning for the Classy Bride
While some brides and their bridesmaids love a bit of tat (and there’s nothing wrong with that), not every bride wants to find herself rigged out in full classic hen party paraphernalia.
If the thought of feather boas, ‘L’ plates, hand cuffs and the classic unmentionables of the phallic variety might make your bride gripped with fear, there are many other options to ensure your bride enjoys her big night out.
Hen parties have become a lot more grown up in recent years. For classy hen party ideas, there is no rule book to follow or tried and tested method. There are a few general ‘rules-of-thumb’ that the maid of honour along with the bridesmaids should stick to when planning to avoid falling into the trap of the stereotypical hen party at the last minute.
Top Tips for the Classy Hen Party
- Make it personal. Send customised invites in a style you know the bride will love, or match it up with her wedding theme.
- Create a gift such as a customised photo album with images of the bride and the hen party guests. Ask guests to bring the images with them to add in and write a personalised note to the bride.
- Make DIY accessories to hang in the hotel room or self-catering apartment or purchase cute handcrafted or personalised items from online stores and marketplaces such as ETSY or NOT ON THE HIGH STREET. Avoid the stereotypical pound shop tacky sets.
- Look to social media for inspiration. Just like with wedding planning, Pinterest and Instagram are huge free resources when it comes to finding inspiration for hen party ideas with a touch of class. From girly cocktail recipes with a twist, to quirky games and oodles of DIY costume ideas and décor, both are a treasure trove!
Classy Hen Party Themes
Remember the bride is always the Beyoncé of the group and the rest of you are the back-up dancers. Always take the lead on the theme from what the bride would like, no matter what kind of ‘Single Ladies’ shenanigans the rest of you might like!
Décor: Patterned plates, mismatched bunting, coupé glasses.
Costumes: 1920s flappers, 1940s bombshells, 1950s housewives.
Activities: A professional photoshoot with a hair and make-up session.
Nibbles: Afternoon tea and a bottle of bubbly.
Inspiration: The Great Gatsby, Downton Abbey, Bomb Girls, The Stepford Wives.
Theme: Festival chic.
Décor: Faux festival bracelets, festival passes, hipflasks.
Costumes: Flower crowns, body-paint and colourful wellies.
Activities: Glamping and a campfire sing-song with an acoustic guitar player.
Nibbles: A catered BBQ and craft cider in multiple flavours.
Inspiration: The VIP section of boutique music and arts festivals.
Décor: Striped bunting, faux anchors, decorative sea creatures.
Costumes: Navy and white horizontal stripes, sailor hats, gold buttons.
Activities: A private boat trip with on-board karaoke.
Nibbles: Prosecco and canapés.
Inspiration: Luxury cruises.
Diamonds truly are a girl’s best friend and no-one said it better than Marilyn Monroe. Make like Marilyn with a classic movie stars hen party theme.
Theme: Classic movie stars.
Décor: Movie reels, film posters, magazines.
Costumes: Wigs, red lipstick, jewellery, glamorous dresses, high heels.
Activities: Pampering at a spa for the afternoon, with dancing that evening.
Nibbles: A gourmet meal at a fine dining restaurant with cocktails.
Inspiration: Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Brigitte Bardot.
Décor: Masks, masks, and more masks!
Costumes: Ball gowns and evening gowns.
Activities: A DIY mask making class or a painting class.
Nibbles: French and Italian cheese and wine.
Inspiration: Renaissance France and Italy.
Theme: The colour pink.
Décor: Anything and everything that is pink in colour, girly and feminine.
Costumes: Pink dresses, shoes, bags, fascinators and gloves.
Activities: A treasure hunt with pink coloured clues, pink flags and a pink prize e.g. a bottle of pink Champagne.
Nibbles: Pink cupcakes and pink lemonade.
Inspiration: Barbie dolls.
Breaking the Ice: Classy Hen Party Games!
Hen parties are often the first place that many of the bride’s wider circle of friends and family meet for the first time. These can include the bride’s childhood friends meeting the bride’s college friends, or the bride’s sisters meeting her future-sister-in-law. For some people it can even be the first time the bride’s mother meets the bride’s future mother-in-law. Everyone wants to make a good impression and no-one wants to put a foot wrong. This is where the bridesmaids should ideally step in with a selection of fun games that will let people get to know each other before the real fun begins. A huge selection can be found here, but some of our personal favourites are profiled below.
The Ice Breaker
Items Needed: Icing, piping bags, cupcakes or cookies.
Number of Players: Two in a group.
How to Play: Write a keyword on a cupcake or cookie using the icing and the piping bag. The keyword can be anything from a word that is associated with the bride or the wedding, to something that is topical in the news. For each iced cupcake or cookie that you eat, you must have a conversation with the person you are paired with about the subject on the snack.
The Excuse to Give a Gift
Items Needed: One wrapped gift per player and party music.
Number of Players: All.
How to Play: The gifts should be wrapped in several layers so each gift takes time to unwrap. All players should sit in a circle. One gift should be in the centre. Once the music starts, the gift should be passed from player to player and stopped at intervals. The person holding the gift when the music stops has to open the gift. The bride has to guess who purchased the gift for her and why. Keep going until all of the gifts have been unwrapped.
The Trip Down Memory Lane
Items Needed: Pens, paper and a hat.
Number of Players: All.
How to Play: Each player (except the bride) must write down when or how they first met the bride on a piece of paper, but not include her name. Players should be encouraged to write sentimental or funny memories. Each piece of paper is placed into the hat. The bride must pull out each ‘memory’, read it out loud to the group and guess who wrote it. If the bride gets an answer wrong, the bride may be ‘punished’ by having to complete a dare decided from a list the bridesmaids have prepared in advance.
Remember, as with any hen party, the most important thing is to have fun!