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A hen party is a festive celebration held before a wedding, and attended by the bride and her female friends. These parties are basically the female equivalent of the male bachelor party or stag party. Known as "bachelorette parties" in the United States, and "stagette parties" in Canada, they are called "hen parties" or "hen nights" in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Australia.
This type of party is usually planned by the brides’ closest friends, often the maid of honor or bridesmaids. The festivities can be held in a public place, such as a restaurant or bar, or may be held in a private home or rented room. The location often depends on the amount of exuberance expected of guests. Some celebrations can get quite wild, with frenzied dancing and inappropriate behavior. Alternately, a day of drinking champagne at a day spa would be considered a tame version.
Unlike a bridal shower with young girls in attendance, the hen party is strictly for adult women. Bringing a gag gift is de rigueur, with lighthearted male-bashing a favorite theme. Gifts are meant to cause a bit of blushing and gales of laughter, if possible. Drinking of alcohol and freeform dancing may be encouraged as the party unfolds. The women will “let down their hair,” but generally watch out for one another to see that no one is ever in danger.
There is a wide range of options when it comes to planning the entertainment for a hen party. The general idea is to celebrate the last moments of single life and the new life that will unfold. Planners will be wise to listen carefully to the likes and dislikes of the bride, and let the nature of her personality set the tone for the festivities.
An afternoon cocktail party with a few naughty games will suffice for some brides, while others prefer a wild night of dancing and slamming shots. On the other hand, some brides will completely shun the idea of a raucous night of drinking in favor of a spa day with the bridal party, including soothing massages, manicures and pedicures, and other lavish pampering.
The word “hen” in the title is a reference to female chickens. In the U.S., the term is considered somewhat derogatory toward women, and the time of sexual equality, any gathering of women and girls might have been classified as a hen party. The parties held by today's women have nothing to do with the innocent quilting bees of old, except for female bonding.
Frequently Asked Questions
What exactly is a hen party?
A hen party, also known as a bachelorette party in the United States, is a celebration held for a woman who is about to get married. It's a time for the bride-to-be to enjoy her last moments of single life with her closest friends. Traditionally, it involves various activities, from a simple night out to elaborate weekends away, and can include spa days, themed parties, and even international trips. The focus is on fun, bonding, and creating lasting memories before the wedding day.
Who typically organizes a hen party?
Typically, the maid of honor or the bridesmaids are responsible for organizing the hen party. They coordinate the event, keeping in mind the bride's preferences and personality. The organizers should consider the budget, venue, activities, and guest list, ensuring that the celebration reflects what the bride would enjoy. It's a collaborative effort that often involves input from other close friends or family members of the bride-to-be.
What are some popular hen party activities?
Popular hen party activities vary widely and can range from relaxed to adventurous. Some common choices include spa days, cocktail making classes, dance lessons, wine tasting, and themed dress-up events. For those looking for more excitement, activities like outdoor adventure sports, weekend getaways to a new city, or even a short cruise can be arranged. The key is to tailor the activities to the bride's interests and ensure everyone has a great time.
Is there a typical duration for a hen party?
The duration of a hen party can vary greatly depending on the type of celebration planned. It can be as short as an evening, a full day, or extend over a weekend. Some particularly lavish hen parties may even last a week, especially if they involve travel to a destination. The length of the party should accommodate the schedules of the bride and her guests, as well as the budget and the activities planned.
Are there any etiquette rules to follow for a hen party?
Hen party etiquette generally revolves around respect for the bride's wishes and comfort level. It's important to plan activities that she will enjoy and to avoid anything that might make her feel uncomfortable. Guests should also be mindful of their behavior, ensuring that the focus remains on celebrating the bride. Additionally, it's considerate to plan for a budget that is accessible to all guests, so that no one feels excluded due to financial constraints.