Hen’s parties: do you love them or hate them?
The other day I chatted with a friend who hates them. Anyone organising a hen’s night should read what she said; will help you understand why some girls don’t come.
Jane: My mum did absolutely nothing to celebrate her ‘last night of freedom’ in 1980. And most of her friends didn’t either. Sometimes they would ‘indulge’ in a quiet meal and drinks with a close friends and family…nothing more.
With this lack of real-life stories, as a child, my idea of a hen’s party was what I saw on TV: a night at the pub, beer and steak, a stripper blessed with drunk women shouting ‘get it off’. Soap opera hen’s parties were cheap and wonderfully short.
Me: Fast forward to 2015 and things look way different. Surveys calculate the average cost of a hen’s party to be $125 per person, a fifty per cent increase since 2005. If I base my forecasts on this trend: things can only get worse.
Hen’s parties sometimes last an entire week-end and involve inter-state travel with guests asked to pay months in advance for what in fact is a mini-holiday they barely have control over.
Some girls fly down from Sydney to Adelaide for a weekend, rent a luxury apartment for 20 people, have all-round male topless waiter services and dine in top class restaurants before doing the obligatory pub, disco and stripper joint crawl.Say you go to three hen’s parties a year (a conservative number if you are in the age group 25-35), by the time you’ve made it to your ‘Big Day’ yourself, you have spent tons celebrating all those you’ve secretly envied (or mercilessly judged).
Jane: Regardless of how much they earn, almost every girl I know (the exceptions are the couple of exceptionally rich and extroverted ones) complains about hen parties They complain about things that range from having to sacrifice annual leave to the fury at having their in-boxes clogged up with emails from girls obsessing over every last detail. Or being forced to do something they’d never, ever, ever do: being forced to receive a lap dance reduced one of my friends to tears, not to mention the PTSD.
However, last year when my mum’s sixtieth meant I couldn’t make it to a close friend’s hen’s weekend, I was shocked to realise that I’d been struck down with FOMO (for the acronym-challenged amongst us: Fear Of Missing Out). I imagined the immense fun I could be missing out on, not the $450 I’d saved.
Me: So hen’s night parties can actually be really fun; you get to spend quality time with girlfriends. There’s always the possibility that some random activity you’ve always run a mile from, say life-drawing, might be your secret talent. And it is a chance to get to know the others before the wedding.
I know a group of girls who got on so well at their hen’s night, in addition to having the time of their life, that they’ve had reunions which everyone has volunteered to go to…and paid for without complaining.
Jane: Pleasing everyone (18 at times known-to be bitchy girls) is majorly challenging. However, when my lifelong friend asked me to be her Maid of Honour last year, I decided to say yes. It would finally be my time for revenge: I’d do it my introverted and carefully budgeted way.
But OMG…..what did I organise? A cottage in the hills for the weekend, a cocktail making class upon arrival, a tea party the next morning, a hot balloon ride at sunset then a night out in town. The following day: a Bollywood dance class in thelate morning, followed by an evening life drawing session (scrumptious male model) with an MC and topless waiter.
Why? Well, I didn’t want my friend to feel like she had missed out. We tried hard to keep costs down; but I reckon it ended up costing everyone about $300 each.
In other words, I SUCCUMBED.
Me: Given the prospect of another 10 years of increasingly expensive hen’s parties, here are some suggestions:
Keep it local, focus on what the hen wants rather than trying to outdo the last hen’s do she went to. Most importantly, keep it short and simple, no more than an afternoon and night.
That way you’ll end on a high with everyone benefiting from a healthier bank balance.