A survey by Ultimatebridesmaid.com found that only 12% of brides wanted a ‘traditional’ hen party and only 3% wanted a stripper. Meanwhile, in the 25-44 age bracket, the number of teetotalers has increased from 15% in 2005 to 20% in 2013, and those who do drink are more likely to do so in moderation.
So, if the hen party classics are off the table, what’s a girl group to do? Luckily there are plenty of alternatives, with companies like Maximise offering hen parties with activities to suit all.
Here are 5 top ideas for a new normal hen party.
If dancing on tables fueled by tequila isn’t your idea of a good night, then a zen meditation retreat may be just the thing for you! How about a wellness retreat or recuperative spa break? There’s been a definite rise in healthy hen parties in recent years, and a whole host of activities that help brides to be relaxed in the run up to their big day.
Of course, your hen party doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Experiential is the newest, biggest trend and hen party activities can range from activities like Brides Love Yoga who offer bespoke packages for healthy brides, brunch and afternoon tea, to Murder Mystery weekends.
If you love your Agatha Christie novels or you’re glued to the telly when Sherlock comes on, why not try a murder mystery weekend in a stunning mansion or castle? Smoke and Mirrors creates interactive mysteries for you and your hens to solve over the course of the weekend, and it’s up to you whether the story is silly or spooky.
Fitness and fun
For those seeking something that puts the active in activity, you should consider taking your hen party to bubble football, high rope climbing or a pole dancing class.
If you’ve always fancied perfecting Beyoncé’s booty shake, Seen on Screen runs workshops with professional backing dancers to teach you the exact routines of your favourite popstars. Choose the artist or song you want, grab your glass of complimentary champagne and get moving!
Really up for a challenge? Get into shape before the big day and have fun with the girls at the same time with a boot camp sessions with British Military Fitness. Or take it to its gritty extreme with a Tough Mudder challenge, where courses are filled with obstacles and plenty of mud!
Drink, Shop, Do in London is a café by day and a bar at night. It offers a multitude of options for the modern hen party, from pinata-making to knitted necklace making. You could even have your guests package up wedding favours! Two birds, one stone.
Love the Great British Bake Off? Then you’ll love Delightful Tea—a baking school in Essex. Take a leaf out of Mary Berry’s book and bake up a treat learning to make bread, cakes and pastries. Or find Beginner Cookery Classes such as at Food at 52 (which also includes plenty of vino with your cook-along meals). Learn the kitchen basics, serve up a veritable feast and even make pasta from scratch!
If that sounds a bit too Stepford Wives for you, turn domesticity on its head with a crash-course in car repair, carpentry or hone your skills outside the home with a landscape photography course. Perfect if married life is taking you to a semi-detached in the country.
Enjoy a night in(ish)
Pick a theme and go to town—without, you know, going ‘to town’. Serve up the canapés or step up your bartending game. BYOB and potluck dinners can save the hassle and be a real money-saver, or indulge in an evening catered with your own private chef.
If you’re still looking to go out, but perhaps not out out, then the decadent Bedtime Story Nights are perfect for your hen party. They have been running at 40 Winks hotel since June 2009 so they know what they’re doing. The events take the idea of a pyjama party and add amazing stories, music and cocktails—the perfect recipe for a totally unique, elegant and seductive experience. Don your most glamorous jimjams and have a night you’ll never forget!
Invite the boys along
As gender stereotypes become ever less defined, the mixed sex stag and hen do is on the up. “Rituals change when they’re ready to,” says Sheila Young, who is researching the concept of marriage at Aberdeen University. “We no longer think of marriage as solely the changing from one status to another. This trend has a lot to do with gender convergence: young men and women inhabit the same social spaces now.”
Crudely termed a ‘sten night’ or ‘hag do’, variations to the all-girl model now include a mixed guestlist or joint celebrations where bride and groom party together. Salman Rushdie’s went one step further, before his fourth marriage in 2004, when his stag had a women-only guest list with Nigella Lawson and Dannii Minogue in attendance.
While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a girly spa weekend or butlers in the buff, we might just be passed this whole ‘no boys allowed’ drama. We’re living in a modern age, with modern marriage, and it might just be time to put the stereotypes to bed.