As a bridesmaid or maid of honour, one of your most important duties is planning the hen night. Make sure your bride-to-be has the best single-send-off ever.
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In New Zealand, the most common hen night seems to involve male genitalia straws and copious amounts of booze. However, there are loads of other things you could plan (still with the straws and alcohol if you wish, although if there are two brides, they may not appreciate the straws)!
First, you need to think about the basics:
- What is your budget?
- What will the bride enjoy?
- Who is attending?
You want something affordable for everyone, an event that the bride will love and remember forever, and activities that suit all the guests. If great-aunt-Agatha and Nana are coming, maybe the raunchy stripper isn’t such a great idea, or it could be for later in the evening (or maybe Agatha might surprise you…)!
It’s highly unlikely that everyone will know each other, so start with introductions, then a few ice-breaker games.
- Two truths and a lie: Each attendee writes down two truths and a lie; as a group, you have to figure out which is the lie.
- Who am I: Everyone has the name of a famous person adhered to their forehead. They have to ask people questions in order to guess who they are.
Hen weekends away
A weekend away somewhere can be amazing, but it’s not for everyone. It could get expensive, and it also will limit the number of people that can attend. However, it creates a unique environment where people can truly relax; nowhere else to rush off to, no pressure, no deadlines. It also makes attendees really get to know each other; come the wedding day, everyone will be relaxed with their new friends.
Choose a place that’s within an hour or so of the main city; Waiheke Island or Akaroa, for instance. Plan some activities, but make sure there’s enough free time for extra naps, walks by the beach, or chilled out wines in the sun. Start with icebreaker games, and maybe plan a walk together or salon visit while you’re there.
Hen night activities
Choosing to do ‘something’ together has the benefit of creating good friendships. Even if you’ve never met half the people before, doing something together bonds you in shared experiences.
You are only limited by your imagination (and potentially what the bride may or may not want to do).
- A paint n’ sip class
- Craft beer tasting
- Go Kart racing
- Life drawing class
- Winery visit
- Spa visit for a pedicure/ manicure
- Stripper/ male revue
- A chocolate tour/ cooking class
- Adrenalin forest confidence course
- A concert, musical or show
- A dance class like pole dancing, silks, hula-hooping, or belly dancing
- Horse trekking, ice skating, or something else outdoors
- A craft lesson such as candle making, flower crowns, or even cocktail class
- An escape room challenge
- Zoo visit
These events could be part of an overall night out; once you’ve all made your flower crowns, ditch the old folk (if they want) and then head out for dinner, drinks, and dancing.
<H2>The traditional NZ hen night
Easy to organise, cheap, and good fun, the tradition is to head to someone’s house for a few rounds of games, maybe a BBQ or potluck dinner, then heading out to town with a list of ‘tasks’ to complete. Of course, the night isn’t complete without a sash and a tiara for the bride-to-be, and ‘pecker straws’.
Games or activities could include:
- In advance, video the partner answering a set of questions. Then on the night, sit the bride down, and ask her what she thought he said, and what the actual answer is; then play back what the spouse-to-be said.
- Give everyone five pegs. Throughout the night, if they say any ‘banned words’, such as ‘wedding’ or ‘bride’, other participants can snaffle one of their pegs. At the end of the night, the person with the most pegs wins a prize.
- Pin-the-pecker-on-the-guy or similar
- Photo booth with loads of props
- Ask the bride to be a bunch of questions a few weeks in advance. Then create a quiz for the hens, and see who knows her best
- Creating ‘advice’ cards for the couple, such as ‘never go to sleep angry’, or ‘never fart in bed’
- Before the night, get all the attendees to give you an obscure fact about themselves (or they could be kind and give an easy clue). The bride then has to match the fact to the hen.
- While you’re asking for facts, each hen can come up with a dare for the bride to be, which can be written up, put into a bowl, and she can attempt these throughout the evening.
- Never have I ever… the classic risqué drinking game
- Toilet paper wedding dress; teams are given rolls of toilet paper (or slightly more eco-friendly newspapers) and create an artistic wedding dress
- Bridal Pictionary (or, use Playdoh instead of drawing)
Keep in mind that if you have someone attending who doesn’t know the bride very well (maybe a friend of one of the attendees), some of the quizzes can be awkward. Also, read the audience; the bride’s mum might not want to know some details about her daughter.
Whatever you decide to do, keep it all about the bride. If she’s an outdoorsy type, plan something outside—there’s nothing stopping you hiking the Milford as a hen ‘night’. If she’s a mad-keen shopping fanatic, maybe a day shopping (for wedding related things or not) and then a glamorous restaurant meal.
Whatever you do, don’t forget the phallic straws.