Girls have gone from local pubs to luxury weekends away.
The ‘hen do’ has truly evolved over the past 15 years into something much more than a good old knees-up down your local pub. Long gone are the days when you would gather your nearest and dearest girlfriends and family members together and head to the pub for one last night of debauchery before the big day. Everyone would attend – mothers, mothers-in-law, aunties and grannies, even next-door neighbours. If you weren’t all hugging, drunkenly telling each other your deepest darkest secrets and how much you loved each other by the end of the evening, had you even had a hen night?
Glad Rags and Handbags
The evolution began when girls wanted a night out somewhere a bit different. The same crew as before would head out, but now donned in sashes, ‘L’ plates and willy straws aplenty. The local pub was abandoned in favour of a nearby city – somewhere a bit different, but still a taxi ride away. University towns were hotspots; full of not just students, but hens and stags alike. They were there for the cheap drinks, lots of bars and clubs and the certainty of a good night out!
A Naughty Night Away
That was until girls started wanting more: a night away from their partners and children. After all, who wants to deal with being ‘mummy’ with a hangover from hell. And so, the hen do evolved from a night in your local to a night away. Holiday Inns, Travelodge’s and suchlike began to reap the benefits as girls didn’t want luxury, they just wanted a ‘no frills’ cheap hotel where they could flop into bed at the end of the night feeling worse for wear. A nightclub dancing the night away until the early hours, then back to the hotel. Sorted!
Relaxing and Raucous
However, us girls still weren’t happy with that, we then wanted some luxury in our lives. So, the spa weekend became the hottest idea to hit the hen world. A day at a spa being pampered and preened with plenty of prosecco flowing amidst the bunch of bikini-clad, robed goddesses you had become. Followed of course, by a night on the town, full of fun and frolics with the girls, then lounging around again the next day in your robes – perfect! Or was it?
The Big Weekender
When we got a bit greedy and wanted to have two nights away in the UK, voilà – the hen weekend was born: two nights away with the girls, as many hen activities as you can cram into one day. From a dance class, a nude life drawing class or a mobile cocktail masterclass, with skill and precision it could all be fitted in. The itinerary, of course, included two nights out drinking plus two hangovers. Could you get any better than this?
Of course, you can. Soon, the Friday to Monday hen weekend to Europe became a thing as we headed off to Marbella, Ibiza and Tenerife, anywhere you can get a tan by day and drink by night. Cheap flights and budget accommodation in favour of luxury beach clubs, champagne spray parties and VIP booths at top clubs, and the Instagram revolution. If you aren’t all in matching bikinis with designer sunnies tentatively lounging on a white ocean beach daybed with an orange champagne glass, the picture definitely won’t be Insta worthy. It’s hard to believe that the budget for hen parties has increased from an average of £40 back in the knees-up days to well over £400 for a trip to Ibiza – and that’s before your outfits and spending money!
“ When I was in my early 20’s I always thought I knew what I wanted for my hen do when I finally found my prince charming, I wanted a huge night out in Liverpool with all my mates and family. I didn’t get engaged until last year and things have massively changed, I actually ended up booking 5 days in Marbella with my close female friends and hired a local function room in the UK for a massive party when we got back with everyone I know to celebrate my last weekend of freedom before the wedding! We had a butler from Butlers with Bums who absolutely made our night, he was great, such a fun personality, easy on the eye and he played loads of games with us, totally took the pressure off me hosting which was exactly what I wanted.”
What has been the trigger for such a massive change, you might ask? Is it hens themselves that have craved more over the years or is this something that we have been made to think is the norm? We see it on social media; we see it on TOWIE, Geordie Shore and Made In Chelsea monthly. Shows such as The Charlotte Show are huge influences in what we all accept now as normal. Hens now save and scrimp for well over a year to afford these luxury trips we all want before we walk down the aisle.
But we haven’t forgotten about the old fashioned ‘hen do’ – we still want that too! We still want to invite as many people as possible – friends old and new, any acquaintances who may not make the cut for the full weekend away – to a big local knees-up. It’s just that we also want the luxury of going away on a hen weekend with a select few guests. And why would you choose one over the other when you can have both?
Did you know that if you book with Hen and Stag, and submit your hen do photos you will be entered into a competition where the winner will get their money back? That could be spent on more drinks or a little something special for the wedding!
The Pre Hen Hen
Girls who choose not to have a big hen do pre-holiday tend to choose a pre-hen hen (yes, that is now a thing). Get all of the girlies together, who will be joining you on your hen party away, for dinner or a drinks reception. These girlfriends will more often than not be from different friendship groups, so this is the perfect opportunity to get to know each other.
So, whether you are off for some year-round sunshine in the Canaries or off to Brighton for some relaxation with your favourite ladies, the evolution has been created by different generations of ladies and from different walks of life. It has given people such a huge range of activities and locations to choose from. Every hen is unique and has different ideas on what is right for her and her friends. So whatever you choose to do or wherever you end up, it’s your time to shine as the bride-to-be.