So your bestie's tying the knot and you're in charge of giving her the best night of her life? No pressure right...
At Maison Burlesque (and in our former lives at Burlesque Bar) we've helped plan literally hundreds of hens nights so consider it our speciality! We've put together some helpful advice based on our years of experience to help guide you through the whole process, from choosing your activities to wrangling rsvp's and everything in between!
Happy hens at Maison Burlesque!
Step One - Know Your Hen!
When: As soon as possible! Ideally at least 3-4 months before the wedding.
The first thing to consider when planning a hens party are what kind of personality type is the bride-to be & what kind of event is she going to want to have? Is she a spontaneous & go with the flow type of person or does she like to have a handle on everything?
When planning the date for the hens night, chat to the bride to be about what she wants out of her hens night. Does she want a complete surprise, or does she want to have final say in any major decisions? Does she have a dream activity she'd like to include? Any musts or must-nots? It's always worth checking about her comfort levels with male nudity - for some girls a male stripper or topless waiter is great fun, for others its their worst nightmare. Or maybe she'd like to set a theme and leave the rest up to you? Remember, this is her night after all!
If she wants to be surprised, chat to the other bridesmaids about what they think the bride would enjoy. Remember you are catering to a diverse group of ages, family and friends and you don’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable.
Step Two - Set The Date!
When: At least 2-3 months before the wedding.
Catch up with the bride to set aside a date for her hens night. We recommend about 2-6 weeks before the wedding date is a great starting point. You want it to be close enough to the wedding so that everyone still feels connected and well acquainted on the big day but also allow enough time for people to be comfortable in the money department to cover both events.
Also at this time the hen will need to come up with a list of people to invite - you may want to sit down with her to help decide who to invite, and don't forget to collect phone numbers and email addresses!
Send out a "Save The Date" message/email. This doesn't need to be a formal invitation, just give everyone a heads up on when the event will be so people can organise travel and start saving their pennies!
Hens (and our topless waiter Anthony) in the Phoenix Room.
Step 3 - Research your options!
When: Around 2-3 months before the wedding.
So you have a pretty good idea of what you think the hen will love AND you've got a date set. Now for the fun part... Find out what your options are!
The first thing to consider is each persons budget. You want to create a fabulous event without breaking the bank so have this discussion with the bride and bridesmaids to determine what is suitable for your group.
Some things to consider in regards to budget:
What is the size of your group? In general, smaller groups will pay more per head than larger groups so make sure you ask if the venue does a large group discount or incentive.
The cost of the bride should be covered by the rest of the group.
It's usually easier (and more cost effective) to organise the evening as an 'all expenses paid' event. Meaning not jus the events & activities are pre paid for, but also food, alcohol, transport, and even fun accessories too! This means that everyone can just focus on enjoying their evening (rather than worrying about splitting Uber's or who's buying the next round of drinks).
Take advantage of bonus extras which can save you $$ (eg Maison Burlesque can offer free entry into certain clubs afterwards, which can save up to $20 per head).
Always slightly round up the total cost per person (we're talking to the nearest $10, not $100!) so that you as the organiser don't end up out of pocket. Then if you have some spare dollars you can buy the hen a small gift (or buy that round of tequila shots!)
Consider going to venues that are close to one another rather than on opposite sides of the city to save on transport costs and time!
The next thing to decide is what specific activities you want for the day/evening based on what the hen wants and who will be attending.
Some things to consider in regards to activities:
Less is often more - especially for large groups! Allow for social time, meals and transport so that the event doesn't feel rushed.
If doing an activity that requires moving around (eg a burlesque workshop) try not to have a big meal planned for immediately beforehand. Stick to canapés and finger food for before and save dinner for afterwards.
Allow time for games! These are often some of the most fun parts of a hens party, and they can often be great ice breakers and create some great talking points for on the wedding day. At Maison Burlesque we have a range of tried and true games we can facilitate during your event!
It doesn't always have to be X- rated! Don't feel the need to make every aspect of the hens night about sex and penis jokes... Sure, a little bit of cheekiness can be loads of fun if the hen is up for it, but it doesn't need to be expected. If your group is uncomfortable with the idea of male nudity, consider having a Showgirl hostess instead of a topless waiter, or perhaps some cheeky Life Drawing or Cupcake Decorating is a great activity instead of a male stripper.
Always feed people! No one wants a hangry group of hens roaming the city, especially if drinking is on the menu. Also consider food allergies or special requests and make sure venues can provide accordingly eg Gluten free, nut allergies, vegetarians etc.
Consider including a dress code, theme or item that connects the group as a party. It could be a colour, a hair flower or a full blown theme like pinups or flappers!
Step 4 - Lock It In: Deposits & RSVP's!
When: The earlier the better! (usually 1-2 months before the hens night)
Most venues and activities require deposits paid to lock in a date, and some dates of the year are notoriously busy and sell out in advance. Once you know you want to lock an activity in, get your deposit paid as soon as you can. Check about terms and conditions. Ensure that you have allowed for travel time if moving from one venue to another.
Remember that spontaneous plans with large groups rarely go so well, so you will want to have your entire day/evening planned.
Here are our tips for organising a large group of people!
Send out invites with details about the whole days plans, times, activities and costings.
Set a date by which RSVPS are due. This may be guided by when full payment is required from venues/activity providers. Set your RSVP date at least one-two weeks prior to the date full payment/confirmation of number is required.
Send a reminder text/email 1-2 days prior to the RSVP date.
Heres the most important one - Request payment as your RSVP
Provide your bank details at the bottom of the invite. Ask guests to transfer the full payment amount or a deposit amount to you by the RSVP date. These days, a payment is the best sign of someone's commitment to attend an event, and means you won't ever be left having to pay for people who RSVP'd but didn't show on the night. Remember that the more guests, the better the deal per head you will receive generally.
Life Drawing classes at Maison Burlesque
Step Five - Don't be afraid to delegate!
If you're feeling overwhelmed at any point, don't be shy to ask the other bridesmaids or the bride's family for help. Tasks such as transport, hens games, prizes can easily be delegated to someone else who will no doubt be more than happy to help!
Build excitement for a great day had by all- It's important to keep the email communication lines open and clear, and the guests will love to be informed of the goings on, but make the most of your emails and limit the amount you send.
And remember, an organised maid-of-honor should be able to relax and enjoy herself on the evening knowing that everything has been taken care of!
If you're planning an awesome hens party or private event and want to find out how we can help you create an unforgettable evening - contact us via email here.
FIND OUT MORE
VIEW OUR HENS PARTY PACKAGES HERE
We hope to hear from you soon,
The Team At Maison Burlesque xx