Kat Brown
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The all new Hen do

Whether you’re looking for discreet luxury or all-out party splendour, you can give your bride the send-off of the century. Just follow a few rules, says writer and veteran hen do organiser, Kat Brown.

Three young women in swimsuits relaxing with cocktails on yacht

1 Before you even think about what you’re going to do, sit the bride down with a drink and grill her like a sausage. It’s crucial to figure out exactly what she wants, because if it gets late in the day and she realises that X, Y or Z isn’t happening, chances are her face will crumple into the middle of next week, and despite all the hard work you’ve put in, she’ll blame you. Nobody said this was fair.

2 Iron out the guest list. It’s simple–ask who isn’t on the bride’s ‘bae list’. Consider size as well. Did you know the average number of people on a group getaway is 12.3? Ask her whether or not she’d like any older relatives to come along (NB: this may not necessarily impact on the adorably well-mannered butler in assless chaps you’d planned for drinks–mums, and especially grandmas, are surprisingly game).

Get a realistic idea of how much cash you’re all willing to spend

3 Money. Very Important. Get a realistic idea of how much cash you’re all willing to spend and where you want that money to go. Do you prize luxury accommodation over amazing activities? Or do you want to put most of your budget into an enormous clubbing and cocktail fund?

Fitting a hen into a day with an overnight stay somewhere gorgeous works brilliantly if you’ve got a tight budget. Start with something active like a dance class, horse riding or whitewater rafting (sounds terrifying, is hilariously good fun), then calm things down with something crafty: a cocktail masterclass or cake-making session gets people talking. Finish with drinks, food and games before heading off for a night at a great club. This way, your gang can choose to opt-in for as much or as little as they can manage, while the bride has an amazing day full of fun.

If you’ve got more cash to splash and a game group to play with, then a luxury city apartment or a cosy cottage provides you with a fabulous base to head out from, and plenty of time across a weekend to make an incredible experience. Or if you’re going abroad, how about an luxury villa?

4 Good question. Are you staying in the UK or going further afield? For a Great British break Liverpool has become a quiet hit with hens recently and has some stunning experiences as well as a famous (and fabulous) nightlife–whether it’s dinner and clubbing, or drinks at the Carpathia rooftop champagne bar before a concert at the Liverpool Philharmonic. And if you want the last word in luxe, then Manhattan’s where it’s at. Seriously: it is an option if you want the ultimate holiday with your best girls. Fly the hens out to New York City and you’re guaranteed the party of a lifetime. In between brunch, shopping and exploring the joys of Fifth Avenue, take a guided party tour around some of the island’s hottest bars before ending the evening in VIP splendour to dance the night away.

Friends posing for digital camera at open-air market
Selfie with friends

5 Activities. When you’re planning the all-important group fun, it’s crucial to judge the group mood–as well as the bride’s. Some people will join in with anything (hurrah!) while others might be keen to duck out after an opening event. The past year has seen yoga taking off as a hen bonding activity, with plenty of beautiful locations offering different types: voga (yoga meets vogueing) is a great way to bliss out while doing something fun. Escape rooms are popular across the board, but for something more interactive, why not try a Bond Girl experience where you take on the spy role and have to carry out your mission orders around the city. Fabulous outfits are non-negotiable.