This weekend was spent blowing the budget at Best Bud’s hen weekend in Manchester. A good time was had by all, but my finances are certainly feeling the strain now. I’m already almost £280 overspent this month and it’s approximately 18 days until payday. Uh Oh! That said, it was totally, totally worth it.
As Best Bud’s bridesmaid some of the planning fell to me (although being the organised little miss that she is, she also had an active role), so here I give you my learnings for how to throw a fun but frugal hen party…
1.) Bridal showers only happen in America – We’re Brits and so long as the hen has some suitably embarrassing pink fluffy items to wear, a steady stream of alcohol and some cheesy music to dance to she’ll generally be happy. Don’t worry about finding sentimental gifts – save those for the wedding.
2.) Share the work (and the cost) with the other hens – I set up a private Facebook group (so the hen couldn’t join and see what we were up to!) and invited all the other hens to join so we could collude on ideas. It was great as lots of the other hens offered to contribute items to the mix which I simply wouldn’t have been able to afford on my own.
3.) Shop around – I got some great deals on deely boppers and other chintzy accessories courtesy of e-Bay and Amazon to ensure everyone knew we were on a hen night. We all sourced feather boas from Poundland!
4.) Pick an easy theme. We went to The Birdcage club in Manchester, which was literally hen party central, and saw some amazing costumes. They looked fabulous but you couldn’t help but wonder how much they’d all spent on looking the part. One of our hens came up with the idea of little black dresses with those Poundland boas. We changed this to black outfits to allow for those more comfortable in trousers, but this ensured we had a cost-effective, coordinated and classy (as you can be on a hen-do) look.
5.) Think about transport – We got the train up to Manchester which saved us some pennies and offset the fact that we had to get a lot of taxis back and forth between the city centre and The Trafford Centre where we were staying.
6.) Do It Yourself – Much the same as weddings, mention ‘hen-do’ and ‘£’ signs tend to appear in suppliers eyes. You can get a ‘How Well Do You Know The Bride’ quiz from Amazon for just under £7. I made my own, after all I know the bride pretty well. I also created a ‘How Well Do You Know The Groom’ quiz for the bride, as well as a few other cheeky games which provided some over dinner giggles. Why not write your own dares for the bride to be?
7.) “We’re on a hen-do’ - These magic words can open up a world of special offers and freebies (see bride-to-be it’s worth wearing that comedy veil). Our lovely, lovely hotel gave us free wine with our evening meal and were super attentive.
8.) Drink? – Some random shopfitters bought drinks for us in the hotel bar, which was very generous of them. But complete strangers buying you drinks aside. We set up a drinks kitty for our evening in the hotel bar which worked out pretty fair, without costing the earth. We also sneaked some drinks into our bags to drink before we went out and perhaps a bit for when we got back. Thank goodness for oversized handbags!
9.) Be prepared – a lot of the money which I spent was on incidentals: bottles of coke, magazines, coffee, Migraleve tablets etc… if I’d thought ahead I probably could have avoided these extra costs.
10.) Set a budget and stick to it – I was good at this during the planning stages, but then it kind of went out of the window and got swept up in the event. Oh and possibly when I saw the beautiful things in The Trafford Centre. Hence why I am now the proud owner of a gorgeous cream chunky knit cardigan from Jane Norman and a fabulous tan satchel from Debenhams. Oops!
So, overspent? Guilty as charged. But looking back on the photos on Facebook it was money well spent.