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01. Destination

It can be Anywhere, it can be Unknown, but picking the Final one is ultimately key to the craic. Whether it’s a group activity from pottery to parasailing, an overnight for twenty or a sunshine break for three, it’s important to do your research and know your audience. It’s all well and good for the bride to want to fulfill her lifetime Caribbean dream but it’s important to remember that a hen’s is all about fun and while the sun setting on St Lucia is, in theory, perfection for Carol the bride, maybe not so much craic for Claire who’s got a mortgage, or jollies for Jean who’s only got three days annual leave left.

Keep it affordable, accessible, flexible and easygoing, whether that means shortening the Barcelona trip to just two days or sticking to an overnight in a classic Irish spot like Kilkenny or Carlingford where hens are welcome and expertly catered for. The less pressure your guests are under, the more relaxed they’re going to be and the more likely to let their hair allll the way down.

02. Doings

As in ‘wotcha doing for your hen?’. The popularity of hen activities has grown massively in the past thirty years and, depending on what you and your pals get up to, anything goes!

Starting with the sedate, it’s a well-loved favourite to pop on the paper pants and get pampered at a health club or spa. Massages, facials, mani/pedis, saunas – absolute bliss! Afternoon tea is also a common choice, particularly good if some of the more mature ladies like mums, aunties and grannys are being included in the group. How about trying something new like mixology, chocolate making or cake baking?

Alternatively, you could look at going to the other end of the scale altogether and, depending on the adventurous spirit of your guests, try something like a parachute jump, abseiling, hiking, biking, boating or kayaking.

If zorbing and zumba aren’t to your tastes, however, it’s easy to strike a happy medium with something fun like a recording studio party, disco yoga, a Victorian dress up party, life sketching – the activity, should you choose to do one, can literally be anything at all – or nothing at all, as it happens – how about turning the dial right down and having a Girls’ Night In at home with some pampering, a karaoke machine, a game night or a grown up sleepover?

03. Dress

All brides to be want to nail their hen party look. Whether it’s Lizzo-tastic, or Kardashian-classic, everyone’s got that image of making the unforgettable entrance at the start of the evening in their head. Hair coiffed to perfection, makeup on trend, outfit hugging every curve, walking confidently on perilous, but fabulous heels …

*Record Scratch*

Brides – don’t bother. In twenty minutes of frenzied giggling on the part of your bridesmaids, you’re going to look absolutely nothing like you imagined. Your new ‘do’ will be obscured by a tatty veil and a willy hairband, a pair of light-up penis earrings will dangle either side of your face, on your back you’ll sport the eternal L-plate, on your front there may well be a pair of enormous inflatable bosoms between which drapes a sash identifying you as Naughty but Nice. There will be a garter somewhere, fluffy handcuffs – or maybe they’ll go for the devil horn/whip combo.

If it’s any consolation, it’s unlikely that your guests will get away looking as on fleek as they imagined either. After all, it’s easier to find everyone in the nightclub if we’re all wearing matching neon green wigs, isn’t it? Or masks of  Barbra Streisand’s face. Why not go all out and go for the personalised t-shirt theme? Randy Regina and Lusty Louise will love you for it – especially if you add in bright pink cowboy hats to complete the look.

04. “Disgusting”

It’s all done in the best possible taste, of course – the goal is a giggle. Just maybe wait until Gran’s headed off in the taxi though

As in, the fine for behaving in a “lewd, obscene and disgusting manner” imposed by Leicester Crown Court on a male stripper in 1976. Sounds like that guy was no Magic Mike, but nowadays we’d barely bat an eyelid. Hen parties have long been associated with the naughtier side of things and you can expect at least one accessory to appear over the course of the night which will make you go ‘ooh matron’. It could be as small as a set of love dice, or a blow-up man complete with body hair or, indeed, an inflatable thingamajig waving hello from the roof.

There may also be games – Mr and Mrs, of course, Prosecco Pong, Bridal Bingo, Never Have I Ever, Pin the Trunks on the Hunk and … Cock or What. Yes, it’s a thing. Look it up.

It’s all done in the best possible taste, of course – the goal is a giggle. Just maybe wait until Gran’s headed off in the taxi though, eh?

05. Dine

A lovely spot of grub with the girls in a nice restaurant – it doesn’t get better than this. And even if taking time over the dessert menu and sipping a New World wine isn’t on your hen schedule, at the very least it’s essential to get some soakage in before the main event kicks off. Crisps and nuts – the edible kind – should be kept in constant supply throughout the celebrations but make sure to leave room for the 3am curry chips and the accompanying bonding session while you enjoy them. Grub’s up gals!