For someone who loves fairy wings, pink stuff and cocktails, it might seem surprising that the thought of my own hen do makes me groan. It’s happening, and it’s happening soon - May, in fact. And I still haven’t decided on what the hell to do, because frankly there’s nothing I want to do. Every single option I've been presented with leaves me cold.
Earlier this week, it was reported that a hen party was labelled by a restaurant in Manchester as ‘the chaviest worst most vile people ever to grace our restaurant’ after the girls wrote a negative review about the eaterie on its Facebook page. The restaurant continued with their uber personal criticism of the party: ‘Wouldn’t know fine dining if it slapped them in their ugly faces! Best thing ever is that they won’t return!’ along with some other gems, including, ‘what trash they were! We pity the groom,’ before stating that five out of the 18 girls turned up one hour and ten minutes after the booking time.
This, along with the fact that the girls had broken the restaurant’s ‘no confetti’ rule was the only factual part of the rant, which otherwise just seemed waaay too personal and over the line of professionalism to be fair. Sure, like most hen parties, maybe the girls were pretty rowdy, but there’s still no excuse for slamming them on a personal level all over Facebook, right?
But maybe we do need to find a new format for hen parties. We’ve all been there, trying to have a quiet dinner with a few mates when a hen party rocks up and all hell breaks loose. Suddenly there are inflatable penises and baby oil flying around everywhere. Equally, we’ve all been on hen dos where you find yourself praying for a freak food poisioning outbreak. Just so everyone can leave and go back to their normal existences where they don’t have to look like a twat while they pole dance badly, or make dicks out of clay, or sit around in a bikini on a beach in Spain, making small talk with complete randomers the bride knows from school/uni/netball club.
The main thing I think needs to change about hen dos is the length and cost. For some reason, they seem to have evolved from a simple night out into three day long festivals dedicated to singledom and L plates. My heart sinks every time I get an email about a friend’s hen do, because I can pretty much predict the format - it involves about four meals, three bizarre activities, and spending a fortune. In June last year, Thisismoney.co.uk published research that showed the average cost of a hen night is £160, with 25% of people having spent over £300. Not. Cheap.
I'm yet to work out who this epic lash festival format works for. One friend, who was maid of honour at a recent hen and so responsible for organising the entire thing, found it to one the most stressful things she's ever done. 'I would wake up to emails during the night from the bride before the event, giving me lists of demands and extra stuff to organise,' she says. 'It was like having a second job.' Another mate who is getting married this summer has a problem I can empathise with - her best mate is a straight bloke and so he wasn't 'allowed' to attend her hen party. The horror stories are endless - full on fights between guests with 'girls on tour' sashes going flying, mothers being invited to sit through greasy strippers girating in their daughter's face, and the inevitable grossness of every sleazy man in the club thinking he should be your last hurrah. *
Me and my boyfriend (fiance, whatever) actually keep joking that we’d rather we were both going on the stag and hen, and have a mix of both of our friends, girls and boys, and have two really great nights out with the people we love. There’s a simple, very good reason I’m marrying him - he’s my favourite person to hang out with - so frankly the idea of having one ‘last night’ to celebrate not being married to him, literally makes NO sense to me.
The only moment where I felt a flash of inspiration was spotting a smashed bride in a fancy dress ball gown hanging out the top of a horse and carriage in the middle of Soho last week, singing from the rooftop behind her white ponies with feathers in their bridles. But while she was having the time of her life, there were at least six of her mates looking cold and miserable. Fun is different for everyone, so enforced, themed, fun for a big group of people, suddenly doesn’t have much chance of being fun, in my books. Think I’m going to have to go back to the drawing board.
Liked this? Then you might also be interested in...
Follow Charlie on Twitter @Charliebyrne406
This article originally appeared on The Debrief.