Considering hen-do's are meant to celebrate upcoming nuptials where two people swear their undying love, they sure are a truly stressful experience. You've heard the traditional horror stories, but in the social media age when everything is an elaborate photo-opportunity, hen-do's are fast becoming a one-way ticket to exhausting a friendship. Where we once jumped on a hen-do invitation as quick as someone suggest jelly shots and genital straws, we're now forced to pause and ask ourselves, is this hen-do actually a good idea?
According to these hens, who very much wish they'd paused for thought before accepting the invitation, these are the causes for concern you should consider before jumping down the hen-do rabbit hole...
'There were like 87 hen-do's in the end'
‘When my best friend got engaged, I was buzzing for her and going on the hen-do was essentially no question,’ says Charlotte*, 29, ‘she decided to have it in Barcelona, which was fine because it’s an excuse for a fun weekend away anyway and would only be a few hundred quid. But then she needed a second one for her family in Luton, and then a London one for her friends that couldn’t come away. Because I was helping host too, it ended up costing me near a grand for everything involved, I could barely afford to attend the actual wedding by the time the hen-dos were done.’
'My boyfriends ex-girlfriend was there'
‘My friendship group is quite incestuous, so I actually ended up at a hen-do for my boyfriend’s ex last Summer,’ says Jennifer*, 27, ‘my relationship with her now-ex overlapped a bit, but we had no bad blood at the time of the hen-do. She was getting married so pretty sure she’s moved on, you know? Turns out her friends hadn’t. They spent the entire time staring at me, making passive aggressive comments, asking weird questions about my relationship. I basically walked into a bear trap blind.’
'I wasn't actually invited to the wedding'
‘I was invited to a hen-do in Marbella for one of my sisters friends last year, which at the time wasn’t weird because I’ve known her a long time,’ says Hattie*, 24, ‘I had to tentatively accept and decide closer to the time cause I didn’t know if I could afford it, but then as the hen-do got closer and the wedding invitations were sent out I realised I wasn’t actually invited to the wedding, not even the reception. I was literally so confused, why are you inviting me to preliminary celebrate an event I’m not actually invited to? I hastily made my “too broke, sorry” excuse and left the group chat.’
'The games got very, very personal'
‘I was asked to decorate a pair of pants with something that would remind the bride of our friendship, the idea of the game being that she would then be able to guess which hen had decorated which pair and – hopefully – hilarity would ensue,’ says Marie*, 26, ‘Needless to say, I ended up heading to Morrisons a few hours before getting on the train to the hen do location and buying a bumper pack of their cheapest knickers – then decorated them literally moments before we were summoned to play the game – with a biro. Some people had really gone all out with it which was very sweet and left me feeling a bit guilty, but equally, others had made a piss poor effort which made me feel better about my own hastily sketched attempt.’
'The dress code was intense'
‘I went to a hen-do in Mykonos and literally every single event on the itinerary had a different dress-code required,’ says Lucy*, 32, ‘we had to wear matching t-shirts on the plane over, matching swimming costumes for the beach party, all wear black in the night so the bride could wear white, it was the cringiest hen-do I’ve ever been involved in.’
'I spent my holiday savings on her Instagram likes'
‘The last hen-do I went on I realised very quickly that the wedding would be the last time I’d see this friend,’ says Joanne*, 28, ‘we were already really close to not being friends anymore, but being in the same group I felt obliged to go her hen-do. It was in Amsterdam so I thought it might be fun regardless. But being on that trip re-iterated every reason why we don’t like each other, literally everything was an Instagram photo-opp to the point we were spending so much all for her likes. She’s still posting pictures now, more than a year later, so you can imagine how much time - and money - we wasted posing.’
'Our friendship almost ended'
‘My best friends’ hen-do literally almost ended our friendship, and I'm not being dramatic,’ says Kirsty*, 33, ‘she thought asking me to be maid of honour meant planning the entire wedding celebrations. I had a full-time job and a 4-year-old, so literally no time to plan tea parties. I tried my best at first, but I just didn’t have the time or energy to put as much thought into it as she was expecting and we ended up having a blazing row where she accused me of not wanting it to be special and dethroned me as maid of honour.
‘We smoothed it over once her parents got involved and made her see sense, but when she re-asked me to be her maid of honour I politely declined. I wouldn’t wish that job on anyone.’
'I spend three months rent overall'
‘I’ve been to five hen-do’s in the last three years, and I can tell you now I never want to put my friends through one for me,’ says Jasmine*, 29, ‘I reckon I’ve spent minimum £500 per hen-do, there’s usually a few celebrations involved and props and outfits and all the rest. Honestly, for £2,500 I could’ve paid three month’s rent, gone travelling, bought a new car, it’s ridiculous.
'I drunkenly told the bride she should be nervous to marry him'
‘I got really, really drunk on my friend’s hen-do and told her I hate her fiancé,’ says Emily*, 25, ‘to be fair, she already knew, but I really didn’t need to say it to her face. They’d been together for like six months and he was really manipulative and blatantly tried to turn her against me on multiple occasions so when she drunk confessed to me that she was really nervous on the hen-do I took the opportunity to tell her why she should be. I don’t really regret telling her, but I regret doing it in that way, it basically ruined her hen-do and our friendship really suffered for it for a long time.’
'I can't look at WhatsApp without group chat flashbacks'
‘Hen-do group chats should be banned,’ says Beth*, 30, ‘I’ve been in three different ones and they are the bane of my life. The endless requests, passive aggressive comments when people aren’t paying on time, awkward moments no one answers the bride’s questions, I hate them. WhatsApp having the mute feature has saved me endless stress.