By Kerry Hayton.
Ahhhh, the much anticipated and arguably most fun part in the lead up to the big day… The stag and hen do’s! They’ve come a long way since a night at the local with a few pals, and they can be a bit of a minefield. Been tasked with organising one? Grab a Hobnob and read on for our step by step guide!
1. THE LOCATION.
If you know the bride or groom pretty well, or it’s come up in conversation, you’ll probably have half an idea of where they want to go on their last night(s) of freedom. Whether that’s a trip to Vegas or keeping it in your local town, it’s the first bit that you need to nail.
2. THE DATE.
You’ll need to clear this with the bride/groom if you haven’t already, as there’s no point planning a stag/hen if the bride/groom to be has other holiday plans, or one of their closest family members won’t be able to get the time off work.
3. THE GUEST LIST (yes, another one!).
Ask the bride/groom to write a list of who they’d most like to be in attendance. It’s important to remember they only need to invite who they really want to invite – Mother-in-Law invites are genuinely optional!
4. THE BUDGET.
Now you know where your bride/groom to be wants to go, get everything roughly priced up, with plenty of wiggle room! Make sure you include allowances for travel, food & drink, and any other unanticipated costs that might crop up, as well as the cost of the bride/grooms place if you’re covering that and splitting it between everyone.
5. THE INVITATIONS.
Ping them out to everyone on the list, and make sure to include all the above info, giving attendees as much notice as possible… The longer they have to save some pennies, the more likely they are to be able to commit. Facebook is a really good way of keeping everyone in the loop (keep it a private group if you don’t want the stag/hen to know the deets!), but make sure the bride/groom has been invited too!
6. THE RESPONSES.
Give everyone a deadline to respond to the invitation. Things will change, but you can organise most parts of the event with an approximate number of people. Consider asking people to pay you a deposit (opening up a bank account for the event is always wise to keep things separate!). Something in the region of £30-£50 per person is enough to get them to commit, and you can also use this money to put down deposits on any activities you want to book.
7. THE EXCEL SPREADSHEET.
You think we’re joking? We’re not! Make a list of everyone who’s been invited, and you’ll also be able to keep track of who’s replied, whether they’re coming, any deposits paid and which activities they’re taking part in. Later in the process, you can also add in info like dietary requirements and hotel rooms etc.
8. THE ACCOMMODATION.
Remember to consider how close you’ll need to be for all the important amenities (AKA bars), as well as any activities that you’ve got in mind. If you’re staying in the UK, think about proximity to public transport, and availability of parking if people might be driving.
9. THE ACTIVITIES.
Most importantly, make sure you think about the bride/grooms likes & dislikes, as well as what kinds of activities the rest of the group will enjoy, especially if you’ve got people of all ages attending. Tailor it to them, so it’s really personal. If they’ve got a favourite film, song or band, book a Dance Party with that theme in mind. If they love a drink, a cocktail masterclass or pub crawl would be right up their street. Think about the costs involved too and whether they work with your budget. If people are spending their hard-earned cash, it’s important they do have a flippin’ good time but remember, you’ll never (and I mean NEVER) please everyone. Choose activities that the bride/grooms friends and family are also at least likely to enjoy and play it safe if you need to!
10. THE ITINERARY.
Whilst things won’t always go to plan, it’s important to try and find a balance between being prompt and having to hang around for the next activity. Think about how many activities you’ve got planned (don’t over-do it and try to cram too much in!), and how far they are from each other. If you can keep things within walking distance, that’ll really help eliminate any delays and complications, as well as extra costs for transport. Make sure you allow extra time for ‘I just need to pop to the loo’ or ‘I’ve just bought another pint’… Just to be on the safe side! Allow plenty of time for any food stops too and make sure you book tables in advance to avoid too much hanging around. It’s unlikely you’ll get a table for 20 people in a city centre pub on a Saturday lunch time! Most importantly though, make sure you factor in some down time, particularly in the mornings. No-one will appreciate an 8am alarm call and let’s be honest, chilling out in bed until at least 10am, and reminiscing about the antics of the night before with a hot brew is all part of the fun!
So, there we have it. Hen/Stag planning in a nutshell. Other than the obvious of course – Reach for the well-deserved vino to celebrate the fact it’s all sorted and don’t forget to enjoy the event itself as you’ve most definitely earnt it!
Kerry Hayton is from Bounce Studios, experts in organising unforgettable and Hen and Stag dance party classes.