We’ve all been there. The “Hey Ladies…” round-robin email you’ve been waiting for arrives in your inbox, and once you read beyond the “The lovely [so-and-so] is getting hitched and I’m sure we all can’t WAIT for the big day etc.” and cut to the chase, your heart sinks. Just a little.
To your dismay, it’s yet another hen party afternoon tea-spa combo. While eating scones and being massaged are undeniably lovely ways to spend a weekend, when it’s the fifth time you’ve paid for the same hen-do activities in the same year, it can all start to feel a bit samey. You’ve iced enough cupcakes to open your own bakery and taken so many tap dancing classes, your skills would impress Bob Fossé. Indeed, when people have scrimped and saved all year to afford these (often costly) trips, they want a memorable experience that doesn’t just merge into the typical cookie-cutter hen do fare. The bride-to-be deserves better after all!
So if you’ve been given the unenviable task of organising a hen do (or are the bride in question and have decided to arrange your own) it’s worth getting a bit creative if you want everyone to be upbeat and genuinely enthusiastic when the date rolls around. But you don’t need a giant budget or loads of bells and whistles, just a bit of creative thinking! With that in mind, we’ve taken the tried-and- tested classics and given them a unique update. If you’re leaving the details to your maid of honour, maybe subtly slip a few of these suggestions her way and prepare for an unforgettable party.
Bounce fit body
Swap a dance class for… a trampoline workout
Instead of piling into a studio to strut your stuff Beyoncé-style, literally take things to the next level with a trampoline-workout hen do instead. You and your girls can wear fancy dress or gym kit and learn fun routines to fabulous tracks, all on a trampoline.
Swap a scary movie night for… a zombie experience
We love snuggling up with popcorn, a scary film, and our best pals to scream it out with. But rather than just shouting, “Don’t go into the basement, that’s a bad idea!” at the screen, why not get involved in the action with a zombie bootcamp? Don riot helmets and body armour before heading out to take down the walking dead – with a little help from your friends.
Swap outdoor games for… the Hen-Limpic games
Serious about sport? This may not be for you, as it’s an unashamedly silly take on the Olympics. Compete against other groups in events such as foot darts, giant egg and spoon, and caterpillar archery relay. You might not break any world records, but you’ll have a great laugh.
READ MORE: Super Affordable Hen Party Accessories from Poundland
Swap horse riding for… hen-party polo
Yes, you could simply get on a horse and amble around the park or countryside. Or you could tuck into a champagne breakfast, learn how to ride polo-style, and take part in a match with your friends. There’s even the option to have a masseuse come to the pitch to ease tired muscles. We know what we’d choose.
B Bakery London
Swap afternoon tea for… afternoon tea on a Routemaster
If you still want to get your fix of scones, cream and tea, do it with the sights of London as your backdrop, motoring around the city in a vintage double-decker.
Swap a spa for… laughter yoga
They say laughter is the best medicine – find out if this is true with a laughter yoga session. It’s yoga but with giggling actively encouraged, including activities specifically designed to get you laughing. An excellent way to relieve pre-w-day stress.
Swap go karting for… ice karting
Who needs wheels when you’ve got ice? You’ll whizz around the rink on specially adapted karts, competing against your fellow hens (you’ll be briefed and fully kitted out before you hit the rink). Perfect if you’ve got the need for speed…
READ MORE: The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Hen Party
Swap lunch for… a retro ’90s brunch
If you’re a child of the ’90s, you will love this nostalgia-fest. Taking place in ever-changing London locations, this combines brunch with a trip down memory lane. All the food, drink and music is ’90s-themed, and there are era-appropriate games such as Mario Kart. Don your Doc Martens, slick on some berry lipstick and step back in time.
Swap life drawing for… a graffiti workshop
Put on protective gear before learning the key techniques of street art and getting busy with a spray can. There’s also the chance to create a mural together that you may (or may not, depending on your skill level) want to display on w-day.
Swap a pub crawl for… a craft beer tour
Head to London’s East End to learn all about the history and culture of this iconic area – and sample some craft beers along the way. You’ll stop in at a variety of pubs, from Victorian gems to contemporary cool hotspots.
Swap dinner for… immersive dining
There’s a host of amazing options out there for a foodie evening with a difference – and no, we’re not talking about murder-mystery dinners. We mean cool pop-ups with out-of-this-world menus and amazing experiences.
Guests at previous Gingerline events have dived for cocktails with mermaids (gingerline.co.uk), while Bompas and Parr have created a dinner based on Roald Dahl’s story of The Twits (bompasandparr.com).
Swap a cooking class for… baking with a GBBO contestant
This three-hour experience sprinkles some Great British Bake Off magic on an old hen favourite.
After some prosecco, you’ll enjoy a baking demonstration from an ex-contestant on the programme, then roll up your sleeves to make your own sweet treat. The former GBBO baker will be on hand to help, give tips and advice, and, most importantly, answer questions about their time on the show. Just don’t forget to share all the Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry gossip with us!
Read our review of this hen party idea to find out what we thought…
Swap clay-pigeon shooting for… urban axe throwing
Need to work off some guest list stress? We feel you. An excellent way is hurling axes at a target. Trust us. You’ll learn some techniques before taking part in a tournament – just remember that you definitely need to be sober for this part.
Swap a craft class for… a vintage festival
You find a suitable space and stylists Ela and Dani (bo-chic.com) will do the rest. Think tepee photo booth, table décor, flowers, grazing station and cushions – all effortlessly boho chic. Amid all this loveliness, you can sip bubbly with your besties and do a one-hour craft workshop. vintagepartyarrangements.co.uk
Swap clubbing for… a roller disco
Sound the retro-fun klaxon, it’s time to go old school! Strap on your skates for a dancing do with a twist. Some of the roller discos are exclusive hire, meaning nobody else will see if you take a tumble, and there’s even the chance to bring your own music.
Swap a cocktail party for a… sake party
Cocktail-making hen parties have been on the scene for a while now. Do something different with a kimono party – and add a sake-tasting workshop for extra fun. You and your hens will be dressed and styled in exquisite kimonos, learn to write your Japanese names and practise calligraphy, as well as enjoying some sake.
Swap getting ready in your hotel for… taking over a chic salon
Getting ready for a night out is almost as fun as the night out itself, but rather than all clamouring to fit around the mirror in your hotel room, why not hire blow dry bar Duck & Dry to get you and all of your hens ready?
The expert stylists can create 16 different ‘dos, to suit each and every hen, and you can even decorate the space and bring all your party desires from butlers in the buff, cupcakes and games.
READ MORE: The 22 emotional stages of your hen do (in gifs)