Most women in their late twenties and above are often sick of fielding questions along the lines of “when will you be next?” at every family wedding. Well, we’ve got a statistic that will keep those “well-meaning” relatives quiet. With the average age of marriage creeping up and up, more brides are choosing to hold off tying the knot until later in life. And that means hen dos are no longer the preserve of giddy twenty-somethings wanting to paint the town red.
And with many of us choosing to get married a second time, the number of brides and grooms aged 65 and over went up by 46% in a decade, from 7,468 in 2004 to 10,937 in 2014 (Office of National Statistics). This has been linked to the fact people are living longer and likely to have a number of long-term partners, as well as different careers. So when it comes to a hen do, the traditional activities geared around younger brides (often involving a weekend in Ibiza or night of clubbing in tutus with semi-clad men!) might not cut it.
“We’ve noticed a rise in the age of our brides and it’s not just grannies,” notes GoHen‘s Head of Events, Poppy Golby. “There is also a rise in 40 somethings getting married for the first time, as well as the ‘silver splicers’, so our new range of hen weekends are especially designed for those brides that want an amazing, memorable weekend, without a nightclub or strip show in sight.”
Obviously some people remain hardcore night owls and partygoers well out of their twenties, and all power to them! But for others, our priorities and tastes change as we get older – and if you aren’t normally out clubbing or boozing every week, why would you want to on your hen do?
With that in mind, we’ve rounded up a selection of ideas that are perfect for more mature hens – or anyone who wants something slightly less raucous …
Swap cocktail making for wine tasting
A mature hen party doesn’t need to be a teetotal affair. If the bride-to-be is a wine buff, this is a more civilised way to enjoy a glass of vino and brush up on your knowledge too. If you’re planning a hen do abroad, Lisbon is a great location for wine lovers, where hens can enjoy an hour’s tasting session for £30 each. (fizzbox.com)
Pal up over perfume making
There’s no better bonding activity than concocting your own perfumes and sniffing different ingredients that remind you of various memories. The session is led by an expert (so you don’t end up with a ‘dud’ concoction), there’s a prize for the best perfume, plus you get your very own creation to take home and wear. The formula is even stored online, so you can reorder it if you really fall in love. £POA, various locations. gohen.com
Trade fancy dress for a vintage makeover
Not everyone wants to dress up in tutus or cover themselves in glitter, wearing fake veils and L-plates. But if the bride is a fan of classic style from bygone eras, a vintage make-over will be right up her street. Based in Brighton, you choose the era and vintage experts will oversee the 2/3-hour hair and makeup session with optional photoshoot. £POA, various locations. gohen.com
Skip the clubbing and go camping
If you’re all lovers of the great outdoors (and it’s a summer wedding) there’s no better way for the bride to bond with her besties than a night of camping out under the stars. But if you’re not up for roughing it, you can always opt for ‘glamping’ as the more comfortable option. Canvas & Stars offers mini cottages instead of tents, but still has all the residual outdoorsy activities such as a fire pit, outdoor kitchen and safari tent for hen games. Starting from £85 pp canvasandstars.co.uk
Swap glitz and glamour for inflatable games
Planning a wedding is stressful – so once the hen do rolls around, your bride might just want to let loose and be silly. Especially if dressing up and hitting the town isn’t really her cup of tea. Competing in various obstacle courses while dressed in giant inflatable outfits is guaranteed to break the ice and create priceless anecdotes for years to come. £POA, various locations. gohen.com
Trade in male strippers for macarons
For lovers of all things French and chic (especially if it’s a cross-Channel wedding), this is a stylish alternative to cupcake decorating – which many veteran hens are probably tired of anyway! Ohlala offer Macaron and Martini Making Workshops where prospective brides can indulge their love of sweet treats over a tipple or two. (They’ve recently launched a vegan workshop too.) Price is dependent on number of hens. ohlala.co
Avoid weekends in Ibiza and go sailing around the continent
If you want to get away from it all with the girls, a yacht trip could be just what you were after. With a skipper included to steer you in the right direction, you can soak up the rays, take a dip in the sea and stop off in idyllic coastal towns for vin rouge and mezze. Plus the photo opportunities will be hard to beat… £POA samboat.com
Chillax with a yoga class
The bride’s idea of fun might have changed over time, and now she’d rather take a yoga class than be nursing a hangover, so why not arrange yoga en masse for her hen do? It’s also a great way for everyone to unwind and relax if they’ve come straight from work or looking after little ones. If you’re planning a fun-filled weekend in Marbella, fizzbox offer yoga classes to help frazzled hens unwind for £26pp. fizzbox.com
Switch out hotels for a glamorous house party
If you want tipsy fun without having to hit the town (and risk getting accosted by drunken stag dos!) renting out a stylish house could be the next best option. London’s Darling House is the latest ‘it’ location and takes some beating – with lavish 1930s-style decorations and a mixologist serving cocktails on the landing. Plus there’s a magnum of Prosecco behind a secret cupboard hidden in the wall. What’s not to like? £POA. hellodarling.london
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