Finding out you're to be a bridesmaid or maid of honour at your friend's wedding is always exciting, especially when you know you'll have the chance to organise some of the celebrations.
It's traditional for the bride's friends to throw a rip roaring hen do in the weeks and days before the wedding, giving you a chance to wish her luck and give her a fun send off. Planning the perfect hen do is one of the biggest responsibilities you have as a bridesmaid, but it doesn't have to be a difficult task.
First of all you need to work out whether the bride to be is the kind of person who would love to be surprised when the day rolls around or whether they secretly already have a type of celebration in mind.
There's a real trend for whisking brides away for fun filled weekends or foreign holidays but some people really would prefer a local night out that they had plenty of time to plan for. If you've been chosen as a bridesmaid, you'll know what kind of person your friend is, so stop and think about what they'd really like rather than letting yourself get carried away with trying to follow recent conventions.
Another massive deciding factor will be the kind of people who will be attending the celebration. Find out whether your friend is thinking of a small, intimate hen do with only her closest circle or whether she's hoping to invite all the female friends she can think of. The larger the party, the more aware you need to be of budgets.
If you're going to be inviting people from all around the country, you need to factor in their travel expenses and understand that they may not be able to contribute as much to activity costs as they people who live locally.
There's also the question of age ranges. Lots of brides like to invite their mother and new mother in law to their hen party and if this is the case, you'll want to make sure you plan an age appropriate evening. One way of ensuring all guests are catered to is by organising a night out that has a number of different stages, therefore giving older guests plenty of time to bow out after dinner or drinks, meaning they wonít feel obliged to party all night if they donít want to.
To make sure your hen do is extra special, make sure you do things to differentiate it from a normal night out. This can be anything from booking a cocktail-making class to thinking up funny quizzes and games to play during dinner. It's also nice to ask a few of the bride's friends to write a small speech and spend some time looking back at fun times you've had together as well as toasting the future.
Another favourite way to make sure your hen do stands out from the crow is to look for fun costumes or accessories to wear. You'll want the bride to be noticeable so choose something extra special for her to wear and make sure all the hens have matching accessories to identify you as a group, glow bracelets are perfect for hen parties, as you'll be able to spot each other across a crowded room too. When you're planning a hen party you'll want to cater to everyone who is attending, but remember its only the bride-to-be who really counts.