Gone are the days of hen nights consisting of a small gathering of girlfriends in the bride-to-be’s local pub, sipping badly made cocktails called names laced with double-entendres. Today’s hen is a far more demanding bird! This guide suggests how to make your party stand out. Who Goes On The Hen Do? Just as weddings have become more grandiose in recent years, with brides eager to make the Big Day stand out from others’ so too the pre-wedding parties are becoming more memorable. They provide a chance for all the bride’s female friends and relations to meet before the wedding and get to know each other. Beware of different backgrounds and bear in mind that groups of friends with a lone individual in common do not necessarily gel instantly. Try to find some ‘common ground.’ It might be an experience shared with the bride, although that can get competitive. Often, a theme or matching accessories can build a bridge between different groups. Many online companies now offer hen do t shirts, so each member of the party dresses similarly. It helps build camaraderie, but also helps those who have not met previously identify each other. Many firms will personalise the hen do t shirts with nicknames for each ‘hen’ and there is a wide range of colour and design to choose from. If the weather demands clothing more substantial than a short-sleeved top, many suppliers will also make sashes that can go over another themed outfit. Where To Go Many brides-to-be are following in the footsteps of their intended in looking beyond the local pub or a comfy sofa and a bottle of wine or two and, as with many stag parties these days, they are heading abroad. Girls still wanna have fun, but if they can combine the drinks and embarrassing stories of the bride at school with some sunshine, so much the better! Choose A Theme A theme can be as flexible or specific as you wish. It might be a colour that ties everyone together, or you might choose a specific theme, perhaps after the bride’s favourite childhood character. With so much planning going on for the wedding, the bride might like to be kept out of the loop and given a surprise beforehand, but it is better to check! Many retailers, particularly those online, stock a huge range of costumes and accessories meaning that however wacky your idea, there is likely to be someone to help you bring it to reality. Don’t forget that the party is to celebrate an impending marriage. Don’t get too carried away and upstage the wedding! Remember at the wedding that not all the women present will have been invited to the hen party, so be sensitive and try to keep any wild stories about the hen do and the private jokes to a minimum. AUTHOR BIO Catherine Campbell writes regularly on various party and celebration-related topics for a range of websites and blogs. She went on four hen-dos last year alone and is already booking them in for this year. Much has changed since her own pre-wedding party and Catherine now uses online specialist hen party planners for help and inspiration when organising hen nights for friends. Click here to know more.