Hen parties have been a tradition for centuries in which a ceremony is held in celebration of the bride to be. The big question ringing in every maid of honour’s mind is “who should I invite and am I completely certain that they are still friends?”. Now, it’s probably a good idea to team up with the bride on this one but if you’re trying to keep it a secret then taking a peek at the wedding guest-list will probably be the best start – usually received via a not-so-clueless groom or groomsmen.
Some brides will want their Mum or Gran there, and some won’t. You’ll need to adjust the hen party plans accordingly to accommodate the age range. It might be that you choose to do an activity during the day for the ‘younger’ contingent and then have a meal and drinks in the evening where any ‘oldies’ can join in. Or why not have two dos! Go away for a weekend with the girls and then have a second do somewhere local maybe in a restaurant so that the relatives can join in.
When putting the hen party invite list together, think about group numbers. Too small and it can be difficult to book the best activities as there are minimum group sizes. Too large and it can get a bit of a nightmare trying to coordinate everyone.
If there are people that you have to cross off the list, then just send them a quick note to explain why. That way there’s less likely to be any awkwardness at the wedding when you see them.
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This one always seems like a no brainer, but it is just not that simple. Sometimes there are people in your family that you feel obliged to invite, but you have no real reason to ask them. When it comes to family, there is always a cousin or aunt that your mum encourages you to invite. Our biggest piece of advice here is for you not to feel pressure from others. Decide what sort of a hen party you are having? If you are bringing a group to Marbella, is it worth bringing people that you don’t want there?
Another thing you need to decide from the beginning is whether you are having your mother/aunts come along to your hen do? A lot of our hens decide against this. With family we would always say, if you could pick up the phone to them for a good chin wag then they should be at your hen party!
At the majority of hen parties, friends make up the biggest number of guests! Ladies with large groups of friends can find it difficult to decide who to bring and who not to bring. Are you hosting the mother of all hen parties? If so, this is generally not an issue and the more people that come, the better! More often than not, though, people have to whittle down numbers, and we have a very simple solution. Invite those friends that you feel comfortable with to ring up on the weekend and meet for a coffee. If you are inviting a friend because you were besties in pre-school, you are on the wrong path! There is often an issue with inviting one friend that will ‘know nobody’ on the day. Our answer to this is, do not worry! Don’t be guilted into inviting someone to accompany this person, and it always works out after a few glasses of bubble and ice breaker games!
Your Partners Family
Your other half’s family is always a tricky one! Are you trying to keep someone happy or do you genuinely want to invite the annoying cousins! The in-laws involve a lot of politics! Granted they will all be at the wedding but how do you decide on whether or not to bring them to your hen do with all your besties! Sisters of your partner should always be invited. This is way to close not to have then there, and we simply advise not to cause any argument here. With regards to your mother in law, we say that if your mother is a part of the hen weekend, then this lady should be too! If you don’t feel like having either your mum or mother in law at your hen do there are loads of other options! There is a fabulous option of pre-hen afternoon tea that can be a lovely day to have with your mother/mother in law. Mothers and in-laws often prefer this enjoyable day!
With a lot of hens and hen organisers, this one doesn’t come up in the conversation! We see a massive increase in people asking their work besties to their hen party! After all, you do spend every day of the week with these people. So if you get on well, why not bring them to your hen do? The only downside to asking work colleagues is, where do you draw the line? If you ask the woman you share a desk with, do you have to ask the entire block? This can be a huge downside to inviting work friends. It is a decision that you will have to live with every day afterwards! We would say that if you meet up with a colleague after work hours, then they should be asked to come along to your hen. If you just get along well and you have no relationship outside of work, then we advise that you refrain from giving them an invite!
The ‘mothers’ question
One of the first considerations for brides or their chief bridesmaid when arranging the hen party is the mothers. Mother of the bride, mother of the groom, step mums, dad’s partners, all the different options – do you invite them or not?
The answer to this question is twofold – what are they like and what do you plan to do? Are mothers quite traditional and don’t drink? In that case, a fun weekend to Ibiza might not be their scene. Or are they real party animals who are first into the bar on holiday? Then no problem.
The mother in law question can also need a little additional consideration. For instance, if you plan to have Buff Butlers running your hen party evening, is the mother in law going to be a bit put out by this? Or will she be waiting at the door to greet the guys?
Thinking about their personalities, their tastes and their feelings are important. If you want a funky hen party, but they are more traditional, why not do two? Go to Ibiza with the girls then have a meal at a nice restaurant with the older generation. Everyone is happy that way.
The financial question
Sometimes you have to think a little outside the box when it comes to hen parties and who to ask. Sure, you want your friends there and to have a brilliant time, but can your friend who just had a baby afford a weekend in Ibiza? And would she want to leave the little one?
What you do and the financial considerations around it is something to think about. While going abroad or to somewhere like London is a brilliant idea for a hen party, you don’t have to travel far. If it is more important to have all your friends around, then go somewhere nearer to home. Lots of cities scattered around the country are hotspots for hen parties so check out guides and choose one that is nearer home.
Check out our extensive list of Hens Party Ideas for your bestie.
People not coming to the wedding
Sometimes there are people you want at the hen party but who aren’t invited to the wedding. Small weddings often leave people out, and most people will be understanding. You can also use the hen party as a way to celebrate with them.
But if you think they are going to spoil the evening in a huff about not coming to the wedding, then drop them from the hen party life too. No negativity allowed!
Surprise or not?
One last consideration for the chief bridesmaid if you are arranging the hen party – should it be a surprise or not? With the guest list, if you know the bride well enough to make the invites without consulting her and not miss anyone, then that’s great. But otherwise, you might want to chat about the guest list, even if you hold back on what you are doing for the event.
Yes, You Should Bring Your Mam To Your Hen If…
- You’re close, and you can’t imagine having your hen without her.
- You’re having day and night elements, and she’s happy to take part during the day and then nip off after dinner while you and your pals head off dancing.
- She’s great fun to have on a night out and gets into the spirit of things.
- You’re having a low-key hen with just dinner, afternoon tea, or daytime activity.
- Your mother gets on well with your friends.
- Your mom doesn’t know many of your friends, and you’d like her to meet them before the wedding.
- Your mom isn’t easily offended, by drinking, naughty jokes, dressing up etc.
If you do choose to bring your mom to your hen, maybe have a chat with her beforehand (or get one of your bridesmaids to call her if you’re not privy to the plans) to tell her about what you’ll be up to, what she needs to bring, and to let her know it’s no problem at all if she wants to bring a pal or bow out for certain elements. Most likely she’ll be happy just to share duties with the rest of the girls, but it’s good to let her know that if she’d prefer not to come, that’s okay too.
Learn more to our post on What actually happens at bachelorette parties?
No, You Shouldn’t Bring Your Mam To Your Hen If…
- You don’t get on with her, and having her there will cause you to feel tense or stressed.
- She tends to cause drama or doesn’t approve of your friends.
- You think she won’t enjoy herself, (for example, if she’s not outdoorsy, glamping might not be her bag.)
- She’s really shy or socially anxious.
- She’ll require a gang of pals or your aunties to bring with her – a plus one is fair (perhaps it’s an aunt, friend or your mother-in-law).
- You’re going abroad and think a whole weekender might be a bit too much for her.
- You’re nervous your friends won’t keep things PG (think rude Mr & Mrs questions, willy straws, crude dares, or a stripper) and your mom won’t be comfortable with it.
- You’re planning a hen on a budget and will have basic shared accommodation, like a hostel or bunk beds.
If you’re not bringing your mum (or indeed your mother-in-law) to your hen, it’s a nice idea to plan a separate pre-wedding activity with her. Whether it’s combining a dress fitting or shopping for her outfit, with some afternoon tea or cocktails, going for a spa weekend together, or having something like a kitchen party or bridal shower, your mam will appreciate getting to spend a little quality time with you ahead of all the excitement of the wedding.
Must Bring: The Best Friend. We probably don’t have to tell you to invite your best friend – but we thought we’d start with the fun stuff first. Inviting your best friend – and inviting her first is so important. Your best friend knows you so well that inviting her nearly guarantees you’ll have a great time. She knows what kind of discos you like, your favourite cocktail, your favourite fun activities and how to keep all of your deepest, darkest secrets!
Maybe Bring His Sister. We’d have to put this as a “maybe” because we don’t quite know what type of sister your future hubby has. If the two of you get along like gangbusters, then we say go ahead and invite her. But if she’s a serious stick in the mud, then its better not to. If you don’t invite her to your hen party, follow our advice and try to plan some sort of fun girls’ activity for just the two of you. If she knows about your hen party and realises she’s not invited, her feelings could be hurt—smooth things over with an invite to get pedicures at your favourite spa.
Not Bring Your Boss. Even if you get along super well with your boss, we’d have to put the nix on inviting your boss to your hen party. It would be that rare boss and subordinate relationship, maybe a family business where you’d invite your boss to your hen party. But don’t worry too much, your boss may expect an invitation to the wedding, but they probably don’t assume an invitation to the hen party, so you’re in the clear here.
Must Bring: College Roommate. Inviting your college roommate is ideal for your hen party. Even if you haven’t seen your college roommate in awhile, now is the perfect time to get together. Perhaps you went to her hen party, and now she can come to yours! Bringing your college roommate will remind you of the fun times you had in college, and you’re certain to have another fun time at your hen party again.
Maybe Bring Coworker “Buddy”. We’d have to say this is a Maybe invite because it can depend on the relationship with the coworker buddy and also the type of office you work in. The biggest challenge is if you work in a very social, friendly office and you only invite one coworker buddy to your hen party. There can be a lot of hurt feelings in the office the next day! Sometimes it is easier not to invite your coworker buddy to your hen party – because if you do you’d feel you would need to invite five others too. The other challenge with inviting your coworker buddy is that then someone in the office knows exactly what happened at your hen party, and you may want to keep that type of info private if you know what we mean. And we think you do!
Not Bring Anyone That Gives You the “Ick” Feeling. This isn’t an exact person, but we know you’ll recognise them instantly by that “ick” feeling you get in your stomach when you think about them. It may be that cousin your mum thinks you should invite. It could be a friend you just aren’t as close to anymore. It could be your future hubby’s sister (we hope not!). But whoever it is, don’t invite them to your hen party!
If you’ve started planning your hen party, then you’re probably thinking first about who to invite. This is a very important part of your hen party, and it has the ability to make or break your hen party. Who you bring on your hen party can make it cool and fun – or it can make it lame and pathetic.