So, your best friend in the whole world has just asked you to be her chief bridesmaid. It should be the most thrilling honour of your life. It should be, but it isn't, because you know she'll be expecting the sendoff to end all sendoffs before she sets sail into the rolling seas of nuptial bliss. Help is on hand though – here's our guide to hatching the perfect hen night.
1. Set the date
Use your common sense when choosing a date. The night before the wedding is bound to end in tears, and not ones of joy. You want your radiant friend to spend her big day surrounded by people green with envy, not green with hangovers. Leave at least a week before the big day to allow time for a full recuperation.
2. Pen a guest list
Most brides will have a readymade guest list of everyone they want to be at their hen party (and anyone they don't!). A hen night is about who she wants there, so talk to her about it, and make sure you invite everyone well in advance.
3. Chose the place
Try to plan a location that is convenient for as many people as possible. You might like to book a top-notch hotel, like the nearest Hallmark
4. Keep everyone happy
Sometimes, your invite list will look a bit mismatched – is great-aunt Sandra really going to enjoy shooting sambuca with your gal pals from college? She might, but if not, think about two different parts to the day, or even splitting it into two different events entirely.
5. Money matters
Cash is one of the most divisive issues when planning a hen night, so try and make whatever you do as affordable as possible. The last thing you want is to turn up in Dubai with just the two of you there because nobody else could afford it.
6. Don't go over the top...
Full-on partying isn’t for everyone, so consider what your friend really wants. Consider having a relaxed 'girly' activity during the day, such as chocolate-making or a spa trip, where it would also be good to include older or quieter members of the group.
7. ...but keep it exciting
This is the biggest night of her life after all. Some will go for strip shows, cocktail bars and comedy venues. Don't forget to line your stomachs first though - a nice, civilised meal before the real fun starts is always a good idea.
8. Arrange introductions
If you do want to get great-aunt Sandra out drinking with the girls, getting introductions and icebreakers done is really important. Plan tasks or games to get everyone talking to each other naturally.
9. Take care of the bride
For so many reasons, taking care of your best friend is the most important thing. This might mean taking your own foot off the pedal as the night goes on.
10. Have fun!
The best way to make sure everyone else has fun is to enjoy the event yourself. Try not to worry about every detail too much – as long as you have got the bride together with all her favourite women, you've done just fine!