Summer is approaching, believe it or not, and so the wedding season is upon us. Now is the time when many brides-to-be are planning one of the most important nights of their pre-marriage and wedding-planning life, the Hen (aka Bachelorette, Stagette) party.
Personally I've never given too much thought to what I'd do on my Hen. But many of my friends have either got engaged or got married in the last 12 months and it's become increasingly apparent in my mind that I don't really know what would make up an ideal Hen party.
There are certainly many misconceptions about Hen "Do's" and I'm sure Stag Night's as well. What everyone got up to is generally a hot topic of discussion. Did he have a stripper? Did she drink a lot? So I thought it would interesting to get my lovely friends opinions on what's hot and what's not for a couple's last 'single' outing before the big commitment of marriage.
After giving it some thought, just like my friend Becky above, I too would love to have a girlie spa weekend with my friends for my Hen. There's nothing a girl loves more than to be pampered with all of her best girl pals, right? And perhaps in the evening we would go out for a few cocktails at a bar and generally dance the whole night away. What I do know is that I would probably keep it local. Planning a wedding can be an expensive business and whilst having a good time is key, spending lots of money isn't always necessary.
A recent survey by Ladbrokes noted that most men think women would head to either London, Barcelona or Blackpool for their weekend away, but I think I'd just keep it to a nice UK country setting - perhaps not too far from a town so that it would be easy to get a quick taxi out to throw some late night shapes. After speaking to my friend Amy who got engaged in January, she told me that it's important to her that family and friends can attend, so keeping it in the country and not jetting abroad would be the most ideal. Interestingly enough the same survey showed that 4% of women actually want to go to Blackpool.
But what's probably most interesting and controversial of them all about then Hen and Stag weekends is whether to have strippers and if there's a last kiss with a perfect stranger before walking down the isle. According to the same survey, 38% of women said that they wouldn't have a stripper. Many of my friend's agreed with that and yet it's quite a stereotype for both males and females to have one as part of their party. Films like 'Bachelorette' are perfect for representing a very obvious idea of what women might get up to on their party weekend. It's completely understandable that there are common misconceptions about what everyone wants to do and what they feel they should do on their weekend. In addition, 32% of men believe that the bride will kiss someone else on their Hen - again, another topic which is up for debate. Personally I wouldn't feel comfortable with a stripper, nor would I be thinking about kissing someone else just before my wedding day, but that's not to say it isn't done or that it's unacceptable to all. These choices are down to personal opinion and I think the couples relationship and personalities need to be taken into account.
It should come down to one thing, which is that the Hen and Stag parties are a celebration of marriage and what is about to come. They are a chance to celebrate with those closest to you and prepare for the new journey ahead. Regardless of what you get up to on your special weekend, if you're walking down the isle and making that commitment to someone, that speaks volumes.
I definitely want to wish all my engaged friends good luck for their future and all the happiness in the world - and to Becky, who appears in the pictures above, congratulations on her happy marriage and the birth of her bouncing baby boy.
Survey results from Ladbrokes Bingo.