Being maid of honour or best man is the ultimate wedding party honour. But with honour comes responsibility, including planning the hen and stag weekend. While hen and stag weekends are fun, they can also be a herculean task to organise – especially if you’re going abroad. To minimise stress and maximise festivity, here are our tips for planning a hen or stag weekend abroad.
Choosing a destination
Place and price can limit people
Your hen or stag should go wherever they want for their weekend. But they should know that the further they go, the fewer people will be able to join them. Even if you book early and get great deals, holidays can be expensive. If you plan a long-haul flight and a fancy hotel, you might price some people out of the trip.
If you go far…
A long-haul destination will up your costs but also up the excitement – what happens on another continent stays there. Choose a destination with direct flights or easy connections. New York offers Broadway, museums, shopping and superlative nightlife. For more glamour, visit Dubai and ride camels or 4x4s in the desert before partying the night away at a chic club.
…Or if you stay near
Staying closer to home can save on cost and make planning easier. Don’t be surprised if you’re not alone though; European cities are very popular for hen and stag dos. Budapest and Prague both have cheap beer, historic architecture and wild nights out. Experience tapas and flamenco in Madrid or Guinness and pub crawls in Dublin.
Think about group dynamics
Your hen or stag should have final say over the guest list, as you don’t want to accidentally invite an ex-friend or forget their older brother. When compiling the list, think about how everyone will get along. Including a ‘buddy’ for each person – i.e. making sure everyone has someone else they know – will go a long way in making things smoother.
Be clear about the cost
Before guests say they’re in or out, they should have an idea of the trip’s full cost. Make sure your estimate includes flights, accommodation, airport transfers, local travel, meals, drinks and activities. If you are all collectively chipping in to pay for your hen or stag’s costs, include that amount in your estimate as well.
Give lots of notice
The earlier you let people know that the weekend will be abroad, the more likely they’ll be able to come. At least two months’ notice is ideal. That will let them clear their calendar, sort out any travel paperwork, book time off from work, and save a little extra money.
Book flights early
To get the best deals and stay within budget, book flights as early as possible. This lets you get everyone on the same flight, so you can stress less and enjoy the plane and airport amenities more.
Streamline the logistics
Make an information pack to email all the guests. Include important details such as visa requirements, hotel information, activity itinerary, local maps etc. Ask guests to reply to you with any relevant issues, such as dietary requirements
Get travel insurance
A hen or stag weekend is one trip for which travel insurance is necessary. With a large group of people, lots of drinking and a foreign country, there is a definite risk of problems like accidents or theft. Travel insurance is inexpensive and you can sometimes get group deals.
At the airport
Have a drink
Get the party started in the airport terminal. Don’t go overboard, but indulge in cocktails at All Bar One, pints at The Meriden Bar and champagne at Blanc et Noir. If you’re feeling adventurous, book in a cocktail-making master class at All Bar One.
Cloud Nails offers deals on quick manicures and pedicures, so you can be ready to rock sandals when you arrive at your destination. This isn’t just for the hens either; stags will find them relaxing too!
Stock up on essentials
Hen and stag dos have a reputation for getting a bit crazy, so you’ll probably have some hangovers or headaches to deal with. Stop by Boots in the terminal to stock up on enough aspirin, ibuprofen and paracetamol for everyone.
Take the express lane
Don’t waste precious holiday time in the security line. Book the express security lane for £3.75 in advance or £5 at the airport, and your whole party can speed through.