Red7 , September 22, 2014
Chances are that if you read about hen weekends in the newspapers, you’ll get an image of scantily clad girls running riots in Europe’s cities, accosting innocent pedestrians with willy-waving antics, downing shots, causing trouble on short-haul flights and bridesmaids brawling in public.
Here at Red7, we know the real story. The hen weekend has changed as the average bride is becoming more mature, her tastes becoming more refined and her vision of a perfect last weekend of freedom has revolutionised the hen and wedding industry. Let us take you through the history of the hen weekend and how it came to be one of the most fabulously unique and special celebration in a woman’s life.
Hen weekends hark back to the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Liberated young women realised that if we wanted to be treated as equals as men and to have the same freedoms, then why should we aso not get our own stag parties. Back then hen parties were a simple affair. They consisted of a big night out, usually at a local pub and then on to a nightclub. It was a fashionable way for women to take a stand against the inequality within marriage at the time. If men could celebrate the ‘end of freedom’ by gathering their mates together for a night of drinking, then women could too. However, it wasn’t until the 1990s that hen parties really came into their own and became an essential part of every bride-to-be’s wedding ritual. The rise of the hen party also came hand in hand with the rise of ‘ladette’ culture in the nineties. Hen parties morphed from a basic night out on the town to a chance for women to compete with their male counterparts. Hen weekends became less about giving the bride a memorable send off and more about drinking the lads under the table. Out came the willy straws, ‘L’ plates, feather boas and male strippers, the need for bridesmaids to take their soon to be married friend on a wild night of debauchery which often ended in a sore head and a hazy memory.
Don’t get us wrong, we have a certain fondness for the traditional hen party where lewd party games and sambuca shots are the order of the day. However, over the last few years the hen party has developed into something else entirely.
Women have began to see the traditional hen party as, not an excuse to compete with thier stag counterpart, but as a chance to make this once in a lifetime celebration completely their own.The modern hen party now commonly encompasses an entire weekend dedicated to giving the bride the send off she deserves. It is seen as a final opportunity for a woman to thank her friends and say goodbye to a closing chapter in her life in a unique and memorable way, and has become as crucial to a wedding as the honeymoon.
With this increase of importance placed on the hen weekend, women’s expectations are much higher. And why shouldn’t they be?
We asked three recently engaged women about their hen weekend plans, and their answers were inspiring. The modern bride has taken the hen weekend from its humble beginnings and created something brilliant of their own.
How long have you been planning your hen weekend?
For about six months. I wanted to make sure everyone could make it. We’re going to Marrakech so I wanted everybody to be able to afford it. Everyone’s booked into a spa hotel and my mum’s even coming.
Why did you want to be part of the planning rather than leave it up to your bridesmaids?
I’m quite particular about what I want it to be like, just like my wedding. I picked the big things like hotel and flights, But they’re planning all the activities and little surprises, I hope. I’ve got little gifts for them to say thank you.
Why do you place so much importance on your hen weekend?
It’s my last chance to go away with the girls! I’ve known them since school, so…
Where are you having your hen weekend?
I have no idea! I just know it’s somewhere in England. My best friend is planning eveything.
Are you worried about what your friends have in store for you?
Yes! Not really. They know me really well. I want a spa weekend and lots of cocktails, maybe to stay in a big country cottage with a jacuzzi. A lot of girls worry that they’ll end up having a male stripper or someone will say something rude in front of their mum but they want it to be special for everyone.
What will make your hen weekend a special and memorable occasion?
Friends. And lots of wine. I’ll probably cry.
Why are you having a hen weekend?
I’m going to be spending an entire weekend with my best friends, some of which I haven’t seen in years. It’ll be like a big reunion. We’ve hired a villa in Ibiza where we went on holiday together before uni exactly ten years ago!
What activities do you have planned?
Our tastes have changed since then. Now it’ll be more about spa treatments and champagne than raving.
Do you think it’s important to make your hen party special for everyone else too?
Yeah. Although it’s my special weekend, it would be nothing if my bridesmaids didn’t have an amazing time too. They deserve a holiday after all the wedding preparations they’ve been doing.