Bride On: Time for the hen weekend

Whether it’s action packed or all about pampering, the key is to have fun

You're almost at the last hurdle, the top of the aisle is just in sight and the last thing you need to get is that something blue. Time to stop, drop tools and get ready for one of your last nights out as a singleton. (Just to note: you're not actually single, it's just a figure of speech.) It's time for the party before the party.

Hen parties have gone a bit more upmarket, modern and unique over the past few years. So think less "oiled-up hunks writhing around on the dance floor" and more "you and your crew channelling Beyoncé's Single Ladies after a bucket of Prosecco". Listen, you are Queen B right now.

A whole weekend of hen activities may seem excessive but at what other time do you and all your favourite women get a chance to catch up? Embrace it.

Firstly, remember that technically it’s not up to the betrothed to organise their own party, but leaving subtle – or not so subtle – hints and tips to ensure you’re going to have the type of party you want is absolutely fine, or even expected.


Most organisers will appreciate the heads-up lest they stock up on too many phallic-shaped decorations when all you want is a vintage tea party.

Secondly, decide the type of hen you want and be sure to let your friends know. Are you looking for decadent? Pampering? Active? Luxurious? Foodie?

Here are some of my top ideas for celebrating the last hurrah:

Pampering: If you haven't had the chance to get into the nail salon Tropical Popical, get yourself down there stat. Vibrant and entertaining, you can book out the entire salon for you and your party – sip prosecco, dance to your own tunes and get your nails done. It's the perfect way to kick off your day of pampering.

Active: This calls for a country house for the weekend. Breathe in that fresh country air and have your very own sports day. Yes you haven't tried a three-legged race since 6th class, but that just makes it even more craic. Don't forget the "Ultimate Hen" trophy and watch those competitive streaks come out: "I wasn't holding the egg with my thumb, I'm just excellent at the egg and spoon race..."

Foodie: There are many places that will cater for hen cookery and foodie weekends, but one that particularly stands out is Catherine Fulvio's Ballyknocken Cookery School in Co Wicklow. It is renowned for its Italian cookery classes, so prepare for some delicious homemade pasta. As an added bonus you can stay in the gorgeous Victorian farmhouse.

For more hen solutions, activities and decoration ideas check out and

Next week: The Big Day