Your ultimate hen do survival guide by SilkFred

With April being the most popular month for hen do’s, and online fashion destination SilkFred finding that 625 people will be attending at least one hen do this ‘hen do season’ (with 93 of respondents attending 3+ hen do’s)*, we’ve sat down with Georgie Mitchell, Wedding Planner, Coordinator and Wedding Expert at Silkfred and Head Stylist Megan Watkins, who have shared their ultimate ‘Hen Do Survival Hacks’ to manage everything from budgets and schedules to styling tips and mastering the art of saying “no”.

three friends taking a selfie

The Staycation Hen Do
With research showing that 90% of hen do’s in 2022 took place in the UK, it’s very probable that you won’t have to hop on a plane for your next bridal-themed event. However, this doesn’t mean that the trip will be purse-friendly. With train fares set to rise another 5%  this Spring and the cost of living on everyone’s consciousness, attending a staycation hen do can still take a chunk out of your monthly budget. 

Georgie Mitchell, Wedding Planner and Wedding Expert at online fashion destination SilkFred reveals: “When it comes to travel, it is important to research group discounts on trains or coaches, and consider carpooling if the destination is within driving distance. If driving isn’t an option, make sure you book your train ASAP as tickets for further in the future will be cheaper. For accommodation, if you can’t afford to stay in the selected venue, you can have a look at alternative options such as hostels, Air BnB’s or even propose glamping for a unique experience.”

“Aside from identifying where you can save money through accommodation and travel, you can look into attending certain parts of the day – if it’s a 3 day hen, can you come to 2 of them? Also, if you receive the invitation far in advance you can start saving money towards it each month and book certain elements early, therefore avoiding one big expensive hit.”

group of friends by a poolside

The art of saying 'no'
Getting invited to a hen do can feel special and a privilege. So, when you take stock of your budget and time and you don’t think you can swing it, it can feel especially daunting to tell the bride to be. 

When it comes to saying no, Georgie offers her three top tips: “

  • Say no early on - There is nothing worse than agreeing to participate, plans are made, financials are confirmed and then you drop out- that’s a good way to annoy a lot of people.

  • Reach out to the bride personally and explain your reasons why you can’t attend. You don’t need to go into detail, but the bride will appreciate your transparency. 

  • If possible, find a compromise. Prioritise the key events you want to attend, like a bottomless brunch or a specific activity. It's okay to skip certain aspects like expensive spa treatments. You can also see if you can arrange a mini hen for them instead, like a get together at a local bar, restaurant or somewhere that is personal to you both. Make sure the bride knows that you appreciate their friendship, even if you can’t make the festivities.”

model in a blue slim line dress

Repurpose your wardrobe
An invite to a hen do, especially one that has a myriad of different activities, can send your style-brain into overdrive wondering: what on earth am I going to wear? Often, in these times of panic we can turn to the ‘buying a completely new outfit’ option. However, this is an added cost that is totally unnecessary.

Megan Watkins, Head Stylist at SilkFred, recommends: “Don’t be afraid to mix and match. Pack versatile pieces that can be easily worn for different activities. A floral or printed midi dress can go from daytime sightseeing to dinner with a change of shoes and accessories.”

“I would also recommend packing lightweight layers that easily transition between hotter days and cooler evenings. Staple items like black leggings, neutral toned knits and classic white t-shirts work well when layering or as stand alone pieces.”

“If there is a themed night where you feel like you have to buy a completely new outfit, do some proper wardrobe digging and see what you can pull together. If you don’t have any luck, try asking in the Hen Do group message and see if anyone is willing to lend you some items and help a fellow Hen out!” 

three friend by pool one in veil Credit: Tabitha Turner

Conquer the hen do abroad
At first glance, attending a hen do abroad can seem like a dream - fun in the sun with your best pals! However, if a holiday isn’t in your annual budget or you’ve already allocated money to your own personal vacation, attending one of these events can be an astronomical expense - not to mention having to take the extra time off work. 

Georgie suggests: “If you can, look at supporting the planning process, this way you can have a say in the accommodation options, activities and transport. Help the person planning rather than questioning their choices.”

“You can look into and suggest all-inclusive resorts that offer meals, drinks, and activities within the package price or instead of collectively deciding on expensive tourist restaurants, explore local markets and street food stalls for a budget-friendly and authentic experience ”

“Just like for staycation hen’s, it is important to book flights and accommodations well in advance to secure the best deals. Again, there should always be the option to not be involved in all parts of the trip (eg. That expensive meal out).”

Georgie dressing a wedding table

Georgie's top money saving tips
Georgie recommends: “Get out a pen and paper and break the hen do down into smaller parts and allocate budget to each to see if it makes financial sense to you. If money is an issue, don’t be afraid to express that, be realistic with yourself and the bride.”

“Overall,  understand what you can afford to do, appreciate this time won’t be forever (and believe it or not, you’ll miss it when it’s gone) and most importantly, remember that your time will come!”

“Remember, the primary goal of a hen do is to celebrate the bride-to-be. By being smart with your spending and prioritising shared experiences, you can create a truly memorable hen do without breaking the bank!”

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