Some people have a long lunch. Some people charter a boat. Some people trudge up Rangitoto wearing hot pants, nipple tassels and an iron ball and chain strapped to their ankle.
When it comes to planning hen and stag parties, the options are endless. And, while grazing platters on the lawn may feel a world away from a weekend of life-altering low-grade torture, the two have more in common than you think.
So, no matter what you’ve got in mind for your soon-to-be-married person, we suggest you take a quick look at the below tips and pointers. Just in case.
Number One. Will they find it fun?
If you’re part of the planning team, chances are you know the bride or groom pretty well. So, when it’s time to throw around ideas for their hen or stag party, make sure you keep coming back to the very important and often underused question: Will they find that fun?
If your friend hates mess, don’t lock them in a cage and pelt them with rotten lettuces. If your sister wants to be stripped down and tied to a bungy cord, don’t book a day of massages and getting your nails did. And if they like simple and cosy, that’s great! No need for the exotic animals after all.
If you keep coming back to who they are and what they actually enjoy doing, the rest should fall reasonably neatly into place.
Number Two. Do they even like these people?
Ask your nearly married person for a list of people they want you to invite. Surprise them with delightful personal touches, not a room full of unwanted guests.
Number Three. When is the wedding?
Is it months away? Weeks? Days or hours? Have different expectations for different timings. If the wedding is but a tiny dot on the horizon, it’s likely more people will be able to come, and there will be plenty of time for hangovers to pass and bruises to fade. If you’re planning a party closer to the day, be kind. If it’s right in the middle of wedding season, money may be tighter, leave may already be locked in and people may not be able to travel twice. And while we don’t know your bride or groom, chances are they don’t want to feel nauseous, exhausted or more anxious than necessary in the lead up to their wedding.
Number Four. How much is this costing?
Life is very, very expensive. For many people, getting to the actual wedding (and paying for things like accommodation, taxis, meals and a gift) is stressful enough on its own. Do your best to be aware of other people’s financial situations and proceed with caution and care.
And, as the organiser, make sure you look out for yourself too. Get everyone to pay you up front, be open and clear about what the money covers (Dinner? Yes. Flaming Sambucas for everyone? Not unless they were in your budget) and ask staff to give you plenty of warning if the tab is running out…if it’s your credit card behind the bar, you’re going to want to keep a close eye on what’s happening back there.
Number Five. Someone’s just given birth and now they can’t come. They still have to pay, right?
Make sure you’re prepared for last minute flaking, illness or birth-giving to avoid financial strife. Set aside a bit of money with the assumption one or two people won’t be able to make it – then if everyone shows, give yourself a high-five under the table and put it on the tab.
Number Six. Can I get personal?
It’s a hen or stag party – so it’s ok to make it feel like one. It doesn’t take a huge amount of thought, effort or creative capabilities to put a personal swing on things – just think about a theme or activity that best represents your nearly-married person and go with it. If they met their partner in Spain - have sangria and spicy sausages. If they love fishing, go on - make it nautical (or naughty-cal…if you think they’d find that fun).
Personalise menus, dig out old photos and memories and don’t shy away from a bit of word play. In our opinion, there’s nothing wrong with a nice cold glass of Penis Gris.
Number Seven. Isn’t life more fun without a plan?
We’re not sure who you’ve been talking to, but when it comes to throwing a hen or stag party, a solid plan should be your top priority. Make sure you know when and how you’re being transported, what time any bookings are for, when and where you’re going next, and how to get in touch with people if they wander off. It’s far, far easier to wrangle a small-to-medium sized group of intoxicated people with a plan in your hand.
Number Eight. But it’s tradition!
Just because people used to do stuff, it doesn’t mean we have to do it today. If sashes, strippers and ‘what’s your favourite sex position’ games aren’t your thing – then don’t have them. Any and all traditions can be left in the past, along with arduous sea voyages, burning witches at the stake and getting your tips frosted in the Christmas holidays.
Number Nine. People look sweaty and uncomfortable – am I nailing the vibe?
Unless you’re in the midst of an unexpected heat-wave, then no. Make sure everything you do is ok for the whole group – particularly if you have a range of people involved. Just because your crazy friend from uni thinks it’s hilarious, it doesn’t mean Martin’s mum will.
Number Ten. I did all the booking admin, can I get exceptionally drunk now?
Sorry, not yet. At an event like this, it’s very, very important to have a leader. Do your best to stay relatively well behaved until formalities are done and any meals, drinks or chartered yachts have been paid for – then reward yourself by joining in to pop a few bottles (and knock back a couple of Monkey-Brain shots) to celebrate your lovely friend’s next adventure.
Need a venue, grazing table or mixologist for the day? Check out our Curator vendors directory.