Your best friend’s hen party

If like me, you’ve just experienced the honour of being asked to be your best friend’s bridesmaid in command, you won’t be alone if you’re experiencing a little bit of apprehension mixed in with the pride and excitement you are feeling.

It’s an important job, and the first task – the hen party – is possibly the most daunting. Hen dos have gone from intimate affairs of six or eight girls to parties of twenty or more, and from one night in your favourite bar to weekend long affairs. So unless you’re a PA or travel agent, you might be wondering just how to approach this seemingly mammoth task?

First off, book a drinks date with your BFF: you need to do some fishing around her expectations and there’s some essential information you need. Nail down the guest list and dates, set a budget and rough location (somewhere accessible in the UK or abroad?). Do a bit of digging around the pace of activities and the type of things she might like to do. I found it useful to ask her what she  liked and disliked about other hen dos she’s been on.

Now for the fun bit, it’s time to start exploring the activities that will make this weekend a memorable and beautiful event for all involved. Call me a wimp, but I wasn’t going to do this alone, I sought help from Josie Kerr on the hen team at Maximise weekends. She certainly came up with the goods: from thrill-seekers and fashionistas to wannabe popstars, she’s got something for every type of bride.

West Country Games: the best kind of nuttiness

West Country Games: the best kind of nuttiness

For the comedian

If the bride-to-be loves a good giggle at a comedy night and isn’t afraid of making a twit out of herself for a few laughs, introduce her to the latest it’s a knockout spin off, which has a charming West Country twist. Think home-made cider, wellie hurling, tractor tyre rolling and giant inflatables. You also get the undivided attention of a few hunky farmhands, who will herd your lovely hens around 10 hilarious activities, awarding prizes to the most successful. You’ll need to head to the countryside near Bristol to discover the madcap mayhem of West Country Games. Be prepared for a laugh-a-minute; just don’t wear any of your best clothes.

For the wannabe pop princess

Karaoke has long been the favourite for those wanting to act out their popstar fantasies, but now a new breed of imitation stardom is giving everyone, even the most tone-death, their moment of stardom. Lip Sync Battle was a craze that started on the American talk show, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and has since been turned into a blockbuster TV show in its own right in the US and now the UK.  Lip Sync Battle sees big name stars compete against each other in an outright bizarre and downright hilarious miming session, usually complete with copycat costumes and dance moves. Now you can take part in your very own Lip Sync Battle in this new hen activity. You don’t need to sing, and you don’t even need to know the words; it’s all about bringing your A-game to thrash it out in the spotlight for the title of Lip Sync Heavyweight Champion.

Lisbon: a gorgeous place for a hen weekend

Lisbon: a gorgeous place for a hen weekend

For the explorer

If the bride-to-be is an avid traveller, it’s likely that she’s ‘done’ all the major city break destinations from Barcelona to Budapest. These destinations tend to double up as the biggest hen spots for party weekends so why not surprise her with a destination off the beaten (hen) track. Lisbon is a captivating city that is new on the hen scene and ripe for discovery. Wonder down the beautiful cobblestone lanes, dip in and out of the city’s many boutiques and enjoy a spot of lunch alfresco style.  Come nightfall get lost in the bohemian bars, street parties and river-side clubs. You’re pretty much guaranteed sunshine and the city can be reached in just over two and a half hours on budget airlines. Maximise’s new Lisbon packages make it even more affordable. Sunshine, a beautiful city to explore and lively nightlife – laidback Lisbon is the perfect hen escape.


You can never have too many pairs of gorgeous shoes!


For the fashionista

Take inspiration from Manchester’s vibrant fashion scene, including the vintage shops and boutique outlets of the Northern Quarter, before undertaking in some fashion design of your own. A new activity on the scene, design and fashion fanatics will love this shoe design workshop. During a three hour design session the hen group will work under the guidance of a professional shoe designer to customise (new or old) shoes, handbags and belts.  Using beautiful colours, crystals and gems, you will create your own fashion masterpieces.  The perfect way to kick start a hen weekend; you get to take home your design to glam up your outfit for the dancefloor later.

For the outdoor adventurer

If greenery, rivers and fresh air are required, why not put together a wet and wild itinerary full of the latest river-based activities.  Whitewater rafting gave you the advantage of working with your team mates, but the latest river activities put you in control. Take your life in your hands with a gorge walking and river tubing activity. Scramble through limestone gorges, tackle different types of river crossings, explore dark holes and passages, scramble up rocky waterfalls then navigate down England’s steepest class 4 rapids in your very own one-woman raft – a large inflatable tube. If you’re up for it, there’s an optional 20ft waterfall jump at the end.  High on adrenaline, this is one hen experience that won’t be forgotten for a long while.

Props from Bank Heist escape room

Props from Bank Heist escape room game by Escape Entertainment, London

For the high I.Q

If your soon to be wedded friend was the top of the class at school, loves crosswords and spy novels or was a fan of the 1980’s TV show Crystal Maze, then why not present her with her biggest puzzle yet? Escape room games are immersive experiences where players are voluntarily locked in a room filled with clues, props and cryptic puzzles that have to be cracked within a certain time limit to allow the players to escape, and ultimately ‘win’ the challenge. From zombies to nuclear weapons, asteroids and evil scientists; the themes of the games vary enormously and contenders frequently leave without solving them. Some of the leading escape games are designed by professional game designers, organizational behaviourists, psychologists and mathematicians, so no matter how much of a smarty pants your bride-to-be is, she’s sure to enjoy the thrill of the challenge. Try the activity in London where you can rob the crown jewels in the Bank Heist or unravel your own mystery kidnapping in The Killer.

All images courtesy of Maximise.

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