The ultimate maid of honour checklist: Organising an unforgettable hen party

Organising a bachelorette party is a blessing and a curse - it's a super exciting time in you and your friend's life, but it's also really important to get it right! It can feel unmanageable, all the various tasks, people and venues that need to be organised - one massive responsibility resting on your shoulders.

So we decided to help you out a little, maid of honour! We've put together a three-month timeline leading up to the day of the party to ensure you've ticked every box to plan a kickass party to send away your bestie's single life! 

Three months beforehand

Decide on your plans

2 Women Sitting on White Boat

Planning a bachelorette party can be a bit of a minefield, depending on the bride! Some want to go all out on their last night of freedom while others want a more low-key family friendly affair, so it’s important to be sensitive and mindful of what they want – it is their day after all. Whether it's cocktails and a show, an outdoor activity or a spa retreat, keep the bride's interests in mind.

Set a date

Person Writing on White Paper

Once you decide what you’re doing, setting a date is the next step. Liaising with the rest of the bridal party and also sussing out whether the bride is free (depending on whether you’re keeping the party a surprise or not) is the maid of honour’s job to ensure that everyone the bride really wants at the party is there. You also have to be sure it suits the venue and activity site you’ll be going to.

Create a guest list

Women Standing Wall

This one can be difficult to do without consulting the bride, so if you’re unsure but want to keep it a surprise, maybe check in with a close family member for back up, or show the bride at least a month in advance so she can make any amendments needed. The venue and activity may also affect the guest list, for example if you’re going away for a quiet spa retreat, the bride may not want all twenty of her extended friends group along and perhaps may prefer just the bridal party, so plan accordingly.

Work out the finances

Composition of calculator with paper money and notebook with pen

As organiser of the event, it’s essential that the maid of honour work out the budget required from each bridesmaid or attendee of this bachelorette party – if a weekend away, or even a weekend abroad is involved, not everyone may be on board or have the budget for it. Letting people know well in advance how much the party may cost is essential to avoid any conflict later on.

Book the venue/activities

Woman in bathrobe applying cream on leg

This is the most important part, aside from actually deciding what the party will centre around. There’s no point deciding you want to do a weekend away specifically to go to a certain activity, book the flights, accommodation and restaurants, only to realise there’s no availability for the activity you’ve booked for the twenty people coming over on this trip. Book well in advance to give yourself plenty of wiggle room.

Two months beforehand

Send out the invitations

Save the Date Invitation on the Table

You can even do this at three months if you have everything you need organised! As much notice as possible is key to give people time to make arrangements, pull together funds, organise childcare if needed and even possibly take some time off work.

Arrange transport

Free stock photo of bus, car, city

An important, but often forgotten essential! Whether it’s going from your day time activity back to the hotel, or even just a mini bus to get back home from the restaurant or club, this is an essential check list item that will make the night that much easier if it’s ticked off in advance.

One month beforehand

Order any decorations or accessories

assorted desserts on top of table

This is the fun part! Get as creative as you like with this, but do keep the bride in mind. Some women will love all the classic naughty bachelorette decorations, while others may be a little more self-conscious, especially if they’re having family members at their party. If classic decorations are out of the question, you can still accessorise with veils and sashes and replace some of the decorations with fun flowers, balloons and classy streamers or sparkles!

Confirm bookings and numbers

woman in black tank top holding clear wine glass

This is important. Things may have changed between when the guests initially said yes and now. Knowing ahead of time if someone is cancelling or even thinking they may not be as available as they’d originally thought means you won’t lose out on deposits or be thrown on the actual day. Giving guests a little reminder that the event is upcoming can give them time to think about their availability again, just to be sure.

One week beforehand

Inform the bride

brides and bridesmaid looking at the back

This step is of course, if you’ve been keeping the preparations secret form her. Tell her as much or as little as you like, but be sure to tell her what kind of footwear and clothing she needs, if she’ll need a passport or a change of clothes and where she needs to be when. This way, you’ll avoid confusion and disorganisation on the day and the bride will feel a little prepared.

Decide on games

woman in black tank top with red and white hearts background

Whether you do them or not, games usually involve a little preparation. Coming up with questions or prizes may take a little research or shopping, so be sure to know what you’re doing in advance so you’re not caught out.

Do a wardrobe check

woman in white bikini wearing brown sun hat standing on beach during daytime

Check in with the bride to make sure she has everything she needs, especially if the activities of the party are a surprise. Going to a nightclub? Make sure she has a little white dress she can wear – if she wants to. If you’re doing any water activities, you might want to invest in one of those cute swimsuits that have ‘Bride’ inscribed across it for her special day. Either way, being prepared is key.

Fiona Murphy is a freelance writer, specialising in book-related content, fiction and poetry. She can be found drinking tea, craving tapas or attempting to finish her never-ending-novel.

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