Hen party season is just around the corner, with May proving one of the most popular months to hold the do. While the day, night or weekend will be filled with buckets of fun, the celebration requires a lot of forward planning, especially for the maid of honour.
There are various potential pitfalls, from inviting the right people to negotiating the budget. Keeping the bride and an entire friendship group happy can often be as much work as organising the wedding itself.
To help you avoid disaster while planning the bride's final send-off, and instead of writing those lengthy emails and continuous Facebook threads, read on for which apps and websites are best to use...
Sounds simple but it is important to settle on a date early on so that you can begin booking hotels, restaurants and possibly, flights. Organising three friends can be a nightmare, let alone getting 20 plus girls to agree on one date they're all free. There are however, some fantastic tools out there, such as Doodle which allows you to set up an event online, add all your possible dates and then send the invitation link to the girls. All they then have to do is select the times they're available and the app works out the best time for everyone and notifies you.
Establish a budget with your friends at the beginning. The last thing you want is someone not being able to come because they can't afford the elaborate plans you've concocted. Check with everyone before you start planning, and agree on and stick to a budget that suits everyone. Apps like Paym also make it really simple for the hen party to pay you back – they can simply text you the money. Splitting the bill can also get a little political, but MyCheck diffuses the situation by allowing you to divide the bill easily on your phones.
Have a clear plan for the hen party and don't be afraid to ask the bride what she wants. Will you be keeping it local, or straying further afield? Having a wild night out or a quiet spa day? It also never hurts to have a look on discount sites such as Amazon Local, Groupon or Secret Escapes to see if there are any special deals. Once you've chosen a location, look up the best things to do on TripAdvisor and download local apps such as Citymapper to help you get around.
Ultimately this party is all about celebrating the hen. Make sure the night reflects her dream party, and not yours. Whether it's personalised T-shirts, a theme you know she adores or that triple layered chocolate cake she loves, make sure the evening is showered with all her favourite things. You could spend hours flicking through inspirational images on Pinterest to get ideas, or browse on websites such as Not on the High Street and Find Me A Gift for personal props to bring to the celebrations.
Obviously the hen's closest friends and her bridal party earn an immediate place on the list, but would the bride-to-be want her mother or mother-in-law to attend? Unfortunately an app or a website can't help you solve the guest list dilemma. The best thing to do is for the maid of honour to talk to the bride and decide on the final rostra together. Once you've got your list sorted, make sure you have all of the girls' contact details way ahead of time to help organisation.