A staggering £88m is spent on hen and stag parties per year
According to a recent survey, the average person will spend £507 at a hen do, with almost half admitting that they felt pressured to attend a party they could not afford. With most of us heading to a minimum of two weddings a year, these numbers can quickly tot up (especially when the bride-to-be is planning a transatlantic celebration).
A poll on our Insta Stories revealed 74% of you agree that anything over £500 is too much for a hen do abroad, but if we’re staying on home soil, it’s more like £200.
So, have we reached peak fork-out? Apparently not. According to a new study, four out of five adults said that hen parties cause them major worry, while 28% of those asked admitted that they spend more on them annually than on their own holidays.
The most worrying thing? It’s only getting more expensive. Tom Bourlet – of Hen Heaven – explains: ‘The cost of a hen do has increased approximately 3% in the past 12 months, however the biggest jump was between 2014 and 2015. The cost of a hen do on average in 2014 was only £209, whereas in 2015 it increased to £290. In 2016 it was £295 and last year it was £304. This means since 2014 it has increased by 45%.’
But while some guests will simply say no to a spendy hen weekend, it’s not always that easy – especially if you’re part of a close-knit group, and all of your friends can afford it.
So, are we scared of our mates, or is it that we just don’t want to feel left out?
‘We tend to treat brides as untouchable and invincible, like we can’t speak to them honestly during their wedding prep period,’ reveals Kate Leaver, author of The Friendship Cure. ‘This is simply not true – that person is still your friend, and they should listen to you if you have concerns.
‘Of course, there is also an element of competition, and there is often very little sensitivity for differences in income, and therefore the ability to pay for a hen do – especially when a guest is also expected to invest in a wedding present, transport to the venue, an outfit and possibly accommodation, too.
‘I think it’s perfectly acceptable to turn down a hen do invitation on the grounds that you cannot, or do not want to, invest a wad of your cash. In fact, I would encourage it. Asking a friend to pay a lot of money to celebrate your impending marriage is a narcissistic move. Conduct yourself with kindness and tact, though – either an in-person chat or a strategically worded text explaining your position is the best way to avoid injuring someone’s feelings.
‘If your hen is a good friend, she will understand – in fact, she’ll possibly be mildly mortified that she got carried away and asked you for £300 for a three-day celebration of her life decision. Keep in mind that it is perfectly acceptable to make your boundaries and limitations known in a good and honest friendship – it is far less acceptable to impose financial debt or guilt on someone you genuinely cherish.’
Let’s face it, we’d all love to fly to Miami for a couple of nights (who wouldn’t?) – but let’s also be realistic, most of us can’t afford to. Have we forgotten what getting married is really about? Perhaps. But we reckon there are a few bridezillas out their giving other brides a bad name.
Our final word – cherish your mates, listen to their concerns and, most importantly, don’t bankrupt them. Or you might end up with a very slimmed-down guest list.