Confessions of bad bachelor parties
It’s mid-summer, which means it’s peak wedding season, which means it’s also peak bachelorette party season. Bachelorette parties can be fun and enjoyable ways to spend time with your friends or get to know people before the wedding.
Yet – and it seems blasphemous to admit it – they can also be dark, exhausting and anxiety-inducing. Several days of forced fun with people you don’t know, doing activities you don’t want to do and paying hundreds of pounds that you don’t have or would rather vacation with people you love already.
It’s nobody’s fault, exactly. Bridesmaids are under pressure to be a great friend and deliver this fairy tale celebration. Yet where it used to be that a few drinks in a bar was enough, hen parties are increasingly turning into elaborate affairs which, according to a Hotels.com survey, cost an average of £242 for 1,200 adults, 61% more than ‘ten years ago. – and that’s just for UK hens, not to mention overseas ones.
According to a 2019 wedding industry report, “the stag and hen industry is showing surprising strength.” And while the pandemic has put a damper on the festivities, the hen is back in force. And, probably, an inflatable penis.
While Instagram is full of beaming hens, we’re not being honest enough about their horror. So I asked women across the UK about their bad experiences in hopes that one or two brides-to-be will read and take note. Names have been omitted to protect valuable friendships…
The hell of the hens at work
There was a woman at work – not on my team, different floor – who I could tell was introverted and overwhelmed, so I invited her over for a sandwich lunch. Let’s call her Jane. I really felt for her. One day she said to me, “So I’m getting married again in a month and I was wondering if you’d be my bridesmaid and host the bachelorette party?” You seem to have a lot of friends and I don’t. I was horrified. But what could I say as she looked me in the eye over a sandwich?
I had a friend who ran a wedding venue nearby. She agreed to make prosecco, canapes, and a three-course meal with unlimited wine. Another friend in a group agreed to play for free. Cost per head? £25. I started asking the office who would like to participate in what I had billed as a girls’ night out, great food, great music. One by one they said, “For JANE?” You can bugger off.
Turns out she pissed off everyone on her floor, not just her team. Rude, dry, demanding, hesitant. Come the night and I was a pod. A total shell. I had gathered 10 (unemployed) girlfriends who were introduced to Jane, as she sat like a queen at the head of the table. They had all brought a gift: garden flowers in small pots, chocolates, handmade jewelry, books, thoughtful gifts for someone they didn’t know. Jane accepted them with a flick of her wrist.
During the (lovely) meal, she complained that the risotto starter was undercooked, the steak wasn’t cooked well enough, they didn’t fill her glass fast enough with the ‘wine cheap” and that the location was “robbing us”.
Finally my friend Sophie couldn’t take it anymore. She pushed back her chair and shouted, “God, you’re an ungrateful asshole,” and left. Everyone else got up, kissed me on the cheek and left. The band played until Jane threw a (gifted) flowerpot onto the stage, hitting the piano. “LET’S PICK!” she shouted and left.
The Bad Stripper
I went to a bachelorette party where the sisters of the bride ordered a gladiator stripper, who arrived two hours late and dressed as a firefighter. He also confused an older sister with the mother of the bride. Later, they took him to small claims court.
Went to a hen party where the bride-to-be (drunk) fell down a flight of stairs and broke her foot. She couldn’t exercise properly before the wedding and constantly panicked about getting into her dress.
Everything for the Gram…
A friend organized a bachelor party in Barcelona. We flew there for three nights and two of them were spent in Airbnb games. We barely saw Barcelona, the weather was no better than in the UK. It seemed like a waste of money, just so Instagram knew she had gone to Barcelona for her hen!
We all had to wear black the first night, red the second night and so on. Everything for the pictures – not for the joy. I had to buy new things because it had to be all red (no flower pattern etc). It cost me a hell of a fortune.
Clumsiness of disguises
I once had to attend a themed bachelorette party in Brighton dressed as a pensioner. It’s not an easy task considering I was nine months pregnant.
Rise in tension under the sun
The week-long getaway to Ibiza with a disparate group of girls was a big ask, both financially and socially. Our villa was not available for the first night, so we stayed in an apartment building in San Antonio, punctuated by drunken fights. When we arrived at the villa, the youngest unofficial member of the group “came” without paying a penny for the rental.
As the sleepless days progressed, tension mounted and arguments broke out. There was a fun night at Space, but I flew home mid-week on a 2 a.m. flight, accompanied by revelers who had staggered straight out of that club in various states of disarray. I was happy to slip into my own bed that morning.
OA Penis Straws
It’s just the sheer chaotic energy of hen guest lists that kills me every time: something about watching your friend’s nana drink a cocktail through a penis straw while a stripper turns near it just feels bad, every time.
I was at the bachelor party of one of my oldest best friends, organized by her sister, in a large country house that we had rented for the weekend. The first night was incredibly fun – we were all excited, ended up drinking loads and staying up until 5am. The problem was that this night was supposed to be “the cold night”, and the following night “the big night”. But when it came to that, we were all so hungover and tired that the mood was a bit flat.
Everyone did their best, but at midnight people started wanting to go to bed, much to her sister’s anger. She was rushing between us trying to get us to drink/dance/have more fun, at one point sincerely yelling at us, “COME ON, IT’S A hen party, WHAT WAS WRONG WITH YOU ALL? ” I totally get it – she felt pressured to get everyone to enjoy it because she had organized it, but many of us had never felt so relieved when we finally got upstairs and out of the Hellscape of Organized Fun.
“IT’S ALL ABOUT ME!”
I hadn’t realized that the bachelorette party I had been invited to operated on a two-tier system. It turned out the Premier League friends had spent a long weekend in Ibiza and would be joining the Championship side for a night out at a members bar in London. I’m not complaining – I knew the bride but wasn’t very close, and the UK night was chic – and hardcore – enough for me. I called it one night shortly after the hen got on all fours on the pool table, after brushing up against the two civilians playing on it, and started roaring “IT’S ALL ABOUT ME”. The night lasted until lunch the next day. The trip to the Balearics could have killed me.
Home Truth Horrors
I was on a girls’ weekend at a Cotswold country house with a friend I had met at university. The first night we were dancing to a pop playlist with margaritas, having a great time. So far so cool. Then, as everyone got drunk, the bride said she was “really nervous” about the wedding day and the wedding in general. One of the bride-to-be’s old school friends took the opportunity to tell her that her fiancé wasn’t good enough for her and that she could do “so much” better in every way. The scene haunts me now, five years later. The bride cried, the friend cried, and I stood there thinking we still had a whole day and night ahead of us.
Comments are closed.