Wedding Planner

What is a sten party and can I host one?

After two long years of confinement, it’s nice to see that weddings are back on the agenda. While planning for the main event is exciting, there is another special day for the bride-to-be – the all-important hen party.

A lot has changed with bachelorette parties in recent years, with more brides-to-be opting for non-alcoholic options, fewer alcohol-fueled activities, and the merging of bachelorette parties and boy, creating “the sten”, a gender-free celebration for friends and family.

According to Cat Kiveney, party planner and creator of TheHen.ie, having the opportunity to come together after the pandemic and celebrate a special occasion is enough for most. Sharing some tips on planning the perfect hen in 2022, Kiveney said her number one rule is to make sure you plan the hen around the bride herself.

“It’s so important. There’s no point booking a night in Galway and going to a nightclub if that’s not your scene,” she says.

Although the bride won’t tell you exactly what she wants for her bachelorette party, Kiveney advises making sure you get a list of what she definitely doesn’t want. It is also important to keep in mind the budget of the whole group so that everyone can have a good time and have fun, and sometimes “less is more”. When it comes to maneuvering a large group, even just getting them from one point to another can be a little tricky, says Kiveney.

“If you plan too much, you’ll end up losing them because they just want to be there for human interaction – now more than ever. Sometimes they’re just happy to sit down and be together – you don’t have to. not to fill every minute of the day.

Since most bachelorette parties incorporate people from different parts of the bride’s life, competitive games and activities are a guaranteed icebreaker, Kiveney says. This is also good advice if you are combining your bachelor and bachelorette parties.

With changing trends and traditions, there are plenty of alternative options for hens looking for something a little different for pre-wedding celebrations.

Avoid the usual debauchery and adopt something different for your bachelorette party.

Activities without alcohol

There are plenty of original, non-alcoholic activities for a fun day out. Get crafty and create a fun keepsake – and keepsakes – with flower wreath classes such as those offered by Kay’s Flower School in Dublin or Space to Grow in Sligo. If you’re looking for something more action-packed, there are plenty of bachelorette party and bachelorette party surf sessions on the Irish coast. Bundoran Surf Co, Freedom Surf School in Tramore and Aloha Surf School in Clare all offer this adrenaline-pumping option. Speaking of adrenaline; combine dancing, neon disco lights, loud music and guaranteed laughs with a twerk class. Dance and yoga company Spiritual but Badass offers bachelorette party-specific twerking classes for the perfect girls’ night out.

Tea time in a vintage bus

Sit back and enjoy a Cork or Dublin City tour with Vintage Tea Trips which offers a truly unique experience for brides-to-be. Vintage Tea Trips offers afternoon tea in a stunning vintage Routemaster bus and organizes bachelorette parties. Choose from a selection of fresh and tasty treats as you visit the sites as you and your hens are driven around town. If you’re a bridesmaid struggling to find something traditional but different, then this is a treat and could also work as a non-alcoholic option.

Vintage Tea Trips is another non-alcoholic option for brides-to-be.
Vintage Tea Trips is another non-alcoholic option for brides-to-be.

Dress like Mrs. Doyle

If you’re struggling to find an activity that suits the bride-to-be, why not incorporate her favorite TV show? TheHen.ie organizes an evening inspired by Father Ted where the bride-to-be is transformed into Mrs. Doyle before the entire hen party competes in games inspired by the series. Costumes and themes are a big part of many bachelor and bachelorette parties, so it’s a great way to put a quintessentially Irish touch on this tradition. Oh, go on! Go Hen also offers several TV-themed options, Downton Abbey at Friendsand breaking Bad.

Drag the heap

Drag Brunch is a guaranteed great day out. While a good bottomless brunch has always been a go-to for a girls’ get-together, Drag Brunch’s popularity has steadily grown.

Chambers in Cork regularly offers themed Drag Brunch events. Previous themes have included the Pop Princess Drag Brunch with Candy Warhol and special guests paying tribute to Britney Spears and Ariana Grande, as well as Bingo and Eurovision themed brunches. Can you imagine the craic? Group bookings are also available, so it’s a great option if you’re looking for entertainment. In Dublin for the weekend? Sunday night bingo at The George, hosted by Shirley Temple Bar, is always a winner.

Ax throwing

Help the bride eliminate wedding planning frustrations from her system with an activity that brings out her competitive side. Ax Junkies in Waterford offers reservations for hens and stags and is Ireland’s first urban ax throwing facility. Ax Junkies describes ax throwing as darts, but with an axe. With an electric atmosphere and great music, this exciting activity is sure to get everyone in the party mood. Encourage each other and see who can hit the bullseye.