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Hen parties rival cost of weddings

9th June 2014 Print

The fun farewell to the bride’s single-life increasingly involves an overnight or weekend stay, which requires a carefully thought out wardrobe for the hens, with often several new items of clothing.

Looking your best can also involve hair and beauty sessions, while food and drink and transport, all bump up the price.

An increasing trend to hold bachelorette parties abroad which can involve a whole new holiday wardrobe, flights and nights in a hotel, sees average costs rise to £680, according to the  study which surveyed over 1,100 shoppers.

In contrast the average cost of attending a wedding is estimated to be around £360 , which  includes a nights accommodation, one new outfit, wedding present, drinks and transport.

The stag and hen party industry is worth an estimated £300million a year and growing with many young professionals treating the events as a mini-holiday that lasts several days rather than just one night.

Over four out of ten (43%) of potential brides questioned in the survey said they gave friends at least three months warning of a hen party so they could plan ahead and a quarter (24%) provided more than six months notice of the celebrations.

Two thirds of all women invited to pre-nuptual knees up said they would start saving well in  advance in order to afford the occasion and look to buy suitable outfits often taking advantage of sale. Over three quarters (78%) said they would buy something new to wear.

Personal stylist, Alain Mehada of Debenhams said: "We have seen a steady increase in enquiries from customers wanting help purchasing new outfits for hen parties, weekends and trips abroad. Often the group of invited women may not all have seen each other for a few   years and it is natural that they want to look their best.

“Planning and shopping ahead is the key to getting the most for your money. Using a free    personal shopping service like ours can be a huge help in sticking to a budget and gaining   expert advice on which outfits will flatter your figure and give you confidence at an event like a hen party.”

Average cost of attending a hen party abroad

Flights/train tickets to destination £150
Hotel accommodation for three nights £210
Toiletries/hair and beauty treatments/fake tan £40
Food and drink £150
New clothes/accessories for the trip £100
Taxis to and from hotel £30
Total £680

Average cost of attending a hen party in the UK.
Travel/car fuel/train/bus/taxi/limo £20
Cost of organised activity or spa day £40
Food and drink £50
New outfit for the evening £75
Total £185

The term "hen party" dates back to the 1800s and signified a gathering of women, but there was no link with weddings. Writer George Monger wrote about the pre-wedding customs prevalent in industry in 1971, with some obvious parallels to the hen party culture we see today. On a female employees last day of work before the wedding she would be dressed up in a coat or veil to look like a parody of a bride, then paraded around the factory to be congratulated.

However, it was not until 1976 that the Times newspaper first used the phrase “hen party” in the modern-day sense. It was in a news report about a male stripper who was fined by Leicester Crown Court for acting in "a lewd, obscene and disgusting manner".

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