So you’ve been asked by your bestie to do the honors as bridesmaid. That means discussing exciting wedding plans, going to bridal fittings, providing plenty of emotional support during the prep and of course, planning the all-important hen party! For those of you who have never organized a hen party – or even been to one – it can seem quite daunting to even know where to begin. But as always, we are here to help (and we’ve got some great suppliers too that will make things a lot easier!). To get you started, we’ve put together a great list of the best and most popular hen party ideas and where you can do them around Ireland…
1. Spa Weekend
A spa weekend is the perfect getaway for the bride who loves a bit of luxury! What better way to prep for the wedding than by getting some R&R while sipping on Champagne at a fancy spa hotel? There are lots of hen friendly spas all across Ireland who offer great pamper packages for hen parties. Special mention to the Rabbit Hotel which offers exclusive use of its spa pool so you can throw your own chic pool party. It even has its own disco ball!
2. Movie Night
Does your gal love the cinema? How about a private screening of a vintage movie, followed by a vintage-inspired after-party with live band, retro DJ and classic cocktails? Look no further than Film Fatale which regularly hosts themed movie nights. Put on your glad rags and step back in time for a nostalgic night with screenings of classics such as breakfast at Tiffany’s, Cabaret and Chinatown. Or if you’re looking for something a little more low key, the beautiful Stella Theater is so much more special than your local omniplex and you can enjoy cocktails while watching the movie or before or after at the Stella Cocktail Club. For a private cinema experience, the in-house Cameo Cinema at the Montenotte Hotel Cork is very chic, with dinner and a movie (and bubbles!) packages available.
3. Afternoon Tea
Beautiful china, delicious cake, a glass of bubbly and bottomless tea – afternoon tea hen parties have become quite a popular choice as it is suitable for everyone, even the mums! Choose from the full afternoon tea treatment at a beautiful hotel such as The Westbury in Dublin City or Castle Leslie in County Monaghan, a beautiful vintage experience at tea rooms like Ruby Ellen’s in Count Louth, in full period costume at Clonard House in Westmeath, take a fun Vintage Tea Tour bus or sip tea in the comfort of your own home or hotel room with Oh So Sweet Occasions who can travel to various locations in Ireland.
4. Farm Weekend
Get those wellies on for a fun filled weekend on the farm! A real hen party with a difference, farm weekends are filled with fun activities such as cow-milking, feeding the animals, bog-jumping, bread-making, hen chases and farm treasure trails. Causey Farm in County Meath, provides all the above, plus the opportunity to paint the bride’s life story on a barn wall, or in the West of Ireland The Farmyard throws in an Irish dancing class. All great craic providing fantastic memories for the bride to be and her mates.
5. Cookery Classes
6. Treasure and Scavenger Hunts
A really fun activity to get to know others on the hen party, scavenger hunts are perfect for pairing hens off in teams to work together. Gather your girls up, provide a list of clues and a map of the hunt location and grab your camera and off you go! This is also a great idea for a girls night out on the town, simply make a list of items to find during the night such as coasters from each bar, photos with strangers, shot glasses etc. Whoever has the most impressive collection (as decided by the bride) at the end of the night wins a prize!
7. Murder Mystery Evening
An unsuspecting victim will fall foul to a horrendous crime, and it is you and your hen party’s job to uncover the clues and weed out the killer. A great ice-breaker activity for a hen party as you work together to figure out whodunnit! Throw some costumes into the mix and you have a great fun-filled hen party.
8. Arts and Crafts Weekends
Is your bride the ultimate DIY Queen? Then she will love getting hands on with an arts and crafts filled hen party. Choose from flower crown-making with Kay’s Flower School or Flowerpop, felting at Kippure Estate in Co. Wicklow, Pottery Painting at The Pottery Shed in Kilkenny or Giddy Studios in Dublin and even nude life drawing at Life Drawing Hen Party in Galway. Check out Slieve Aughty Center Crafty Hens package.
9. Action Packed Activities
Perfect for hens who are true adrenaline junkies and crave a fully-loaded and action-packed weekend of activities. Check out our guide to 19 amazing adventures for hen parties across Ireland, from zip-lining and zorbing to whale watching and windsurfing, there is definitely something for all the adventure loving hens out there. Or of course, you could go hiking or wild swimming and make your own adventure!
Also check out ZipIt Forest Adventure in Dublin, Lilliput Adventure Center in Co. Westmeath, Kippure Estate in Wicklow or Collanmore Island Lodge in Co. Mayo.
Glamping offers the fun of camping in the great outdoors, but with a bit of home comforts – which makes it the perfect hen party idea for a broad group of gals. Sleep under the stars in a bell tent, teepee, shepherd hut or a yurt. Every part of the country has its own little hidden gem, the hardest part is picking one!
Some of our favorites include Rock Farm Slane in Co. Meath, Virginia Park Lodge Co. Cavan, or Tee Pee Valley in Co. Armagh – see a complete list in our Guide to Glamping Hen Parties.
11. Cocktail-Making Classes
Cocktail-making, or mixology as it’s also known is the perfect activity before your big night out on the town. An easy activity that everyone will enjoy, it’s fun, lets the hens chat, mingle (and drink!) as well as learning a few new shaking and stirring skills!
Lots of hotels and restaurants around the country offer cocktail-making classes, or try cocktailclasses.ie and cocktails.ie to organise your very own cocktail-making hen party.
12. Dance and Workout Classes
For girls who want to bust some moves, a fun dance class might be just the ticket to start the night off with a bang. Choose from a twerking class to a Charleston lesson, or opt for something a little different, from a 90s HIIT class, a burlesque lesson, or a hula hoop class – a cool idea for an active hen without leaving the city!
Check out Dance Fix, Dance Divas or Irish Burlesque Academy.
13. Mini Cruise
All aboard! Start your night out in style by stepping aboard for a mini cruise on the Lough Corrib with the Corrib Princess, through the islands of West Cork on the Inishbeg or the Shannon with the Moon River Pleasure Cruiser and the River Run Pleasure Cruiser which all offer great when party packages. In Dublin, La Peniche allows you to dine and dance while barge cruising on the Grand Canal or you can take to the waves with Dublin Bay Cruises.
There are lots of boat trip options throughout Ireland, or of course you could rent your own boat for the weekend, and cruise the waterways at your leisure! See Emerald Star to book.
14. Makeup Masterclass
What better way to get glammed up for your hen party – and learn some new skills – than with a makeup masterclass? Lots of stores, salons and makeup artists around the country offer classes for groups or you could got one further and opt for a glam photo shoot and get some snaps of the last hurrah while you’re at it. Alternatively, you could go en masse to a blow dry bar or to get your nails done!
Check out Fiona Harrison at The Makeup Studio, EF Creative Studios, Aimee Connolly or Boudoir Girls.
15. Hen Party at Home
If you are on a budget or stuck for time why not host a hen party at home? Set up a mini spa with Champagne on ice in the living room, put on bath robes and slippers and gather round to paint nails and pop on some face masks. You could host a themed pot luck dinner night with lots of fun dishes to try or even host your own afternoon tea party with your best china, some bubbly and tasty treats. Our favorite? A throwback slumber party with your favorite teen movies. The possibilities are endless!
Get more ideas for a home hen party here.
16. Wellness Weekend
If your bride would appreciate a more restorative experience, then make healthy activities like yoga or pilates and nourishing food the focus of your weekend. Why not book a yoga retreat in an epic location like Cliff of Moher Retreat or Burren Yoga Retreat, or opt for peaceful overnight spots that offer classes and a private chef such as Loughcrew Estate & Gardens.
More Unique Hen Party Ideas
Nothing on our list taking your fancy? We couldn’t fit all our favorite hen party ideas in the list, but here are more to inspire your best party planning!
- Head to a festival or gig
- Go to the races
- Try wine taste
- Book a karaoke booth
- Pottery making
- Book a house in the country
- A private dining supper and then a night on the town
- Book a hotel penthouse
- A Victorian weekend, Downton Abbey style
The most important thing to remember is to have fun! All the bride really wants is to hang out with her crew and for everyone to have a good time, so choose an activity that she will enjoy, but that also won’t exclude anyone.
For lots more ideas on how to plan the best hen party, check out our guide to minimising drama, our tips for planning a hen party abroad, and our ultimate hen party playlist!
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