Stag-dos, hen-dos and all the don’ts

Category Life events Saving, spending, B’s features

Train or plane. York or New York. City break or country escape. When planning a stag or hen, there are far too many decisions to be made. One thing’s for sure though; they can be pretty pricey. But the team at B could help, with a bunch of simple tips to help you spend less but still have lots of fun.

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Here’s a bit of inside knowledge for you; the terms ‘stag’ and ‘hen’ aren’t based on common social stereotypes. Their use dates back to Tudor times when, in Middle English, the word ‘hen’ was used to describe any female bird and ‘stag’ any male animal whatsoever. Who knew, right?

Well… fast forward to present day and the pre-marriage parties that these words have come to represent are now big, big business. According to an article in the Telegraph, the average cost of attending a hen has risen steeply; from £102 in 2008 and £157 in 2013 (opens in a new window) up to a whopping £250 today. While The Metro reports that around 28% of women (opens in a new window) say they’ve been unable to afford the cost of a hen in the past and around a quarter have actually borrowed money in order to go. But it isn’t just the ladies, as according to research from ABTA (opens in a new window) stags tend to spend more, go for longer and go in a larger group than hens would.

Luckily for you though, there are loads of ways to trim the cost of such an event… so feel free to read on.

Plan it like a boss

First things first. If you’re lucky enough to have been rewarded for years of friendship or sibling rivalry with a Best Man or Maid of Honour badge, then it’s your job to arrange a tip-top party for your BFF; and with great power comes great responsibility. So, be sure to start nice and early and consider those you have to invite before getting them to part with their pennies. When you first touch base, ask them to give you an idea of their budget. That way, you know how much you’ll have to play with per person, and nobody can moan behind your back.

Once that’s all agreed, you can help them spread the cost by asking for a deposit up-front. It means you can get booking much earlier, and things are usually far cheaper when they’re booked earlier. They might even thank you for it when the time comes to cough up the rest.

“28% of women say they’ve been unable to afford the cost of a hen”

Stay at home. Literally.

A typical home hen or stag in the likes of Newcastle and Edinburgh is always a good shout. The new trend, however, is to host one helluva party in the bride or groom’s own house. Seriously. So girls, why not take it back to 1999 and throw a slumber party like you used to? PJ’s on, pampered up and all singing-a-long to a proper classic like Grease. Wedding website (opens in a new window) tells you all you need to know. And gents, why not get the boys round for a night of button-bashing as you challenge them to a games-console competition? Sometimes, saving cash is as simple as keeping an open mind.

If your own house is a no-go, then you could always hire someone else’s. Lodges, cabins and cottages could make for a cheap, easy getaway, as you won’t have to book separate rooms for different people or splash the cash in busy city bars. Plus, if you pick right, you’ll be able to find an array of nearby daytime activities to add into the mix.

Well, if you’ve really gotta go…

Okay, okay so it seems flying abroad is all the rage when it comes to those last few days of freedom, but there are ways to keep costs down. As mentioned earlier, booking flights, ferries and hotels as quickly as you can is a must, but also think about travelling off-peak. If you don’t have to be somewhere in the height of summer then give it a miss. Also, there’s no need to spend a fortune on accommodation if you’re going to be outward bound during the day and out on the town at night. Spare a thought for the food and drink prices wherever you want to go as well. Paris might be closer, but – as this article from The Independent (opens in a new window) shows, Prague could be a far cheaper night out.

Consider the Hag

Yip… you read that right. Essentially, a hag (or sten) is a trip that combines both the bride and groom’s friends. According to an article on (opens in a new window) popularity of these joint parties is at an all-time high, with around a quarter of young 30-somethings having already been to one. It’s sensible, and it does make sense, seen as more and more couples are living together pre-wedding, meaning there’s far less emphasis on sticking to tradition.

By turning two expensive weekends into one, you’re bound to save money. Just think about all those group discounts too. You can even mix and match the traditional activities for hilarious results; imagine everyone whipping round a go-kart track before slipping into bath robes for a spa afternoon. It’s one big party, with all your closest friends and family, before the big day itself. That won’t be for everyone, but a little break from tradition gets a big thumbs up from the Team at B.

Started saving for a hen or stag? Find out how B’s Savings Pots could help make saving as easy as spending.

This blog is a bit of fun and not intended to influence your decisions in any way. The content of the blog is reliable at the time of publishing, but we can’t guarantee that it is neither error nor omission free, beyond our knowledge. The links are there for you to explore if you wish, but we don’t have any connection with the third party sites, nor responsibility for them or their content.