When news happens, text CHRON and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email & phone.
Hen parties are big business in Hampshire
THIRTY years ago, most people would probably have thought a hen party was something involving chickens.
Today few brides would consider walking down the aisle without having a hen do – or two.
In fact the popularity of hen parties has grown so much that two Hampshire businesswomen have left their careers in market research and as a corporate solicitor to run their own hen do business .
Organise A Hen is the result of several conversations between best friends Vics Tranter and Lynne Beasant at other people’s hen parties.
The pair have been friends since they met aged 11 at The Westgate School in Winchester .
They always dreamt of setting up a business together but it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that they came up with the idea of helping women organise their hen dos.
“We started going on hen dos and we realised it was a huge market and getting bigger,” says Lynne, 30.
“We were immersed in it – my record is five hen dos in one year!”
Vics explains that they decided they had to make the plunge if they wanted to start their own business but came up with a way of making it seem more manageable.
“We went travelling together several years ago on a gap year and we’re calling this our ‘alternative gap year’, running the business,” she explains.
“We’d like it to continue but it’s our way of telling ourselves that we can go back into jobs if we need to.”
In order to set up the business, Vics quit her marketing job in London and moved back in with her parents in Winchester, while Lynne left her corporate solicitor job in Southampton and is now waitressing at the weekends to keep money coming in while they set the business up.
They launched the Organise A Hen website in April and are busy researching and updating it constantly.
It’s hard work but they love it.
“We’re both very passionate about the idea,” says Vics.
“Otherwise we wouldn’t have felt comfortable about leaving the jobs that we had.”
The friends have done lots of research in their market and are aware of a number of trends in hen dos.
“I think women have caught up with men in terms of stag and hen dos,” says Vics.
“When my mum got married in the seventies she had a few drinks with her friends and that was quite unusual. Over the last 30 years hen dos have grown. I think they’re quite different events to stag dos but in terms of spending they are becoming more similar.
“They are more than an evening trip to the pub.
People try to do something different, especially when you’ve got people from within the same friendship group having them so everyone wants to do something a bit different.”
Lynne adds: “People are getting married later so they have more disposable income to spend on hen dos.”
Organise A Hen helps bridesmaids put together hen dos by grouping ideas under themes such as vintage, watersports and ‘boozy’.
“Activities for hen dos are much more accessible today,” says Vics.
“There are thousands of small businesses that cater for these sorts of events so it becomes more affordable.
There used to be an attitude that businesses would stay away from hen and stag dos but people are seeing that it’s not necessarily a raucous night out. It’s about having a fun time with your friends.”
The friends have also noticed a trend to have more than one hen party – maybe a weekend with close friends, a get together with family and an evening out with workmates.
Although hen dos may be less raucous than they are perceived – with women getting together to do arts and crafts, for pampering sessions, to take part in sporting activities and to tuck into some delicious food as much as to go out for a night on the tiles – Vics and Lynne think there is still a place for some of the hen do paraphernalia.
“Things like phallic objects have become a bit of a tradition for hens,” says Lynne.
“I haven’t been on a hen do where the bride isn’t marked out in some way.”
“It might be a classy hen do,” adds Vics, “but I think a lot of brides would be disappointed if they turned up and there weren’t any Lplates!”.
* Get hen do inspiration and read Vics and Lynne’s blog at organiseahen.co.uk
Vics and Lynne's top hen do tips:
1 Be aware that not everyone has the same budget. Some potential guests won’t be able to
afford to come if it’s too expensive.
2 Give guests plenty of warning about cost, distance and what it’s going to include. It’s fair
and it helps avoid people dropping out nearer the event.
3 A lot is in the detail. It doesn’t necessarily matter where you are and what you are doing – it’s
about getting the little details right like the games.
4 Don’t have games that reveal too much about the hen and her relationship history if family
5 Don’t have it too close to the wedding day.