Hens out in full force

We are here in June, the most common month to get married, and the hens are out in full force. The UK equivalent of the bachelorette party has stumbling drunk girls (and many older women as well) wandering the streets in various states of costume. A short bridal veil is, apparently, mandatory, as is a Miss America-style sash diagonally across the body announcing which reveller is the bride. In some cases there are additional sashes for the wedding party. Frequently the whole group has matching t-shirts personalized with the bride’s name and the hen party date or dates–a whole hen weekend being common.  (Occasionally the groom’s name appears on the t-shirt as well but he seems to be mostly irrelevant in all of this.)  I’m finding it to be quite a production, and one that takes ‘up a notch’ anything I recall seeing in the US.

I was a child bride, married before the age of 21 in one of those ridiculous American situations in which drink is withheld but other adult rights are conferred at 18. Needless to say, I did not have a wild hen night, and I vaguely recall my ex-husband (then husband-to-be) going out for a few beers with the groomsmen but nothing more. When other friends of mine have married, there have been various occasions: girls only dinners, mixed parties with the groom and his friends, including some consumption of alchol and mild mischief usually involving a camera and a list of things to be photographed. Never did they take on the aura (or production values!) of the hen nights happening around me here. The UK does not seem to have quite the massive wedding industry as the US, but this hen-and-stag thing appears to be quite big business here as demonstrated by the large number of websites devoted exclusively to planning these parties:

I can assure you that the industry sells quite a range of hen party products in addition to those mentioned above; I nearly tripped off a sidewalk (pavement) the other day when I saw a woman of around 60 at an outdoor cafe (with one of these t-shirt clad groups) drinking champagne from a phallus-shaped straw. On the one hand, it’s nice to see the cross-generational fun. On the other hand, one would hope that one’s own mother behaved better in public.

We are already at nearly mid-June so it has to start quieting down soon, right?


2 responses to “Hens out in full force

  1. startingtoday

    I’m in the US – I’ve never heard of it referred to as a Hen and Stag thing. Just bachelor or bachelorette parties. When I got married (to my now ex), I didn’t have a party. My sister and a few girlfriends and myself went out to eat, and my ex went out for a few beers with friends. However, I went to another friend’s bachelorette party a few years ago, and it started out calm, with dinner and drinks. Two limos arrived after dinner, we were broke up into teams, and the scavenger hunt was on. We had polariod cameras, and we had to photograph our actions to prove what we’d done. It was actually semi-fun.

  2. I’ve actually been to two bachelorette parties in the states that involved gifts (mostly sex toys), props, games and wild bar antics… one in Minneapolis, and one in New York. No matching t-shirts, though. I can’t imagine either crowd doing that voluntarily.

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