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I wanted to write this piece after going on my friend’s hen-do to Cardiff a few weeks ago. In fact, this year for me is quite a busy one in terms of weddings and hen-dos. I think this happens when you reach a certain age…(ahem!)
Anyway, this particular hen-do was great because it showed me how it was possible to “bend the rules” and make things much more cost effective for everyone who attends. I think there is a trend now for hen-dos to become quite showy expensive affairs, and its such a relief that I have friends who are sensible enough to make it less expensive!
Although saying that though, I found some fab bloggers who beat our costs by miles!!
According to a survey by Banana Moon, in the UK we pay around £507 per event per person.
Does that shock you?
It certainly shocked me. But when I think about it, this is not far off the mark. When you factor in a new outfit +/- fancy dress, alcohol, accommodation and activities, the price really does add up.
So I thought it would be fun to ask other bloggers and followers of The Female Money Doctor what they did on their hen-dos to keep costs low, but WITHOUT necessarily compromising on the fun aspects of the day.
But first – would you like to see the evidence from the Cardiff hen-do?
Of course you would.
My Cardiff Experience
So the first saving I made was to avoid getting public transport.
From Milton Keynes to Cardiff, I would have had to shell out a whopping £120 in train tickets. This was compared to £70 in fuel for my car (which still left me with some left over). The moral of that story – explore ALL your transport options first before taking the plunge. If you’re all coming from the same location, why not hire a mini-bus (or a limo….but remember we’re trying to keep it cheap!!). It depends on how many of you are travelling together. There is certainly strength in numbers.
The next thing we did was a life-drawing class. My friend had explored the cost of this a while ago and had come to the conclusion that life-drawing is pretty expensive. This is because paying for the model, the materials, the venue and the class tutor all became quite costly, especially as there was only 4 of us. We were quoted £66 per person.
She managed to reduce the cost by bringing materials from home (her mum had plenty of art materials for us to use, and we self-directed the class. The cost came to £35 per head. Our model had also found us a cheaper venue, which in hindsight was a little odd (a community centre that kicked us out as soon as our time was up for a kiddies kickboxing class), but we had fun anyway….
….This may have been helped by Aldi’s £12.99 magnum of prosecco, which is really good by the way (you’re welcome).
What Else Did We Do?
Instead of a hotel, we hired out an air bnb. We each had our own bed, and could keep costs low by eating in the flat and pre-drinking (with another magnum of course!). We also did a cocktail making class (which included A LOT of food) and had a karaoke session.
Our outfits consisted of our own going-out (out) clothes and a manga wig. This saved on cost too!
All in all, it cost us £121 each – this was for the accommodation and all the activities (which the hen didn’t have to pay for). I spent an extra £26 on prosecco, £12 on taxis and £70 on petrol. I also spent £50 on drinks and food, plus £10 on the wig. This came to £289. Now this may seem like a lot, but in comparison to the UK average, this was pretty cheap, and I really don’t feel like we compromised on fun at all.
So What Have Other Bloggers Done?
I asked some other bloggers to give me their experience of hen dos they have been on, and there were some fab responses (who came in way cheaper than we did!!).
I kept it super low key & went for a wonderful afternoon tea. We drank champagne, ate far too much cake & it ended up costing around £27 a head. ☺
www.cakevsscales.com – Katie Groome
I think that’s a phenomenal effort! Champagne for less than £30 per head?! I’m in! With a cost like that, it’s sure to keep everyone happy. Look out for deals on sites like groupon, and you may also find a cheap spa day to go alongside the afternoon tea. It’s worth doing the research and seeing what’s out there.
I was pregnant on my hen do (shock horror) so it was never going to be a wild one. Around 15 of us headed to Bournemouth for a one night in a nice hotel. We had dinner, went to a casino for a blackjack lesson then went to a club. The next day was beautiful sunshine so we went to the beach. It cost around £120 per person including hotel, dinner, casino and club entry.
www.mrsmummypenny.co.uk – Lynn James
Another amazing blogger who kept it frugal and fun! I think pregnancy can definitely make things cheaper – even if it’s because you’re not drinking and probably don’t want to be out late!! Blackjack is an interesting idea for a hen do and not something I thought about!
I went went to the pub for lunch, then for ice cream, and then bowling. Lovely day out, didn’t cost much at all really ? (in fact my wedding only cost £1700).
https://www.thefamilypatch.com/a-happy-hen/ – Amanda Shortman
A wedding for only £1700?? Wow!! I wrote a post last year about the average cost of weddings in the UK, and it’s safe to say that Amanda’s definitely comes in at less than 10% of this!! This hen do is yet more evidence that cost needn’t be a limiting factor to having fun!
I organised my friends hen do and she was pregnant at the time so wanted something low key. We booked a table at the local Chinese as that’s what the Bride to Be wanted but we surprised her with matching T Shirts and a Limo tour of all her old haunts and special places on the way there. She loved it because it was thoughtful and personal and it was a brilliant night
https://www.happymummy.co.uk – Maria Hughes
I love the idea of matching t-shirts and a limo ride! These little touches are often the things that matter the most to a bride to be. We played a game with our bride – she had to guess the answers to questions we had previously put to her future husband. If she guessed right, one of us had to take a shot. If she guessed wrong, she had to do it (or nominate one of us). Silly, childish, but cheap and funny (especially when future hubby lies to catch her out!!).
I didn’t want to spend a lot on my hen night so I just went out for a meal to TGI’s with close family and friends. I bought a cheap ‘dare’ game off eBay which we played, it was so much fun! We also had a low cost wedding so we could spend all the money we had saved on an amazing honeymoon in Mexico. Best decision ever.
www.timeandpence.com – Michelle Bailey
Spending money on a decent honeymoon rather than splurge on a hen-do = brilliant idea. You could also use Pinterest as a source of inspiration.
Thank you ladies for your stories and tips! Check out hitched.co.uk for EVEN MORE ideas!
Ideas for stag-dos
I think stags also have the same problem, in that the temptation is there to overspend on a stag-do (perhaps more?). Whenever I watch “Don’t Tell The Bride” on TV, it always seems to be that the groom runs out of money because they blew the budget on the stag-do. But does it really have to be this way?
I think it comes down to complexity. The more stuff that gets added in, obviously this then puts the price up. Consider cheaper accommodation, having the stag-do in the UK and choosing cheaper activities. Iamthebestman.co.uk has loads of ideas and I love how they are organised into cost.
Over To You
What tips do you have? Maybe you’ve been even more frugal and have some fabulous ideas to share. Comment below!!
If you’re looking for a community to join of like-minded women who want to sort out their “money-stuff”, then come on over to my FREE and private Facebook group when I run monthly live-events, often with awesome guest speakers. What are you waiting for??!
See you again soon,