How to Hen | An Online Solution for Today’s Bachelorette Parties

Last week we discussed online wedding ceremonies during these uncertain times, and today is the turn of Hen parties!

With social distancing still in full force, we spoke with Sherrie Stewart of How to Hen, to find out how she’s supporting brides, and ensuring that they still get to enjoy a bachelorette party in lockdown! Here are some of her top tips of how to host a virtual hen party…

How Do I Do It?

Option One – Zoom

There’s no doubt that Zoom has become the number one way that people are connecting during this crisis. It’s definitely the best platform to use to get real life reactions and create more interactivity. The ability to screen share, plus the whiteboard function, make for some great ways to host games, quizzes and other fun.

One of the main disadvantages though, is that having a zoom party requires significantly more “hosting”. This means that whoever is organizing has to be more on the ball, engaging and prepared to lead the night. Without this, zoom chats can slip very quickly into awkward silences, weird group dynamics and people feeling out of place.

It’s also more pressure for all guests to appear in person to be smiling and taking part without distractions, which there are probably a lot of at home.  There might be people who feel insecure about appearing on screen with a group of people they don’t know and answering sometimes personal questions in real time. Zoom calls put people on the spot and can create forced smiles and uncomfortable laughs rather genuine good times.

Option Two – Group Chat

Group chats, either over Facebook or WhatsApp, are a good alternative for those who don’t want to/aren’t able to commit to a zoom event. Interacting over group chat will never replace the feeling of being “together’ that you get from a Zoom meeting. It may not be as engaging or interactive, but it does have its benefits.

Firstly, the organiser doesn’t have the same pressure to constantly be engaging and entertaining. You can organize yourself and line games up as you go, without worrying about having to keep the conversation going in the group and being “on” the whole time. It gives you space to breathe, and is less nerve wracking overall!

The same goes for the guests. Without the pressure of having to appear on a screen and look engaged at all times, people relax a little. Hosting the night on the group chat means you can spread out the games a little more and it allows people to fit it in with their schedule and daily life a little more.

When Should I Do It?

You should choose a time and date that suits everyone/most people, but most importantly the bride! You need to coordinate with everyone the bride would like to invite and try to settle on a date a time that works for everyone.

Bear schedules in mind, just because people are awake, doesn’t mean it’s a good time. Parents might be available at 6pm but will only have an hour before having to go and put kids to bed. Likewise, maybe a few people would prefer late night but someone self-employed needs an early morning to get work done.

It’s never going to be easy, but really talk to each person and then try to be diplomatic to choose a time and day that works the best for the most people. I would recommend some kind of poll for this.

What Should We Do?

For a full list of suggested games and activities, please check out my Social Distancing Bride category. Here are some favourites I picked out:

Mr and Mrs / Quizzes in General

THE quintessential Hen do game! I have created a handy document just for you with tons of questions, both PG and X-Rated! Get the answers in advance as always, and then ask your bride-to-be to answer them in the call. You can also ask the others to write down their answers as you go.

Wedding Mood Boards

This is actually much easier to do digitally than in person. Each person must create a ‘mood board’ of what they think the bride-to-be’s perfect wedding would look like. They can use apps like Layout, or one of these mood board apps to help get the photos together in one image. Or just screenshot a Pinterest board. Give everyone 15 minutes and then everyone must share their board at the same time. Each person then must “present” their board to everyone and explain their thought process. The bride-to-be then decides who’s board wins!

Tutorials

Many of us have fallen victim to the ‘harder than it looks’ YouTube tutorial, so what better way to harness that disappointment than turn it into a contest?! Assign people one or more YouTube tutorials that they must try to replicate, and you can choose to either let people follow along with the tutorial by sending it to them.

Or, if you’re feeling mean and want to adapt it into a zoom version, make them watch it in full once, via your end of the conference call, then replicate it from memory. You decide on a type of tutorial and what suits the group. If you have a mixed group and a pretty large number, it’s a good idea to host it as a sort of league, with different levels of difficulty for those who apply a contour daily and those who haven’t worn make up ever, as well as everything in between.

Make sure you challenge everyone, without making anyone feel totally left out, here’s an epic list of the top 100 beauty vloggers on YouTube to get you started!

Pamper Party

If all that makeup sounds like far too much work, go the other way and get into your comfiest, softest outfit, get out the facemasks and put those slippered feet up! Sometimes all it takes to transport yourself to the spa is the right music and some cheap and easy treatments like shop-bought facemasks and nail polish. Get everyone to take some photos and videos of their home spa set up and you guys can decide who has put the most effort in.

Netflix Party

There are so many amazing movies that should be a staple in a Hen weekend, and just because you aren’t together doesn’t mean you can’t watch them together. Netflix party is an excellent extension that allows you to sync up your computers and chat throughout the film. But not all these titles I am recommending will be on Netflix, so you could also try Kast or any of these other video watching options or these ones.

Top Tips

Test run all technology needed

Set everything up the day before and ask a friend or relative to help you test any devices that you are going to be using. Schedule the zoom meeting to start at a certain time and then ask someone you know to join it in advance to make sure all the features work the way you want. Also. I would disable the “waiting room” feature, it means you don’t have to constantly be checking and letting people in if they get disconnected etc.

Keep it personalised

 Remember it’s about the BRIDE. Don’t try and shoehorn in things you think should be at a hen party, if they aren’t things that she would enjoy. Don’t just copy and paste every standard hen party game and hope that it will do. Customise it to her and her interests. Is she a big game of thrones fan? Test her on some GOT trivia. Does she Love Ru Paul? Make the tutorial challenge based on a Drag look. It should be about HER.

Be prepared

Don’t try to wing it! Whatever games and activities you have, make sure you have them ready to access easily. Write out an itinerary for the night with timings and try to roughly stick to it.

Record as much as you can

Zoom has a record chat function. So, make sure to use it to capture you guys all laughing and chatting away. Ask the participants to film themselves doing tasks and playing certain games. That way you will all have memories to look back on even though you weren’t physically together. You could also get in touch with me and I could compile all your footage to make an after movie!

Let How To Hen do it for you!

I can take all the stress from your shoulders and host the night for you. I will provide the games you need and we can work together to tailor something that is truly personal for the bride-to-be. Fill out this consultation form for free, and then contact me on contact@howtohen.com and let’s get planning!

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