Weddings are back and that means hen and stags are too, but what are the best stag do locations and who pays for the hen do? We look at everything you need to know to plan a brilliant but budget-friendly celebration.
After two years it’s time to start going to weddings again and along with the day itself are the hen and stag do events that take place before.
From a night out at a local restaurant to a week in Ibiza you can do pretty much anything for a hen or stag do and there are limitless options.
However, the best hen do destinations are often those which don’t break the budget (remember guests have to pay for the wedding too) and the best stag do locations don’t have to be expensive either.
The average cost of a hen or stag is now £242, according to Hotels.com, which can really add up if a few friends get married in the same year.
Here we look at some budget-friendly locations and a few top tips for keeping costs down.
If you’ve been given the task of organising a hen or stag do congratulations - the bride and groom clearly trust you to arrange an unforgettable event for them (no pressure, then).
The key to making everything work is lots of communication between you and the people coming, being ultra-organised, and keeping a lid on the budget. A few things you might want to consider are:
Guest numbers: ask the bride or groom to send a list of everyone they want to invite
Dates: Find out a few potential dates the bride or groom is free, and then pick the one the most guests can make
Location: If you’re going abroad there will be more planning involved and could increase the cost
Entertainment: From cake decorating courses to cabaret, there’s lots to choose from when it comes to the events, but the more you book the more your guests will have to pay
You can spend as little or as much as you want on a hen do but the total will come down to what the bride is after and how many people are coming along.
Average costs are just over £200 but depending on what you’re planning this could be different.
There’s no point going overboard with the hen, as it means people will usually decline to come. After all the point of it is celebrating the upcoming wedding with friends so you want something everyone can afford to go to.
It’s well worth speaking to the hens early on about the budget and being upfront from the start about how much the party will cost.
It’s a good idea to be flexible too, some people might not be able to come to the whole event but could come for part of it - such as the evening - if they’re on a particularly tight budget.
If the average stag do is just over £200, this might be a good ballpark figure to budget for each person, however you can obviously spend a lot more or less than this.
Typically, the guests pay for the party, and the stag (or hen’s) costs are divided between them but this doesn’t always happen. The more guests going, the easier this is and the less everyone must pay.
If lots of friends are getting married in the same year, another option for cutting costs is to combine events and have one big stag or hen do. This also means there’s less planning to do and fewer weekends taken up going on stag or hen dos.
There are plenty of ways to keep costs down without compromising on the fun of a hen or stag.
Instead of a week away or even a long weekend jam-packed with activities, why not plan one amazing night out for the bride or groom.
It cuts down accommodation and travel costs, and the extra expense of filling a weekend with events to go to.
You don’t need to get everyone along to a football match or front-row musical tickets, instead why not host a match between you followed by a BBQ and drinks or hire a karaoke machine for the night.
You can always make your own decorations, outfits, and order in food and drink instead of paying extra for these.
Avoid the over-trodden hen do route and go for less well-known destinations to keep costs down and to make the whole thing a little more original. Instead of a week in Vegas, why not head to the Highlands, or swap Cancun for the Cotswolds.
If any of the guests are skilled in a side hustle, from catering to crafting, call on them to help with the planning.
They could even set up fun workshops to teach their skills to the guests, such as making craft beer, cocktail classes, or designing a wedding dress.
If you need inspiration for where to hold the hen, here are some popular spots that won’t break the bank.
Bath - Everything you need in one beautifully quaint city, and it’s easy to get to from most parts of the UK. Book train travel early and look for large holiday homes to rent or even hostels where you can book out the whole dorm room.
Lisbon - A cheaper option than Barcelona, Portugal is a lot more affordable than Spain and Lisbon has everything you need in a city by the beach. If you’re going for a weekend you could always allow guests to come for as much or as little of the hen as they can make - and there’s always the option of extending the trip if your budget allows.
The Cotswolds - Chocolate box cottages, picturesque villages, and plenty of cosy pubs to while away your time. This part of the world is all about relaxing and taking in the beautiful English countryside and it’s laden with holiday homes to rent out where you can spend the weekend celebrating the upcoming wedding.
Somerset - Camping in the UK can be a bit of a gamble but if you’re in a county like Somerset you’ve got a better chance of the weather being kind. What better way to have fun than camping, putting on a BBQ and hosting a mini festival for the bride. There are lots of glamping sites to choose from and they tend to be a lot cheaper than booking hotels or holiday houses.
Amsterdam - Only a Eurostar journey away, Amsterdam has everything you need for a short city break. You can mix in culture with entertainment and there’s plenty on offer from a visit to a tulip farm (for some excellent Insta-worthy snaps) to spending the afternoon enjoying the city’s canal-side bars.
Before you settle on a location, consider these budget-friendly options.
The Lake District - If the groom is a fan of the great outdoors there’s no better location than the Lake District. There are plenty of youth hostels you can hire out and you’re then free to spend as much, or as little, on the food, drinks, and events you plan. It’s also filled with distilleries where you can often arrange free tasting sessions to reward yourself after a day of hiking.
Hastings - Just along the coast from Brighton, which is now overloaded with hen and stag dos, Hastings isn’t to be overlooked. If you’re looking for a slightly more laid-back vibe it has everything, from quirky towns to discover and a stunning coastline where you can book in any kind of water sports you’re after.
Valencia - If the groom has requested sun, you can’t go wrong with Valencia which is packed with sunny spots to enjoy the city while sampling the local drinks on offer. Book your flights early and look for accommodation for groups, such as large villas or holiday homes, which are often cheaper than hotels.
Glasgow - Often overlooked in favour of Edinburgh, Glasgow has everything you need for a city break in the UK. It’s easy to get to - by plane or train - and a good size for discovering in a weekend. You could always arrange a treasure hunt around the city, book tickets for a comedy night, or arrange one evening at the one of the city’s famous nightclubs depending on what kind of stag you’re after.
Dublin - One of the most popular destinations for a stag, Dublin is a great option if you’re looking for a weekend trip and somewhere a little further afield to travel. It’s packed with stag-friendly events, for all tastes, such as the Guinness factory. There’s also an abundance of sporting events to go to, so you could arrange the weekend around one if the timing is right.