Arranging a hen-do can fracture or break the best of long-standing friendships – with the great weight of expectation that you’ll all agree on what to do, it is in budget, all will have an amazing time, the photos will be an “Insta hit” and you’ll create memories that you can share repeatedly over many years ahead – it’s rare for things to run quite as smoothly as you’d wish for.
So, here’s how to minimise disagreements and maximise harmony, fun and great memories for all…
1) If you’re in charge of organising, do keep the bride involved – frequently, plans get made in secret and the poor bride faces a hen-do that she is dreading but doesn’t dare speak out about! If there aren’t enough people wanting to do the same thing then go with the bride’s preference, split into smaller events or plan something separate for when the bride is on honeymoon – you can then meet up and swap event stories!
2) People have unique mind maps with different perceptions and ideas of how to make the most of a hen-do – get input and ideas but keep control of the agenda. If needed, ask people to be mindful of other’s opinions and ideas but where arguments and disagreements are occurring, then remind all parties that compromise is key.
3) Keep situations calm – if someone is raising their voice to you, you will more likely diffuse a situation by keeping calm and not shouting back. Give all a fair chance to be heard, without interrupting. Bear in mind that often you don’t know the full story behind a conversation and don’t make assumptions or prejudge. In essence, treat others as you’d wish to be treated.
4) Get one person to communicate clearly to all (at the same time); ensure people know to take responsibility for their own replies, when any deadlines are set and exactly what the costs will be upfront. Be firm – you’re not there to “persuade” people to come along, nor negotiate when others want their own way. Attendance is not compulsory – don’t be afraid to let “stragglers” fall by the wayside.