It’s time to take the plunge! So you (or one of your close girlfriends) has decided to tie the knot and dedicate themselves to that special someone… but before that happens, there’s the small matter of a celebratory hen do to take care of! What better place to sign off from bachelorette life in style than with some sun, sea, sand and silliness in the Caribbean?
Offering a myriad of beautiful locations, fantastic climate and more piña coladas than you can shake a stick at, the Caribbean could be the ideal destination for your hen party. However, before you can sit back and relax in the sunshine, an extensive amount of planning will need to go into the trip. Don’t be daunted! Here are ten top tips to help you plan an unforgettable hen do and let the bride-to-be bid farewell to the single life in memorable fashion.
Plan in advance
Booking your flights and accommodation well in advance is advisable not only in ensuring you get the best deals available, but also ensuring your party can stay together – this is especially a concern with larger hen groups.
Set an appropriate date
The Caribbean enjoys year-round sunshine, so any date is fine, right? Well, sort of. Although the Caribbean does offer high temperatures on a fairly constant basis, you should be mindful that June to November is the official hurricane season. This means that summer is often far more prone to humidity and stickiness, as well as frequent downpours and torrential rain. Conversely, December to April is the most popular time to visit – but also the most expensive. WeatherCarib is a good resource for checking the seasons and upcoming fluctuations in pressure and temperature.
Pick your destination
There are a whole range of islands and coastal regions which comprise the Caribbean – decide which one is right for your trip. If you’re worried about language barriers, it might be best to avoid mainland coasts in South and Central America, and you should also be mindful that many places are more accustomed to hosting hen parties than others, and as a result, are better equipped to do so… but also often come at inflated prices.
Consider a cruise
Having trouble deciding between destinations? A cruise could be the best and most cost-effective way to incorporate several different Caribbean islands into one trip. While many lines will be reluctant to deal with a gaggle of raucous women, others actually do offer tailor-made hen-party packages.
Designate one person to deal with the travel company
Avoid confusion among the group by picking one of the party (usually the maid-of-honour or one of the bridesmaids) to liaise with the agency exclusively. There’s nothing worse than having crossed wires in the run-up to the big trip! Also, if you’re thinking about booking everything independently of a travel agent – think again. The special break is far too important to stake on your own travel acumen.
Set a budget
Normally, each member of the group will pay their own way, plus a portion of the bride’s share. Remember that the timing of your break and the location will greatly affect the cost, so do your research thoroughly beforehand. Forum sites like Tripadvisor are a great place to get advice from people who have been there and done that.
Trawl for discounts
Remember that flights to the Caribbean will more than likely comprise a large part of your budget, so you’ll want to save expenses in other areas by taking advantage of as many discounts as possible. Luckily, with larger groups, many bars and hotels will often offer complimentary freebies or exclusive packages for groups over a certain size. Ask around before booking.
Having a tipple (or several) on the beach are almost definitely going to be part of the plan, but make sure you don’t have an unwanted accident in the surf! Having a designated sobriety supervisor as part of your group (changing daily) is a good way to avoid mishaps. Furthermore, if you plan to tackle adrenalin-filled adventure sports, be sure to go through a respected agency who can offer safety information and make sure everything is above board.
Be respectful of local culture
As mentioned above, some destinations are more accustomed to receiving hen parties than others – if you plan on visiting a lesser-frequented Caribbean paradise, make sure you don’t overstep your boundaries. Being drunk and disorderly in public is never a good advertisement abroad. Kwintessential is a great place to brush up on any specific local etiquette demands before you jet off.
Get professional help
If the planning all becomes too much, there are resources which specialise in dealing with hen parties. Hen Party Games is a British source of knowledge on all things hen party-related, from theme ideas to activities, while New York-based Bridesmaid for Hire offers a more comprehensive service, including everything from organising the hen party to planning the wedding!
Above all, remember to have fun! A hen party is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the bride-to-be to wave goodbye to one chapter of her life and open an exciting new one. Make sure it goes off with a bang!