Long gone are the days of the traditional ‘bridesmaids luncheon’, sophisticated affairs which involved the bride thanking her bridesmaids for their support with tokens of her appreciation, including a cake containing tiny charms. Both the bride’s and groom’s mother and grandmothers would be in attendance and altogether the day would be a relaxing, elegant, low-key event. But these calm and pleasant rendezvous are no more. Today’s brides want their last nights of freedom to louder, longer, bigger and brasher than everyone else’s; and boy, do they come at a price.
Each year Britons spend a collective £532 million on last hurrahs before their impending nuptials, and it’s no surprise that women in particular are feeling under more pressure being faced with the extravagant parties and holidays enjoyed by celebrity brides to be. In 2006 Cheryl Cole’s hen party bar bill ran up to £742, but this pales in comparison to Coleen Rooney’s night, when the then WAG-to-be famously shelled out £20,000 in Manchester to ensure that her friends sent her off in style. Even more shockingly, she followed this with a further ‘hen holiday’ weekend to Miami, where the food and drink for alone her guests set her back over £800. So it was probably a very good thing Wayne was already on his £90,000 a week salary by this point then…
But in the real world sadly it’s not just the bride’s (or possibly her groom’s!) bank account which suffers; the typical bride now asks her bridesmaids and friends to pay upwards of £100 each on hen nights at home, an average of £365 for a weekend getaway, with this cost rising to a staggering £500-2000 each for a week long European shebang, all long before the wedding present has even been thought of.
One thing’s for certain, with the sharp rise of the ‘WAG’ in recent years and the now overwhelmingly successful ‘reality soaps’ like TOWIE and Made In Chelsea, the cost of hen parties are only set to increase as brides pursue an experience similar to those they read about in the glossies.