Poor hen do response and feeling let down by friends

Hi fellow brides,

I wouldn't usually use a forum, but really feel like I need some advice/support on this issue and since it is about my friends I can't really talk to them! It would be great to hear if anyone has experienced the same.

I'm feeling really let down by some of my friends as they've said no to coming on my hen do. I'm worried I'm going to sound selfish or self-centred, but I really thought more of them would of said yes.

I'm one of the last of my friends to marry, therefore I have spent a lot on attending hen do's and weddings, therefore feeling a little resentful friends aren't doing the same in return...I feel so uncomfortable writing that down, but that's how I feel - does that make me a bad person?!

The main reasons are finances and potential pregnancies. Both reasons I completely understand, but can't help thinking I'm giving people 11 months notice to save for it.

I moved away from my home town a few years ago, therefore I have two sets of friends who live very far apart from each other, so a local hen do was out of the question as one group of friends would of had to pay more. So choosing somewhere different seemed fairer. The hen do is in Europe, but me and my maid of honour compared this to some UK hen do's and it worked out roughly the same price or cheaper in some cases, so thought might as well go abroad....guaranteed better weather!

It's made me really doubt some of my friendships and also made me feel really bad about myself, I've spent a lot of time trying to work out if I've upset some of these people.

Any advice on how to deal with this or just to hear someone has experienced something similar would be great! 


  • HailsHails Posts: 2,455

    I  can totally understand why you're disappointed I would be too. Unfortunately it seems like the first few people in a group to get married have loads of fuss and people make the effort for hen parties but when you're the last and everyone else is married with kids people Have different priorities :( im sure your true friends will make the effort though. 

  • bella2015bella2015 Posts: 1,903 New bride

    I completely understand too as I had issues with my hen do, i.e people not making the effort then dropping out. 11 months is a long time to go so I wouldn't stress too much as things may be different when the time comes around.

  • How much is the hen do out of interest? Is it massivly expensive?

    I feel for you. I know people say these things are not tit for tat but I am sure a lot of people here who are later in their groups of friends to get married (like me) can empathise. I have made huge effort for every hen do I've been invited to. So many people have said to me since I've been engaged that they have "hen do fatigue" or that they're "hen doed out". basically now theirs is out of the way they can't be bothered to make the effort for other people. they've made me feel very self conscious about even having a hen do.

    Pregnancy is slightly different to money - nearer the time if these people aren't pregnant they might come it's just that they don't know. As for finances it depends on their financial situation and the cost of the hen do. But I think you're allowed to hope at least some of your friends would come.

    How many have you invited and how many have declined?

  • lubeslubes Posts: 1,555

    Oh Ashley  Reading this makes my heart break a little bit for you. It's your hen do - you aren't being selfish to want your friends there and I think you have every right to feel upset. 

    I by no means intend to defend your friends, but any decent person would recognise the importance of a hen do and may not have declined lightly. I too have been invited to a European hen do next year and, having just worked out my financial situation post-wedding and honeymoon, I probably won't be able to afford to go. I really don't want to let the bride down because I am super touched that she considered me important enough to invite, but when I factor in the several hundred pounds it's going to cost for me to attend her wedding as well (it's a four hour drive away), plus the other weddings, hen dos and a holiday my husband and I want to go on for our first anniversary that I need to pay for next year, I simply can't do it. It really sucks. Try to see the bigger picture, although I appreciate it may be difficult to when you're hurting. Others may also be hurting that they have let you down - I know I would be.

    I wanted to post too, partly to perhaps reassure you (as controversial as it may seem) that hen dos aren't all they're cracked up to be either. I think the wedding industry has a lot to answer for as it makes out that a hen do is only good if you go abroad with a load of girls and be ridiculous for a few days. That really isn't the case! I would've loved to have gone to Europe for a long weekend, but like you, I have friends in different places and knowing they would be spending money to attend my wedding, I went to them. It wasn't what I wanted in my dream world, but it meant that my friends could afford to come out to celebrate with me as we just did dinner, drinks and a bit of karaoke. A few of my friends and I stayed over, but those friends weren't paying travel and accommodation to attend my wedding. Similarly, some girls just came out for pre-drinks and dinner, others just did dinner and karaoke. My hen do was probably well attended because people could join for the bits they could afford. Is there no way you could have some mini hen dos too? No rule saying you just have to have one 

    Likewise, don't knock the girls who are making the effort to come to your hen do. They will make it special! As my hen do was perhaps a little cheaper, I had quite a few girls attend and it went horribly wrong (in a way) as some came out of obligation really and their hearts weren't in the right place. I went to London for the bank holiday weekend, but came home after one night: one of my friends got so drunk she projectile vommed all over our apartment and made it stink of garlic sick; one of my friends had to rush home first thing the following morning as she found out about a family bereavement at 2am (which I had to deal with whilst trying to make sure drunk friend didn't fall off a seven storey balcony!); another friend spent the 24 hours we were in London with a face of thunder, refused to pay for anything despite having eight months' notice to save and basically tried to make my life as difficult as possible - I came home before someone smacked her! What I'm saying in a long-winded way is that a small hen do is probably a blessing!

    Remember that you're having a hen do because you're getting married! I could've got upset that my hen do didn't go to plan, but I wasn't remotely bothered. It was more important to me that everyone could come to the wedding and have an amazing time which they did! That is what it's all about in my opinion  x 

  • Emma417Emma417 Posts: 241

    Sorry to hear you're feeling like this, you should be feeling excited, not let down. 

    Do you think the objection has been to it being abroad? Even if it works out roughly the same as UK hen, when you're taking into account exchange rate and fact that people will probably need to allow more time out to jump on a plane, I think it would make me consider it more than if it was in uk. 

    Do you think you could change it to a UK hen now? Perhaps some of the pregnancies won't be an issue then and finance wise, people can come to part of it? I understand that you shouldn't have to change things to please everyone, but then you have to weigh up how important it is to have those people there.

    I posted about my own hen disaapointment recently, so I understand how you are feeling. http://www.youandyourwedding.co.uk/forum/emotional-support/hen-disappointment/431380.html

    While I still feel down about it, I'm accepting that the ones who are there will make it special and that smaller numbers mean less complications and more time with the people I love and that matter. 

  • MichBee2BMichBee2B Posts: 726

    I can relate to this as three people declined my hen do due to pregnancy, including my chief BM, and my new sister-in-law couldn't afford it as her own wedding was imminent, but honestly it doesn't bother me. 

    I've also had to decline hen dos and even a wedding because I couldn't afford it, so I can see the other side of this as well. If you don't have the money for a hen do there is absolutely nothing you can do about it, whether you have time to save up or not. Particularly if you are already saving for something big, or even just to be able to go to the wedding. (Also worth noting Christmas is looming which I'm having to save for now as well as my own wedding!)

    Weekend away hen dos will always be expensive no matter where you go, so it's to be expected really. Take it from me that your friends will be gutted they can't come, and if they are anything like me also very embarrassed at having to make excuses.

    My approach to my hen do (having been in the position of having to refuse) was to plan a day at the races As my expensive boozy option (£100 tickets plus train travel, outfit, hat, drinks, food, betting on the day), AND a bridal shower afternoon tea hosted by one of my BMs. If we ask people to contribute for food and (Aldi) prosecco that'll be about £20 each. That way there's an option for everyone as there are two price points, and an option for teeny newborns/preggo ladies. My mum has also opted for the latter option as I think she thinks the races will be too lairy for her lol.

  • MrsE2016MrsE2016 Posts: 1,208 New bride

    First of all try not to get too upset or stressed about this - I understand that its difficult when you feel like you've been let down after you've made so much effort for others but it doesn't mean that your friends love you any less!

    Everyone has different priorities & its easy to forget that when you're in the bubble of wedding planning. I purposely made my hen night (not weekend!) affordable and easy to get to (think a night out in a city close to us rather than a weekend in Spain) so that people could make it & some people still couldn't make it due to kids/money/both. Attending weddings is expensive & i'd rather have friends there than on a hen party. 

    Focus on the ones who can make it - you'll have an amazing time whether there's 2 or 20 of you! One of my best friends couldn't make my hen night (which is this weekend) due to other commitments, instead she organised a weekend in London for me and it was amazing, even though there was only 2 of us.

    Think quality, not quantity! xx

  • Nic17Nic17 Posts: 80

    I've been in the position of having to turn down a hen weekend for financial reasons, the bridesmaid had organised a luxury cottage in Bath and the accommodation alone was nearly £300. As much as I would of liked to of gone there was no way I could afford that, you then have to counter in spending money and any activities planned, I felt bad as there were quite a few of us that turned it down but it's so much money spent on a weekend.

    When it's my turn for a hen weekend I'm going to ask the bridesmaids to organise something as reasonably priced as possible to ensure everyone can come. If you are still certain you want to do something abroad (and go for it if you have set your heart on it!) then as others have suggested have a hen evening in this country too. There's no reason why anyone couldn't attend a night especially if it was local. Honestly though I wouldn't stress about it, you will have an amazing time with the friends that can make it I'm sure! 

  • MrsTwizbeMrsTwizbe Posts: 3,352 New bride

    I think you have a couple of options here.

    1) go ahead with your original plans and accept that not everyone can make it. Be thankful for who can and you never know, those who think they might be pregnant by the time may not be (or may not be any more 11 months is a long time) and will be able to join in

    2) Do something abroad for your immediate bridal party and then have an at home / UK one for those who canno't make it. A friend of mine did that and I was invited to the at home one. We had afternoon tea at her house with lots of games and a bbq in the evening. I was 11 weeks pregnant at the time and all it cost me was the price of a couple of soft drinks as it was BYOB

    3) Do something in the UK with options in it. This is what I did for my hen. I had a dinner in London on the Friday night and then a weekend in Bath. The invite was clear that you could come to as much or as little as you wanted / could afford. Some people only came to the dinner in London, some only for Bath, Some only for the Saturday night out. My friend did something similar recently where she hired a house for the weekend and we were packed in like sardines (keeps costs down) and we had a bbq on the Friday and then a night out on the Saturday. People came to what they could do, some just one night, some all of it. 4 of us were pregnant at that one.

  • SammykateSammykate Posts: 3,971 New bride

    I feel for you here! I'm also late to the party with getting married, and most of my friends are already married and a few have babies on the way or already have kids. It certainly feels like less fuss is made of you when you are one of the last to do it all!

    A hen do in Europe sounds wonderful, but I do think you have to make concessions with your plans when friends have other financial and time commitments such as being pregnant if you want them to attend. I know you've compared it to the cost of a UK hen do, but it sounds like you are thinking quite big either way. I can't imagine it's going to cost less than £300 each? A UK hen do doesn't have to cost that much!! It doesn't have to be a big multi day thing. I was originally planning a trip to Center Parcs for my hen- then wham, two of my bridesmaids are pregnant and will have young babies at the time of the hen do. So I have altered my plans to scale them down both time and cost wise. The main part of the Hen do I've given myself a limit of £100 cost per person for everything- travel, activities, food and drink- and the second day we will have a spa day for anyone who wants. A trip abroad can be very expensive in both time and money- it might not be a lack of effort or caring on their part.

    As stated above you have two options- stick with the abroad hen do and accept some won't be able to come, or have something lower key in the UK- it doesn't have to cost as much as going abroad!

  • So sorry to hear you're feeling let down OP. I must admit, as the last of my friends group who is not married, I worry about the response when my turn comes around.

    But then I have to say to myself that I'll have a great time, even if it's just me and my best friend in the end. It's about celebrating your upcoming wedding and there's no fixed number on how many people you need to make it memorable :)

  • NikkiMNikkiM Posts: 1,653 New bride

    I'd agree with what the other ladies have said previously. Hen dos outside of the UK are quite expensive and it is all about whether you can afford to go. I was invited to one in Cyprus but the estimated costs for 20 people was in the region of £400 each plus likely to go up if not all people attended. That's before any activities, food and drink were included. It's 3 weeks before my wedding so there's not a chance I could afford to be spending that kind of money that close to my wedding. I've had to decline.

    I would have loved to have a hen do abroad but given my MoH will have a 3 month old baby by that point and Xmas would have just passed, I didn't think it would be fair to ask everyone to be spending hundreds of pounds. I asked my MoH to plan something reasonably cheap in the UK. She's using a website called UKGirlthing to plan my hen do and they will cater for any size and budget with a number of different activities to choose from. I don't know what we're doing or where we're going but I do know it's only costing people around £130 for the activities (I think there's 3) and an overnight stay. Perhaps it's something you could look into if people think your hen do is too expensive? 

    I haven't got lots of people attending mine (7 I think) and some even dropped out after confirming they would attend. I was upset to start with but now I'm happier having those I really care about attending as I know we'll have a better time.

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