Hen’s nights vs bridal showers: what’s the difference?

Both the hen’s night and the bridal shower can play a big role in the rollercoaster ride that is getting married. These two celebrations may seem similar, however they’re actually vastly different.

Hen’s nights are known for being a bit wild. They often involve lots of alcohol, nudity and just general debauchery or mischief. The bridal shower is a tamer party that tends to be multi-generational and quite sophisticated. These two celebrations couldn’t be more different in nature, however at the core, they’re the same. Both are there to celebrate the bride-to-be.

Many brides find themselves wondering if both parties are needed. Here are our thoughts on the matter.

Hen’s nights

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The traditional hen’s night is definitely an acquired taste that not everyone is going to enjoy. Hen’s nights tend to involve the bride-to-be gathering all of her bridal party and other close friends for a night out. This night out tends to be filled with excessive drinking, dancing, penis paraphernalia, brightly coloured sashes stating whether you’re the ‘bride-to-be’, ‘bridesmaid’ or ‘maid of honour’, and probably some male nudity in the form of a stripper.

hens nights

This kind of loud and raucous evening is all in good fun. It’s definitely a way to be yanked out of your comfort zone if you’re someone who is quite shy or introverted. If you’re a bride in this situation and you happen to have very outgoing and cheeky mates, then you may end up on this exact night out.

These parties are all well and good, however, many women don’t think this kind of party is for them. If this is you, this may be an indicator for you to plan your own hen’s with a more subdued schedule, or to instead decide on having just a bridal shower.

Bridal showers

hens nights

Out of the two, bridal showers tend to be on the more sophisticated side. The point of a bridal shower is to have a fun and relaxing day with your female friends and family. Plus, it’s called a shower because the idea is that the bride gets ‘showered’ with gifts.

The bridal shower is a great option for those ladies who aren’t looking to walk on the wild side and simply want to have a fun-filled afternoon with their nearest and dearest. The bridal shower is great if the bride wants to thank her bridal party and anyone else close to her, for being so helpful in the lead up to the wedding. Gifting doesn’t just happen to the bride either, she can also choose to gift something to those who’ve been really helpful like said bridal party or even her mum.

Activities at a bridal shower would be things like high tea, spa treatments or a classy party held at the bride’s house with lots of food, wine and good conversation. Anything goes for a bridal shower as long as the bride is having a good time and everyone can attend, like the bride’s grandmother and have a perfectly respectable time.

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The verdict

You may have read through this and think that just one of these parties would be enough and you’d be right. No one needs to parties. The only issue with only have one of these parties is that you don’t get all the benefits.

If you skip the bridal shower, then you won’t be showered with gifts and your young family, parents or grandparents won’t be there to celebrate at your hen’s. If you skip the hen’s and opt for just the bridal shower, you might regret not letting your hair down and having a carefree fun night with your girls.

For lots of brides, both the bridal shower and the hen’s party sound like amazing activities. For others, only one will suit them. We think that if you like the sound of both, then have both, because who doesn’t want multiple parties dedicated to them? If you still haven’t found the right thing, stick around for our alternatives!


hens nights

So lots of brides are uncertain about whether to have a hen’s night, a bridal shower or both. The rule is, that there are no rules. It’s your wedding so you can literally have as many parties as you like, or none at all. If you’ve read the above and think that maybe we still have found the right party type, then don’t worry, we’ve got more up our sleeves.

  • Swap tequila shots for whisky or wine – instead of getting wild at a dance club which may be very far from your scene, consider a wine or whisky tasting. Anyone who’s been to either of these knows how fun it can be without there being anything crazy or too wild at all.
  • Opt out of the elegant soiree and do a class – for brides who find themselves bored when they’re not doing something with their hands, consider a taking class with your bridal shower guests instead of simply gabbing over prosecco. You can take a flower crown making class, a cooking class, a pottery class or even a life drawing class. None of this has to be saucy or silly, but can be a beautiful bonding experience where you’re guaranteed to have a lot of fun.
  • Don’t go out, stay in – if you’re planning on marrying in this nice warm weather we’re having at the moment, then you may want to consider keeping the party at home. You can throw a backyard barbecue with your nearest and dearest. This option is great because people of all ages can attend, it’s chilled, relaxed and later into the evening, you can crank up the tunes and have a dance floor set up for busting moves. Or if this isn’t your style, invite everyone over to have a movie night where you watch all of your favourite movies with excessive junk food.
  • Get out of town – for those wanderlusters, getting out of town with your mates is a great option for a hen’s or bridal shower alternative. Go on a mini break nearby or jet over to Europe for a bigger adventure.

hens nights

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