Three women share the details of what happened when a hen party argument very nearly cost them a friendship.
Is there a subject more contentious among friends than hen parties? From hens being asked to spend thousands on the celebration to brides firing their maids of honour when things don’t go to plan – we’ve all heard or lived through one of the horror stories.
Of course, it’s not all bad. Hen parties should, after all, be opportunities to celebrate friendship and new beginnings. Even in lockdown, people enjoyed connecting with their fellow hens over Zoom to toast the bride.
But when one goes wrong, it can go really wrong – to the point of friendships being at stake. Just ask one of these three women who had to cut ties with a friend over a hen do.
“I said no and she flipped out”
I was living abroad at the time my friend in the UK asked me to be her bridesmaid. At the time, I assumed I’d have no problem going to the hen party and the wedding. But another two wedding invitations quickly came up, including another one that I was asked to be a bridesmaid for. My mum was also celebrating a big birthday, which included a family holiday.
I couldn’t do three weddings, three hen parties and a family holiday in the space of about three months. I made the decision to only do the weddings and not the hen parties. But my friend from the first wedding was fuming, asking why her hen wasn’t ‘important’.
Then, just a month before the first lockdown and a couple of weeks before her hen do, I had to move back to the UK, start a new job and find somewhere to live. I also had a family member in hospital. It was a very mad time.
My friend told me that someone had dropped out of the hen party and asked if, now that I was back in the UK anyway, I’d be able to go – travel and money were no longer an issue. I still said no, explaining that it was due to the chaos my life was in. This made her flip out again. We are OK now, but things were very, very tense for a while.
“I ended up not going to the wedding”
I had a situation a few years ago. I had been friends with the bride-to-be since school and we were really close, supporting each other through our parents’ divorces, breakups, new jobs, new relationships, etc. I was so excited when she asked me to be her maid of honour and I couldn’t wait to help with the hen party. She’d always said she wanted a hen do abroad and, even though I knew it would cost more than a celebration in the UK, I was happy to get involved with planning.
I was originally one of three bridesmaids, but the other two actually ended up pulling out, which I thought was strange. The bride quickly asked other girls to replace them and, along with her mum, we started planning. But she soon started to become very difficult. Unlike the others involved, I worked full-time and she always seemed upset with me for not being able to reply to messages immediately.
Then, when she was organising things like make-up trials, she would get angry when I already had long-standing plans on the dates she wanted to do things. It was a gradual shift in behaviour from my best friend to someone who seemed unhappy with me constantly. It got to the point where I would get very anxious whenever she called or messaged me. She acted like nothing I did was good enough, and I was an inconvenience.
I ended up sending her a long message explaining how I was feeling. She obviously wasn’t happy about it but when I told her how upset I was, she said it was all in my head. I decided I didn’t need that sort of relationship in my life, so I removed myself from the situation. In the end I didn’t go to her hen party or her wedding, and we haven’t spoken since. Sometimes I think you’ve got to put yourself and your wellbeing first.
“They blocked me”
I ended up ‘taking the lead’ on my friend’s hen party because nobody else was willing to. I created spreadsheets with links, prices, pros and cons – all that jazz. I welcomed the others to contribute to it and… nothing. I felt like I was bugging the group chat every week because all I got in return was tumbleweed. This went on for months.
On the day that I was about to finally book something, everybody suddenly piped up and had an opinion: “It’s too far away… I don’t want to do this… I don’t want that house…” Then, one friend – who is also the bride’s cousin – started throwing in links to some pretty awful hotels that I knew the bride wouldn’t like (but they were, conveniently, close by to where the cousin lived…).
It got so bad and heated that after a few days of going backwards and forwards, I just said, “This is enough.” That resulted in me getting blocked by the cousin, who messaged the bride to say she wasn’t coming. The bride was crying and she had to get involved: it could only be resolved by asking her to pick what she wanted to do. I am not looking forward to coming face-to-face with the cousin again.”