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   Inside Out - East: Monday 30 September, 2002


Bride to be at hen party
Time to dress up - Hen parties

One in three marriages may end in divorce - but hen and stag parties are a wedding market that’s booming!

In fact, growing numbers of pre-weds are opting to make a whole weekend of it.

Inside Out looks at this new breed of hen celebrations, the traditions and reasons for the change.


There are now dedicated companies who organise all-inclusive hen and stag weekends.

And there's not only oiled-up strippers and alcohol by the bucket on offer.

Activities from hot-air ballooning to health spas and paint-balling to white water rafting can be indulged.

This is in contrast to traditional hen nights…

Wicked weekend

Hen Night Facts

The most popular Hen night destinations organised by Freedom are:

  1. Nottingham
  2. Brighton
  3. Edinburgh
  4. Newcastle

The number of marriages in England and Wales has dropped from 404,737 in 1971 to 263, 515 in 1999.
Source: National Statistics.

The percentage decrease in marriages from 1971 to 1999 is approx. 35%.
Source: National Statistics.

There is a higher percentage of non-married people aged 25-34 years old cohabiting than other age group, according to National Statistics.

Lisa Telford from Colchester opted for a professionally-organised action-packed hen weekend.

She told Inside Out why she thinks there is a move away from traditional hen nights.

"Some hen parties do the last night of freedom thing where you get the L-plates and veils."

"But it’s not the last of freedom at all because I have a baby and a live-in partner."


Mike Wood is the Managing Director of Freedom Ltd, an Essex-based company set up to organise hen and stag weekends.

Mike said, "More and more people are getting married a lot later in life and they want to do something different… something exciting."

Mike also said, "People have got so many demands on their time. They’re just not able to put in the time that’s needed to organise a weekend like this."

Traditional girl

Despite this new hen night trend, not all blushing hens will be converted.

Woman blowing up a balloon
Girls just want to have fun

Kirsten Hayward from Lowestoft’s pre-wedding bash is in great contrast to Lisa’s.

Her and her friends are having one wild night painting Norwich town centre red. They have organised it themselves.

Kirsten said, "It doesn't matter where you go."

"If you’ve got all your friends there and you’re up for a good night, then you’ll have a good night anywhere."

Busy bars

Whether they are professionally organised or homemade, hen nights appear to be keeping the hens happy and landlords busy.

One Norwich nightclub owner told Inside Out that hen nights now account for 10 to 20 per cent of his business in summer.

That means that at times, one in five people through the doors are with a hen party.

So next time you’re enjoying an evening in Norwich, watch out for the ladies in veils and bunny ears. They can be wild!

See also ...

On the rest of the web
Hen night guide
Freedom Ltd
Hen nite survival guide

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