How to have a Virtual Hen/ Bachelorette Party that doesn’t suck

Here’s the most comprehensive breakdown you will ever find on how to throw a great virtual hen party for your bride-to-be.

Who?

Different groups don’t work as well virtually as they do in real life

Schedules/ lifestyles clash

The tricky thing about hen/ bachelorette parties, in general, is usually that you have to blend different groups of people. There will be school friends, maybe uni friends or work friends, and often family too. At a physical event, you can get around this by allowing people the chance to get to know each other and mingle as you are all in one place. However, a virtual hen party doesn’t quite allow for that. If you have some people who are parents to young kids, some who are young party animals and some who are early – to – bed retired family members, it can be very tricky to get everyone together in a way that is fun for everyone.

Timezone issues

This issue is made even worse if you have people who are scattered across various time zones. What might work for 50% of the group might be a nightmare for the other 50% because of where they are located.

Awkward silences and lack of common ground can kill the vibe

The last thing you want is for everyone to feel quietly awkward because they aren’t sure what they can and can’t say, or what they dynamic of the group is because they haven’t had time to get to know everyone.

  • Solution 1: Host an event for each distinct ‘group’
    • Who doesn’t want to celebrate more than once?! Get your bride to give you smaller groups of people that all know each other and host a shorter event for each distinct group. For example, a “School friends” hen, or a “Hen for party animals” which you can have for all those without kids who want to stay up and get drunk. Then a “Classy hen” or “Family hen” for the working parents or the Mums, where it’s more of a grown-up, late afternoon affair”. Since it’s free to attend and relatively free to host, there’s no real reason you can’t host multiple events to better accommodate everyone.
  • Solution 2: make sure to have plenty of icebreakers and “Getting to know you” activities.
    • If you definitely want to try and hold one big event with everyone, then you really need to lay the groundwork that allows people to get to know each other. Here are some suggested games and activities to help the group bond.
      • Introductions: Name, age, location, how you know the bride
      • 2 Truths and a Lie: classic icebreaker where people have to say 3 facts about themselves, asking other group members to guess which is the lie.
      • Who said that: A game where people submit a story or statement in advance of the event. The bride has to read out each story/ statement and try and guess who in the group sent it in.
      • Drunk Stoned or Stupid online: If you’ve never played the original game. It can either destroy friendships or be used as a brutally honest getting to you know you game. In its original format, each person takes turns being the judge and drawing a card from the box. You do not want to be given the card being read (which will be something like “spends all day interpreting a text” or “will make out with anyone”) and you have to nominate someone in the group and make your argument as to why they should receive it. This works well in groups who knows each other but is tricky when it’s a group of relative strangers. So, the alternative version is to flip the rules. In this format, you WANT the card, and you must tell a story or make a compelling argument about why you should receive it. Once each person has revealed hilarious and embarrassing truths about themselves, the judge decides who gets the card. The next person then becomes the judge and you go again. Of course, you won’t be playing with the actual physical cards, so you can use this online version and just keep track of everyone’s score. The first person to 7 ‘points’ wins.

When?

Has to be a time and date that suits everyone/most people but most importantly the bride

If you are doing a few different virtual hen parties like suggested above, then this will be slightly easier. You need to coordinate with everyone the bride would like to invite and try to settle on a date a time that works for everyone.

Bear schedules in mind and see point one about different lifestyles having a separate event so they can actually tune in and enjoy

Just because people are awake, doesn’t mean it’s a good time. Parents might be available at 6pm but will only have an hour before having to go and put kids to bed. Likewise, maybe a few people would prefer late night but someone self-employed needs an early morning to get work done. It’s never going to be easy, but really talk to each person and then try to be diplomatic to choose a time and day that works the best for the most people. I would recommend some kind of poll for this.

How?

Zoom

Best for live reactions and real interaction

There’s no doubt that Zoom has become the number one way that people are connecting during this crisis. It’s definitely the best platform to use to get real life reactions and create more interactivity. The ability to screen share, plus the whiteboard function, make for some great ways to host games, quizzes and other fun.

Requires more hosting

One of the main disadvantages though, is that having a zoom party requires significantly more “hosting”. This means that whoever is organizing has to be more on the ball, engaging and prepared to lead the night.

Without this, zoom chats slip can very quickly into awkward silences, weird group dynamics and people feeling out of place.

More pressure on attendees

It’s also more pressure for all guests to appear in person to be smiling and taking part without distractions, which there are probably a lot of at home.  There might be people who feel insecure about appearing on screen with a group of people they don’t know and answering sometimes personal questions in real time. Zoom calls put people on the spot and can create forced smiles and uncomfortable laughs rather genuine good times. Sometimes people want to be able to check their phone for a second or roll their eyes or yawn without feeling rude.

Group Chat

Less real interaction and less feeling of being ‘together’

Group chats, either over Facebook or WhatsApp, are a good alternative for those who don’t want to/ aren’t able to commit to a zoom event. Interacting over group chat will never replace the feeling of being “together’ that you get from a Zoom meeting. It’s not as engaging or interactive, but it has its benefits.

Less pressure on host

Firstly, the organiser doesn’t have the same pressure to constantly be engaging and entertaining. You can organize yourself and line games up as you go, without worrying about having to keep the conversation going in the group and being “on” the whole time. It gives you space to breathe, and is less nerve wracking overall.

Less pressure on attendees

The same goes for the guests. Without the pressure of having to appear on a screen and look engaged at all times, people relax a little. Hosting the night on the group chat means you can spread out the games a little more and it allows people to fit it in with their schedule and daily life a little more. Instead of sitting together watching each person do a truth or dare. You can designate truths/ dares to people and give them 30 mins to send their video response in the group. This is a more flexible approach that still involves everyone, without the social pressures and potential for awkwardness you get with a Zoom call.

What?

For a full list of suggested games and activities, please check out my Social Distancing Bride category. Here are some favourites I picked out:

Zoom games

Mr and Mrs / Quizzes in General

  • THE quintessential Hen do game. I have created a handy document just for you with tons of questions, both PG and X-Rated. Get the answers in advance as always, and then ask your B2B to answer them in the call. You can also ask the others to write down their answers as you go. If no one gets the answer right, then the bride has one drink. If she gets it wrong but other people get it right, she must drink for every person that got it right.

Dirty Pictionary

  • The whiteboard function of zoom has opened up a whole world of possibilities. Pictionary being the most obvious choice. You could play regular Pictionary and use a word generator like this one. Or, you could turn it into that kind of party by using my Dirty Pictionary cards. As the organiser, you can just private message each person (in the zoom chat) a specific card, that they must draw on the shared whiteboard screen. First person to shout the right answer wins a point! You can play until the cards are all done or until someone reaches a certain number of points. It’s up to you.

Let your fruit hang low

  • The classics are often the best. You can use either use some string/ ribbon to tie a banana to your waist and let it hang down between your legs. Or, if you are using a rounder fruit like an orange, stick it in the leg of a pair of tights (pantyhose) and let that leg hang down, tying the other one around your waist. The aim of the game is to swing your new appendage around and guide a ball on the floor to a designated finishing point. To keep it fair, you’ll have to measure out the start to finish distance and make sure everyone can replicate it using tape at home. Fastest time wins!

Group Chat Games

Wedding mood boards

  • This is actually much easier to do digitally than in person. Each person must create a ‘mood board’ of what they think the B2B’s perfect wedding would look like. They can use apps like Layout, or one of these mood board apps to help get the photos together in one image. Or just screenshot a Pinterest board. Give everyone 15 minutes and then everyone must share their board at the same time. Each person then must “present” their board to everyone and explain their thought process. The B2B decides who’s board wins!

Tutorial Time

  •  Many of us have fallen victim to the ‘easier than it looks’ YouTube tutorial. So what better way to harness that disappointment than turn it into a contest! Assign people one or more YouTube tutorials that they must try to replicate. You can choose to either let people follow along with the tutorial by sending it to them. Or, if you’re feeling mean and want to adapt it into a zoom version, make them watch it in full once, via your end of the conference call, then replicate it from memory. You decide on a type of tutorial and what suits the group. If you have a mixed group and a pretty large number, it’s a good idea to host it as a sort of league, with different levels of difficulty for those who apply a contour daily and those who haven’t worn make up ever. As well as everything in between. Make sure you challenge everyone, without making anyone feel totally left out. Here’s an epic list of the top 100 beauty vloggers on YouTube to get you started.

Pamper Party

  • If all that makeup sounds like far too much work, go the other way and get into your comfiest, softest outfit, get out the facemasks and put those slippered feet up. Sometimes all it takes to transport yourself to the spa is the right music and some cheap and easy treatments like shop-bought facemasks and nail polish. Get everyone to take some photos and videos of their home spa set up and you guys can decide who has put the most effort in.

Netflix Party

There are so many amazing movies that should be a staple in a Hen weekend, and just because you aren’t together doesn’t mean you can’t watch them together. Netflix party is an excellent extension that allows you to sync up your computers and chat throughout the film. But not all these titles I am recommending will be on Netflix, so you could also try Kast or any of these other video watching options or these ones.

If you head over to my Social Distancing Bride Category, you will be able to see my list of over 25 suggested movies, all with drinking games rules attached for each of you to download so you can drink along!

Other nice touches

Decor

If everyone is willing to spend a little bit, then arranging for everyone to order one or two pieces of the same décor will really help bring the party together. Again, please check out my Social Distancing Bride Category for lots of helpful links and ideas on how to do this.  

Food

If everyone is eating the same food, then it feels more like you are all together. You can either decide on a menu for the night that people could make ahead of time or, much more likely, have everyone order the same type of take away. You’ll forget how far apart you are when everyone is simultaneously munching on their choice of pizza slice or shoving down their 15th prawn cracker. For some more *Ahem* phallic suggestions, please check out the food listed over on the Social Distancing Bride category

Playlists

Likewise, if everyone is listening to the same playlist at the same time, it really brings everyone together. You can use my Virtual Ladies Night Spotify list if you’d like, or you can check out all my other hen party playlists if you have a Basic Subscription to the site.

Top Tips

Test run all technology needed

  • Set everything up the day before and ask a friend or relative to help you test any devices that you are going to be using. Schedule the zoom meeting to start at a certain time and then ask someone you know to join it in advance to make sure all the features work the way you want. Test the screen share for any quizzes, the whiteboard feature if you are using it for Pictionary etc. Also. I would disable the “waiting room” feature. It means you don’t have to constantly be checking and letting people in if they get disconnected etc.

Keep it personalised  

  •  Remember it’s about the BRIDE. Don’t try and shoehorn in things you think should be at a hen party, if they aren’t things that she would enjoy. Don’t just copy and paste every standard hen party game and hope that it will do. Customise it to her and her interests. Is she a big game of thrones fan? Test her on some GOT trivia. Does she Love Ru Paul? Make the tutorial challenge based on a Drag look. It should be about HER.

Be prepared  

  • Don’t try to wing it. Whatever games and activities you have, make sure you have them ready to access easily. Write out an itinerary for the night with timings and try to roughly stick to it.

Record as much as you can

  • Zoom has a record chat function. So, make sure to use it to capture you guys all laughing and chatting away. Ask the participants to film themselves doing tasks and playing certain games. That way you will all have memories to look back on even though you weren’t physically together. You could also get in touch with me and I could compile all your footage to make an after movie!

Let me do it for you

  • I can take all the stress from your shoulders and host the night for you. I will provide the games you need and we can work together to tailor something that is truly personal for the bride-to-be. Fill out this consultation form for free, and then contact me on [email protected] and let’s get planning!

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