God we love hen parties.
And although we dress them up with ‘genteel’ activities like afternoon tea and… archery, well, the truth is they’re an excuse for us to go wild.
Are they tacky? Ah yeah, a bit. Are they booze-fuelled? Most definitely. Would we change ‘em for the world? Not a hope.
Stage 1: The Transport
God forbid the bride-to-be and her hens are carted around in the likes of a (spit!) Ford Focus or a (spit spit!) taxi. Christ no! It’ll be a bubblegum pink stretch limo, a party bus with a terrified driver clutching five packets of Disprin (it’s just not worth the money, he’ll sob) or a horse and trap with the horse suffering the indignity of wearing a pair of red sequin devil horns.
And that’s just for the girls who ‘don’t want a fuss’. It can go as far as a chopper covered in feather boas, a speedboat, a lorry kitted out with a dancefloor and a purple carpeted VIP area.
Stage 2: The Drinks
Show me a hen party Facebook album without at least forty five bottles of Prosecco – the honorary tipple of hens nationwide – and I’ll eat my polyester ‘Team Bride’ sash.
Second in popularity are brightly-coloured cocktails, the ‘posher’ the glass the better.
Stage 3: The Mickeys
Anything than can be mickey-shaped, will be mickey-shaped.
It’s an orgy of totemic phallic symbols. Chocolate members. Penis straws. Pecker cupcakes. It’s almost… threatening. We know our husband-to-be has a penis, but he has other stuff too. Like he’s good at ironing and does a great Pierce Brosnan impression.
Stage 4: The L-plates
Although these days it should really be a ‘N’ for Novice shouldn’t it? The bride-to-be is going to be the most flammable she has ever been in her life as she is covered by her hens in sashes, feather boas and veils.
The most iconic image of an Irish bride-to-be is her walking to bar, a plastic L-plate slapping against her arse.
Stage 5: The Mr and Mrs Quiz
The bride-to-be’s hens go all Philip and Fern as they ‘innocently’ find out how much the bride and groom really know each other.
Cue Kenny Loggins’ Danger Zone because this can go oh so wrong and end with a plastered ‘Mrs’ sobbing to her hens that “that prick Johnny obviously doesn’t really know her”.
Stage 6: The Activity
Hens (whether they like it or not) are up to their necks in falconry, archery, zorbing, Go Karting, quad biking, making fascinators or any number of mad aul ‘activities’.
“Put that snake around your neck Sharon, gowan don’t be a wuss! Ah stop crying, it’s supposed to be laugh!” is likely to be lumped at the ‘bad sports’ who would rather be in a bar drinking prosecco.
Stage 7. The drunk talk and selfies
“You are goin’ cha be de mossht beautifulll bride de country hasht ever sheen!” followed by juddering sobs is common. Then more compliments. Then more tears. Then more hugs. Then smiling selfies.
What is it that make drunk talk so enjoyable? You know you’re spouting absolute crap but you’re enjoying every second of it and afterwards you’ll sleep like a baby.
8. The Aftermath
The bride’s veil in a heap in the corner of the hotel room. The party bus driver in a heap in the corner of the hotel room. Injuries after being attacked by a falcon. The fear.
The word ‘Prosecco’ making people want to die. A hen telling the bride-to-be she cheated on her husband-to-be the night before. Then hen saying she was joking. The unimpressed bride-to-be relegates her from bridesmaid to mass booklet usher.
Good enough for her.