Written by Katie Byrne, published 7th february
Go ahead - count 'em.
I'm going to be SO organised when it comes to arranging this hen party.
Like, so organised. So organised, in fact, that I should probably buy a new notebook, just for hen party planning. And a ringbinder.
Ooh - those cute chick-patterned invites in the sale would be perfect for the hen. Because it's a hen! And the invites have chicks drawn on them! So adorable. I'll buy... Six packs. Better to have too many than too few.
Right. Time to get the names of who the bride wants to invite.
Also: do I need to think of a date? Do I need to do that now? *Stares blankly at new notebook*
I did not know she had so many cousins. Or so many friends who I've never met before. Or heard of.
So now... Time to look them all up on Facebook, set up a group and get this party started!
Huh. How can so many of them not have Facebook? Who doesn't have Facebook?
Well, everyone has a phone number, right? WhatsApp group it is...
Okay, now time to give the group a name... *spends half an hour agonising over perfect name and spot-on emoji-to-letter ratio*
Aw! The replies are coming in thick and fast. This is going to be so easy.
Hmm - what does it mean if a hen hasn't replied, even though I can see she's read the message?
Definitely two ticks there. *Googles what two-ticks means*
Can she tell if I keep looking at her 'last seen'?
Okay - forget her. Start planning the actual hen. I know - I'll ask everyone in the WhatsApp group for ideas!
The good thing about her having so many different groups of friends is that everyone has shared suggestions that are literally in no way linked. So whichever option we go far, at least one person will be mildly offended that their idea was over-looked.
*Lays awake for a night thinking about ways to appease potentially-offended hen (POH)*
Can't believe my boyfriend laughed when I told him my worries about POH.
Although he does have a point - I suppose I don't actually know if she's offended. But I'm going to assume.
So: are we going to go overseas? Stay closer to home? Go paintballing? Go for afternoon tea? Try a poledancing class? Er...
Maybe we'll go for a throwback feel: instead of doing anything too fussy, we could simply have a night at the pub up the road.
Yes, the bride would probably think I was incredibly lazy if the 'big surprise' I've been mentioning to her turns out to be a game of darts and a packet of Pork Scratchings.
Googling 'cool hen party ideas' definitely narrowed down my options. NAAAT.
I know what I'll do. I'll set up a sub-WhatsApp group, with the other bridesmaids so we can come up with a plan. Everything is fine and under control.
Right, I'm going to spend this weekend coming up with a Proposed Itinerary.
*Weekend passes in whirlwind of thinking-about-hen-but-not-actually-doing-anything*
Okay, I'm going to spend next weekend coming up with a Proposed Itinerary.
Wow, the Proposed Itinerary was surprisingly easy to put together after that second glass of wine...
Some people might think it's weird that I've typed up my Proposed Itinerary in a proper Microsoft Document. But they're wrong.
Although actually. I don't have everyone's email addresses yet, so there's no way I can forward over the Proposed Itinerary.
Back to the WhatsApp group we go.
I'm going to text the girls this morning and give them my Proposed Itinerary.
*Painstakingly copies and pastes Proposed Itinerary into WhatsApp group; accidentally adds in unwanted emoji*
Really hope I never have to use the words 'Proposed Itinerary' ever again...
Aw! One of the other bridesmaids has just asked if I need a hand with anything. I said 'no' because obviously I'm in total control of this situation.
She doesn't need to know the truth...
*Has nightmare about bride crying with disappointment at hen party*
My sister told me she needed to make a spreadsheet for keeping on top of things. Ha! I'll show her. This is easy.
Okay. So hen #1 can make the dates, can meet the costs, will have her deposit with me by the end of the month...
And so can hen #2! And hen #3! This is so easy.
Like, so easy. Can't wait to boast to my sister at mum's next week. She's going to be so mad that I managed everything so easily.
Wait a minute...
So hen #3 can't make it anymore. And hen #7 has asked if she can pay her deposit at a later date. And hen #4 has just texted to ask if her nut allergy will be catered to.
Two of the other hens have said they'll 'check' their calendars. They said that a week ago. Can I chase them up? Too soon? Not soon enough?
I mean, checking a calendar literally takes three-and-a-half seconds so...
Nah. I'll play it cool.
The minibus company has just asked what time we'll be leaving. Which is a reasonable question - and if I knew the answer, I'd definitely give it to them.
This is all cool.
Everything is fine.
Right, I'll ask my sister to send over the spreadsheet she used just so I can take a look.
I'm definitely not actually going to use it. After all, I have the notebook and a really good memory.
*Looks at spreadsheet; is impressed*
Whilst I can see the definite advantages of using a spreadsheet - organisation, easy-to-find information, simple to update - I definitely prefer the more spontaneous, 'wild' feel of my own planning methods.
Hmm. Do I want to book a stripper?
Is the bride a stripper kinda gal? What makes someone a 'stripper kinda gal'?
Am I a 'stripper kinda gal'?
I know she's said before how cringey strippers are - but she has watched Magic Mike six times. Would she be disappointed if I didn't book one?
Also: do I need to buy willy straws? And feather boas? And an L-plate? Is that a law? Do Bad Things happen if I don't buy those things?
What's worse: a guy pretending to be a police officer and calling the bride a 'very naughty girl' before taking off his clothes to the sound of Ginuwine...
...Or the maybe-disappointment of the bride when she realises there's no stripper?
Why am I still thinking about a stripper? THERE ARE BIGGER FISH TO FRY RIGHT NOW.
Like hen #6, who has maintained a shadowy silence on the WhatsApp group... Until now.
She's asked if she's too late to come; apparently her phone has been 'playing up'.
For three months? Sure, hun. Sure.
We all saw the double ticks, hun.
Why do I feel like she's Moriarty and I'm Sherlock Holmes...?
But of course, rather than acknowledge the strict 'cut-off point' I mentioned in my original message, I'll now spend two hours making sure an extra place is added on to the travel/hotel/catering/activities.
Of course she can't pay her deposit until the end of the month.
The best thing about working out how much I've spent on this hen party is that I definitely don't need to re-mortgage my house, as I originally thought I would have to.
Ha. Nice try, hen #6.
Okay. The hen party is a week away. I'm nearly there. And I just found the cute chick invites I bought all those months ago! So that's... Nice.
Just going to make a to-do list of everything that still needs doing. Er...
I've reached a point where I'm so bogged down with organisation details that sometimes, just sometimes, I like to open my sister's spreadsheet. Just to stare at the neat order of the rows and the columns and the colour-coding.
I feel safe when I'm looking at that spreadsheet.
I wonder if I could be a full-time professional hen party planner?
Wow: maybe I'm having a career epiphany. Could this be what I was born to do?
Can't believe my boyfriend just told me to not 'give up the day job' when I asked him if he thought I'd make a full-time party planner.
*Looks at To-Do list*
Goddamit - why have I only just thought about the possibility of customised T-shirts?
Thank God for next-day delivery. And my overdraft!
Yup, just realised I forgot to order a tee for hen #6. Back online I go...
Never met hen #6 before, but already decided I'm probably not going to like her.
Night before the hen weekend. Better text the bride and remind her to pack something random, like a snorkel or a fascinator.
But obviously something a little less niche than those - don't want her to go out and buy them when she won't actually need them.
So #blessed to have left packing everything until the night before.
I'm looking forward to meeting hen #6 - she doesn't have Facebook, or a display picture on WhatsApp, so I'm not even sure she's a real-life person.
Wow, imagine if I've invited a catfish on the hen party.
Obviously I haven't, and obviously she is real.
And obviously, I've just Googled her.
And obviously, her name is really common so I have no idea which one is her.
THIS IS ALL SO OBVIOUS.
Morning of the hen party - and after precisely three-and-a-half-hours sleep I am living off caffeine and adrenaline. And also a small pot of yogurt.
A winning combination! The breakfast of champions!
Why do I feel like I'm counting down to something really, really terrible?
This is meant to be fun!
This is fun!
*Packs emergency can of Red Bull*
Right: the end is in sight. The minibus has arrived outside - let's do this.