10:44 08 April 2005
If youre planning to tie the knot this summer, youre probably running around frantically arranging the details from your dress to your cake to the cars. In the midst of all this, you and/or your chief bridesmaid or best man may be planning your hen do.
These can be a lot of fun, whether theyre wild and raucous or quiet and relaxing. But what happens when a joke goes too far or one persons raucous behaviour leads to their partner changing their mind about getting hitched?
Traditionally, the hen night is a time when the about-to-be husband or wife is free for the final time for a degree of sexual licence. Even back in Roman times, a man about to be married could be legitimately embarrassed by friends about previous sexual liaisons of either gender.
But these days, when sex and living together before marriage is pretty much the norm, the idea of the last night of sexual freedom rings a bit less true. However, this doesnt stop us enjoying a bit of living it up - with stag and hen nights still regularly featuring strippers.
Everyone has different ideas about what is acceptable in terms of sexual activity / titillation outside of the main relationship. In an early edition of Ally McBeal, Ally was shocked to discover her former boyfriend had slept with the stripper at his stag night. Other people might take a more lenient view of this - some people are not too upset about sexual activity without emotional meaning. (However, this attitude can lead to all sorts of problems.)
Weve all heard stories of grooms being tied to lampposts naked, or sent drunk on a ferry out of the country or getting into a fight so that they turn up to their wedding with black eyes. While these incidents may lead to laughter in later years, they dont do much for already frayed nerves on the day and can ruin the photographs!
The most important thing (as with any potential or actual problems) is to negotiate solutions and agreements together. With your stag and hen dos, take some time to talk through well in advance what both of you think and feel is acceptable.
How much do you mind (for example) your partner watching and being snogged by a stripper? Is it mildly offensive to you or would it be terminal to your relationship or is it something you dont care about at all? The answers to these may seem obvious to you, but you need to make sure that theyre obvious to your partner before the do is arranged. Then you both need to negotiate / agree activities that you can each enjoy without seriously upsetting one another.
Dont arrange your hen/stag do the night before the wedding - if anything goes wrong, theres no time to sort it out. No-one wants to get married with a hangover, broken nose or with no time to get properly ready first.
Dont arrange a weekend/week away with friends who cant afford the time or money - especially remember that theyre already spending money on your present, perhaps a new outfit and maybe travel and accommodation too.
Do agree activities with your friends in advance - activities need to be matched to people and not the other way round. Its really the job of the best man or chief bridesmaid to arrange the do, but they should consult you (and arrange payment - your guests traditionally pay for you).
Do agree with your partner acceptable activities and if you are paying for yourselves, acceptable amounts to spend. You dont want to be arguing about one of you spending large sums on your hen/stag dos but skimping on some other part of the wedding thats important to your partner.
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