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Congratulations! Your best friend/cousin/sibling/workmate (delete as appropriate) is getting hitched. Even better, they’ve chosen you to be their best man or maid of honour.
But before the Big Day, where – SPOILER ALERT – you’ll mostly be forced to mind their phone while they dance with their grandma to ‘Uptown Funk’, you have to organise a hens or bucks night.
Traditionally the last night of debauchery and singledom before marriage, they’ve since evolved to become everything from a pub crawls to all-out overseas trips. There’s a real, serious potential for the costs to skyrocket out of control and for you to be left with the bill.
Thankfully, we’ve put our heads together to come up with tips for running your baller bucks or hens without being left with less cash than someone who lost big in Vegas.
1. Plan Like Hell
Look, it’s boring as hell, but it’s for your own good: you gotta calculate. Figure out how much every little thing will cost, from printing matching shirts, to taxis and Ubers home at the end of it all.
Being able to figure out how much you will spend on the day, night, or weekend won’t just make your life easier, but will give all the guests piece of mind as to what the damage will be on their end. On that note: if it seems like it’ll be a big one, give your guests a decent amount of notice so they can pull together their moolah. They’ll love you for it.
2. Don’t Go Overboard
Yes, you want to spoil your best mate with the best of everything before they’re forced to kiss and eat cake in front of their extended family. But it doesn’t have to an all-out extravaganza, especially if you are fronting up a majority of the costs. For example, hiring out a fancy boat for a weekend of madness on the water sounds awesome, in theory, until you realise how much boat hire costs.
I’m not saying for you to not treat yo’ self and the Bride/Groom-To-Be. But if the price is too damn high, even once you’ve divvied it up between your guests, ask yourself if it’s really necessary.
3. Get Your Guests To Pre-Pay
When planning an event, there’s no bigger lie than “I’ll pay you back on the day”.
This one’s simple: if you are booking places or events, get that money from your guests early. Add an itinerary with expected costs to your invites, along with your bank account details or a Paypal link if anything needs to be booked upfront (like day spas or paintball tournaments). In addition, apps like Group Together make it even easier to collect and track everyone’s payments as well.
That way, you’re not hassling anyone for dosh after their fifth round of drinks once the bill arrives. If you do have any cash left over, you can use it to splurge on something extra for the night, or a gift for the bride / groom.
4. Be Prepared For No-Shows
Shit happens. Illness, broken bones, pregnancy, flight cancellations – you name it, it’ll occur to at least one of the invited guests.
As Scar sang in ‘The Lion King’, be prepared: have a small back-up fund, for anyone who doesn’t show on the day. How much it should be is ultimately up to you, but aim to cover for a fallout of around 5-to-10% of the guests. That way you can cover the cost of their part with little to no fuss. Leave the over-the-phone arguments for the day after.
5. Consider A Combined Event
A disclaimer: this is not for everyone. To some, the idea of a combined bucks/hens night (or “hucks night”) is blasphemy. But let’s seriously look at the arguments for it.
First, if the couple to be wedded already share a large number of their friends, you’re not forcing anyone to choose between one or the other.
Second, if it’s any type of non-traditional set-up, including a same-sex marriage, you’re not tied to any of the traditional gender roles of a bucks or hens. And last but definitely not least, you can split the running costs across the whole bridal party. Win-win-win.
6. Have Fun
All the planning in the world can’t stop some things from happening. Expect the unexpected, and roll with the punches. It’s not the end of the world if you have to pull out some extra cash on the day or night. Remember, this is all about celebrating your #1 guy/gal’s upcoming journey into married life.