Wedding woes: Inviting extra hens

Last updated 10:15 23/07/2012

So I received the two emails below within days of each other and a couple of days AFTER I muttered The Exact Same Thing to my bride of honour. Creepy how that works. So here are Becks' and Kirsty's (and, um, my) questions: 

Becks asks: Hen night

Hi Greer

I have been asked by my MOH to do up a guest list for my hens night, and I'm unsure about who to invite.
I have so many friends and I can't invite everyone to the wedding as once the family was all accounted for there wasn't much room left for our friends. My partner and I are paying for the wedding and we are on quite a tight budget so there are a few friends who we haven't been able to invite. So my woe is, is it too weird/rude to invite someone to the hens night that isn't coming to the wedding?
Thanks Becks


Hi Greer
I'm just after your opinion regarding hens/stag nights.

After changing our minds several time on when and where to have our wedding, we have finally decided to have it in Rarotonga with only immediate family and a couple of close friends. My question is, would it still be appropriate to have a hens night/stag do and invite friends and family who aren't invited to the actual wedding?

I'd still like to have a hens night, but it doesn't seem right saying to someone "I'd love you to come to my hens night, just not my wedding..."
What do you think?


Honestly, this one really stumps me! (And if anyone has the answer or advice, halp!) Hen

I'm in the same boat. Right now, maid of honour is organising my hen party. I have given her a list of ladies attending our wedding whom I am close to, and she and the other bridesmaids are helping organise this day as a surprise. (Thanks, ladies!)

It'll be great; it'll be so much fun to have all these women around me who have played some kind of important role in my life.

But I, like the other girls above, kind of wondered if there was a way I could invite other women who I am close with to the hen night without inviting them to the wedding?

They are people who I really, realllllly like but for budget and venue size restrictions, simply can't "fit" into the wedding.

I feel awful even contemplating it; they're not "b" grade friends, they're just different. They might be workmates, or new friends, or my girlfriends' family or friends.

Then there are the actual "b" list. Yes, they exist. I have a tiny "b" list who basically I really want to be there, but if certain people who we "had" to invite say they can't make it, then they'll get the call up. (I know, it sounds AWFUL. But it's just our reality.) So should I invite any of those girls to my hen party? Gah!

Now I'm wondering if it's just a girl thing? Future husband advises me he's invited guys to his stag do who aren't coming to the wedding. (I'm guessing they're keen because no guy would get his nose out of joint at being invited to get boozy and a bit silly...)

I guess I just can't imagine the conversation: "Hey! Want to come to my hens night? You're not in my top 25 mates/family but meh, come party anyway!"

That's what I want to say... but I just can't work out if it's the done thing or not.

Of course this all kind of goes out the window considering I'm not planning my hens... so who knows what I'm in for... 

So tell me, is it cool to invite people to hen or stag parties who aren't invited to the wedding? Would you do it or have you done it? Have you ever been invited to such as occasion without the follow-up wedding?

Follow Greer on Twitter or Weddings on Facebook

You can also email Greer here and share your wedding woes, feedback or questions.

Post a comment
Lori M   #1   10:24 am Jul 23 2012

I've been invited to hen's nights when I wasn't invited to the wedding (due to budge/size issues) and honestly, its not a problem. I was flattered to be asked, and thoroughly enjoyed the night. Most people understand that weddings are expensive, and you can't invite everyone you want to ask. Being asked on the hens/stag night is a good second best! I also had a girlfriend get married in Rarotonga, (I went) - we had a hens night the week before she flew out, for all those that were and weren't heading to Raro, and it was awesome. Of the 'hens' that weren't joining us in Raro, I didn't notice any resentment. We all just enjoyed ourselves. A personal note from the bride explaining the problem can help, but I say the more the merrier!

Miss Luscious   #2   10:27 am Jul 23 2012

I think it's cool - Everyone knows weddings are really expensive and there are people who HAVE to be invited, so I see the Hens night and engagement party as ways to involve people who you cant invite to the wedding but you still want to be involved. - Dont think anyone would get their noses out of joint if you sell it that way.

Lucky#13   #3   10:29 am Jul 23 2012


I can relate to Kirsty (above). We are also having immediately family + 2 friends each. I think that Kirsty's actual friends (not hangers-oners) will understand that you're not out to personally offend anyone by not inviting them. That it is simply very limited to numbers, space and budget.

How about "We're so limited for [space and/or budget and/or numbers], I'd love to celebrate with you but we simply can't, so I'd really be pleased if you'd come to my hen's party to celebrate with me there". ???

Ruth   #4   10:38 am Jul 23 2012

I've been invited to hens' nights and not the wedding many times! It's not a big deal, and I've been flattered to be asked. Lucky#13 has the phrasing right - it's all about pitching the invite honestly and doing it in person so that they can see you're sincere and don't mean to offend.

Hen's nights are the perfect solution for all those great acquaintances who aren't your besties.

Miss_Whanau   #5   10:44 am Jul 23 2012

I've been invited to a couple of Hen's Nights and not the wedding and it is totally fine! People these days realise it's just too expensive to be invited to weddings, but to even be thought of when it comes to the Hens is just as awesome in my opinion.

Jack   #6   10:46 am Jul 23 2012

This one is easy: misdirection.

Your MOH can invite people you don't, at worst playing the good cop ('I think you should be at the Hen's at least,') or the bad cop ('I just went through Greer's phone and invited the girl names.')

People who get their noses out of joint about invitations/seating charts/roles are rarely the people who deserve them, right? Sometimes tough love brings out the best in your friends.

Ross   #7   10:54 am Jul 23 2012

For my stag night, I advised the best man who had been invited to the wedding, including those who could not attend. I also let the best man know he can invite other people if he wishes. So I did have a few other people turn up, friends who I would have invited to the wedding had I the money. It may seem wierd, but I have no problem with it.

what about mothers?   #8   10:57 am Jul 23 2012

I think every Hen's night I have been to has had guests who aren't invited to the wedding. I've even been that non-wedding hen's guest a couple of times myself. If people are going to be offended about being invited to one and not the other then they probably won't come, and that is up to them. The people that do turn up are there to celebrate with the Hen and everyone always seems to have a fabulous time. My question is how do you get away with not inviting Mothers to Hen's night when you want to invite sisters?? And I know my Hen's night isn't going to be a mother-appropriate night but the mothers are expecting to be invited...

Krissi   #9   10:58 am Jul 23 2012

I agree with with what everyone (Lucky, Lori M and Miss Luscious) has said so far.

Toodlez   #10   11:02 am Jul 23 2012

I have been invited to Hen's parties and not the wedding and am totally fine with it. We have a restriction on number of people we can invite to the wedding. Friends I have spoken to who aren't invited to the wedding are happy to attend the hen's party.

Show 11-47 of 47 comments

Post comment


Required. Will not be published.
Registration is not required to post a comment but if you , you will not have to enter your details each time you comment. Registered members also have access to extra features. Create an account now.

Maximum of 1750 characters (about 300 words)

I have read and accepted the terms and conditions
These comments are moderated. Your comment, if approved, may not appear immediately. Please direct any queries about comment moderation to the Opinion Editor at
Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content