A Brief History of Hen Parties and the Best Places to Have Them

We’ve been to our fair share of Hen Parties here at Eat Drink Meet, and like to think of ourselves as something of an expert in making sure the bride-to-be has the best possible time. So, let’s take a look at a little hen history, and why when it comes to picking your perfect hen party venue, you’ll definitely say “I do” to one of our choices.


From Hen Nights to Hen Parties

If we really want to go digging for the history of the Hen Party, we need to look all the way back to ancient Greece, where the Proaulia – the first of three days of wedding celebrations – was often held at the home of the father of the bride. It was a time where the bride would spend her last days of singledom with her mother, friends and female relatives.

Although it’s now absolutely linked with pre-wedding celebrations, the term ‘hen party’ originally wasn’t anything to do with weddings or brides at all. Instead, Hen Parties were simply a regular social gathering for women in the United States in the late 19th Century. They would get together in each other’s homes, enjoy some afternoon tea together, play cards and (if the mood was right) have a cheeky glass of bubbles. Kind of sounds like bottomless brunch to us.

Back here in the UK, the term “hen party” as we know it is derived from the British phrase “hen night” which was first used in the 1940s. Originally, hen parties were held to celebrate a bride-to-be’s last night of freedom before marriage and were just a one-night thing. Today, they are more often seen as an opportunity for the bride and her closest friends and family to come together and celebrate her upcoming nuptials, and aren’t always tied to the night before her big day. And in a few instances we can think of, that turned out to be a very good thing… 

The significance of hen parties can be seen worldwide, with different cultures and countries having their own unique traditions and customs associated with them. In some countries such as India, hen parties involve elaborate rituals and ceremonies that are meant to bring good luck to the bride on her wedding day. In other countries like the United States, hen parties are typically more relaxed affairs where guests can enjoy drinks, food and entertainment in a fun atmosphere. Speaking of fun atmospheres…

Location, location, location

When it comes to finding the perfect venue for a hen party celebration, we’ve got loads of fine pubs and restaurants to choose from. They all offer a wide variety of drinks and food options that cater to various group sizes and preferences of the bride-to-be and her guests.


With central locations, gorgeous decor, friendly ambience and atmosphere, the venues we’ve shortlisted for you provides an unforgettable experience for any hen party event – and it’s all very Instagrammable too. To really make your hen party special, you could always include a cocktail masterclass. Led by a skilled mixologist, the hen and her party could try their hand at mixing up the perfect pre-wedding cocktails (and, of course, sampling them afterwards). 


Alternatively, to start off your day of celebrations, you could opt for a bottomless brunch instead. There’s really no better way to ease yourself into a big day of celebrating with your nearest and dearest than helping yourself to something off the bottomless brunch menu and enjoying some bottomless drinks to go with it. We’ve got some great guides devoted to some of the most Hen-friendly cities, so maybe check out our guides to the best pubs and restaurants in London, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Manchester and Liverpool! 


But what if you’ve very, very particular needs for the perfect Hen Do and it’s not just about location? Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered there too.


The Perfect Venue

If you’ve got a particularly large group of hens in tow, then check out our selection of spots where large group bookings are never a problem. Just click here, pop your location in, and have a browse. Similarly, if you like the exclusivity of private dining, clicking here and searching near you will be sure to bring up some great results.

Maybe your hen is a bit of a music lover, so perhaps a venue with live music will be a must. Here’s some locations that are well-known for a great atmosphere and amazing live music which you can find by clicking here. Alternatively, if she loves a good musical (and who doesn’t?), we’ve got a whole different blog devoted to the best venues in the West End – they’ll be singing all the way back to the hotel. 


In fact, not wishing to brag but our search tool lets you combine loads of different must-have elements so you end up with a really tailor-made location. Just click that big button at the bottom of the page, and have a browse.

Whatever you choose and however you decide to celebrate your hen party, remember that while you’re part of a long-lasting history of brides and their closest friends celebrating an upcoming wedding, your hen party really is all about you.