If you’re anything like us, when a close female friend or relative gets engaged, your first thought, after a congratulations of course, is the hen party. Gone are the days when couples might go for a quiet drink or two with a few close friends the night before the ceremony – these days hens go all out, often going abroad, with hen weekends packed with back to back activities, fancy dress and a lot of cocktails.

However, not everyone subscribes to the modern trend of an all-out hen do. Even some stags are moving away from the idea of a raucous weekend, with alcohol free stag parties now all the rage. If you’re a quirky bride looking for something different, or you’re a bridesmaid tasked with planning a hen party for an offbeat friend, read on for our best advice from Mad Max Adventures on organising a hen party with a difference. Rule number one – no questionably shaped straws allowed!

For the active bride

Forget pink feather boas, greasy male strippers and endless shots – this bride gets her kicks when she’s taking part in a competitive event, preferably covered in mud, and definitely outdoors.

If you, or your friend, are no strangers to a 10k run or events like Tough Mudder, why not organise a spot of hen do exercise? These days you can book hen boot camps, which see you and friends being put through your paces by a PT. If you’re feeling really active, you could consider a cat and mouse challenge somewhere like Mount Snowdon – cat and mouse challenges see two teams dropped off at different locations but with the same end goal. The fittest team is two miles behind, with the team with less active participants closer to the end location – the job of the fitter team (the cats) is to chase the mice to the top!

For the foodie bride

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If the bride is a fan of splashing the cash at Michelin-star restaurants then it’s unlikely she’ll be satisfied with a hen do where the main food consumed is from a takeaway at 2am. There are plenty of options for foodie brides, including food tours or cooking classes.

Some food tours are general and take in all types of establishments, whereas others are more bespoke – options include a chocolate tour, or a cupcake tour or maybe even a tour taking in the best sushi restaurants in your city.

For the relaxed bride

This bride isn’t interested in fancy cocktails, dressing up and piling on the fake tan – she’s much more at home with a can of cider sans make up. If this sounds like you, or your nearest and dearest, why not hire a narrowboat for the weekend?

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A popular spot for this kind of hen is the River Avon near Bath, which boasts stunning scenery. Regents Canal in London is also a well loved spot for hiring boats, with sailors able to take in the sights and sounds of Camden Locks.

Dressing up as sailors can tick the traditional hen do dress up box, too.

For the crafty bride

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If the bride is known for making her own dresses, her scrapbooking hobby and a love of making cushions, a craft-themed hen is a great idea. There are all kinds of options available for this, and lots of people you can hire to come to you at your hen venue, whether that’s at home or a hotel.

You can learn how to make wicker hearts, bunting, or even Christmas crackers – a plus point of a crafty hen do is that you can use all the items made for wedding reception decorations.

MadMax is a purpose built activity centre offering archery, clay shooting, extensive trails and a dedicated 4×4 track – an ideal playground for adventurous hens.

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