COVID lockdown and factory closures in China have resulted in a shortage of inflatable penises and plastic willy straws.
But will organisers of today’s hen parties even care?
From what I’ve seen, the good old bash for brides-to-be which started off in the local Wetherspoons and finished in a dirty kebab shop has become a thing of the past.
You only need to look at celeb hen party photos on Instagram to see that social media has sucked the life out of the once fun and frivolous event.
Binky, already married to businessman Max Fredrik Darnton, jetted off to Ibiza this week for her delayed hen do and celebrated with posh cocktails and boat parties.
While at Billie’s bash in 2018, the hens decided against a boozy night at a local sticky-carpeted nightclub and instead dived into an upmarket Ibiza pool party.
Rather than wear daft matching T-shirts with crude slogans, Billie’s pals trailed eye-wateringly expensive diamante luggage and wore chic denim shirts.
And, of course, it was all documented on Instagram, complete with poolside posing. Yawn.
Who knows how much they cost but even normal people appear to be following suit and spending big on boring hen weekends.
The average price of a do has gone from £150 in 2012 to £242 today — and almost half of revellers believe pre-wedding bashes have become too extravagant.
A whopping 42 per cent of hens regret parting with such huge sums of money — or are shunning their pals’ send-offs altogether.
I’ve had friends attending hen dos which cost up to £1,000 and I recently got invited on a wine tour one in Italy with a price-tag just shy of £500.
I politely declined — as a mum of two there’s no way I can afford that — and offered the bride-to-be a local night out.
We had more fun drinking happy-hour sambucas than we would have sinking overpriced rosé in a boring winery, anyway.
But the invitation made me nostalgic about my own hen party.
It was only 11 years ago, but we were only just out of the naughty Noughties and not yet in the Instagram era.
At this 2011 bash, we drank £1 slammers from DayGlo shot glasses and were summoned between Brighton bars by the chief bridesmaid’s penis-shaped whistle.
Wiggling his bits
At the end of the night, we retreated to the cheap house we’d rented and my “surprise” (which was no surprise because everyone had one back then) arrived — a “budget”’ stripper who had tied an elastic band too tightly around his manhood, leaving it looking rather sore.
Back then, there wasn’t the fear of dodgy photos ending up online.
Even celebrities didn’t care what they looked like.
Apart from dodging paparazzi, they didn’t have to worry about how their public image might be tainted by a photo of them flashing their boobs.
Back in the Nineties and Noughties, we had fun — arms slung around the necks of our pals, alcopop in hand.
Kate Moss memorably danced on a booze-laden table at supermodel Stephanie Seymour’s 1995 pre-wedding bash.
While radio DJs Zoe Ball and Sara Cox had a joint hen party, made zero effort to dress up, and drank and smoked like troopers.
Popstar and actor Kym Marsh donned L-plates for her boozy hen party trip to Marbella in 2012.
But perhaps another nail in the old hen do coffin is the fact that youngsters are far too healthy to have a traditional hen do.
Many younger millennials — or “generation sensible” — now shun booze completely with 29 per cent classing themselves as non-drinkers — up from 18 per cent in 2005.
I can’t imagine that strippers go down that well today either.
A pale naked bloke sucking in his dad tum and wiggling his bits in the bride’s face is probably seen as being more bad taste than amusing.
But memories like I have — such as a novice “exotic dancer” who copped off with a willing and very married bridesmaid at a friend’s hen do — are the ones you treasure and they keep you going when you’re elbow-deep in nappies or kids’ homework.
For many women, these scenes are a rite of passage to carry them into married life, a shared experience with pals — where what happens on tour stays on tour.
And friendship, not flaunting wealth, is the root of the hen party.
It is a good time had with mates in an otherwise busy life.
It’s not about how much cash is splashed or how impeccable you all look on the heavily filtered pictures, it’s about having as many friends as possible shoved together having fun.
As the cost-of-living crisis bites, hopefully people will see sense and head back to those heady good old days and the posh parties will become a thing of the past.
Hens then in 2002: Cheap shots and laughs
NO hen party is complete without willy whistles, penis straws and a cheeky game of truth or dare, writes Claire Dunwell.
My no-frills shebang in Newcastle is still, without doubt, one of the best nights of my life.
The black mini-skirt barely covered my knickers, my “veil” was made out of old net curtains and as I hit the bars with a gaggle of 26 pals, I felt a million dollars.
After lining our stomachs with an early bird two-course dinner, which cost just a tenner each, I blew on my penis-shaped whistle to round up my “chicks”, who all wore identical T-shirts emblazoned with “one hen, 25 chicks, no cocks”.
I sucked up every dare I was handed – from baring my bum to a bar full of punters, to slipping a broken toilet seat over my head.
And as I staggered back to our 40-quid-a-night Premier Inn at 4am, wearing some random bloke’s boxer shorts, I didn’t have the dread of waking up the next morning to #embarrassingpic because there was no social media. Thank God.
In fact, my snaps are safely buried in the shed – hidden from my husband’s prying eyes – because back then, what happened on tour, stayed on tour.
My mates who got married circa 2000 had similarly rowdy, tacky parties and there was no pressure to spend a month’s salary on the occasion.
Like me, they were happy with cheap shots and Kiss Me Quick hats in Blackpool.
Yes, there was snogging – usually with a random group of stags we’d bump into.
And, yes, we got absolutely sozzled. But we would cry with laughter until our jaws ached.
You can keep your posh, boring and overpriced pre-nuptial send-offs.
Those were most definitely, the best hen-do days.
Hens now in 2022: A battle you cannot win
MY own hen do fell during the pandemic which, surprisingly, was a blessing, writes Clemmie Fieldsend.
Sticking to the rule of six and being outside, I had my nearest and dearest shower me in every style of traditional “tacky” paraphernalia – just as it should be.
But sadly, that’s not my experience of most hen parties staged in the past five years.
These days you have got to shell out six hundred quid for a long weekend in Mykonos and then spend plenty more on matching silk pyjamas for your yawn-fest girls’ night in.
In the past I’ve paid out £500 to go rock climbing and stay in an Ibis in the middle of rural Wales.
I have made a trip to Croatia costing £400, when we stayed in an Airbnb that had stained sheets. The bride had a traumatic fallout with her sister.
Plus there was a hen in Ibiza when, every day, we were made to dress in co-ordinating outfits with staged pictures taken every ten minutes.
Of course, all were heavily vetted before being posted on social media.
Instead of donning feather boas and tangerine fake tan before hitting the pubs, I’ve heard of mates doing flower-arranging classes, going llama trekking, having afternoon tea and hiring private chefs.
Oh, and these days, one party is not enough.
There’s often a “home” and an “abroad”, or one for friends and another for family.
It’s such a monumental waste of time, money and annual leave from work when you could have had a laugh together in your local.
Also, the stress of keeping 25 intoxicated women happy for two to five days becomes a battle you can’t win – and there’s always a big fallout at the end.