The origins of the Hen Party

With the exception of the Wedding day its self, the part that most couples look forward to, or dread, are the Hen & Stag Parties.

But where did these traditions come from?

In the past, wedding presents were often handmade and many were home grown products that were given as contributions to the Wedding feast. Gifts such as oatmeal, butter, whiskey and pieces of stoneware were brought to the house in the days leading up to a marriage.

The most common gift of all was a HEN for the feast.

A few nights before the wedding, the bride and her female relatives and friends would get together to pluck and prepare the hens and all the other food for the wedding feast.

As you can imagine, there was always a lot of laughing and banter among the women, and many a story about what was to happen on the wedding night – hence the name ‘Hen-party’.

SO, it did start off referring to actual Hens…

By Anne Widdop

Acknowledgement to ‘Scottish Customs’ by Margaret Bennett

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