Bring on the sten; the latest thing to see off your single days with all your best girls, and boys!
According to Red7, more and more brides and grooms are bucking tradition and turning away from hosting separate hen and stag dos in favour of a joint celebration; aka the sten.
Search Insta for #stenparty to catch a glimpse of this new trend in celebratory pre-wedding shenanigans. In fact, they're proving so popular, group travel specialist and bespoke Sten planners Red7 has reported a 200% increase in requests for joint getaways in the last two years.
To be part of the new trend, Red7 has put together its top tips for planning the perfect shared shindig. “Stens are all about the experience rather than a short celebration,” says Sarah Chapman, head of hen, stag and sten at Red7, “but hosts can sometimes feel under pressure to find ways to make sure everyone has a great time. Rest assured that our selection of tops tips and activities should appeal to the whole party.”
1) Base the sten around what you and your partner want. Although it might be tempting to get everyone's opinions, it can be tricky with twice the number of guests as a regular hen or stag do.
Weekends away in extraordinary accommodation, such as a massive country house, a villa on an Ibiza hilltop or glass lodge with spectacular views, will tick all the boxes for wow-factor and style.
2) Larger groups can be more chaotic, so planning expert-led group activities such as chocolate or cocktail-making or even a dance class, into the schedule is a great way to ensure everyone can enjoy themselves. It helps keep the party fair and balanced and ensures team bride isn't overwhelmed by team groom (or vice versa). Plus, who doesn't love chocolate, a good cocktail or frankly, Beyoncé?
3) Go all out and theme your sten! Whether it's old skool team bride vs team groom or glitter festival-chic, an imaginative theme reflected in your choice of location, accommodation, activities, food and drink will help with group bonding.
4) Choose a great destination. Maybe you want to book your party in a place where you and your other half have been before and loved or alternatively a city or destination you've never visited. Top hotspots for 2018/2019 include Obonjan Island in Croatia and Lisbon, as well as the classic party resorts of Marbella and Ibiza. In the UK, you can't beat London, Brighton, Manchester or Liverpool. Or, if you're celebrating during ski season, how about a long weekend in the Alps or at the Arctic Circle? These days, the average hen, stag or sten party stay is two to four nights – sometimes longer!
5) Don't feel under pressure to do everything together. With a larger, mixed group you might well want to split up for some activities or at certain points during the celebration. Some might love an afternoon of pampering at a top spa or a dance class while others might prefer an artisan gin-tasting experience, white-water rafting, or a round of golf. Stay flexible and open-minded about the schedule and you'll all be super relaxed by the time you meet up in the evening for cocktails, a great dinner and a VIP club experience.