"Hens Night", (or "Hens Night Out", or "Hen Party
") is the British
, and New Zealand
term for what Americans would call a bachelorette party
. It's a party organized by the "Chief Bridesmaid" to avail the bride-to-be some debauchery
on her final night as a single
woman. A Hens Night party or outing consists entirely of female friends of the bride. It is to occur soon before the wedding day, to mark the bride-to-be's final days of single life.
Typical Hens Night activities are quite phallocentric -- i.e., they focus on males as sex objects, and with special emphasis on penises. Often, on a Hens Night, the participants (including the bride-to-be) will wear penis-shaped jewelry or candy beads, eat penis-shaped pasta, visit male strip clubs, and flirt with single males they encounter along their drunken pub-crawl. All the while, they may be dressed in particularly seductive clothing.
Occasionally, the bride-to-be will engage in sexual interaction of varying intensity with men -- from kissing to, more rarely, intercourse -- to experience one last time the things that she will not be able to experience in married life. Of course, cheating is still cheating even if it's during Hens Night, and even if the vows still haven't been exchanged. Some couples discuss and adopt a policy establishing the limits allowed during these events -- both for the bride's Hens Night, and the groom's "Stag Night" (in the UK), or "Bucks Night" (in Australia/New Zealand), both of which are the equivalent of the American bachelor party. Probably more common, though, is the understanding that no hanky-panky is allowed at all, and this is just fine with both bride and groom, since they are so in love and committed that a single night of disloyalty just wouldn't be worth it.
If you are responsible for organizing a Hens Night, it's best to simply consult the bride-to-be to find out what she'd like to do, without assuming anything. And if you are engaged to be married, it's best for both bride and groom to discuss your expectations of each other before Hens Night or Bucks Night, to avoid unpleasantries later.