By the time my partner and I walk down the aisle in December 2024, we will have been together eleven years. In that time, just as our calendars and finances have become interwoven, so too have our friends.
It’ll come as no surprise to them then, that before we were even engaged to be married, we had talked of snubbing the traditional stag and hen do in favour of a ‘sten’; a word that comes from combining stag and hen and really just means a mixed-gender celebration.
For some, the word ‘sten’ or even ‘hag’, is preferable to a stag or hen as it takes the emphasis off of gender entirely. For us, it simply seemed silly to each miss the opportunity to celebrate our engagement with fifty per cent of our friends because of tradition.
The crux of it though is that my partner and I enjoy each other’s company and love spending time with our friends whom, for the most part, are all couples too. After ten years together, a stag or hen do would certainly not mark our ‘last night of freedom’ but is really just a wonderful excuse to bring our loved ones together for some raucus pre-wedding fun.
It seems we’re not the only ones erring towards a sten either. In fact, far from it, as Google Trends recently reported that searches for ‘sten parties’ in January 2023 were double what they were just twelve months prior. Watch this space, you could well be invited to one before the year is out!
Speaking to Hesdin Estate, a hamlet of exclusive hire holiday homes that can accommodate up to thirty two people, they said, “We are delighted to see a notable rise in joint celebrations – when a couple and their friends love each other’s company then it’s such a great idea to celebrate together as group and toast the happy couple together!”
Of course, despite sharing the same friends, it’s safe to say my partner and I still maintain different interests. How do you cater for that on a sten? Simple, with different activities to choose from during the day before an evening activity that brings the tribe back together again.
Hesdin Estate added, “We just recently hosted a group who had been dating since school, had all the same friends, wanted to share a holiday together and thought it would be ridiculous to split things up as a boys trip and girls trip. We organised a gin and cider masterclass and they had a silent disco in the evening”.
With the ability to create multiple playlists for a silent disco, we love the idea of curating rival Bride and Groom playlists for guests to listen to!
With both the bride- and groom-to-be in attendance, a sten is also a great way to forgo those less tasteful traditions without having to explicitly put a ban on naughty inflatables and phallic straws.
Though the larger-than-average guest list can put a strain on finding a venue, the numbers can also help to bring the overall cost per head down enabling you to book a real “wow” venue that you’ll never want to leave.
Bringing such a wide group of guests together is also a wonderful way for them to meet ahead of your wedding day so that, on the day itself, they can pick up where they left off on the dance floor with your family and friends.
Much like a traditional stag or hen, planning a sten is something of a military operation with different variables to consider but, don’t you worry, I’ll be sharing each and every step here on The Wedding Edition plus an inside look once it’s all over. Stay tuned!
Related Article: Your Sign To Book A ‘Mum Do’