I WENT to a wedding for the first time when I was 18. I remember hearing about the bride’s hen night – namely what a disappointment it was – from the other women who had attended. She’d decided on a meal at cheap but clean restaurant (she worked in environmental health) and a night at the cinema. She had her taxi home booked before she went out, killing any hope of the occasion uncovering any latent party animal within.

At that age, still enjoying the novelty of going out, I was aghast at the sobriety of it. Years later, as I stamped life back into my feet in the early hours of the morning in an Edinburgh taxi rank, I felt that woman calling to me through the ether. I made two promises to myself: 1) never wear open-toed shoes in winter; and 2) never, under any circumstances, attend another hen do. I’ve kept both.

I’ve been invited to more, but have sidestepped every one of them. Between the ages of 18 and 24, I’d attended enough of the things to swear off them for life. After reading an article about a woman strong-armed into parting with £2000 to attend a luxury hen party in Ibiza (yep, the island that Brits ruined with 18-30 holidays), I conclude that I and my bank account have had a lucky escape.

Gone are the days when you had a night out with friends. Some hens are a week long. Is it even a hen if you’re in the city where you live? Is it even a hen if you don’t imbibe your fluids through a novelty straw? If you haven’t had to eat beans on toast for months to attend?

There are two kinds of hen parties: the kind that makes you hate your friends and the kind that makes you hate yourself. Being the pretentious and precocious child I was, I’d always thought hen parties were a bit gauche, but figured I’d find something to enjoy – the debauchery, the outfits, Anne from finance doing the Macarena.

And then I had my own and was swiftly disabused of any notion of finding something to grip on to until it was time to go home.

My problem with hen parties is threefold: the premise; the aesthetic; the obligation. It’s a long-nursed and well-rounded hatred that has been vindicated by unpleasant experience. These days, the very thought of being served badly-mixed drinks by a bare-arsed butler working for minimum wage is enough for me to conclude definitively the failure of the human experiment.

The whole premise is icky. The idea of needing a night of louche behaviour before “settling down” paints a pretty grim picture of the marriage you intend to have. If you feel like you’re saying goodbye to something precious, ie your freedom and autonomy, you’re either marrying the wrong person or not done being single.

The whole thing is socially sanctioned misbehaviour of an unpalatable flavour. Each group of women indulge in their own Saturnalia, oblivious to how un-fun it is for everyone else in the restaurant or on the plane or in the bar.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve never been able to have the required amount of fun for fear of bothering other people just trying to have a nice time.

Then, there’s the aesthetic. L-plates, feather boas, matching T-shirts, badly-fitting fancy dress and poorly-made sashes. There are the Swifty-esque squad slogans #idosquad, #teambride and #misstomrs. All of it makes me feel like I’ve gobbled my weight in sugar.

They make me feel like an interloper. The matching outfits, the organised fun, the need to socialise with a group of people you’re not confident you’d recognise at the wedding: social hell. I’m sure to plenty of people it sounds like the best fun. And I’m sure to plenty of people I sound like a terrible snob. Although at least I’ll never be in the position of asking my friends to fork out money for me that would be better spent on things they need or really want.

So many friends struggle come wedding season because of the rising cost of extravagant, extended celebrations and the obligation to attend. It’s a sobering realisation that 15 years of friendship does not equate to £500 for a weekend in Amsterdam, for both the bride and her friends.

No bride should expect her day to matter as much to her pals as it does to her. I firmly believe that thinking of your friends’ financial situations and imposing on their time says more about your relationship than trying to get everyone to sign up for an expensive weekend away.

I’m getting married again next year, close to a decade after the first time, and I can honestly say what a relief it is to not to have to have another hen.

I’m grateful for the friends who threw the first one, but at this point in my life I’d rather be at home with a good book than looking sheepish in deely-boppers.