This afternoon’s hen party inspiration is pretty much perfect for a Sunday afternoon – it’s all about afternoon tea and flower crown making. I couldn’t think of a nicer way to spend the afternoon, let alone for your hen party, with additional bubbles, so it’s a real treat to share this with you all. The styling is gorgeous but totally achievable if you wanted to recreate this yourselves. However, Becky at Feather and Ferns, and Jess at One Part Love, offer this as a hen party package, making your life SO much easier. You can go to their gorgeous Cambridgeshire location, or they can bring the fun to you! Plus you’ll find it hard to beat their floral and cake baking skills 😉
If you’re having your hen do in the next couple of months, then you might want to share this article with your girls… Especially if the typical hen party ideas don’t really appeal to you.
Just like with weddings, there aren’t any rules when it comes to a hen party, so if you want to celebrate your last days as a single lady with a spa day and afternoon tea rather than a boozy night out – then go ahead. We’ve compiled some of our favourite ways to party below, including four fabulous themes that could be applied to any type of party… Fancy dress is optional, although very much encouraged by us 🙂
Today’s feature is a breath of fresh air for those of you whose idea of hen-do hell is strippers, willy straws and cheap bottles of fizz. The brand new hen party package from Bo Chic & Vintage Party Arrangements couldn’t be more different.
Imagine gathering your besties for an afternoon in the sunshine, surrounded by pretty flowers (like these stunners from Herbert & Isles) and balloons while crafting, chatting and relaxing before your big day. Sounds (and looks) like bliss doesn’t it? It couldn’t be more easy either, as Ela and Dani have everything covered – you provide the green space and they will do the rest. Drinks, food and activities can all be customised to make the day completely personal to you and your hens.
If you like what you see, make sure you send your Bridesmaids the link to this feature, marked with a bold ‘HINT HINT’ in the subject line…
I’m guessing that as well as organising your own wedding quite a few of you will be having the task of organising friends hen and stag do’s. You may even be choosing to organise your own. Having organised my friends Hen Do I know how utterly chaotic it can get when it comes to invites. Have you invited everyone you should? Did Kate say she was coming or was that Emily?! I seriously lost track despite my pro spreadsheet skills.
I can’t believe I’m on my penultimate RMW Real Bride post! We are well and truly on wedding countdown (less than 8 weeks to go!!) so our planning activity continues to keep well and truly ramped.
A LOT has happened in the last four weeks. Firstly, I had my hen do, which was, without doubt, exceptional. We went to Ibiza for a long weekend (Thursday night to Monday morning) and it was a weekend of epic proportions. The best way I can describe it is we lived like rock stars for the weekend…sunset boats with copious amounts of fizz, a ridiculously amazing villa in the countryside with our own pool, prosecco for breakfast, getting body painted as various animals…oh how I want to go back!! My bridesmaids, particularly my Chief, did the most amazing job and how lucky I am to have such a wonderful bunch of friends.
That is the word that I would use to best describe myself these days. Also excited. I am hovering between overwhelmed and excited. It’s precarious.
So much has happened in the last 6 weeks that its making my head spin to think about it, but here goes….(deep breath)…we have met with our florist and decided on bouquets, button holes and centrepieces. And my oh my are they going to be purdy! I wish I could tell you which flowers were being featured but this is so not my forte. Alls I can tell you is that they are super colourful and smell really nice!
We met with our jewellers and tried on our wedding rings….which was freakin awesome! What an odd thing that this little band of gold will forever signify (after the 22nd July), that I am a married laydee. Le sigh.
We also met with our wedding co-ordinator and ran through the whole day and timings and food and drink and some more food. It was actually after this appointment when I was left with a feeling that could only be best described as “woah”. I never considered the level of detail that we needed to cover, e.g. how long it will take to shepherd in and seat 115 people into the room for the wedding breakfast. How they allocate the time for the speeches. Do you have a cake? Do you want it on a separate stand? Do you want the red carpet (still deliberating!)? When will your florist turn up? Who is your DJ? What size shoes do you wear? Ok ok, I threw that one in there but you get the jist!
We had our menu tasting at our venue which was seriously fun, esp when the Chef was asking us if we wanted to “tweak anything”. I nearly died with barely surpressed glee that he was asking us and then promptly asked him if he wanted to come home and cook for me permanantly!
The bridesmaid dresses have arrived, all ready and fitting my ladies beautifully in their colourful glory.
Me and the ladies had our hair and make up trial which was more amazingness! Definitely the best way I have found yet of spending a normally dull Monday afternoon! I deliberated about including some photos but then decided against it (sorry). Purely because Mr B looks at my blog when its published and I don’t want to spoil the surprise!
I had my Top Secret Hen Do in Edinburgh, but more on that later…
And finally (phew), Martin and I celebrated our 6 year anniversary. It was poignant for me for a lot of reasons, including the fact that it’s so close to our wedding and the next time we celebrate an anniversary, it will be our first wedding one. Like resetting the counter as one of my bridesmaids put it!. And (please excuse the following mushiness), I would like to take this opportunity to thank my lovely fella for the past 6 years. I wouldn’t have wanted to share it with anyone else. I love you.
Sweet nothings to my future husband aside, I have realised a few things in the past 6 months, which I am sure you clever lot have already figured out (I can be slow at times!):
Pennies make pounds. Sometimes they make large piles of pounds that can be used to buy fun stuff and high jinks. And as it became apparent that we weren’t going to have the full 150 guests for the day (we have a smaller-but-not-by-much 115 instead), working out the budget became fun. Yeap, I just used budget and fun in the same sentence. For every penny-that-became-a-pound we saved, we have ploughed that back into the day for our guests. Just little gestures here and there that we hope they appreciate and make our day as memorable as the ones who have come before us.
The 22nd July 2011 is the day that I get married. To Martin. I become a wife. His wife. A Mrs. He becomes my husband. By the time you read this, I will be 6 weeks and 1 day away from officially becoming Mrs B. Holy crapballs Batman!
And finally, I have learned that you just can’t please everyone. There will always be a guest who doesn’t like the starter/main/dessert/wine/music/venue (delete as applicable) and the important thing is to realise this and move on. The vast majority of people won’t give a hoot as its someone else’s day and not theirs. And for those individuals that will come, turn their nose up and comment, well, there are a couple of phrases that come to mind, but as I am in polite company, I shall refrain!
And so we come to the weekend. Sat 28th – Monday 30th May. Location: Edinburgh. Knowledge of the weekend? None until I was actually in Edinburgh! In a moment of obvious stupidity now in retrospect, I decided that I would ask for one of two locations for my do (Edinburgh or Bristol) and then leave the rest in the hands of my extremely capable bridesmaids. Stupidity because I am like a child when it comes to surprises. And I tried anything and everything to find out clues. Wheedling, moaning, whinging, sly questions, outright pleading. Nothing worked, not even a smidge. If MI5 is hiring, I have 3 ladies I could recommend!
But was it worth it? The cloak and dagger of it all? The way my sister had terrified everyone into keeping schtum? Hells yeah.
Rather than bore to you all to, erm, boredom with a heavily detailed description of the weekend’s escapades, I will instead summarise and amuse you all with some photos (sorry hens!).
So Saturday saw a smooth journey up to Edinburgh and the surprise of one of my oldest friends turning up when I thought she couldn’t make it. There were tears!
This was followed by a ghost tour (scary yet educational!) and the big night out which had a Hollywood Glamour theme and involved feather boas and me winning my first Oscar. If you know me, this was possibly the greatest thing ever!
Sunday involved My Hangover and shopping. Edinburgh is so amazing for many things and shopping is definitely one of them. Everyone gathered for afternoon tea at Tigerlily’s which was astounding. The cakes! The cakes! And then Sunday night was rounded off in true classy style with wine tasting and a 3 course meal. Le sigh (again).
I was lucky enough to have 13 ladies altogether, from old friends to work friends to family. A truly gorgeous bunch of ladies that gelled so well, you would think they had known each other for years. I was touched by the effort that all of them had gone to for my weekend and I cant wait for us all to be together again in 6 weeks and 1 days time!
But the biggest thanks goes to these 3 ladies:
An amazing trio who planned my weekend with military precision, style and grace! Everything went flawlessly and I was so pleased for them as I know how hard they had planned the weekend – they made me quite paranoid with their secret hen do whispering!
Lovely lady and Rock My Wedding reader Rachie from a Chi Chi affair blog has kindly shared the planning and design ideas of her sisters fabulous Brighton hen do. It’s jam packed full of achievable inspiration and an abundance of D.I.Y ideas and as you know with everything on RMW, it’s not only applicable to W-day what we show on these polka dot pages…….use whatever you like for whatever you like!
Rachie: We decided quite early on that my sisters hen do would be in Brighton, its only a hour from where many of us live and some of the hens also had babies and were pregnant, so we didn’t want to be away too long. Helen (The bride and my sister) was planning her wedding in only six months so she had a lot to think about. My younger sister Victoria and I decided to make the hen night a surprise from start to finish so she couldn’t worry about where she was going, who was coming (or wasn’t) or what it entailed!
As soon as we finalised the location and the date, Victoria and I starting thinking about logistics and activities, I knew i wanted to do quite a lot of my own stylilng and provide some of the food to keep the costs down. So we decided to hire a (very funky!) house to stay for the Saturday night from City Pad. The plan was for the girls to take the train down to Brighton and meet me at the house. We would all then have a lunch, a wine tasting, get ready and play a few games, then go out in the evening in Brighton for dinner at Moshi Brighton, karaoke at Lucky Voice (amazing!) drinks and dancing.
I’m a big fan of paper goods and love my stationery, and I found this fabulous stationery designer from Etsy called Missprintdesign who designed and printed my invitations. They were such lovely quality and provided a really good service and we sent the invitations out as soon as we finalised the date. The rest of the correspondence was then done via email. The stripy invitations along with the location set the tones of the styling and colour scheme which were a kind of vintage seaside, Brighton Rocks theme.
I created a little box with a stick of rock in that we presented to Helen at the train station to tell her where she was going!
I used another vendor from Etsy called Max and Bella to design the pink and white stripy stickers, tags for the favours and the advice card. Again she was absolutely lovely and quick to deal with and postage was really reasonable from the USA. I would definitely recommend her.
All the signs and stickers were printed by me using Picnik.com which is a free photo shop website that is online. I love this website, it has a variety of fonts and effects and its really quite easy! (I promise!) I did buy the digital stripy backgrounds from Fayola at Etsy for $2. This is a great tip as Etsy has lots of printable backgrounds you can buy, and they really make your stationery look professional.
Activity wise at the house, I always think its nice to have an area where the guests give advice for the bride, so i set up an advice station for this. Its also a keepsake that the bride can keep for many years to come. We also did a Mr and Mrs quiz that the husband to be filmed on his iphone which i then downloaded to the laptop, This was really funny and we all had a good laugh at the answers. On other hen nights i have organised, I have put the answers on separate cards and you then ask the questions throughout the hen night – this works just as well! I had also asked her friends that live abroad to film a little message that we played. Other guests then bought gifts and Victoria made a box with items in representing health, wealth, happiness, love and fertility. This included items such as the good wife guide which everyone loved.
The main activity was a wine tasting that was conducted by a company called Thirty Fifty . I was conscious that we were quite short of time and it was also the middle of winter so this did have an impact on the activity we chose. – Thirty Fifty came to the house and brought all their equipment and the wines, Everyone really enjoyed the tasting and we even learnt something! As the tasting went on it was more and more hilarious (as you can imagine!) and we were all in hysterics by the end. I really recommend it.
I do love a dessert table and designed one around the seaside theme, with chocolate cupcakes with stripy wrappers, Mini Victoria sponges, doughnuts, popcorn, (popcorn holders from Ebay) marshmallow cones and candy floss. I was determined to keep some of the costs down so I had a baking day to make as much as I could myself.
We also had a lunch with mini sandwiches (with flags from Ebay) and sausage rolls. All of the fabric used for the tablecloths was from Ebay.
The Decorations and Favours
The main decorations in the house were the bunting and the balloons, and little bubble gum balls in glass jam jars. I made pinwheels using craft paper from Paperchase. (the tutorial is HERE) We also had favours that we took to the restaurant which were a little box containing a fortune cookie from Maple Mollys.
We all read out our fortunes at dinner!
I made little bags with chocolate chip cookies as a bedtime snack and then we had brown paper favour bags for the girlies to take home containing a stick of rock, and a wine charm. The girls also took the left over cakes home with them to eat on the way home!
I knew that all the girls would bring the obligatory hen night paraphernalia and I didn’t want to fight this, On the way out we did dress Helen up with the sash, veil , tiara etc and then hired a limo to go into town. Sometimes you do have to embrace the hen night traditions!! We partied the night away!!
Organising a hen night is stressful and I don’t think there is any getting away from this. Try and be as organised as possible. You can’t please everybody and there will always be people who think its too expensive, too far away or the wrong date. As long as the majority is okay with it and you know the bride will like it then that’s okay.
Do try and be as organised as possible, Try and get everyone to pay upfront so you don’t need to worry about it on the day.
Do get an idea from the bride on what kind of thing she would like, who is coming and what her friends are like – If she is little miss shy and her mum and mother in law will be there, then a stripper and foreplay lesson may not be a good idea!!
Do have a loose theme in mind even if its just a colour scheme- it doesn’t have to be all tiaras, willies and pink!
Don’t try and cram too much into the day as the hens will naturally want to have a chat and laugh, unpack, relax etc.
Brides – please do remember that its tough to organise a hen night especially as the majority of your bridesmaids wont know all of the hens, Do offer help along the way if needed and don’t put too much pressure on them – they can only do their best!
Huge thanks to Rachie for sharing her ideas and finds, and if any of you gorgeous lot are thinking of planning a similar best girls affair then make sure you send in your pics and stories, we love hearing about them 😉
Big Brighton Love
This week I have been inspired by the generosity of SophieC who won our giveaway with Idyllic Days to win Vintage crockery hire for a hen party for her friend. My thoughts turned to Hen parties of the tea inspired variety and I decided to use a couple of ideas I’ve had stashed for a while.
Romancing the Recipe
This first one is one I actually made for my friend Laura, who was married this July – always a keen baker and lover of tradition I found this Recipe card DIY over on The Wedding Chicks and created it for her Bristol hen party.
To make the home made gift more sentimental I issued each of the hens with one of these to fill in their recipe and pass on to her, kind of like a wifey starter kit ;). I have to say there was great consternation about what each hen would write, but even those who kept it light hearted provided a really sentimental keepsake – one writing a sandwich recipe they used to share at university and others passing on valued family recipes. I even passed some cards to her mum so her family members could pass on traditional recipes then presented it all in a box.
check out the full DIY Recipe cards how-to on The Wedding Chicks.
Time for Tea
Charlotte found this little Gem and ever such an easy DIY over on Project Wedding. Cost effective for a tea party hen do favour, this would even be perfect for wedding favours using some fancy fruit teas.
Any one with a little bit of computer or crafting expertise could whip up a suitable printable to infuse (get it?!) the day with personality and charm.
It’s pretty vague inspiration but I seriously couldn’t help sharing these images that Charlotte sent over to me too. Also from Wedding Chicks the feature is a Bridal Shower inspiration shoot and uses buttons and shabby chic as a theme…
So just because we are good to you, here are some teaser images of the button festooned event and hopefully some chic ideas for you too!
Head over to see the full Shabby Chic Bridal Shower post on Wedding Chicks.
Have you found some inspiration in the DIY corner here today?
PS! It’s something of an exciting weekend… we may just have a themed week coming up on Rock My Wedding. You know how we love a theme and we’ll be unveiling it complete with the usual wicked graphics sometime this weekend, so make sure you stop by and join in the excitement!