Hen Party planning, modern bride style…
As the wedding season gets underway, although we use the term ‘wedding season’ lightly, as it’s becoming more and more the norm to have weddings all year long and not simply during the traditional summer months. If anything this past month or two has shown us that here in the UK you just never know what weather you are going to get. We have feet of snow one week and a few weeks later it’s the hottest day in May since records began! However, as the wedding ‘season’ gets underway so begins the pressure on all the Maids of Honor out there, why? One word…Hen! If you’re looking for hen party ideas for the modern bride, perhaps something a little alternative, then continue reading…
Back in the 1620’s the term ‘Hen’ was used simply as slang for woman (funny that they didn’t use the male version as slang for Man, that must be a more recent ‘figure of speech’). Later in the 1800’s the phrase ‘hen party’ was used to indicate a gathering of females…Did you know that The Times newspaper first used the word ‘hen party’ in 1976 when reporting on a male stripper who was fined for acting in a “lewd, obscene and disgusting manner!”
The link to our modern concept of ‘hen parties’ as a pre-wedding send off is a more recent affair dating back only to the 1970’s. It was tradition then for women to dress as a parody of a bride and they were celebrated in the workplace (as for most they were expected to leave their jobs in preparation for married life) before being paraded around the local pub – so some traditions still linger today, just with a much larger dose of female empowerment.
Today there is such pressure from both the media and celebrity culture to throw the hen do to end all hen do’s from the extravagant, far flung holiday (think Dubai and Vegas, both popular options) to ultra luxurious weekends of activities (country manor house, clay pigeon shooting etc etc). Essentially a hen do is a great excuse to get your bridal party together for a good time before your wedding day. It’s likely that some of your friends and family may have not met each other before so it’s an opportunity for everyone to get acquainted and let their hair down – as long as your nearest and dearest are there then you’re guaranteed to have a good time wherever you choose to celebrate!
We’ve pulled together our top 5 hen do ideas. Listed below, that stretch from the traditional and we hope can inspire anyone who is currently in the throes of planning a hen party (Brides feel free to forward this onto your Maid of Honor for a little nudge in the right direction). We’d love your input too, so comment and let us know what you did or what you wish you did…
If you are looking for hen party ideas that you can achieve at home or you’ve found a beautiful venue but are not sure what to plan for it then you absolutely need to check out The Workbench London, the original ring carving workshop run by talented British jewelry designers Katie Woodward and Kirsty Maclaren – so you know you’re in good hands!
As well as being able to go to their studio you can have the creative duo come to you, It’s like pottery painting only 1000 times better, more grown up fun and a whole lot more chic. You and your hens will have a beautiful hand carved ring at then end of your day that you’ve designed together and can cherish. We think it’s the perfect memento for such an occasion.
Yoga has become insanely popular, with retreats popping up all over the place offering inner calm and well being. The wedding planning process is stressful, so we know the bride will thank you for a day of calm where you can all focus on spending quality time together and simply enjoying the moment – without running through last minute seating arrangements or dietary requests. This is definitely one to add to your hen party ideas list!
Not far from our new Eynsham boutique (catch the update on Eynsham here) you’ll find Downdog + Crow a beautiful space with such a knowledgeable team with a genuine passion for yoga. They offer retreats from a day to a week throughout the year and it doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or a well practiced ‘yogi’ you’ll have an uplifting experience regardless. They host retreats both in the UK and abroad and their next one happens to be in Mykonos (swoon), we’re imagining morning yoga with azure blue sea views, exquisite Mediterranean food and blissful moments with your hens. We’re desperate to go and we don’t even have a hen party as an excuse!
If the thought of a pub crawl fills the Bride to Be with fear and nausea then why not instead go for a food crawl! The name (which we’ve given it, it’s not it’s official name) doesn’t really do it any favours however for all the foodies out there head to the big smoke and Walk Eat Talk Eat will put together a private tour of the city, from one food heaven to the next.
All the little local places you normally miss visiting because they’re hidden away, tucked behind a conglomerate chain or under a railway arch. Walk Eat Talk Eat know all the good spots, you definitely won’t have hungry hens on this one!
Remember at school when sleepovers were the best kind of birthdays parties, all your friends, pajamas, midnight feasts and the best films? Appeal to your younger self while indulging your former self with a very grown up slumber party courtesy of 40 Winks.
They say “they are deliciously decadent and glamorous, taking the idea of a pajama party but infusing it with amazing stories, music and cocktails. Our story nights are a totally unique experience in London, bursting with genuine charm, warmth and humour. We work with a fantastic team of professional storytellers, actors and musicians, handpicked for their virtuosity by Mr Carter. They are a much loved institution and will have you squealing with delight for months to come” with such accolade surrounding these events and a dress code to match this would certainly make for a night to remember.
For those who call for a little more adventure from their hens then Go Hen have so many different hen party ideas to get your adrenaline pumping. Lure yourselves out of your comfort zone and break the ice with a bungee jump, the fear inducing activity will guarantee to get everyone talking!
If that’s taking one step too far then we think that their Castaway Survivors day sounds amazing. Fancy making like Bear Grylls, you and your hens will be ‘shipwrecked’ learning survival skills like that all important fire, as you leap off cliffs, swim through the waves and paddle board around the coastline. You’ll have to forage for your lunch but don’t worry once you’ve been reunited with civilization and survived the day there’s always bubbles to celebrate with.
What ever Bride your bride to be is, whether it be adventure driven or more home girl fun we know you’ll give her a better send off then she could ever have imagined. We hope you’re inspired and we’d love to know what you’re planning – maybe even add to this list and grow our Ellie Sanderson hen parties ideas bank…
HAPPY HEN ‘DO’ PLANNING!