It’s a little under a month until we have our engagement shoot in London and my head is full of questions as to where we should go, what should be in our pictures and the parts of the city that would best represent us. We’ve been advised to pick a starting point and finishing point and then we can find places in between to get some good shots, so I’ve been trying to narrow down some areas that I’d love us to visit and get some pictures taken. We’ve visited Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and well as some of the other tourist spots of London in our times visiting, but we’ve also spent a lot of time in the West End, as well as places like Portobello Road and St. James’s Park. I’ve been trying to get some inspiration from other shoots I’ve seen to get a feel for what we’d like and here are some of my favourites.
It’s great to have the option to get away from things every once in a while and for us that’s traveling to the Gower and staying in my fiancé’s parents caravan. It’s the perfect opportunity to switch off as we only get limited network on our phones and it’s about 20 minutes drive away from the nearest form of civilization. We took 3 days off work to spend our days walking along the beach and clifftops, chilling out in front of the TV and occasionally eating out in some of the local pubs and cafes. We even caught up on some local history by visiting the remains of a castle, all of which was accompanied by days of glorious sunshine. It made for a perfect mini break and I’m sure we’ll be back in the next few months as the summer months approach.
Planning a hen / bachelorette party is a big ask of someone, especially if it’s a weekend long celebration or if travel is involved, so it’s best if you can get organised as early as possible. A large portion of the preparations for my own event is sorted, now that we’re about 3 months out and it’s been pretty easy so far. That’s because Hana, our mum and myself have been upfront about getting everything organised nice and early (we booked the hotel back in October), so there have been lots of discussions about what things we can do, how much these things will cost and who wants to be involved. Here are a few tips if you have your own party to plan, whether it be for yourself or someone close to you.
Before you start anything else, ask the bride-to-be for a time when she’d like to celebrate her last days as a single woman. She may want it to be a certain distance from the wedding itself or might have to choose a time that is convenient to take time off work. She’s the main person in all of this, so her schedule should be looked at first. Then figure out if it’s going to be a one-night celebration or whether it will take place over a weekend, which seems to be more popular these days. You’re getting all the basics down here, so that when you have a guest list, you have as much information as possible to give people.
Once you’ve come up with the dates, it’s time to start looking at locations. Is there a specific city that the bride-to-be loves, or somewhere that she’s always wanted to visit. She might choose somewhere local, or somewhere that you have to travel to, but I’m sure she’ll have some ideas about where she’d like to go. If you’re stuck for ideas, try looking at cities not too far from where you live and look at the activities, restaurants and bars in the area – you want to have plenty to do and lots of choices for food and drink locations. But remember, big cities are likely to be more expensive, so maybe try a comparison of 3 different places and weigh them all up.
You don’t need to nail down all the details at this stage, but having a rough idea of accommodation and travel expenses is a good place to start. There will be those that simply cannot afford to go away for a whole weekend, and you have to be okay with that but, in general, as long as you give people enough notice, they can usually put some money aside each month to afford the trip. If you think people may struggle, suggest paying instalments to a designated member of the group, so that it’s more manageable and one person can then be in control of deposits, etc. If you plan on undertaking any activities while you’re away, get a few quotes, so you know where you are with total costs. Factor in meals too.
Now is the time to get some guests on the invite list. Asking the bride-to-be for a list and some phone numbers or email addresses is a good place to start. Start a Facebook group to get everyone talking and for an easy way to post details to everyone en masse. Now that you have a date, location and rough cost, people should be able to tell you pretty quickly whether or not they’re able to make it. If you need to make any changes to the details, do it as early as possible, so as few people as possible are impacted. But remember, the bride to be is the most important person here, so run all changes by her to check that she’s okay with everything. You’re almost there!
Decide on whether you want to take part in organised activities, or whether you’re going to be a bit more relaxed with your plans. This will depend entirely on the bride-to-be and her preferences, so make sure she is consulted on the major decisions. If you want to take a cocktail making class, or have afternoon tea, enquire early with your dates and group number, just to ensure you’re not disappointed closer to the date when things are booked up. Look for unique activities that people won’t have done before and things that the whole group can enjoy. Sure, you can still take part in the traditional hen party games, but why not take a ghost tour or take a baking class too?!
Here’s the second part of our weekend trip to London. As well as visiting a few tourist hot spots, we went to eat out at a delicious restaurant near Leicester Square one night called Steak & Co. I highly recommend it to anyone heading to the area, especially considering the wealth of choice you have when setting out for that part of the West End. We also spent a little bit of time in a Canadian pub before heading back to Hammersmith, which was our base for the trip. I also highly recommend this area if you’re trying to find somewhere in Central London to base yourself for a weekend trip – it’s so well connected, but also has plenty of shops and eateries of its own to keep you busy. Here are some more photos, if you’d like to see.
So, this is part one of our London weekend adventure. We’ve been to London a bunch of times, and seem to visit a lot of the same places whenever we go. I suppose when you know you like certain areas, it’s really easy to keep heading back there, never to be disappointed. However, this trip we really wanted to do the tourist thing, visiting a few of the free sightseeing areas that we’d never got around to doing before. And we had the best time. We went to see Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, St. James’ Park, Buckingham Palace and the Natural History Museum. We’re even thinking of heading back again during the Summer, so we can do even more things on our list of places to visit in the UK’s capital. Here’s a little something of what we got up to, if you’d like to see.