Hen / Bachelorette First Steps

Hen Party Tips

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.

1. Date

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.

2. Location

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.

3. Cost

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.

4. Guests

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!

5. Activities

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?!

London: Part Two

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.

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London: Part One

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.

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Wanderlust: Top of My List

Wanderlust: January 2015

There are so many places I want to visit – I know I’ll never get to them all – so I suppose the most sensible option is to have a list of those places that I’d love to go most and work from there as I get through them. Once we start a family in the next few years I’m not sure how likely it is we’ll get to any of them at all, but I’d like to think that travel is in our future, once 2015 and the expense of a wedding and honeymoon has come and gone. I want to visit these places for lots of different reasons – some for the sight-seeing, some for the atmosphere, some for wandering the streets aimlessly, so we’ll see how I get on, shall we?

Paris

I have actually been to Paris before, but it was just a couple of days to visit Disneyland with my sister back in 2008, so it wasn’t a ‘proper’ visit, as such. I want to wander the streets, stop in sidewalk cafes and watch the world go by, as well as visit the Eiffel Tower and a few of the other tourist things that locals may not enjoy, but I would love.

New York

Ideally, I would like to visit New York at Christmas time – I know there are probably a ton of other times which are just as enjoyable, but there is just something about this place that seems suited to the festive season. I would visit every tourist attraction as possible if I visited here, just because they’re all so famous and I feel like need to be seen to be believed, but I’d also like to seek out some hidden gems, just to experience things more like a local too.

Nashville

I’m not going to lie, it’s the music that has compelled me to want to visit Nashville – so much history and so much of what I enjoy seems to come from this place – and it seems like an awesome place to be. I’d look for the best bars, the best music and the best food if I visited here and I’m sure I’d have a great time. My boy and I both want to visit this part of the world, so it’s definitely near the top.

Edinburgh

This is one UK city that I really want to visit but haven’t got to yet. My boy has been and really enjoyed his time there, and I’ve almost been there on a couple of occasions in the past, but haven’t quite got there in the end. The culture, history and architecture would definitely draw me there and entice me to explore as much as possible. Maybe my boy and I will make it up there for a weekend soon – it would be my choice anyway.

Rome

I’ve been to Italy before, but never visited this famous city. Again, this would be a tourist attraction dream, visiting all those magnificent buildings and finding out about all the deep history of the place, so it would be very near the top of those cities that I really want to visit in my lifetime. In fact, there are lots of places I’d like to see in Italy, but this would have to be my first choice.

Photo Credit: Lonely Planet

A Little Time Away

My boy and I were lucky enough to get away for a few days the back end of last week, as we often do around this time of year (see here and here). It was a chance for us to do a little food and drink tasting for our wedding, as well as enjoy a couple of nights away from home around our 6 year anniversary, so we loved every second. We visited our wedding venue, got to spend the night at the hotel attached to our venue, meet with our florist, visit the towns nearby and eat way too much food. We love getting away at least once a year, especially as we haven’t been on a proper vacation this year, so this was the perfect opportunity to enjoy the festivity of a small town, get some wedding stuff checked off and spend some quality time together. We hope to continue this tradition after we’re married, as I love getting away in December and enjoying some of the Christmassy things going on all over the country, even if there will be another anniversary to celebrate from then on.

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Honeymoon Planning

Honeymoon Planning

As I announced here, we booked our Orlando, Florida honeymoon in July and I’ve been getting into planning mode ever since. Today marks 371 days until we get on the plane (we’re going 122 days after our wedding, to ensure adequate saving/excitement time) and I’m already downloading apps, buying books and taking notes on the best way to do everything. Here are a few thoughts on how everything is going so far, just in case you too are planning a Florida vacation with your other half and want to know how others go about it.

Reading books and blogs

I’ve bought an unofficial guide and keep checking in on various blogs to see what’s going to be going on during our trip, as well as picking up tips for little-known things we can get up to while we’re there. It can be difficult to find specific advice for couples going on trips like this, as it can so often be geared towards families with kids, but I’m managing to find hidden treasures here and there (this one is especially useful) and I’m making a ton of notes on things we should be planning to see.

Planning non-theme park activities

There are a few activities which we want to book or do, that are unrelated to the theme parks, and I want to make sure they are as much of a priority as the theme park hopping we’ll be doing most of the trip. The Kennedy Space Centre, Mall of America and catching an Orlando Magic game are all high on the list for us, and I think it’s important for us to visit a couple of places which are a little different so we don’t get tired of the same thing over and over.

Saving money

The main thing for us and this trip is that it can’t break the bank. We know it’s going to be an expensive holiday, but at the same time, we don’t want to come back in debt because we got carried away whilst we were there and spent way too much money. We plan on eating outside of the theme park all but one or two evenings and have chosen a hotel that includes breakfast and a free shuttle service, so we are going to be saving money wherever we can and spending some needed time outside of theme parks. We’ll probably take extra money for souvenirs and for any extra quality activities we might want to do (those things which add a little extra to the experience), but bad, overpriced meals in the parks is always going to be hard to justify.

Making time for rest and relaxation

We know an Orlando theme park based holiday is tough – I’ve done it twice before myself – but we’ll definitely be making some time for a little R&R when we get overwhelmed by all of the hustle and bustle of the main attractions. A lazy shopping day, a trip to a spa, taking a walk at one of the resort beaches, we will be taking time out to spend quiet, relaxed time together as newlyweds, in between all the busy.

Downloading apps

WDW Lines and My Disney Experience are my go-to apps for anything Disney related, the official Universal Orlando app is great for information on their resort and Trip Advisor is always a great go-to for eating and activity recommendations, so I’m sure I’ll be spending lots of time on those leading up to and during our trip. I’ll probably find a few more along the way, and I suppose I’ll be all over my photography apps when we get out there, but this is where I am with them right now.