Now that my hen weekend has come and gone, I thought it would be a good idea to set out the activities we did while we were away and make some recommendations on what went well and what didn’t, in case you are in the process of organising a trip like this one. We travelled to Bath, in the Southwest of England, which was my choice of location – it’s a great shopping town, with lots going on, without it being a loud and overcrowded party destination. It was the perfect location and I highly recommend taking a trip there if you haven’t already. We tried to organise some original activities that everyone would enjoy, but which were also a bit different, so that it felt like a unique trip which was still a lot of fun. Here’s what we got up to.
– Cocktail making
This was perfect for the first activity – it got everyone chatting and getting to know each other whilst making some delicious cocktails and preparing us perfectly for a fun evening. We got a room to ourselves, along with a bartender, to show us the ropes and get us learning some new skills in drink making, and it was something few of us had done before. We had a couple of girls on the hen who didn’t drink alcohol, but that didn’t stop them from getting involved and they were made to feel just as welcome as those ladies who were drinking the alcoholic versions. We had plenty of time given to us to finish our drinks, so we weren’t rushing them to allow for another group to follow, and that added to the relaxed and informal atmosphere. I highly recommend this as the first activity in your weekend, as it was just right to start a fun-fuelled time.
– Afternoon tea
This is something that lots of people are familiar and enjoy every time, so is always well received. Who doesn’t love sandwiches, sweet treats and tea to make themselves feel posh and sophisticated?! Again, we had a space to ourselves for this, so it was a great time to get some quizzes and games on the go, for a bit of extra fun! My mum had even brought some prizes along, to amp up the competition and get people excited in taking part. All games and quizzes were wedding related or in some way related to me and my boy, so there was a clear theme through everything and people knew what to expect. This was another couple of hours well spent, enjoying good food and chatting amongst ourselves, and was a super reasonable price for the whole experience. Afternoon teas vary, so look for reviews online, as they can be really helpful.
– Escape rooms
Everyone had such a blast with the escape rooms we had organised for one evening before dinner. It’s a simple idea – you’re placed in a room or several rooms and are giving a series of clues or puzzles to solve in an allotted time in order to ‘escape’. It’s such fun in a few groups like ours to try and work together to solve all of the clues and eventually win the game and is something that no-one in our group had done before, so it felt really unique and unusual. This was most people’s favourite activity and several people have commented on trying to find other places like this around the country, so that they can give it another go, so it was a huge hit! It’s always nice to try and find things that are a bit different and you wouldn’t find in every town and city, so that the entire trip becomes memorable, as it’s nice to stand out from all the other hen weekends that people will go on.
– Craft morning
Another fun and different activity we tried was a craft morning, for which we got to each make a wedding garter and have a bit of lunch before we headed home. It was surprising, considering the varying levels of creativity within the group, just how much everyone enjoyed themselves. People who wouldn’t consider themselves that way inclined really got into it and made some gorgeous end products. Again, we made this into a little competition, which I judged, so that brought out some competitive natures I didn’t know existed! There were a ton of different crafty activities to choose from, so I’m sure there would be something to suit each and every hen out there, and I’m hoping all of the hens will bring their home made garters to the wedding, so that we can pose with them and be reminded of the great weekend we had!
Tips and advice
– Keep organisers to a minimum
It’s so easy to get caught up in getting ideas from everyone when it comes to a hen weekend like this, but it’s better to keep organisers to a minimum so that too many opinions don’t spoil the overall atmosphere. Plus, it leaves more surprises for everyone, which is half the fun! Remember that the bride-to-be is the most important, so try to keep her in mind at all times when deciding on what activities to take on.
– Don’t try and keep everyone together all the time
People are bound to want to do different things in between the organised activities, so let smaller groups go off and do their own thing. Some like to shop, others like to chill at the hotel, you’ll have plenty of time to spend as a group, so don’t stress if people don’t want to spend the entire time in each other’s pockets.
– Overestimate the time each activity will take
You’ll likely need to walk between places and sometimes activities take longer than anticipated, so allow for that in your plans. As I said, we were encouraged to take our time whilst drinking our cocktails, so it was good that we left an hour or two between that and the booking of our first dinner so that we didn’t have to rush around.
– Try ice-breakers and quizzes
As well as the amazing organised activities, we also took along some games and quizzes to do whilst we had some quiet time, so that people could get to know each other better, have a little fun competing and enjoy the company of others. Some people in our group didn’t know each other as well as others, and this was the perfect way to introduce everyone in a fun way.
– Stay close to the action
We chose a hotel that was perfectly located right in the centre of the town, so that we could walk easily to our various destinations. We didn’t have to bother with taxis and we could pop back to the hotel to chill out or change super easily, which just meant less stressing and wasting time in general.
I did it. I had a hen party. In fact, it was a whole weekend, and I had the absolute best time. I plan on doing a follow-up post with all my tips and recommendations on throwing something super memorable, but for now here are some phone photos of our few days away. It was the perfect weekend, spent with the most wonderful bunch of ladies, so I came back feeling extremely grateful and blessed to have been able to spend time with them doing such fun things.
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?!