Saturday, 8 November 2014

Hen Party Part I

Last month I organised my lovely friend Jo's hen party in Manchester. Eeek! Not a task I undertook lightly.  I thought I would let you know of the little things I did to try and make the weekend special and the following is the result of lots of planning, Googling, hard work and organisation.  So, without further ado you are cordially invited to the Marvellous Manchester Hen Weekend Part I!

The Invite
When Jo first asked me to organise her hen party, I knew I wanted to send something out to all of the hen's to introduce myself and give them an invite to the hen weekend.  However, I didn't want to spend my budget on invitations, and then I came across the lovely website that is Paperless Post. Paperless Post allows you to create gorgeous email invites.  You pick your invite, customise it, then email it out. There are free ones to choose from or you can pay a small fee for others.  I chose a free one and I emailed this out to all the hen's introducing myself and telling them to keep their eyes peeled in their inbox for more exciting hen news! You can find the website for Paperless Post here.


Website and Phone App
An important part of any hen party is the anticipation of the weekend. As the hen's were coming from all over the country I wanted a forum where we could share our excitement and message each other and debate the serious business of who is bringing hair straighteners. I knew of websites for weddings, so I sneakily set up a hen party website through www.mywedding.com.  I changed the details to 'Jo is getting married' instead of the couples name and I then emailed each hen with details of the website and their password and we had a lovely website to share all things hen party. The site was so easy to set up and you could customise the site to suit your needs. I had sections with travel arrangements, prices, an itinerary and a chat forum.  



I also set up an app through Wedding Pics (their website is here).  We all downloaded the app to our phones and it meant we could upload the pictures of the hen party immediately into one place.  Again, it was password protected so only the hen party could see.  It meant it did away with the annoying 50 pictures of the same shot as we all grappled to get our phones out. Only one of use needed to take the picture then upload it to the app and we could all see it on our phones.  This is such a genius idea!  The app lets you download the photos and comment and like the pictures too, and again, it was so easy to set up!  This is mainly used for weddings, but I think its such a good idea you could use it for so many things really. 

Gift bags
I knew straight away that I wanted little goody bags for each of the hens and so started my quest for the perfect hen party gift bag.  I adore www.notonthehighstreet.com and if you have never visited this website, seriously, go and look now, but be warned, you WILL be addicted.  They did not disappoint and straight-away I found these gorgeous bags from TillieMint that were personalised with Jo's name and then little badges that were attached to personalise each bag. TillieMint kindly gave me a group discount on the bags and their service was amazing.   The bags were the perfect size for all of the goodies and looked amazing, you can buy the bags here.


I scoured the shops for little finds to fill up my bags. There was the obligatory tissues (for tears of laughter), plasters (for our feet after hours of dancing) and paracetamol (for the morning after). I then found bulk packs of shampoo, conditioner and face wash from one of the pound shops and I thought these were perfect if any of the girls had forgotten their toiletries. I also included mints and a gorgeous Maybelline lip balm which I found in the pound shop again! 


The pretty mirrors were from Kimberley Rose, again from notonthehighstreet.com.  They were personalised with Jo's name and then the date of the hen party. These were perfect as a keepsake for the hen's and you can find them here. The little Mr & Mrs sweets I got from Hobbycraft and they were the perfect size for the bags, you can find them here. 

Bunting and photos



Unbeknownst to Jo we had decorated my hotel room with bunting and I had collected photos from everyone of Jo, ranging from her as a baby, to wild nights out and school photos.  It was lovely to see the photos other people had, and it was an ice breaker as we all went round laughing at the photos (sorry Jo) and reminiscing about the good old times!!!

Guest Book
A tradition that I have seen at lots of hen parties is where all the hens write in a book with funny stories, memories and advice for the hen.  I asked all the hens to send me photos of themselves with Jo and then I set about making the book.  I wanted to include lots of life quotes and saying's in the book, so after lots of Google searches (thank the lord for Google), I hand stamped the pages and interspersed quotes with photos.  Each hen then wrote a special message for Jo. Hobbycraft do lovely guestbooks, the one I picked is here. And I also picked up individual hand stampers from Hobbycraft here.

Signed photo
I wanted to get another keepsake for Jo and bought a lovely black photo frame from Wilkinson with a plain white mount.  During the course of the weekend I managed to take a photograph of all of the hens together.  I ran (literally) on the Sunday morning to get the photo processed, and then all the hens signed their names around the photo on the mount.  It really looked effective and we gave it to Jo at lunch on the Sunday. 

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a lucky sixpence in her shoe. 
I am a sucker for traditions.  As Jo is gong abroad to get married, none of the hens were actually going to see her on her big day.  I thought it would be nice if we all did the tradition, and between us all we filled a little box with keepsakes that fitted the traditional rhyme. 

And that's it.  It took alot of hard work, but all the little things really came together and I think (and hope), made the hen weekend really special and provided some keepsakes which Jo will hopefully look at in years to come. Sometimes its the little things that add up to make something really special.  

I will be posting my hen weekend part II tomorrow with reviews of the places we went to in Manchester. Its well worth a read if you want to know some of the amazing restaurants and bars there (and you get to see the huge amount of food I consumed!!). 

Have you got any hen weekend plans or keepsake ideas? Please comment below and lets share the inspiration!

Thanks for reading!



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