Hmmm. Where to start with a post about The Hen Do…
Just as with the wedding day itself, the humble Hen Do comes with a whole host of talking points. Notice I am using the phrase ‘Hen Do’. This is so as not to offend those planning a Hen Night versus a Hen Weekend. Talking Point 1.
Then there’s the financial burden it can inflict on those invited/expected to attend. Does a Hen Do have to cost two, three, four times as much as a normal night out with friends? It’s all very well trying to organise a weekend away any other time- if you can’t afford it you can simply say No. But when it’s for a Hen Do… well you’re kind of expected to find the money. Or risk blighting your friendship. Talking Point 2.
And then there’s the control issue. Are you the bride who says “Surprise me!” and hands over all event control to your bridesmaids? Or do you actually have a very clear idea of what you are and aren’t prepared to do, and therefore you will organise your own damn Hen Do, thank you very much…? Talking Point 3.
And let’s not even get started on the ‘does the bride pay?’ issue. Talking Point 4.
Personally I’m in the Hen Night camp. This is closely related to the financial burden issue (two nights are more expensive than one- fact) but it is also where the whole tradition of a hen party began. Being a control freak I will most likely hand my bridesmaids a four-page document detailing exactly where, when and how I would like to celebrate, and I would expect to pay my own way. (But any drinks bought for me on the night would of course be gratefully received :))
Of course, we are all different and there is no right or wrong. If I won the lottery I would most likely whisk my friends away to a stunning private residence on the Cornish coast where we would have a chef cook for us and therapists beautify us and generally have a totally decadent, glorious time. But I’m not going to win the lottery, and in reality I don’t want to put a financial burden on anyone. Especially when we’re already asking people to fork out on a hotel for the actual wedding. In my (humble) opinion the Hen Do is a chance for all your favourite girls to meet and get to know each other before the big day; it’s a chance to let your hair down and relieve any stresses that have built up from those last few weeks of wedding planning; and it’s a chance to eat marshmallow willies and play ‘I Have Never’. Legitimately.
Inevitably I have already been asked what I’m planning to do for my Hen, despite it being a good ten months away, and naturally I’ve had a little think as to what I’d like to do. Of course, what I’d like to do and what I will likely do are two completely different things. One would cost a small fortune and the other will hopefully not put too much of a financial strain on my friends…
But whilst we’re here and whilst there is some time to go before actual plans are made, we could have a little delve in to my Hen Do fantasy…. couldn’t we?
For me I think it has to be London. With the majority of my friends living in or around the Big Smoke, it eliminates travel costs before we’ve even begun. I know, I know, this is supposed to be my fantasy but I’m a simple girl at heart. And despite living on the outskirts for my whole life I’m mildly ashamed to say that the London nightlife scene and myself have only ever really had brief dalliances. I’d say I know the West End fairly well, but living in the south-east suburbs my night only ever ends one way… with the last train home.
But Where Will You Stay?
Well. I have a dream. And in that dream my girls and I have set up camp in an uber-chic, uber-spacious, uber-luxurious hotel suite. We gather here in the afternoon and divide time between hitting the spa and playing ‘I Have Never’. We sit around in white, fluffy robes and those stupid free slippers that you can’t walk in because they’re so big, and we drink copious amounts of bubbly stuff and we beautify ourselves for the evening’s festivities. And we have a pillow fight. Ok maybe not a pillow fight but you get the idea. Girly pampering fun in luxurious surroundings with room service at our beck and call.
Any of the four sublime suites at Home House in Portman Square would do the job, I’d say. But the James Wyatt suite is my favourite with it’s quirky furniture, bright colours and huge bathroom.
Yes, it’s a private members club, not a hotel. And yes I’m sure it costs a bomb. But this is my fantasy, and with several bars, a restaurant, a beautiful garden and a gym/spa- we really wouldn’t need to go anywhere else.
So That’s It?
No, of course that’s not it. That’s just the day time bit done. With the evening setting in and our party frocks on we’d jump in cabs and head East, where the kool kids are hanging out these days… apparently. The less shiny, less touristy part of town, East London is currently where it’s at for any vaguely trendy Londoner in their 20s/30s.
First stop would be Shoreditch House, a private members’ club which occupies the top three floors of a renovated warehouse and consists of several bars, a rooftop pool, rooftop garden, a Cowshed spa and a private bowling alley.
Here we would sup on a cocktail, people watch, pretend we were cool and then leave pretty promptly because either we’re feeling totally inferior, or they’ve found out that none of us are members.
We’d move on to somewhere like Boundary bar, where you don’t necessarily have to earn a lot of money to be allowed in, but you do still have to be a little bit cool. It, too, has a rooftop bar. (You may be noticing a recurring theme here- I like a rooftop.)
At this point I think we’ll have had enough of being wanky, if I’m honest. Glamour and £20 cocktails out the way, I’ll be ready to party ‘bottle of house white- one glass please’ stylee, so we’ll hot foot it to a decent East London pub, like The Star at Bethnal Green. Why? Because it’s described as ‘the epitome of scruffy East End cool attracting some of the best DJs and drinkers on the circuit’ by Time Out, and it has a karaoke room for a mere £35 an hour. Obviously.
Bottle of house white downed and my karaoke song of choice sung (Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’, if you’re wondering), I really won’t care where we go from here as long as there is a dance floor and a DJ prepared to play some early 90’s classics such as The Outhere Brothers ‘Boom Boom Boom (Let Me Hear You Say Wey-Ho)’ and Tag Team’s ‘Whooomp There It Is’.
We will dance until the early hours, the men of East London will cry in to their beers because I’m the bride-to-be and therefore already taken (and quite frankly, with dance moves such as mine- who wouldn’t want me?), until we finally fall back in to a cab and head back to that beautiful suite at Home House.
I think we’ve established several things in this little delve in to my fantasy Hen Night.
- I wish I was a kool kid.
- I wish I earnt lots of money.
- I like playing ‘I Have Never’.
And to be honest, as long as point 3 is achieved, the Cava or Prosecco does floweth and dance hits of the early 90’s are played, I will be a happy little Hen. Beautiful hotel suite or not.
So what do you think, dear reader? Is my idea of Hen Heaven your idea of Hen Hell? What are you doing or what did you do to celebrate that ridiculously-named ‘last night of freedom’?