Hen Party Planning: A Three Part Celebration In London
As Maid of Honour it’s sometimes a daunting task to organise a gaggle of ladies for a hen party. Here Nat talks through the day she planned for Firuze, with some tips and inspiration along the way.
It’s Monday and I’m feeling a bit blurry eyed. Not only have we just returned from a wonderful trip to Croatia (travel review coming soon), but I jumped off the plane and straight into hen party planning mode as Firuze’s hen party followed soon after.
After a successful trip to Barcelona for Firuze’s foreign hen party (see here) I organised another London based event for a wider group of friends. With around 15 ladies, all available at different times of the day, I thought it best to put on a full day’s activities so people could dip in and out as they chose depending on their time and their budgets.
So what marvellous activities did I plan to see Firuze off in style?
Part One: Cookery Class
Food is a big part of the TWOP girls makeup and Firuze’s lifestyle in particular so I thought it would be fun to do a cooking class. After some research on the interweb I found a brilliant company called Underground Cookery School who are totally geared up for large party bookings and have even had a few hen parties grace them with their presence before! The school is, like the name suggests, underground, and close to Old Street tube.
My mum and I went a little early to set up, but we really didn’t need to do too much as the space is fantastic. A large banquet table sits in the middle of the space with a fully equipped kitchen towards the back. It’s beautifully designed with an industrial charm, copper and teal interior and a big bright kitchen – it really is a great space for a group event.
After a quick safety briefing we were given aprons and told we had a fridge fully stocked with wine and prosecco to the delight of 12 excitable ladies. Hoorah!
We were to cook the menu as follows:
Truffle and Parmesan homemade tagliatelle
Roasted stuffed chicken breast, quinoa, cauliflower, lemon thyme jus
or Globe Artichoke, Vegetarian Scotch Egg & Stuffed Onion (v)
Starting with dessert the chefs took us through each process, explained why and what we were doing and helped those in need. Although it was tempting to eat the entire bowl of melted chocolate before we had poured it into the moulds, we didn’t and we did actually manage to get them into the oven in one piece. We then moved onto the main course and finished with my favourite part, which was making homemade pasta – something I had never done before and will be doing again soon! Who knew it was actually quite simple and great fun. After creating our pasta we hung it up and sat down as the team of chefs finished off our dishes and served up the 3 course meal.
We made all the food as a group, instead of being given individual ingredients and working separately, which actually made it more enjoyable. The chefs were super patient, very understanding and obviously talented as all the dishes came out and were actually edible! It was a brilliant experience and one I would recommend highly for any sort of group party, but especially a hen do.
Part Two: Pampering
I needed an in-between activity to not only break up the drinking but provide a little relaxation. Considering we would be out all day I decided it would be a good idea to have a little pampering session that involved sitting down. Luckily the Cheeky Parlour at Barber & Parlour was close by and offered a range of treatments for our party to choose from.
Again another very cool industrial looking space with an air of calm and wonderful staff who made us all feel very relaxed. The ladies could have a mani, pedi or blow dry along with more prosecco (running theme for the day!) and each received a lovely little gift bag along with their treatment. Firuze loved it so much that much we rebooked for the day before the wedding itself.
We left feeling refreshed and ready for the evening’s activities.
Part Three: Drinky Poo’s
I think we’ve passed the years of raving in a club, clutching a Blue WKD while propped up next to a speaker doing big fish-little fish moves. So, on that basis I found a nice cocktail bar in Farringdon to top off the day’s celebrations in a classier manner.
Oriole is a beautiful speakeasy, hidden under Smithfield Market. The rich and sumptuous space (sister venue to the notorious cocktail bar Nightjar) is sleek and contemporary offering a fusion of Old and New Worlds from the exotic Orient. Geometric shapes, eclectic wallpaper, wood panelling and a wonderful array of plants / herb gardens create a lush and interesting vibe to sip delicious tipples. Oh and let’s not forget a sprinkling of metallic finishes on everything from the bar to the glasses to make it feel all that more special. All in all it’s a pretty scrumptious place.
Oriole plays host to live jazz, blues and swing musicians and we were lucky enough to have an area conveniently close to the band and dance floor. We were given a large space and had a lovely waitress to tend to our every need – she didn’t even laugh when we ordered a round of sloe gin shots (probably not the best thing to shoot down but hey ho, they all went down anyway). We started with a round of gin punch, accompanied by nibbles, which were delicious (you MUST try the truffle croquettes) then finished with wine and some more random shots. After dancing to the swing band version of the Jungle Book (no I’m not joking and yes it was amazing!) we were ready to call it a night around 11:30pm – not so late you may say… but we had been drinking since 11am!
All in all a very enjoyable day, with some wonderful people and a great send off for Firuze.
- Choose a base location and stick to that area. Try and keep venues close to each other, otherwise it can become a nightmare to get everyone from A to B. I made sure all of our activities were based around East London, mainly Old Street.
- Make sure everyone has your contact details before the day starts. You don’t want to lose hens along the way!
- It’s nice to treat the bride to be, so remember to split her share of the day across everyone in the group.
- Negotiate prices and make everyone aware of their share of the bill before the day starts. Collect all money from the party beforehand. It makes it much easier to manage in the long run.
- Ensure the bride-to-be has a glass of bubbles in her hand at all times