When thinking of a bachelorette party, pink sashes, willy-straws and booze-fuelled dramas come to mind and we ludicrously spend £200 on average for this privilege. Like many, I felt compelled to plan a magical weekend away without great expense.
I won’t lie… I spent an outrageous amount of time researching things we could do and from this, I want to share my experience for any overwhelmed maid of honours’ looking to organise something similar, in hope that my research can help someone else!
It’s incredibly daunting to plan an important and memorable weekend, and with the brides’ best friends scattered across the country I felt that the ultimate goal was to get everyone together as it really is the people that make the experience!
Canopy and Stars was an excellent tool of inspiration. Although it’s a glamping site, it is fuelled with imaginative and affordable ideas around the country, from a vintage gnu caravan to luxurious treehouses actually in the trees! In my experience, hotels can be overpriced and booking group accommodation is far more economical and memorable.
First and foremost, identify a budget and location which everyone can reach. This will help narrow down a huge amount of achievable ideas. For us, our location was set on course for Brighton! Again I was worried about how we could avoid the stereotypical ‘hen weekend’ but Canopy and Stars saved us!
Withyfield Cottage is and enchanting cottage set just 20 minutes outside of Brighton! It is a modern but sustainable cottage set on a working dairy farm, surrounded by a beautiful wild garden; perfect for a bohemian bride and Janice (the owner) very sweetly laid out flowers and fresh, ‘gooey’ home-made chocolate brownies on our arrival. They are the perfect hosts and made our stay incredibly welcoming; it is the small details that leave a lasting impression and I couldn’t be more appreciative for all their efforts.
As we stayed in self-catering accommodation, I was able to bring food with us (to lower the costs) which I knew worked with everyone’s dietary requirements and obviously stock up the fridge with booze. Two recipes I was really impressed with were i) Thai Veggie Rolls and ii) Carrot Cake; Vegetarian food is easy to transport and prepare the night before, and these recipes are amazing (I practised them weeks earlier)!! Naturally, it’s best to make the first night laid back so people can arrive to their own schedules. For us, I prepared dinner while one of the girls gave body massages – this gave us all time to eat, chat, settle and get silly with games by the end of the evening. Really do make use of the girls skills… we couldn’t have afforded massages / pampering as well as all the extras and so this really made a lovely extra for those looking for a weekend escape to unwind!
At this point, you have to look in to what’s available on your doorstep to bring the rest of the weekend together! In the morning, I invited brilliant Yoga teacher come in to guide us through a morning yoga session (£5/pp) and she got us all in to a great start for the day by finishing on some laughing yoga… I won’t lie… it’s odd but you do catch the giggles laughing at your friends! Then to get us back on the ‘hen party’ track, I got everyone to dress up (for a bit of girlieness) as we ventured in to Brighton as Disney characters for some dancing with The Cheerleading Company! This was great fun and Tasha our instructor was amazing at showing us some moves and leading us through some silliness! We had a great time dancing and filming our moves to the ‘Bare Necessities’ and ‘Be Our Guest’! This worked brilliantly for us as we could use the facilities here to change in to our evening dresses.
We made a quick stop for drinks on the beach before heading to dinner at Food For Friends! This is an amazing restaurant with fresh food and they were incredibly supportive in making a special occasion memorable. We added fairy lights and flowers to our table and the staff were brilliant at helping. Finally we finished at Bohemia for extravagant cocktails! This was a long day full of activities but very affordable as a group.
Lastly, having used up the budget, we went to Wiston Granary for tea and breakfast and finished off with a walk around Chanctonbury Ring to cure the hangovers!
Honestly, the hardest part is figuring out the budget and what location works for everyone. This will cut out a huge amount of research and get you on track. I looked at weekends away across the country and Europe but wished that I had worked this out before getting too wrapped up with the possibilities. Once you have this sorted, the rest will fall in to place!
The most important thing here, is to know your audience. If the girls are in to healthy eating and pampering – that’s a great direction to peruse. Likewise, if the girls like adventure, butlers in the buff or clubbing – there will always be something you can do, whether out and about or at the accommodation. The most important thing, is to positively bring together a group of people in high spirits to form a memorable weekend for the bride-to-be. She will remember this weekend forever x