Hen Night Hangover

I recently rewatched the movie the Hangover. I turned to my husband and said something like “…but that is THE destination though isn’t it. If you lived anywhere near there, you just would, wouldn’t you? It’s pretty hard to beat!…”

I was of course talking of Las Vegas. Sin City. The adult’s play ground. It’s like a much, much more glamourous and much, much more serious Fun House for adults many of us early 80s kids have wished someone would invent! More than anything I think Las Vegas is super cool. You can really fancy yourself in Las Vegas, you can take yourself seriously as a grown up, but have an absolute blast. You can be pampered, you can indulge, you can completely lose track of time. You can act like a big kid or you can go all classy and demure. Anything goes.

image from ioffer.com

But let’s face it, most British hen and stag dos cant stretch to that airfare + hotel tarifs + spending money! So where else could you go on your bachelor/bachelorette party as the Americans call them? It got me thinking of other super cool destinations for your party of a lifetime…

The first and largest hotel made of ice can be found in Swedish Lapland. A trip to Ice Hotel offers amazing experiences like taking in the stunning Northern Lights, snowmobiling and skiing, but it’s only open December – April. The mindboggling thought of sleeping in an ice bed in an ice room in an ice hotel actually sounds lovely! You get togged up in your sleeping bags and sleep on reindeer skins. They bring you a hot drink in bed in the morning. Then you warm through in the sauna and showers before breakfast.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/northernlights

Closer to home, Ice Bar London is a fabulous venue, with the bar itself and various lounges available for private hire. The bar is made entirely of ice, and is open year round. Dine here before sipping cocktails out of glasses made of ice! How fun! The Ice Hotel project is a must for art and architecture lovers. These party venues are art installations in themselves.

Staying with London – think big! If you have the budget, you can hire any number of places to hold your party including museums, performing arts venues, and royal palaces! If you’re hiring a venue like this for your wedding, it’s a nice excuse to try it out with just the girls (or boys)! Whatever you do, DO NOT search for “hen/stag party venue” and click on one of the many event management sites that hire venues as part of a hen/stag package. It might be easy but you pay for the ease of a package. If you go down the private hire route you’ll get a better deal, and your event will be tailor made to your requirements. How about chocolate tasting in a private capsule for 20 of your closest friends, on the London Eye?

http://www.virginballoonflights.co.uk/blog/when-is-an-envelope-not-an-envelope/

Now think bigger than London. Is a hot air balloon ride something you’ve always wanted to do? A basket can hold 16 guests! Choose to fly over the place you got engaged, your old school and stomping ground, magnificent castles or beautiful countryside. Now think boat party. River boats are cool, but how about a yacht on the Solent? Or off the Devonshire coastline? Onboard jacuzzi and sunbathing, a dip in the sea, dolphin spotting, BBQ, and of course oodles of champagne. What more could we want?

Your hen or stag do can be anything you want it to be. As with weddings, they should not be generic and impersonal but reflect who you are and what you love. Get creative and go all out. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to spend some high class, quality time with the girls/boys and to make lifelong memories. You probably wont be organising your own shindig but that doesn’t mean you can’t drop big hints. Just send your Best Men and Ladies over to my blog, or email them a few links to check out. 😉

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Weddings as they used to be

Going vintage is all the rage, but we’re not just going vintage because it’s pretty or because it’s cool. The wedding industry is vast. There are certain gate keepers and venues in particular love to tell brides what we must have, what we can’t have, what’s possible, and how much it will all cost us to do it their way. Most brides faced with the authority of the industry go with it, wanting to put on the perfect wedding for themselves and their guests. People expect certain things of weddings – a certain kind of dress, certain drinks, certain music, certain transport, certain grandeur and formality, certain entertainment, certain food, certain favours, certain dancing, certain schedule for the day. Planning a wedding is no mean feat.

But not all brides want the conventional wedding, which has become rather more about the after party than the ceremony itself. To me that reflects the pressure on the couple to make sure their guests have a great time, that everyone is pleased. What about the couple though, are they building in moments during the day to be alone together, to soak it up, to reflect, to spend that precious day on things that really mean the most to them as individuals and as a couple? OK for some brides and grooms the most important thing is pleasing their guests; is having a good drunken dance; they might be happy just to get through the day without any stress. That’s not good enough for me, your wedding day should be magical and memorable in those ways significant to you both, and to your family and friends.

So brides and bridegrooms to be, what do you want?! Think about what your ideal wedding would look like if you could remove all the conventional boundaries, rules, and obstacles. Think about what a wedding is really about, traditionally, culturally, at its essence. That should be your starting point. Build your wedding around those dreams. If that means looking for an unusual venue, having your dress made from scratch, reducing your guest list to only 20, serving cheese instead of cake, arriving on a bicycle, ending the wedding at 5pm, then do it. If that’s what you want, don’t let the expectations or narrow-mindedness of others stop you, no matter how much you love them. This day is about you. Dare to dream!

If you’re thinking of a vintage wedding consider holding the ceremony in a family back garden, at a village hall, in a tea room, on a farm, exchanging vows in a hot air balloon, on a narrow boat. As long as the venue is safe and dignified the choice is all yours, with humanist ceremonies.