Hen weekends have gained themselves a bit of bad press over the years haven’t they?
They seem to have developed a reputation for being totally raucous with plenty of cheap plastic head wear and dodgy fancy dress situations going on.
When I organised a friends’ hen party last year I knew she’d have hated that kind of thing. What she wanted was an altogether more stylish affair full of laughs, friends, a comfy bed and plenty of nice drinks. There wasn’t a blow up ding dong in sight I can assure you!
The venue and activities took a fair bit of planning. Housing up to twenty ladies in a nice comfy establishment is no mean feat, and so I thought I’d share what we did in case you’re a bride (Or a hen weekend organiser flapping about a suitable venue) looking for an altogether more stylish hen weekend.
The city of choice was Bath. A beautiful and historic English city which was far enough away to feel like we were ‘away for the weekend’ but close enough to mean we didn’t spend the whole time travelling. It’s always a consideration when you’re planning a weekend away.
We stayed in a delightful town house called Rennie House. A place with plenty of bedrooms to house the gang, some nice spacious bathrooms, a lovely lounge and a basement kitchen and dining room.
We arrived early on the Friday afternoon and took our bags straight up to Rennie House. Unfortunately, as with much of Bath, there wasn’t parking right outside the house, however there were three garages and surrounding roads where you can park. You just need a nice designated driver who will help with drop off and then park up after.
After we’d picked our rooms and sussed out the house we headed down into the town for cocktails. It was early but hey what the heck, it’s not every day that a bestie gets married.
We had a lovely lunch and a couple of cocktails before staggering, squiffy eyed, back up the hill towards home. By that point the rest of the gang had arrived and part one of the activities could begin.
Drinks and chats in the lounge which included Aperol Spritz. Lots of Aperol Spritz. Not sure we’ll be partaking in that particular tipple again for a while in fact!
Raucous? Us? Never?
Mother of the bride made the most fantastic Delia Smith lasagne. Slow cooked for several hours on her Aga and totally delicious.
I made a chilli for the gluten free among us – yes it wasn’t pretty, but it tasted ok. I used a Lorraine Pascale recipe which I love.
After dinner we stayed up late chatting about life, love and weddings while bride to be’s God Mother told stories of her younger years. It was such a fun evening, almost like a fancy sleep-over for adults!
On Saturday we were up with the larks. Well not quite, but when you have a nice place to stay you don’t mind spending time indoors. Little hen was more than a little hung over so we spent time reading and snoozing and some of the others explored the local area.
By afternoon we were up and about and raring for the next instalment of the hen party, a 1920’s dance class where we were to learn the Charleston. It was booked via a hen party company specialising in professional dance instruction and classes. This was to be Great Gatsby Esq and we were not disappointed. The dance teacher was really very good and it wasn’t long before we were sashaying around like true pros. Well it felt that way in my head. The camera lied!
We had dinner at The Cow Shed which had recently opened its doors in Bath. In pre ‘busy life’ days Phil and I often visited Bristol, his old uni town, and The Cow Shed in Clifton is a favourite of ours. Worthy of another blog post I think in fact. They served us all on a table in the basement and the food was delicious as ever.
On our final day we ate a delicious breakfast before exploring the shops and buying some little mementos from the weekend. We all enjoyed Bath so much – it’s city which has it all. Plenty of history, nice places to eat, shops and of course beautiful places to stay like Rennie House. And not a tacky hen party outfit in sight!