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The Stylist wedding blog: how to arrange a hen party for a hard-to-please bride

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Natasha Tomalin
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This week, Stylist’s resident bride-to-be Natasha Tomalin hands over the blog to her maid of honour, Bex Broughton, who shares her experiences of planning a hen do for a notoriously hard-to-please bride.

Tash and Bex as teens - way before hen parties came into the mix

Tash and Bex as teens - way before hen parties came into the mix

Must have tips for planning a hen 'do

  1. No matter what you and the girls agree/disagree on, the most important thing is that the bride always comes first no matter how far-fetched her expectations are 
  2. Stick to one email thread involving everyone and be clear that everyone must ‘reply all’ at all times. No-one wants to be left out and certainly no one wants to fall out
  3. Be cool, people. No one wants stilted, organised fun. If your bride doesn’t like exercise or activities, for God sake don’t make her do a dance class no matter how ‘fun’ you think it might be
  4. Use last minute booking sites. Booking.com in particular was great for its diverse volume of accommodation, from hotels to B&Bs, to apartments, chateaus or country cottages
  5. Be clear with budget from day one with all parties involved. It’s always a difficult subject, but that’s just a fact of life
  6. Enjoy it! Don't let the planning get on top of you. Your bride may be tricky, but she will be absolutely bowled over with all the effort you've all gone to, so try not to sweat it too much

And how it all went down...

"I’ve been best friends with Bride-to-be Tash for over 16 years now, so when she told me I was going to be her maid of honour I was beyond thrilled. Ever since we were grumpy grungers at school, Tash has been quite vocal about her dream wedding, and certainly has had some controversial opinions about others.

Anyone who knows Tash would agree she’s not the easiest of people to please. She has very particular taste when it comes to clothes, décor, hotels, restaurants… well actually, pretty much everything. She also has an extremely short fuse. Often referred to as ‘angry Tash’, she can fly off the handle at the smallest things. To say she is a tricky customer is something of an understatement.  

hens

All the hens dressed up for dinner on Saturday night

My plan was to arrange a long weekend with the bridesmaids, plus her mum and Ian’s mum and sister.

Location proved to be a bit of a nightmare. I knew I wanted it to be somewhere that would suit Tash’s personality and interests (we all know her gothic tendencies) but I certainly didn’t want anywhere that would encourage plastic willies, forced dress-up, cocktail making, or any of that flower-arranging nonsense.

This would be a classy affair!

After finally agreeing on a date, we managed to find the most beautiful cottage in Oxfordshire called the Old Swan and Minister Mill; champers on arrival, cozy roaring fires and great breakfasts all got the thumbs up from our fussy bride.

Knowing Tash loves a facial, we booked into the gorgeous Bamford Haybarn Spa at Daylesford Farmshop on the Saturday and planned a swanky dinner (complete with maroon walls and taxidermy) for the evening.

girls

No plastic willies thank you, this is class only...

hotel

Hens on tour outside the Old Swan & Minster Mill in Minster Lovell

On the Sunday, as Tash loves anything creepy, we paid a visit to the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford town centre, a collection of oddities featuring shrunken heads and skulls. 

She absolutely loved it - the other hens not so much – but as we learnt, at the end of the day, it’s all about the bride...

shrunken heads

Shunken heads and skulls: not everyone's cup of tea, but perfect for the bride

So, nothing out of the ordinary, just a lovely weekend away spent with the people Tash loves and a few extra quirks and personal touches here and there.

Best not to overthink, that’s my advice.

I'd love to hear your thoughts, so please post your comments below, or on Twitter @stylistmagazine and @natashatomalin, using the hashtag #Stylistweddingblog