I’ve said it so many times- hen do’s really are the best! Our bride to be Victoria found that out for herself when she found herself on an epic, emotional weekend recently. Here she is to tell you all about it.
Google hen do and there’s about as many decisions to make/destinations to choose from as there is a wedding! Oh how times have changed- quote my Dad….“Back in my day we had a stag NIGHT, where you went for a few pints with all your mates down the local pub, got tanked up and potentially got tied naked to a lamppost or lost an eyebrow.” Thankfully us girls are not all about the humiliation and more about the giggles, fun and love- so I was lucky enough to have THE MOST AMAZING weekend which consisted of just that (not a Borat mankini in sight- phew!)!
I haven’t ever organised a Hen do solo so really I guess I had no concept of the colossal task I had inflicted on my lovely little sis and Maid of Honour, Kady.
My list was over 20 girls long and I just specified no karaoke and no strippers…but apart from that it was down to her very capable self to organise. The planning of the event began well over a year ago- lots of secret group messages and chats that I wasn’t a part of- now obviously that was driving me crazy given how I like to be in control of EVERYTHING. I’m not going to deny that knowing NOTHING- not even the location didn’t get to me. It did. I think that everyone enjoyed the fact they had to keep everything from me but actually, I didn’t get my knickers in a twist about it too much because of the simple fact that I trust Kady wholeheartedly. BUT…..as the months turned in to weeks and I was getting a bit antsy , there was a little slip on Facebook with a comment which in avertedly revealed where we were all heading…..NEWCASTLE, pet! Woohoo I was so excited!!!!
A few days later came my ‘invitation, itinerary and kit list’ – all beautifully personalised. I now knew that we were heading to Newcastle, that there were two nights out planned, some games and also a rather mysterious activity that I would need ‘clothes that are old/don’t mind getting wrecked’ as well as trainers for- OMG was I so excited!! I definitely drove two of my friends mad the whole journey up to Newcastle as we were heading straight for the ‘activity’- I was nattering away and pondering about what it could possibly be. At one point I was freaking out, palms sweating and ended up googling gorge walking/coasteering/white water rafting in Newcastle, basically to prepare myself for the worst ahead of meeting everyone!
Having driven up with all the ‘Welshies’ (sorry Layla, I know you’re not actually Welsh!) and the rest of the girls coming up from Kent, with both contingents stopping in ‘half way hotels’ on the Friday night, I hadn’t seen Kady until I got out the car at the mysterious activity. We got there, pulled up and I was still none the wiser! I jumped out the car and felt a wave of such excitement and emotion! We ran towards each other and hugged and cried! This was the culmination of over a year’s worth of hard work for her and I know that she wanted it to be absolutely perfect in every way. Well….girl did good! Everyone then bundled in for a huge group hug and so it began!
The activity was ‘It’s A Knockout’- an outdoor course with inflatables, water, challenges and general craziness. I couldn’t wait to get going! Initially I was thinking some people will hate this and it will be like a hellish PE lesson……but as we were doing it, everyone was beaming – irrespective of age, shape, size, fitness levels- it was hilarious! Seeing my mum launch herself over giant inflatable rods, my friend Anna toddle around in a massive penguin suit and also my bridesmaid Gemma totally rugby tackle the hell out of our friend, Nicola on a giant inflatable with foam/bubbles (they were on the same team…..it was definitely long overdue payback for a prank!) are memories that I’ll treasure forever!
Obviously the competitive side of me came out (it’s never far below the surface anyway!) and both myself and Kady got really in to it- so much so that there was a moment during a challenge when walking across the course as a team on giant skis resulted in absolute fury (sorry Mum!)- but we all went off and bought the light-hearted vibe back by making giant human pyramids in the fields!
Once we were all relatively dry and changed we all headed to the hotel. Kady called me into her room and nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to see. Growing up I was always the creative one. I loved painting, drawing, reading and writing. Kady- well, valued art work and stuff like that as much as Simon Cowell would value a quid! She was more logical, practical and loved football. I was faced with two rows of cute little bags named ‘before’ and ‘after’ all adorned with individually stamped name labels on and photos! Everyone’s ‘before’ bag had a picture of me from my childhood- including the naked on a beach at 2 one, to the horrendous goofy ones, through to the “Mum, why did you make me wear a two piece checked lime green and purple Minnie mouse themed outfit with a matching headband” one?! The ‘after’ bags featured a photograph of me and whoever’s bag it was, which they carefully selected and sent to my sister. I cried like a baby! I was astounded by the effort and the thought she had gone to. (Cassie and Samie I know you girls helped immensely with this too! xx) The bags contained standard kit for a hen do- sashes, shot glasses, shots, willy straws, chewing gum….and for the ‘after’- water, paracetamol, crisps etc. Amazing- and a real hit with the rest of the Hen party.
The weekend continued to just be filled with laughter, embraces and countless photos! We all went out in force of Saturday night in our sashes (and me a tiara too- such a princess!) for a lovely meal. Kady had brought with her some (hard to explain) images that clipped on to your nose and hung over your mouth…..(see the pics for a visual representation!) and it was the funniest thing seeing everyone trying them on! Some people got rather attached (Layla and Amy) and decided to take them with us to the follow on bar, where they whacked them on on the dancefloor or when buying a drink. They caused quite a reaction!
Sunday was a lovely chilled start to the morning after a breakfast that was fit for a King. My mum did her standard 4 courses given that she was on holiday haha and really got her money’s worth! Obviously with there being so many of us, I found the dynamics a little overwhelming at times because I was conscious that I didn’t want to spend too much time with some people and not others etc. I really wanted a balance as after all, everyone had come because of me hadn’t they? However, people were really understanding of this and despite actually having different pockets of friends/family who came, everyone really seemed to just bond and chat to one another. (I think that having been to ‘It’s A Knockout’ and screamed, shouted and cheered, it had a really positive impact on the group as a whole!) Sunday morning/lunch time was a time for people to take things at their leisure, meander around Newcastle and take in the tooooon! I flitted between groups of people as we walked next to the Quays and around a cool little market where all of us bought too many candles and matching lunchbags?!
More tears were to come- tears of laughter first as we played a series of games on Sunday afternoon in an area of a big bar that had been cordoned off. Mr and Mrs…..well let’s just say my Fiance’s ever growing fanatic tendencies towards One Direction are significantly worse than I had thought! “If Dan could be anyone famous, who would it be?” …..I got the answer no sweat- “Anyone of the One Direction boys” (and yes, before you ask, he was absolutely devastated when Zayn left the band!) “Name Dan’s Celebrity Crush” said Kady. “Alicia Keys” I shouted, confident as anything- because it literally has been for the last 6 years…….! Wrong. That boy band who were formally a 5 piece and are now a 4 piece are apparently his ‘Celebrity Crush’?! We were all in stitches!
The lovely afternoon in the bar was drawing to a close but talk about saving the best until last. I was presented with a box. (Beautifully wrapped of course because Kady is the ultimate wrapper!) Inside, a gorgeous Pandora charm which is in a ‘knot’ sort of design to symbolise the fact I’m ‘tying the knot’ – as Cassie proudly told me! Underneath this then, a large flat thing was wrapped up- like a book? I was puzzled. OH MY GOODNESS, the bags on the Saturday got me, but this?! Words cannot describe how I felt! It was a scrapbook! Kady had sent everyone a piece of card and instructions to decorate it with words/pictures/a message etc to me and had them send it back to her so she could bind them all together! I was completely overwhelmed at the sentiment. Page after page of kind words, old photos with dodgy haircuts (Nicola’s was a shocker when we were 17!), old drawings/amazing masterpieces my Mum had kept and presented! Haha! My good friend Janine even did one from her gorgeous Daughter, Holly, who I love to bits! And Amy- we were born 4 days apart and have grown up together- she had actually collaged a picture for every single year of our lives together! I was a dribbling wreck! It felt like I was on ‘This is Your Life’! There are too many things to mention about the scrapbook but I have read it over and over and cannot get enough of it! I am such a lucky girl to have so many good friends and amazing family! One of the questions during Mr and Mrs was “what object would Vic rush to save in a fire” – well now, the answer would be this!
Sunday night ensued and we went ‘out out’ in the words of Micky Flannigan. The bar crawl began and my feet had wanted to give up the ghost from the moment we arrived- god damn new shoes! Top tip- remember to invest in some good blister plasters like compeeds- I sat down, whacked those on where they were pinching and honestly it was sweet relief immediately! I did get a few funny looks from just sitting down on the floor but needs must and all that!! Well we went from bar to bar, all in our sashes and this time I was wearing a veil and the drinks were flowing as well as the complimentary jager bombs. “Mum have you had one of these yet?”- her reply?…”Yeah I’ve had about 4 or 5 because some people didn’t want theirs”!!!! But she’s a tough one- still to this day I have never seen her drunk in my whole life! Everyone was having a good boogie (no hen do would be complete without that, right?- Although Caren was insistent on pulling a few rather ‘interesting’ back bends?!) and those who wanted to headed back to the hotel as time passed.
The night drew to a close and there were about 9 of us left standing! We celebrated with a group picture (got to love a selfie stick!) and headed back to the hotel where we chatted to a group of lovely Irish people, wore the clip on mouths, ate random fried chicken and on my part once again (it had happened in a club the night before too!) felt it appropriate to take the Geordie statement of “tash on” literally and used the poor bloke’s long locks as a fake moustache. I awoke the next morning to pictures of my ‘Welshies’ doing roly polys down the corridor at 3am with Kady and Cassie! Needless to say everyone seemed to enjoy themselves!
Getting back home was a massive comedown after all that! Having all those girls who mean so much to me all in one place and giggling the hours away! Seeing how much attention to detail Kady had paid and the lengths that she had gone to to ensure that I really had the most insurmountably fantastic weekend to remember really moved me. I love her unconditionally but this, well, it surpassed any expectations I had and I can never thank her enough for her time, thought and effort. I sent her some flowers but that doesn’t even scratch the surface! Maybe one day I will get to repay her? Karaoke and a stripper it is! Haha!
Being together with all of those girls who I love to the moon and back, knowing that they had all come wayyyyyy up North (and it genuinely felt like the never ending journey) to celebrate with/for me- it makes me smile like a Cheshire cat every time I think about it! I loved every second and I cannot wait until the wedding weekend in France! Bring your human pyramid A game girls- we’ll nail it this time! To those few who couldn’t make it unfortunately- have no fear, we can make up for it in August! Now the hen has been and gone (cue sad face, crying face, laughing face!) there’s just one thing for it…….now to get married! EEK!
Wow Victoria’s hen party definitely looked AMAZING! The scrapbook would have been the end of me I think! I would love to hear from our readers, what was the best part of your hen?