Emma and Dion’s September wedding had a laid back, rustic vibe. It was held at The Wallace Pub and Hotel in Victoria. “Our wedding was relaxed, vintage and a bit random!” said the bride. “I looked at Pinterest and blogs for ideas but mostly we just did things that felt right.”
“We had a surprise Elvis impersonator perform at the reception, which everybody loved! We also made our own invitations and wedding favours which were little jars of homemade marmalade. Boy, was that a long and sticky night of work!”
“We saved money on a lot of things. We went local for flowers which in the end only cost just over $500, including flowers for all the tables. We hired a VW van which was only $200 because we asked a local car aficionado to drive me and didn’t go through a formal car hire company. We also had several different cakes instead of just one traditional cake which was a lot cheaper.”
This weekend was my sister’s hen do (bachelorette for my American readers!) We planned everything as a surprise for her, but were under strict instructions that there be nothing pink, fluffy or penis shaped!
After posting a few photos on social media, I’ve had lots of questions about where we were and what we did (apparently a lot of you also want a send off that doesn’t involve inflatable penises or matching tee-shirts!) so I thought I’d share what we got up to. I’ve also ended the post with a few bonus tips to make sure your own alternative hen do goes off without a hitch!
Renting a house though Airb&b
There were 11 of us, so we decided that hiring a big house that we could all stay in would be the most fun and economical option. Rachel (my sister) didn’t really want to go ‘out out’ so we didn’t need to be near a big town or city.
I trawled Airbnb for weeks to find somewhere big enough to sleep everyone, that didn’t cost a thousand pounds plus a night, and if there was a hot tub or a pool, even better! Eventually we found Lower Tadmarton House, near Banbury. It was wonderful! The house slept up to 16 (although we had to share double beds, which no-one seemed to mind) and we had the option of hiring in a hot tub at an additional cost. It was PERFECT.
If you are wanting to do the same my advice would be to start looking way earlier than you might think you need to (especially if you’re doing it over a popular weekend, like the May Bank Holiday). I booked this place in January but even then a lot of the places I considered were already booked. Plus, some people did reject our booking when they found out we were a hen do! Mean!
Crown and Glory’s Candy Shop and a henna artist
Libby and Stephen were hitched in September at Tournerbury Woods Estate on the Hampshire/ West Sussex border. They didn’t set out to have a theme, but in throwing together all the things they liked it ended up being a super colourful, festival-esque day.
“Our wedding was an expression of our personalities and everything we love”, explained the bride. “We also had lots of colour! We wanted to create a day that was going to be fun for all our loved ones.”
“We were true to ourselves and didn’t have a theme and we created our own ceremony from scratch with our friend Harry. At the venue, they had this beautiful black metal pagoda which we decorated with ribbon and brightly coloured pots with beautiful plants and pink flamingos. Our guests were all sat on hay bales with crochet blankets sourced from various car boots and charity shops. As I walked down the aisle with my Dad and bridesmaids ahead of me to James Vincent McMorrow’s cover of Higher Love the sun came out and apparently dragonflies were flying around the guests! I was oblivious at this point as I must admit I was a little nervous.”
Danni and Ben, your wedding gives me LIFE. I am so excited to share it on the blog today.
This gorgeous heavily-tattooed pair were hitched in Maidstone, at a venue called Kent Life. “Our wedding theme was a bit of a mixture of 1950s, rural farm life and a tea party!” said Danni. “We love the 1950s anyway, I have a huge collection of dresses already and we just love the music and the dancing. I really love that our wedding was personal to us and wasn’t generic.”
“One of the highlights of the day was our fire breathing burlesque dancer!” she continued. “That’s pretty different to most weddings! We just wanted to be ourselves and also to make sure there was a lot going on all day. I would never want anyone to say they were bored, so we had wooden games, a sweetie table and a Rat Pack tribute. We also had close up magic and it really created such a great atmosphere with people crowding round and laughing!”
Polish born Karolcia and Paweł were married in June at a church in Skierniewice. They then travelled to Nieborów for their casual reception at Oberża pod Złotym Prosiakiem, a restaurant in a beautiful all wooden building. It rained (A LOT!) but it didn’t dampen their spirits one little bit!
“We met at primary school”, began the bride, “we used to sit together at the same desk! For our wedding we wanted something boho and Rock n Roll but also inspired by Polish folk.”
“We loved planning the wedding together”, she continued. “Each decision that we had to make brought us closer and we even got to know each other better!”
Dave and Vicki’s Hull wedding was colourful, fun and laid back. They were inspired by bright colours, geometric shapes and wild flowers. They also had lots of Lego details such as the amazing table plan (so creative!) and the table numbers.
“We tried to stay away from the stereotypical big white wedding as we just didn’t feel like that was us and we wanted the day to represent us as a couple”, Vicki explained. “We basically just wanted a big party and for everyone to have as much fun as as.”
“I walked down the aisle to a Yann Tiersen song from Amelie which is one of our favourite films and something that came up in conversation on our first date. I was really relaxed all morning but then as soon as we arrived at the venue I was suddenly really nervous to walk down in front of everyone. I got a bit teary during the vows but Dave soon lightened the mood once we were officially man and wife by lifting my arm up and cheering which got a big laugh off everyone! We then walked out to one of our favourite bands Belle and Sebastian and headed straight off to take some photos.”