If you’re new around these parts, my best babe Veronica and I first designed these planners in 2017, and they were an instant success, selling out in just 24 hours. We’ve since done a second drop, which was snapped up, and we gifted them to the lucky lot that attended Rock n Roll Bride Live last year. To say these are like hens’ teeth would be an understatement. Whenever planning is mentioned on our Instagram or in our Facebook group, the planner gets requested to make a comeback. Well after a brief hiatus because well, 2020 happened, it’s finally back in stock!
Content creator Natalie Lee of Style Me Sunday was diagnosed with alopecia in 2016, a condition that effects 1 in every 500 people in the UK. Keep reading if you’re experiencing the same issue and are worried about it affecting your confidence on your wedding day, and beyond.
In May 2016 I walked out of the dermatologist’s office having just been told that the hair follicles were dead and there’s no hope of them growing back. Apparently, people of African/ Caribbean decent have less hair shafts than Caucasians meaning they are much more susceptible to hair loss. I didn’t know this before I’d started to lose mine. I came out of his office and I cried in the street as people walked past me. I was on the own, having dropped the kids off at school earlier and had almost skipped along to my appointment after being referred by my GP a couple of weeks prior. I was feeling positive, hopeful even, that I’d get some answers and be able to take a load of vitamins and my hair would slowly start growing back like I heard had happened to friends of mine. After all, I’m otherwise healthy, never had any hair loss issues before and had never known anyone in my family with alopecia so I was pretty confident it could be easily fixed.
The doctor told me it was traction alopecia due to damaging hair techniques – pulling my hair back into ponytails, tight braids, chemically straightening it, hair extensions (which I personally haven’t done) and many other hair practices particularly prevalent in black hairdressing but used by people of all races and hair textures. Stress also doesn’t help. My eldest daughter had been diagnosed with a rare genetic condition and she was losing her sight, we were having a particularly difficult time with her school at time.
After that first appointment I got another diagnosis from Dr Sharon Wong, founder of Get Ahead of Hair Loss. I have something called Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia. It’s a type of scarring hair loss that affects the hair margin at the front of the scalp, mine is getting further and further back – it will never grow. The cause is unknown.
What’s that snarky and also 200% true saying about traditions? They’re just peer pressure from dead people. And if we stuck to all the things ‘we’ve always done’, there’d still be six-year-old coal miners who smoke pipes, chain smokers on airplanes and people tuning in to Two and a Half Men.
While we’re often more than happy, nay, gleeful to chuck out traditions that are way past their use by date, when it comes to weddings it’s a different story. Even the most modern human persons begin to fret over what calamity will happen if they see their betrothed prior to the wedding ceremony, whether their future children will be born with tails if they forget to include ‘something blue’ on their person, or if there’ll be a plague on their house if mum AND dad walk them down the aisle.
It’s time to piss off these weird, superstitious traditions that have no meaning for you and go to work on what does feel meaningful. Because hot tip: The best weddings are not the ones with the most expensive Champagne – though who doesn’t like a bit of fancy plonk? – they’re the ones that really feel like the couple in question. The best weddings are the ones created with considered decisions that reflect them, rather than stuffy traditions they’ve been peer pressured into by living and dead people mind you, often with quite awful backstories of misogyny and the patriarchy gone mad.
So, let’s chat about traditions that ought to get in the bin.
Bridesmaids have been getting a bum rap recently. A modern bridesmaid wears many hats. Party planner, counsellor, keeper of secrets… Let’s be honest, they’re basically a one-woman version of the Queer Eye team, and for that, I fucking salute them!
But when did these close friends go from ladies who turn up to the church on the day in a nice dress (exactly what our mother’s bridesmaids would have done) to pre-wedding slave friends? Emotional punching bags that organise everything from strippers to destination getaways, people who by some people’s measures are expected to go into debt to pay for a dress and talk you off a ledge when the napkins that you ordered are delivered without the lacy imprint?
I am hoping you aren’t that kind of bride (of course you aren’t, you’re a Rock n Roll bride!), but the evolution of the bridesmaid has been swift, and I think rather brutal.
In ye olden times, a large group of bridesmaids provided an opportunity for showing off the bride’s families social status and wealth – the more you had, the higher up the ladder you were. The bridesmaid tradition originated from Roman law, which required ten witnesses at a wedding to outsmart evil spirits believed to attend marriage ceremonies (otherwise known as your future mother-in-law! Boom-tish! Sorry). The bridesmaids and ushers dressed in identical clothing to the bride and groom, so that the evil spirits wouldn’t know who was getting married. So, it has a bit of history.
Many of our modern wedding rituals are based on traditions, superstitions and social oddities. When you break them down, they are fairly naff. Unless you’re part of the Kardashian clan (and even that’s a stretch), you’re probably not focused on the symbolism and social hierarchy of the bridal party and the only evil spirit that may mar your day is tequila.
Other than finding a sweet lover to marry and someone qualified to marry the pair of you, avenue is probably the next most important thing. Because you cannot get married nowhere.
Yep, your wedding definitely has to be held somewhere. It’s really hard to finish your wedding invitations without an address, and it’s very hard to attend a wedding without a place. Finding the right venue to get mazzed in could be one of the very best things you can do to guarantee* a sweet wedding planning adventure. Is that too big a call? Maybe. Do I stand by it? Yeah man. What’s the point of all these questions? Who really knows…but anyway, venues.
After a whole career spent researching every wedding venue in the entire universe, it has become clear to me that there’s never been more options for you to choose from. Amazing! Lucky you! No longer do you need to choose between 1.7 options, all of which include the chicken or the beef and lycra chair covers.
But also, the endless variety of options now available means you can get trapped in a venue vortex wormhole real quick. You will eventually extricate yourself, but you will straight up NEVER be the same again. Here are some tips to protect you from such a fate and help you find that special venue. Ignore this advice at your own peril, silly.
After a year when most hen parties were either cancelled or hosted over Zoom, we asked you what you thought a new year could bring for this rite of passage…
Hen do, bridal shower, bachelorette party – wherever you’re from and whatever you call it, the celebration of the transition from Miss to Mrs is a time-honoured tradition and a good excuse to kick up your heels to mark the beginning of a new era.
We asked some of the members of our private Facebook group what their frets and fears were about planning a hen party in this new world we now live in. The response was clear – an overwhelming theme of uncertainty, being unsure of what to plan due to continuing local lockdowns, money worries and asking too much of friends.
So, what are the options? Do we plan differently, or throw caution to the wind and blow up the inflatable genitalia for a traditional L-plated bash? Ultimately, it’s got to still be a unique and awesome event, so here are some ideas to help you decide how to best celebrate.
It’s safe to say that a lot of control was taken away from 2020/ 21 couples. So, plan something that you can control. A safe bet is keeping your hen party outside in the fresh air, and that’s likely where you’ll be able to celebrate with more people, feeling comfortable and safe. Not always practical in the cold weather, but warmer months bring the promise of posh picnics with bespoke hampers and a fun theme, a small local music festival with authentic hay bales, or a punt down the river with champagne. Perfect for a smaller group, and easier to keep socially-distanced if needed.
If you and your friends are happy being inside, take control of your surroundings and hire a space – a small independent theatre for a movie night, an afternoon tea river cruise, or hire a countryside accommodation for the weekend and hunker down with fluffy blankets, monogrammed pjs, old movies and your body weight in popcorn alongside a few friends.