Handmade Hen Do's
31 July 2013
Planning a unique and successful hen party can be tricky, especially if you're on a tight budget. Where do you hold it? What activities should you organise? What would make great party favours? How do you create an enjoyable and memorable event for the guests and bride-to-be?
We thought we'd give you all some tips, projects and ideas to help you plan your own perfect handmade hen do.
First things first, the invites. It may seem a bit old fashioned but we love the idea of sending out handwritten invitations in the post - and creating your own gives it that extra special, personal touch. They can be as simple as the invite below, all you'll need is some brown card, a fine ink pen and some bright plain envelopes; perfect if you're strapped for cash and time.
Or if you have a bit more time on your hands why not try creating hand-printed paper invites, along with pretty floral envelopes like these beauties that featured in our July issue of Making magazine.
I recently organised a hen-do for a friend and thought it would be great to make party bags for everyone. You could spend a fortune on bags and fill them with all kinds of expensive shop bought items but I wanted to a) give everyone something a bit more personalised and b) not go bankrupt making them. I settled on this nifty little idea for the bags:
I found these charming little bags whilst browsing through www.notonthehighstreet.com and wondered if it would be possible to make my own at home. After a bit of intense googling I found a great online tutorial that shows you how to print straight onto simple paper bags using your home printer: click here for the tutorial. You can bulk buy paper bags on ebay or amazon and this is such a quick, easy and affordable way to make one-of-a-kind party bags.
Now you've got your bags, the question is what to fill them
with? Why not try any of these handmade goodies:
You can make your own templates for cookies out of cardboard to create all kinds of wedding themed shapes, then simply ice or decorate as much or as little as you like. For instructions on how to make biscuits as pretty as the ones in the picture click here.
Or why not make some homemade marshmallow treats to include in your goodie bags?
This recipe comes from the amazing blog A Beautiful Mess, which is full of all sorts of amazing crafty ideas. Pop a few handmade marshmallows in plastic and tie with a satin ribbon for an extra special hen-do treat.
I also decided to make my very own moustache straws to include in the party bags, and found a brilliant tutorial on Etsy, complete with moustache templates for you to make at home. Click here for the tutorial.
As a special treat for the hen why not make her a handmade sash to wear on the day? I'm not talking anything that involves hot pink, satin or glitter, just a bit of handmade loveliness like this example I found at www.doitmomma.co.uk
Other goodies you could include in your bags:
- Packs of mini love hearts (I bought some in bulk from Amazon)
- Cocktail umbrellas (I picked up a bag for around 99p from Ebay)
- Packs of balloons
- Simple jewellery kits (they make great mementos of the day and you can find cheap kits on Ebay or source your own supplies from local bead shops)
- 'Hangover cures' (I included a mini bottle of water and a couple of headache tablets in each bag)
- A list of the days activities...
So, you've sorted the invitations and party bags but what are you actually going to do on the day?
It's great way to break the ice, it's fun and it's free! You can come up with all kinds of tasks for your scavenger hunt including lists of items to track down, embarassing dares and places try and find - all with photographic evidence of course.
I made a check list and popped it in each party bag, then split the group into teams and we then worked through the list throughout the day and night. Why not also buy a cheap mini trophy or medals for the winning team?
Click here for a fantastic pre-made alternative.
Our next idea is hosting a retro cocktail party complete with kitsch finger food ideal to soak up all that booze.
It really doesn't have to be expensive, especially if you ask each guest to bring a bottle of spirits and mixer. You can print off cocktail recipes for all to try and make, ask everyone to glam up and decorate your venue with simple handmade decorations. Chuck in some party games (twister anyone?) and you've got a hen-do heading for success.
For a fab list of Mad Men inspired retro cocktail recipes click here.
For some inspiration on how to decorate your party click here or have a look at some really practical cocktail party decor tips here.
Okay... this photo may look a bit out of place in a handmade hen do blog post but this is supposed to signify a homemade obstacle course.
There are a lot of really expensive day out packages available for hen parties, including action packed obstacle courses. However if you're on a budget creating your own is a great alternative, and you can be as outlandish and creative as you like.
Our very own Katy Evans (Deputy Editor of our sister title Knitting magazine) recently planned a hen do including a bride-to-be assault course. The hen first had to quickly don a charity shop bought wedding dress before speedly completing lots of stereotypical wifely duties including: 'ironing' a shirt, changing a nappy on a doll, changing a duvet cover as well as finishing off by painting a portrait of her future family.
If you're looking for something more elegant then try hosting a vintage tea party, because what's more civilised than sitting down for a good old-fashioned cup of cha?
You can source mismatch antique china from charity shops, and set the scene with flowers, antique lace doilies, bunting and pretty floral table cloths. Get your guests to all bring a cake or dainty snack, and push the boat out with unusual teas and perhaps even a cheeky long-island ice tea or two.
To get everyone talking play some party games like a hen do version of Mr & Mrs - google offers plenty of websites with suggestions of the kinds of questions you can challenge your bride-to-be with, but remember to get the answers from the groom in advance!
Create your very own spa day from the comfort of your home, with a glass of bubbly or ten thrown in for good measure.
This gives you a lot of scope and it's a wonderful way to get all the guests bonding whilst they create their very own face masks, scrubs and foot soaks. And the best part? You can make all kinds of luxurious pampering products from everyday ingredients you'd find in your kitchen cupboards. Click here to try out our porridge face scrub recipe.
For even more inspired party ideas perfect for hen do's and stunning handmade projects I'd strongly recommend checking out Girls' Night In by Hannah Read-Baldrey - click here to find it on Amazon.
Well, I hope that these tips and ideas have inspired you to throw your very own handmade hen do. We'd love to hear back from anyone who gives these ideas a go or comes up with their own unique crafty hen party activities. Share your tips or pics with us on our facebook or twitter page.