Readers, I married him. Yep, the wedding has been and gone. Now that I’m a Mrs and wedding planning is a thing of the past, I will have lots more time to blog. About, err, the wedding. I’ll try to mix them up so my blog doesn’t become too wedding-tastic, but expect to see more content in general from now on *party popper emoji*.
At the ripe old age of 32, I have been on a lot of hen dos. I’ve learned the can-can, how to make bunting and fascinators, Flashdance. I’ve been rollerskating, abseiling and shooting. And I’ve eaten more afternoon teas than you can shake a stick at.
What I mean to say is that I am fairly well versed in hen dos (and don’ts), and have been lucky enough to attend some fantastic ones. So unfortunately for my long-suffering bridesmaids, I had a fairly narrow vision of what I wanted for my hen dos. There was a massive list, in fact. Here were some of the criteria (I think my bridesmaids may have PTSD now):
Zoe’s Tedious Hen Do List
– No veils, willies or L plates
– No stripers
– No dance routines (it’s not my forte – I’m more of a freestyler!)
– Not too far away
– No mangoes or snakes (my two most-hated things)
– Stuff for pregnant ladies
– Stuff for ladies who like a drink
– Good food
– No sewing (also not my forte)
– Two hen dos
Yeah, the last one is a biggie, I know. I’m a total douchebag. Let me explain…
I wanted to have a big hen do with lots of my brilliant friends, but I didn’t want to inflict an expensive, whole-weekend affair on a huge number of people who were already travelling to our wedding, invariably staying overnight for that in a hotel and probably had a long list of other weekend commitments too. I had a list of about 30 people I wanted to invite to my hen do, which doesn’t make for an easy-to-organise weekend away.
BUT I did want a quiet weekend away with my very closest friends, where we didn’t do much except chat and drink wine. We’re all so busy that the excuse to get people together and really catch up seemed too good to pass up. So, yeah, I selfishly had two hen dos, with the thought my closest friends wouldn’t mind as much giving up a weekend and going away.
So my bridesmaids set to work, dividing the work between themselves. They wanted it all to be a surprise, and did SO well at keeping it a secret despite my best efforts to get details from them.
I knew the date, and had a brief packing list up until the week before “Hen Do I – The Weekender”. Then I got a letter in the post (with wedding colour stationery!) from Phoebe, one of my bridesmaids (as an aside, yes that is her handwriting and not a font).
She’d organised a beach cottage in Rye for us all to stay in, and we were going paddleboarding (something I’ve always wanted to try!) and wine tasting, with a barbecue on the beach, a meal out and plenty of chatting time planned in. It was beyond perfect and I got a bit emotional at how well they knew me to be able to plan such a brilliant weekend for me.
My friend Katy drove myself and another of my bridesmaids, Josie, down to Rye on the Friday lunchtime. I hadn’t seen Jos for a good few months as she lives in Florida now (and had flown back for the hen do especially – am I spoilt or what?!), so the three of us spent the car ride catching up, stopping off for a nice country-pub lunch on the way.
We got to the cottage and helped Phoebe unload an Ocado order, then sat a chatted with wine in hand as people started to arrive. By about 7pm most people had made it to the house, and we fired up the barbecue in the cottage’s garden. The rest of the night was spend drinking prosecco, listening to music and everyone talking at once – bliss. Oh, and a quick game of Mr & Mrs, which I was fairly rubbish at.
On the Saturday morning we got up early-ish (the mums in the group were glad of a bit of a lie in), and then headed off to paddleboarding. Cue much hilarity as everyone squeezed into wetsuits, including my pregnant friend Emily.
After a good hour or so paddleboarding (and no one fell in – although I came dangerously close!) we packed up and went home, smelling like damp wet suits. So hot.
After paddleboarding we went to a vineyard for a tour and some lunch, followed by a tasting. Our guide was unwittingly hilarious and came out with some corking catchphrases: “No lady should have to pour her own wine; a man should do it for her” (which went down like a lead balloon with me and my friends) and the oft-repeated line “There’s no such thing as an expensive wine”. Wine lists in London tell me different, son.
We then headed back to our beautiful cottage to get ready for dinner, in a gorgeous pub in Rye called The Ship. Everyone had dressed up in stripes (I requested no fancy dress!) for a nautical theme, and I had a sailor’s hat presented to me to wear.
After an AMAZING dinner (still think about that meal), we headed home for a sunset stroll on the beach and lots more prosecco and wine at the cottage.
It was my dream hen do, and I felt so lucky to have so many of my closest friends there. And there were no mangoes, which was a key triumph.