When your best friend of 20 years, gets married to a British gent in London in the summer time, asks you to be her maid of honor, and announces she is keen to celebrate her hens / bachelorette in Mykonos, Greece…. The excitement is real!
If you follow me on Insta, you would have seen some of my Mykonos snaps already, but as this was my first time actively organizing a hen’s (for our USA readers, in Australia & the UK we call Bachelorette a ‘hens’) – I wanted to share of what I learnt, should you be throwing your BFF a hens do!
So – grab your bikini & your flower crown – We’re going to Mykonos!
Melanie (the bride & my BFF) has lived in London for seven years, after heading across the pond from Australia. Her & her friend Natalie, have frequented Mykonos every summer together for the past 5 years, so it was a no brainer for her to choose there to celebrate, get a pre wedding tan, and as guests where already flying in internationally, give them the option to see some more of Europe given the hens was only a week before the wedding.
Luckily for me, the amazing Natalie knows the island well, and therefore she took on the duties of the dinner, bar & beach club bookings for our group of 11.
I was in charge of other hens duties…. So what does fall under the ‘other banner’?.... Here is my version.
It could be the Creative Director in me speaking (ok, it definitely is) but as most will create a hashtag for such a celebration (ours was #MykonosMel) I like the concept of also creating a logo or insignia for the event. This doesn’t have to be professionally done – it could be as simple as something you create in a word.doc with an image you have cut & pasted in & added the Brides name beneath. Mel’s wedding theme is tropical, and as we were going to an Island for the hens, I went with a series of green palm frons (I sourced these from Shutter stock).
I used this across all printed material; Itinerary, welcome notes & tags.
Penis straws, flashing veils & bride-to-be sashes where not going to make an appearance on my watch. So instead of a veil, I contacted the incredible Keahny at MINT + MELON to create a luxe flower crown for the bride to be & slightly smaller ones for all the bridesmaids & hens guests. I am not throwing shade on the traditional hens props, but my suggestion is know your bride-to-be’s taste, I know Mel would not have been comfortable rocking around Mykonos with a flashing Bride-To-Be sash & veil – So tailor to your brides style.
A destination hen’s celebration is the ultimate, but often not always achievable…so whether you are organizing a destination escape, or simply a weekend away (anything that requires travel or over night stay) I think the touch of a Welcome Gift is a nice thankyou to everyone who took the time & cost to travel… So what was in our welcome gifts…
I created little Hangover Kits that were ‘For the morning after the night before’ – a cute little drawstring bag containing Advil (Panadol), EmergenC (Berocca), Altoids (TicTacs) & Band aids. There was a gold ‘flash tattoo’ for each guest that said ‘Brides Tribe’, some travel hair products from Original Mineral, a tiny Apple flavored Smirnoff Vodka with a tag attached that said ‘Let’s Get This Party Started!’, some SW Jewels (obvi), a print out of the itinerary from Nat’s bookings, and welcome note, all packaged in an SW wooden box lined with black tissue papar. The flower crowns where added to the top of the box, with a name card attached, that I doubled up to use as place settings on our first night there.
The Bride’s Welcome Gifts where the same as above, but with a few additional luxe items… a White & Lace over swim kaftan, a customized ‘Mrs Rama’ white silk sleep mask + some For Love & Lemons lace side panties, all wrapped in white tissue paper.
While these gifts are a bit of an investment, you might want to plan it out is far advance, and start collecting samples at makeup counters, asking friends or families who work at brands if they have any promo items you could include, or get crafty & make some gifts that will be special (and useful!) to the occasion.
WHITE + NOIR
As the gifts were differentiated for the bride & guests with Black & white tissue, I made sure to let all guests know, that one a certain day, they were only allowed to wear black. That went from breakfast, to beach, to beach club, to dinner…. And on that Day, Mel could ONLY wear white…. This not only made for lots of photos, but got Melanie SO many well wishes for other island goers, it was really special! I highly recommend this, and its super easy to do. As we were in a tropical destination, it also included Bikinis – so be sure to be really clear with all guests how far it extends, no guest wants to be the one who thought it would be OK to wear her white cossie that day!
I sourced a criminal lineup backdrop (available on ETSY) and after a big night out, made everyone stand infront of it, with a pre printed arrest identification card – Sunglasses allowed. The result is below!
CAPTURE THE MOMENTS FOR THE BRIDE
I am an avid iphone photographer. I love to capture & archive most things in my life like one would write a diary, I do so with pictures. Capturing the bride at her most glowing & glamorous provides great lasting memories for her forever. Does she look like a luxe goddess on her sunbed sipping her mojito? Capture that for her! Did you all have a great group dinner with a beautiful toast? Don’t interrupt the toast to take a pic, but after the toast DO have everyone re-raise their glasses & capture a photo of the clicking glasses. Try to capture as much natural (un-posed) moments as possible – guests chatting or laughing together, one of the best ways to capture is, if you are taking a pic of the bride & a few guests just standing smiling at the camera, after you have captured that, tell everyone to look at the bride & laugh (I know, seems ridiculous, but it makes for a probably what was happening before everyone knew a photo was being taken). I’m sure a beautiful edit of these photos will find their way onto a Facebook album for archive, but you might also want to do the archaic practice of sending the photos to print, and putting them in a album for the bride… A beautiful way to relieve all the fun a few weeks after the celebration.
Obviously as a bridesmaid, your job to ensure the brides experiences as little stress as possible on her special day. The same goes for the hens celebrations. Especially when you are celebrating as a big group, going for dinners / lunches etc, no ones wants to talk about money, its especially not cool to do it in front of the bride. My suggestion is to advise everyone to bring cash (as to not have to bother re splitting amounts on credit cards), and possibly give everyone a heads up as the approx. cost of each organized meal… have them give you the cash pre meal, and if it goes over, start a kitty for after dinner cocktails.
So that’s my hens take-aways! We’re off to London now for the wedding – Can’t wait to show you pics from what I know will be one of the most spectacular weddings!
Congratulations to my beautiful Best Friend! I cannot wait to stand beside you on Sunday! - SWx