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Ladies, I am so delighted to share this post with you. The very fabulous and very talented Katie Wagstaff, creator of Oh Squirrel kindly agreed to tell us all about a recent hen party she helped organise in Edinburgh. Be sure to check our her top hen party planning tips at the end. Over to Katie….
I’m very excited to be writing about my own Hen Party experience on The Hen Planner. I’m Katie, owner & designer at Oh Squirrel, which specialises in lovely non-tacky hen party accessories! When I launched Oh Squirrel Hen Party Accessories, I had no idea that so many people out there were put off by a ‘typical’ hen party – it delights me every day that so many customers are pleased to be able to buy original and personalised products, without a hint of tat. The products began when I made some for a friend’s hen night years ago, and as another very close friend’s hen party drew closer, I was so excited to think of original and fun ideas for her too, and work closely with the other Bridesmaids to plan a Hen Party as fun and original as the Bride is. A group of 5 happy hens all hopped in various trains up to Edinburgh for the weekend back at the beginning of July. We had kept the location a secret from the Bride, and done our best to hint at less glamorous locations to play a trick on her!
We stayed for the weekend in a beautiful traditional Edinburgh apartment that had been found on the marvellous Air BNB. The apartment was spacious and relaxing, as in addition to planning many fun activities out and about, we all thought it was important to have a lovely comfortable space to come back to. We all met up at the apartment and enjoyed refreshments and a good giggle, before heading out to dinner at the amazing Roseleaf Bar The food was absolutely delicious and had a great mix of meat and vegetarian. The space was quirky without being try-hard, and the staff could not have been more friendly. After a long day of traveling I got hit with a big old headache, so they kindly offered painkillers on water, served up on a beautiful vintage plate. Being a little ill, I couldn’t sample the cocktails however the girls told me they were brilliant. After, more cocktails were enjoyed at Panda & Sons in town, before hiding the hay for some sleep before abig day of adventures.
We gave the Bride a plethora of choices for activities on the Saturday, as we were in agreement that the day should be relaxed and fun. The Bride chose a visit to the Camera Obscura, followed by a trip to the seaside (I was very pleased as these were the options I was hoping for too, clearly why we’re such good friends!) The Camera Obscura is situated at the top of Edinburgh and is a lot of fun! The view from the top of it is incredible, and you get a little show included in the £12.95 admission price which explains the origins of it and how it works. That was good, but what was really fun was the rest of the building which was full of fun things to play with and take pictures doing! Think hall of mirrors, optical illusions that you’re part of, oh and a tunnel of GLITTER. We spent an hour having such a good time and taking fun photos. I would say that their website doesn’t do it justice – as a group of twenty somethings we definitely had a great time
After a well due coffee stop off, we caught a bus down to the seaside which is just 20 minutes out of the City Centre. The beach was beautiful and clean, and even though it wasn’t the hottest of days, a few of us braved jumping into the sea. We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing, playing piggy in the middle and eating fish and chips, before a little drizzle kicked in and we relocated to the arcades to play some games! We took £2 spending money each from our ‘pot’ of cash and had a hoot getting competitive on the 2p shoves! A very cheap and entertaining bit of fun. http://thisisedinburgh.com/
After a token ice cream on the beach, we caught the bus back to the apartment and had a quiet hour reading and enjoying a cup of tea. I think with hen parties, it’s really important to factor a bit of downtime in as they can be pretty full on! It helped us to refuel for a fun night. Instead of cooking, we opted to order a takeaway in. We bought basic supplies for breakfasts, and lots of drinks, but we decided against cooking as with different tastes and dietary requirements it would have been too much messing about, plus we were on holiday! As a little surprise, we planned a nautical themed night with handmade accessories (from Oh Squirrel of course!) rum based cocktails, and a fun photoshoot of us all dancing around having a good time! Later in the evening we went to a club to dance the night away to a combination of cheese and indie music at The Electric Circus
Edinburgh may be one of the friendliest places I’ve ever been, but to its detriment it’s pretty impossible to get a taxi there! We ended up walking halfway back in various states of shoe undress, so my top tip here would be to book one in advance! On the Sunday we had a relaxed breakfast and watched some of the Bride’s favourite TV shows which we’d collated in advance. Each Bridesmaid had written a little letter to the Bride which we gave for her to enjoy reading on the train home. We spent a little time in the afternoon shopping in Edinburgh which was very nice, along with a traditional Scottish lunch as we felt it was our place to sample some Haggis… which was really tasty! My overall opinion of Edinburgh as a hen party destination is Top Marks! The train travel from London to Edinburgh was not cheap, so that did mean the trip itself was quite costly, however we had such a wonderful time. If you’re looking for a place with lots of options of fun things to do without spending a fortune, I thoroughly recommend it.
Top Tips for a Fun, Relaxed Hen Party in Edinburgh
Before booking accommodation, establish whether it’ll be a base to sleep or somewhere you’ll spend some time – if sharing a room, a hotel will work out cheaper than the nicest of the Air BNB options, however if you want somewhere to spend some time then do have a look at Air BNB
Book your taxis! Apps are brilliant for this, download in advance.
Work out a kitty in advance. Think about the cost of all the activities you want to do, meals and drinks out, taxis, entrance fees etc and then add 20% contingency (which can be split between everyone at the end if it’s not spent) and get everyone to draw that amount in cash and give it to the most number savvy member of the group. Have a conversation on email in advance as to whether you’re paying for the bride and factor that in too – if all those potentially awkward conversations about money are dealt with in advance then in makes for a much more relaxed experience
Plan for sun and plan for rain. A packable poncho might make a fun hen party bag gift for everyone to avoid any diva moments with ruined hair (we didn’t have any of that though!)
Make sure to leave time to relax. The Bride will want to talk about the wedding and also hear all your news if she doesn’t get to see you very often. Admittedly one of my favourite moments of the weekend was surprising our Bride with her nautical goodies when she woke up from an afternoon nap.
Divide up the tasks. If one of you is keen with a camera make sure they’re taking the snaps, if a hen is handy with decorating get on making something jolly to brighten up your accommodation, if someone bakes then make some cakes, if someone isn’t creative but loves to organise then put them in charge of the online shopping for any snacks and drinks. Giving everyone a task is a good way of splitting out any potential stress, plus everyone will put extra effort into their responsibility which makes it even more special.
If you can, keep the destination a secret! It was lovely to have so many little surprises to give the Bride throughout the weekend to make it extra special. Ours included a handmade game of ‘Pin the Beard on the Groom’, ‘Old, New, Borrowed, Blue’ gifts from us all, Mix CDs and lots of other treats. These are all things that don’t need to cost a fortune earlier.