Hi ladies, I’ve never formally introduced myself to you on The Hen Planner and now it’s well over due… So, HI! I’m Claire. That’s me facing the camera in the photo. I’m from Cork and live in Dublin. I lived in London for 7 years before moving to Dublin a few years ago. I’m a total product junkie (hair, makeup, skincare…) and will drop some €€€ on products without thinking. I have curly hair so naturally I’m extremely obsessed with my hair (all us curlies are!) and usually, at least 50% of what I’m wearing is from Topshop.
I started The Hen Planner officially three years ago. At the time, every website was catering for the more traditional and tacky approach to hen parties so I decided to setup a blog bringing something fresh and modern to this space. This has since evolved in to an online store stocked with stylish but still fun hen party accessories and decorations. I’ve steered clear from sharing anything too personal on the blog here to date as I have only recently moved into working on The Hen Planner full time (eek!) I didn’t share anything before as I didn’t want to interfere with my old day job in any way – with a wedding (I got married in April of this year), a ‘doer upper’ house in Dublin and my strong views on the importance of retail therapy (my mum is also a strong advocate of this), that pay cheque was VERY much needed. I had been planning on stepping away from the employed world for a while and that finally happened in August.
Being a bride was fascinating for me as being so involved in the bridesmaid / hen party world with The Hen Planner, it was interesting to step over to the other side and see hen parties and weddings from a completely different perspective. Over the next few months I will share more of my experiences and tips with you but first up I’m going to share one of my two hen parties (of course I had two!). This one was really simple but also really special as my mum was involved. It was on in Cork and we got some amazing photos which is why this one is being shared first! Read on for the lowdown on my low-key but super fun, Cork Hen Party
The Hen Party Lowdown…
The hen party was held on a Saturday in March. We booked the penthouse at The Clarion Hotel in Cork City. If you haven’t been here or are planning an event in Cork I highly recommend this venue (you’ll see why in the photos below!). We didn’t book for the night as it was just as easy to go home but I would recommend to do this as it’s not too expensive if you are booking it for an event anyway. My lovely and amazing bridesmaid Michelle was flying solo on this as my other lovely and amazing bridesmaid Maeve lives in Melbourne. She enlisted the assistance of my fabulous brideslaves, Elaine and Sinead. And along with my mum, they decked out The Clarion penthouse suite with decorations from The Hen Planner store (SHOP HERE), dodgy photos (I have no idea where my mum found all these!) and got the place ready for our party which was themed “A night in Manhattan”.
My outfit was of course from Tophsop (at least 75%!), purchased the day beforehand as I couldn’t find anything to wear. I used the day to have my makeup trial by the lovely Linda Collins who was doing my wedding make up. Linda came to the Clarion and we did the trial in the penthouse while my amazing ladies got the place ready for the party. I had asked Linda to stay on for a few hours with a pop up make up bar. She topped up everyone’s makeup when they came in. I also booked Egle from White Cat Studio to take some snaps on the day which I was SO happy I did. She’s an amazing photographer and I also didn’t get photos with friends at the wedding so it’s really nice to have these ones. She also took a few of me on my own which are nice to have.
The day was very chilled – well for me it was, the Michelle, Elaine and Sinead might not agree! It kicked off at around 4pm with more friends from home arriving along with some of my mum’s friends too. We had prosecco, canapés and somehow we ordered 20 expresso martini’s which not everyone was drinking so you can imagine how high the party spirit was for some of us! Everyone was just chatting and catching up. Linda was pimping our faces whilst Egle was snapping. We had hot food served later on which was great. We also had our own bar up in the suite so everyone was able to get what they wanted as the night went on.
Michelle had made favour bags for everyone which included flower seeds to “grow the love” and other bits from The Hen Planner store. I got a lovely hen book from Maeve in Melbourne and everyone flicked through this and looked at the photos on the walls too which were a great talking point. We also brought furs and props along as we had a few polaroid cameras (instax minis) for some fun snaps. There were a few more really cute and personal things but I’ll share these in detail in a separate post. You’ll see one of the photos has a frame with “The Essence of Claire by David”. The girls has asked Dave for his favourite things about me and they printed it in a recipe / essence format and framed – this was such a thoughtful and personal touch. Plus it’s highly unlikely I’ll ever get those thoughts out of his head again so at least I have them documented on paper!
We played a few games which were the “hen party” part. The toilet paper wedding dress game was hilarious. I have played this game so many times but I think my love of fashion design is why I enjoy it every time. Everyone had a few drinks in them too which made it more comical. We also did the Mr and Mrs quiz (cringe!!) with Dave my husband on the big screen. If you’re hen planning, I do always recommend this game and doing it on the big screen with a recording of the groom. It really brings it to life for all the guests. 10 questions is plenty and bear the audience in mind.
We had the penthouse until about 11pm and then we had to move on. We ended up in a small bar down the road (basically the complete opposite of the glamorous penthouse!!) that was belting out cheesy tunes for a boogie, singalong and there may have been some dancing on tables. Then it was time for home with a quick stop off at McDonald’s (thanks to a very obliging taxi man!) and the usual run through of the night and late night chats at the kitchen table.
The above all was so simple but I absolutely loved it. It was really nice to have my mum, her friends and my mother in law there and everyone got on really well (which doesn’t always happen at a hen!) It’s was more of a low-key hen party option so if you have girly bride who doesn’t want anything too big for her celebration, something like the above is perfect. You can see some of the photos below to get a feel for the party.