Creative hen parties
From floral crowns to foraged feasts, go big on bonding with these creative hen party ideas
The modern hen party is a far cry from the girlie gathering of yesteryear. The focus has shifted from L-plates, dubious straws and hazy nights in sticky floored nightclubs to cherished experiences centred on bonding, precious together-time and maybe indulging your creative side or learning a new skill. Here in the west, there are plenty of ways to make memories while making something special – whether it’s jewellery, gin or art – to celebrate your last days as a single woman. We’ve rounded up some of our favourite ideas.
Carole Allen Jewellery’s hen workshops are the perfect solution for brides who haven’t ticked jewellery for the bridal party off their wedmin list! Gathering in Carole’s light-filled studio in the heart of Cornwall, the talented jeweller will teach you how to make a special piece of jewellery, packed with meaning and memories. Whether you opt for bracelets, necklaces or earrings, Carole will teach you to hammer, file, stamp, polish and finish your piece, ensuring the finished result is gorgeous quality and oh-so unique. We particularly love the personalised bracelets for a delicate and bespoke accessory for your bridesmaids. Carole can also teach you to make bangles or earrings from anodised aluminium for hens seeking a splash of colour. With drinks, nibbles and Prosecco provided, you are assured precious together-time, golden memories – and a piece of jewellery to treasure.
Learn how to make sugar flowers
Renowned for her captivating wedding cakes, experienced cake designer Claire Potts of Claire’s Sweet Temptations has launched sugar flower classes, perfect for hens keen to learn the art of delicate petal crafting. As well as running smaller classes for up to four in her Clovelly studio in Devon, Claire can cater for larger hen parties at a venue of your choice. A lovely activity for a weekend away, she will bring all the equipment and ingredients needed to help you create the flowers, as well as a box to take your creations home. “This is the perfect introduction to anyone wanting to start their journey into the world of sugar flowers,” she says. The flowers and techniques can then be used on your own wedding cake to bring a personal touch to your sweet centrepiece.
Craft flower crowns
Cornwall-based florist Lisa Marie Grigsby, the talent behind Down by the River Florals, has launched a series of bespoke workshops – and her flower crown workshops are going down a storm with hens. “Using beautiful blooms, foliage and textures, you and your lovely hens can create beautiful flower crowns to adorn your heads, celebrating your hen do in style!” says Lisa, whose floral design and styling business has an organic and natural approach, often incorporating foraged hedgerow elements, wild flowers and grasses to provide elegant and unique floral designs individual to you. You might even choose to use dried flowers to preserve your crowns, so your bridal party can wear them on the big day. Sessions can be held either at the Down by the River Florals’ studio in Perranwell between Falmouth and Truro or a venue of your choice.
Turn your hand to sculpture
A memorable way to learn a new skill with a lot of laughs along the way, Richard Austin’s sculpture workshops are guaranteed to put smiles on faces. The workshops are held at Richard’s studio in Wadebridge for up to 12 people, or the experienced sculptor can travel to your venue and set up the workshop in your own space. Don’t worry, the creative process is not messy! During the two-hour workshop, each person will create a sculpted face out of clay to take home – perhaps your bridal party will make one of themselves, of you, or of your partner, to display at your wedding! Even if you’ve never worked with clay before, you’ll be surprised at how creative, satisfying and fun-filled the process can be.
Distil gin in the Cornish countryside
Picture this: an idyllic spot in the Cornish countryside where you can make your own gin and spend the night in a treehouse or shepherd’s hut. Green Cart Farm, an off-grid botanical farm in Lostwithiel, offers a range of workshops in its essential oils distillery. One of our favourites is the ‘Gin Making and G&Tea in a Tree House’ course, where you’ll be guided through the distillation process, selecting your own botanicals and distilling your own bottle of artisan gin in a traditional copper still. Afterwards, an afternoon tea served before rural views awaits, including the gins made in the workshop for you to enjoy, as well as handmade scones, cucumber sandwiches and pastries. We love the idea of staying the night, making memories with your dearest friends amidst fiery sunsets and starry skies, and waking to a full English breakfast and a bottle of custom gin to take home.
The wild landscape of Cornwall’s far west is the perfect place for immersing yourself in nature and discovering the joys of foraging. Fat Hen, a wild cookery school based in St Buryan, offers a range of foraging and culinary experiences which can be adapted to suit your group. Drawing on years of experience in ecological consulting, plant identifying and botany, Caroline Davey will take you on a guided foraging walk before heading to the kitchen to cook up your freshly foraged fare, providing an opportunity to spend time together in a relaxed and fun way whilst learning new skills and feeling the health benefits of being outdoors. “Foraging for wild food and cooking are naturally collaborative activities. These activities are a great way of improving individual and group well-being,” says Caroline, who also runs hands-on cookery courses that include everything from seaweed foraging and cooking to crab on the beach and game cookery. Wild walks and fresh food – what could be better?
Words Lucy Higgins
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