I’m delighted to share our very first ‘Real Life Hen Party’ feature. And what a great hen party we’ve got to kick off the new feature – that of fashion blogger Jess, of Dressed by Jess.

Hen parties have evolved so much in recent years; from a small, intimate meal and drinks with friends, to full-on weekends away and styled events. I’m not saying you can’t go for a few drinks, but there are so many amazing things you can do for your hen party these days.

In the new feature we’ll be sharing some amazing hen parties and weekends of brides-to-be, to give you loads of inspiration for your own.

Girls walking to picnic hen party

Jess’s Hen Weekend

Jess didn’t fancy a traditional night out on the town, and instead chose an amazing hen weekend in Charleston, South Carolina, USA. Her ideal getaway involved pampering, relaxing, and sunbathing with her friends, so that’s exactly what she did.

The location, under an oak tree, was truly stunning and the perfect place to have a beautiful laid-back picnic-style lunch. Gigi of Smells Like Peonies Events created the prettiest tablescape for the occasion, and the girls drank Champagne and enjoyed a magnificent oreo-filled cake.

Surprise Lunch

“Rather than checking into a hotel we decided to rent a big ol’ beach house for the weekend. It was steps away from the ocean and my sister and bridesmaids decked it out with flamingos and pineapples – the perfect beachy details. A dream getaway for me includes pampering, relaxing, and sunbathing.

Picnic blanket and table under oak tree

Picnic tablescape Floral picnic centrepiece

Foliage and succulents on picnic table

Plate with pink flower

Notebook Champagne with berries

Pastel flowers

Small pot plant Plant

Bright floral picnic cushions

Picnic hen party place setting Picnic hen party place setting

Small flower and succulent pots

“The girls worked so hard to make this weekend extra special for me, and for that reason I wanted to treat them to a surprise lunch alongside Live Oak Alley at Boone Hall. I reached out to Ava Moore Photography and Gigi of Smells Like Peonies Events to pull it off. With the help of amazing vendors, it turned out to be one epic lunch date with my girls!

Picnic hen party place setting Flower on plate

Branch of oak tree over picnic setting

Hen party stationery

Hen party stationery Hen party stationery

Oreo cake

Oreo cake Macarons

Oreo cake

Girls sitting for picnic hen party

Girls at hen party

Girls toasting at hen party

“The afternoon couldn’t have been more perfect. A storm had just rolled in so there was practically no one left at the mansion. It was quiet, serene, and like a scene from a movie. We were surrounded by beautiful flowers and the most gorgeous tablescape I have ever seen (thanks to Gigi). After we popped the champagne we dived into the Oreo-filled cake and soaked up every moment under the oak trees. It was magical! The best part of this weekend was being surrounded by all of my girls.”

Girl holding notebook Girl reading notebook

Fishtail braid hairstyle

Girls sitting at picnic table for hen party

Girls standing under tree Girls having fun at hen party

Girl holding her hen party cake

Hen with friend Hen with friend

Hen with friend

Hen with friend Hen holding hands with friend

Girl cutting her Oreo hen party cake

Taking slice of Oreo cake Cake on plate

Girls on hen party picnic raising a toast

Jess’s Top Five Tips for Creating An Epic Hen Weekend

Collect the Money First

Designate one or two group organisers and make sure to collect all payments prior to your trip. Everyone should enjoy themselves from the moment they walk in the door and not have to worry about making payments during the special events. Which brings me to my next point…

Plan Ahead

When travelling to a new city make sure you do all your planning ahead of time. Utilise online tools that provide party ideas, venue recommendations and tools to simplify the planning process.

Have a Meal Catered In

Sometimes restaurants can be too loud and take away from the intimacy of the event.

Surprise and Delight!

In the case of a hen party, it’s always fun to surprise your guests with special treats. My sister prepared tote bags with beach towels, flamingo straws, can coolers, custom t-shirts, and delicious chocolate covered pretzels (even the boxes were customised!).

Make it Meaningful

Whether it’s sunrise yoga, a painting class, zip-lining, a wellness retreat, or just a simple slumber party, it’s important you tailor that your hen weekend completely to your interests.

As cheesy as this may sound, you should cherish quality time with your girlfriends. It’s not often you can rally everyone together for a destination celebration, so when you do, have fun with it and try to disconnect from social media so you’re present in the moment.

Photography: Ava Moore Photography

Location: Boone Hall Plantation, Charleston, South Carolina, USA

Planner and Designer: Gigi of Smells Like Peonies

Hair: Monica of Mirror Mirror

Flowers: Wildflowers Inc

Cake: Swank Desserts

Rentals: Event Works Rentals

Calligraphy: Corsivo Calligraphy

Hen Planning Guide and Inspiration: The Bach Party

Jess’s Dress: Eliza J

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