I guess that The Hen Party poses something of an organisational challenge to every Matron of Honour or Chief Bridesmaid. And mine was certainly no exception, particularly with regard to the demographic of those on the hen hit list. Ranging in age from early 30s to mid-80s, they are all at very different stages of life.  From high-flying career girls and yummy mummys to those who are retired and enjoying their first taste of grandparenthood or even great-grandparenthood, the spectrum is wide and their tastes diverse.  Some love clubbing and cocktails whilst others prefer a cuppa and a good book. How then to create a celebration that everyone, including of course, Chief Chick, would enjoy?

The solution to this knotty pre-nuptial problem was to be found by adopting a ‘pic n’ mix’ approach so that the celebration comprised discrete sections which enabled hens to join in whichever part or parts most appealed.  Our starting point was The Electric Cinema in Birmingham, which is the oldest working cinema in the country, for afternoon tea followed by a private showing of one of my all time favourite films: Roman Holiday.  Set in the 1950s and starring the legendary Audrey Hepburn, Roman Holiday inspired my outfit: a Karen Millen dress and a great big petticoat from Swingtime Collection that made me feel like a lampshade on legs. I knew that I looked ridiculous but I adopted the stance that it was my hen party and I’d over-dress if I wanted to.

Fig. 1. Afternoon tea at The Electric Cinema

Walking into The Electric Cinema and being greeted by so many special people all gathered together in one place was an experience which underlined the importance of wearing waterproof mascara on the Big Day.  Indeed, such was my level of emotion that it took a few minutes for me to register that the soundtrack of Amelie, another favourite film, was being played in the background.  It was the perfect audio accompaniment to the photographs of me over the years which MoH had arranged to be projected on the screen prior to the film starting.  It was hard to absorb it all but MoH had taken that into account and presented me with the photos all printed out and bound together.  She’d also arranged for a guest book, which she had beautifully decorated in accordance with the AWW colour palette, to be circulated amongst all the hens.  The contents of that book are very, very precious and will act as a constant reminder of just how privileged I am to have encountered so many lovely people over the years.

Fig. 2. The Hen Guest Book

After the film, a few hens departed, but the majority proceeded to The Hyatt Hotel for cocktails and a meal where yet another lovely surprise was unveiled.  Mrs Adams, KoTD, had arranged for cake decorator Sarah Clemson of Sophisticake to create a very special dessert: cupcakes topped with rice paper discs bearing our P&J monogram.  I was almost speechless with delight at such thoughtfulness.

Fig.3. Our surprise dessert!

Now as you all know, Mrs Moore-to-be is an old fashioned girl who, even at the pinnacle of her youth, rarely frequented clubs. But a couple of The Hyatt’s Pravda champagne cocktails wrought a curious change; namely a longing to get on the dance floor.  Before they knew it, a small hard-core of hens had been bamboozled into indulging this crazy craving and found themselves venturing out into Birmingham City centre in search of a classy club with banging tunes. It took several attempts to find such a place but after a few hasty exits from some decidedly unsuitable establishments we finally ended up in a bar which fitted the bill.

Fig. 4. Mrs Moore-to-be swops her trademark tea and cake for a cocktail and pasta

I guess to most bright young things, midnight is just the start of a night of revelry out on the town.  Not so Mrs Moore-to-be.  For her, when the clock struck the witching hour it signalled the arrival of a homeward bound pumpkin disguised as a TOA taxi.

We all know that sometimes a sense of anti-climax can follow after being on a such high.  But that certainly wasn’t the case after the hen party.  Over the next few days I received so many lovely text messages and emails from my hens enthusing both about the celebration and about one another. The comment I repeatedly received was ‘you have such lovely friends’.  And I do.  So I thank not only MoH for working so hard to organise the celebration, but also to all my hens whose presence made the atmosphere so warm and convivial. It wouldn’t have been the same without you!

Fig. 5. Chief Chick with her feathered friends!