Being Maid of Honour or Chief Bridesmaid is a big responsibility. For me, one of the biggest responsibilities has been organising my sister's Hen (or Bachelorette) Party. As a bit of a sun seeker, I knew she would really appreciate going abroad and as a huge fan of Spain, Madrid felt like the perfect destination. So a few weekends ago, a group of nine of us jetted off for a long weekend of sun, sangria and tapas! And I'm so pleased (and relieved!) to say that it all went smoothly; she had a brilliant time, the weather was amazing, the apartment was really central and the hen party games and gift bags that I put together went down a treat.
I put a lot of time and effort into the gift bags and tried to keep the price per bag as reasonable as possible (I was paying for it all myself after all!). Before I started, I scoured Pinterest for inspiration and if you follow Isoscella, you might remember my five faves friday post of DIY Hen Party Ideas, which came about because of this. Now that the hen party is over, I am SO pleased to be able to share with you what I did for the gift bags.
In terms of the bags themselves, I searched high and low for brown paper gift bags but couldn't get my hands on any. Instead, I found these lovely pastel coloured paper bags in Hobbycraft. To decorate them, I used my alphabet stamping set to stamp 'hen' and 'bride to be' on them before using a black fine liner to add some decorative leaves around it.
What's a hen party gift bag without a little alcoholic tipple?! But how do you put a shot in a gift bag and then transport it to an airport without any accidents?! Two extremely good questions that had me stumped for quite some time. That is, until I found some great mini plastic bottles, for just about 30p each, online. Although I could definitely have left them as they were, using some geometric washi tape and a black fine liner, I chose to add some cute 'Drink Me' labels to them.
Now I read in several places that beauty and fragrance companies sometimes give you free samples in the name of 'free advertising'. I was quite nervous about approaching different counters - on reflection I think I was worried that the sales person would look down their nose at me and consider me a bit of a cheapskate - but I went ahead and did it and I'm so glad I did. The sales people in Debenhams and Boots, were just lovely and the hens were so impressed with the samples.
It's a real tradition in the UK (it's probably similar elsewhere?) to have the hens wearing some kind of sash, t-shirt or costume. However, my sister isn't really into that kind of thing (and neither am I truth be told!) so instead I thought a floral headband (which my sister just loves!) would be a more subtle and classy way to do the whole matching accessory thing. I had a look in some accessory shops but they at least £5 each - great if you're just buying one but definitely not great if you're buying nine! Thankfully Amazon came to the rescue and I managed to get hold of a set of 12 headbands in various colours.
Photos are an absolute must at any hen or bachelorette party and if like my sister, your bride-to-be loves a good #selfie, then you can't go wrong with adding a few photo props to each gift bag. I found these photo props on Amazon pretty last minute but thanks to having a Prime account managed to get them the very next day (at no extra charge either!). They were great fun at the hen party as well and provided us with lots of excellent drunken photos.
I knew my sister wouldn't want to be carrying or wearing any penis memorabilia about in Madrid, however my friends reminded me that some form of penis presence at a hen party was a must. So, as a compromise, I found some multi-coloured willy straws (which were disturbingly detailed - look at those veins haha!) and popped one into each of the hen bags. Yes, immature, but yes, hilarious.
I'm such a sentimental person, so for me, a little keepsake from the hen weekend was essential. I wanted to make something for everyone, to both keep costs down, and also because then I could customise it, so using air dry clay and an alphabet stamp kit, I made simple plain white hanging hearts with the bride and groom's initials imprinted on it for the bride-to-be and 'hen' imprinted on it for the hens. If you fancy having a go at these yourself, be sure to stay tuned as I will be positing a full tutorial on here very soon.
I wanted to include a couple of other things and so dropped into each bag some LoveHeart sweets, plasters (for any blisters from all the sightseeing) and pain killers (for any hangovers!). Although these took a lot of time and effort (and caused me a lot of stress!), they were really cost effective and just SO worth it in the end.
What do you think of my DIY hen party gift bags?
Would you put anything different in?