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In 2016, I attended six weddings, and six hen dos. All in, they were 12 amazing weekends. Sound familiar?
Two day jobs lost and three acting jobs turned down. Apparently taking one day holiday constitutes to be unreliable for my zero hours contract employers – who knew?
I may be £1000s poorer, but I am richer in love, hope, and happiness for my sister, best friend, cousins, and close friends who have all decided to take the leap this year.
‘You promise me you’re not getting divorced. You’re only doing this once in a lifetime but I can work at The Globe anytime right? Right?!’
Top tips for hen dos:
* Any bride worth her salt will want all her favourite people going above and beyond on the activities – so either work to a set budget (I’m currently organising my sister’s one for an affordable sum), or pick and choose options in one town/city so people can do as much as they can afford (or want to do!) over a weekend.
* I organised my best friend’s hen do earlier this year. Afterwards I asked her what she liked best about the weekend. She said ‘the sleepover and the Bollywood dancing’ (sleepover was free, dancing was £20 each). Similarly I just got back from a hen do in Derbyshire and the best and most hilarious bits were the hiking and the scavenger hunt (both of which were free). This proves that it’s the people you’re with and the fact you get to let your hair down that makes it enjoyable, not necessarily top price activities. * If organising a hen do, book in advance and give attendees the option to pay in instalments – £150 cost for the spa weekend? I paid five instalments (£30 a month) which was much easier.
* If you’re organising, get the money from the attendees before you do any activities on the hen do because you’ll never EVER get it back afterwards.
* If you’re going to play traditional hen do games like ‘Mr & Mrs’, make sure you know whether the audience is a family one or not (there’s nothing worse than mates spilling the beans on the hen’s past sex life in front of the new in-laws).
* Again, know your audience. If the wilder friends of the bride go rogue and organise a butler in the buff (for the bride who has vetoed strippers), he WILL spend the night and you WILL find his little pinny floating on the hot tub the next day.
Top tips for creating a memorable wedding experience: * Get married midweek/at short notice. You can get much, much cheaper venue hire – so you can have the ceremony and reception in stunning places like Eaves Hall for a smidgen of the price.
* Book a wedding venue near a spa pool/the Baltic Sea. Swimming the day after a wedding will cure your hangover in the speediest possible way and your guests will thank you for it.
* If you know talented people, get them to be the entertainment as their wedding gift to you. I’ve sung at four friends’ weddings now and it makes the service really personal. Plus, it’s great being the guest who sings because everyone comes and chats to you afterwards, so less wedding awks.
* Get guests to do a bake off and bring their own puddings. This could save about £1000, and everyone tries to out-do each other so all the treats are delicious!
* Be prepared for bridal melt downs. They will happen, but they will pass, and before you know it you’ll soon be downing prosecco and laughing!
Top tip for a long lasting marriage … ahhh:
* Don’t spend more on your wedding than you will go on to spend in your marriage. The wedding is one (very special, exciting, lovely, amazing, but just one) day. A marriage is a lifetime thing. I met a wedding photographer who said ‘what was nice about this wedding was there was so much love. Believe me, that’s not always the case.’
Now, excuse me. I have to go and prepare for my sister’s wedding in Italy which will no doubt include endless gelatos, infinity swimming pools, horses, and sun kissed food. Mascara will be a disaster so I’m off to dye my lashes…
Nadia works as an actress. She also teaches acting and storytelling to adults at City Academy and is an associate for National Youth Theatre, directing young people and leading inclusivity training.