Hen Party Theme: London Calling

Sources: Not on the High Street (left); via RU Craft Blog (right) 

London, baby! Now this one might not seem like an obvious choice for a bridal shower or hen party theme, but as I made the point this morning, London has been a big part of many young South Africans’ lives. So if your bestie used to live/currently lives here, or met her husband-to-be here, or is honeymooning here, or is an anglophile, or even is just someone called Kate or Elizabeth, this makes a really fun (and very easy to decorate) theme. With the royal wedding last year, and the jubilee and olympics just gone, you can find literally dozens of ideas and free printables, and the scope for food and entertainment is huge. It’s also a theme that works well whether you’re doing the sedate day shower, or if you want to make it a little more spicy, and I’ve given suggestions for both below. So all aboard, because next stop, London!

Sources (clockwise from top left): 1- River and Bridge; 2- baby, picture this; 3- Ruby & Willow via Oh So Beautiful Paper; 4- The Lovely Letters

Colours & Invitations
The most obvious colours for this kind of party are obviously blue and red, to reflect the British flag. This is a great idea, especially if you want to benefit from the sales on 2012 goods around at the moment. But why not also consider a pretty, girlie alternative? I love the idea of using pink and grey, but still with iconic London designs, as in the invitations above. Or even black, white and neutrals (if you do this, I’d make use of the stylish London bus blind design elements or the ‘Keep Calm’ motif – you can even generate your own signs here). Or, if you’re working on a budget, why not get hold of some London postcards, vintage or current, and send them out? Nice and easy.

Sources: Row 1-Sea Horse Bend Press on Etsy (left); Designs by Nicolena on Etsy (centre); Anna Lee Co. (right); Row 2- Sandy Banner Design Studio on Etsy (left); The Educated Owl on Etsy (top right); Emma Jupp on Etsy (bottom right)

Sources: izola shower (top left); Blissliving (top right); Save the Date for Cupcakes/Brooklyn Limestone via Hostess with the Mostess (bottom)

Like the invitations, you have several options, since there are so many London icons. For example, the red buses and postboxes, the landmarks and skyline, the tube map, the street signs, the aerial map, bus blinds, WW2 retro elements, very British things like Penguin books or tea caddies, etc. You can tweak the colour scheme, or stick to the basics, and you’ll find no shortage of union jack decor pieces, no matter which way you go. You could do as the clever bride in this morning’s wedding did, and have a London wall hanging – an easy idea is to use one of the London shower curtains pictured (no kidding!) – these would be so perfect as a photobooth backdrop! If you’re looking for printables, In Good Company has a London collection that has both blue and red, and pink options (and no shortage of fun goodies to buy, including adorable cupcake toppers!)

Sources: Row 1- In Good Company {left); Chanelle Segerius Bruce/MANGO PIE (top right & bottom right); Row 2- The Green Album via brightnest (left); Meri Meri (right); Row 3- Modern Cupcake via Amy Atlas; Row 4- In Good Company (left); In Good Company (right)

These can really fit around the kind of party you would like to throw. If it’s a pretty bridal shower, then I’d recommend a sort of jubilee street party vibe, or else a formal afternoon tea – both are so British they’d be perfect, and they’re fun for guests of all ages and dispositions. If this is a hen night or bachelorette, swap your tea for Pimms (in teacups!), or head out to a typically British pub. If you’re actually IN London, organise for all the girls to go on an open-top bus, or one of the Thames sightseeing boats for the afternoon. Or, even if you’re not on location, you could get creative and apply the aeroplane party principle to your ‘sightseeing’ by designating different bars (or rooms in a house) as different tube stops or areas of London, and having games and drinks to match. For example, you could stop at ‘Hyde Park’ and have alcoholic Pimms popsicles while the bride has to make a speech at ‘Speaker’s Corner’ (or have a bridesmaid make a lovely speech to her), then head to ‘Chelsea’ for posh G&Ts – you could really have some fun with this idea.

Sources: Row 1- Modern Cupcake via Amy Atlas (left); City Block (right); Row 2- In Good Company; Row 3- Truly Madly Dottie via Love My Dress (left); Pimms in teacups (right); Row 4- Pimms lollies via BBC (left); Amy Webster & Michelle Palm via Serious Eats (right)

Food & drink
The food and drink for this party would be so fun! Serve high tea fare – sandwiches and tea, followed by little cakes – or scones, or strawberries and cream (or hell, all of them). Little iced London-themed biscuits make such a lovely touch, if you pop them on the side of each teacup (which also allows them to act as a little favour). If you’re catering an evening meal, serve fish and chips, which goes surprisingly well with champagne. And then, of course, there has to be Pimms as mentioned above – aren’t the Pimms lollies the cutest, but check out the jelly shots as well!

Sources: Union Jack hat fascinator; royal wedding hat prop for photobooth; Union Jack bowler hat; London Love Letters range from Oasis

This is the kind of theme you can take from zero dress-up to over the top, depending on whether it’s a shower or kitchen tea, or a full scale hen night, and of course on whether or not the bride is someone who likes a bit of fancy dress. If you’re going for the Union Jack colour scheme, I’d suggest asking the girls to wear something red, white and blue, or you could invite everyone to wear a hat or fascinator in true British style. You could even hand out Union Jack bowler hats for a fun prop/favour. Oasis currently has some absolutely gorgeous London-themed dresses, which would be amazing for the bride-to-be, but you could also give her a cute little flag hat fascinator like the one above. If you have a photobooth, you can go all out with the props, including Royal Wedding Princess Beatrice fascinators like the one above – so fun!

Real London-themed hen parties

Note: you can also find lots of inspiration by googling “jubilee party”, “royal wedding party” or even “olympic party”.


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