Perfect hen's party gift/surprise for a non-traditional bride-to-be
September 21, 2015 1:47 AM   Subscribe

Hen's party which isn't a hen's party because the bride-to-be isn't keen on a hen's party. So we've dubbed it a 'ladies lunch'. There will be much drinking of wine, eating of food, and laughing our butts off. Her work colleagues want to do something special for her. Gift or experience or... something? We're at a loss.

We're in Australia. She's Indian. Her family are mightily pissed-off that she isn't doing the arranged marriage thing, so she's having a very small wedding with very few of her family attending. But she's madly in love with an amazing guy, and we're thrilled for her so we're trying to make this as happy a time as possible.

The hen's party was being arranged by someone who proposed a destination hen's party which would cost hundreds for each guest (but not for the proposer, who lives in the city where she proposed the weekend would happen). The bride was not up for that. She and her husband are saving hard for a house, and she didn't want to impose the cost on the guests either. So she put her foot down and created an FB event inviting a few of her friends/family/colleagues to a lunch at a local winery.

It's also our annual wine festival in our town this month. The festivities will continue long after lunch because there's a street food-and-wine extravaganza thing until late at night.

But we want to do something special for her. She is horrified by the idea of the tiara and sash and male stripper hen's party thing.

Does anyone have any suggestions for a gift, or something nice we can do to celebrate her bride-to-be-ness? I'm crafty, so making something (and somehow incorporating the guests names, or something-old-something-new-etc) is not out of the question.
posted by malibustacey9999 to Grab Bag (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Maybe something that shows you're all supporting her, since her family isn't? My favorite wedding shower gift was a book where everyone wrote down their marriage advice. You could do something like that, and use your craftiness to decorate it.
posted by chickenmagazine at 3:10 AM on September 21, 2015 [4 favorites]

I would think a gift voucher might be appropriate given they are saving for a house. What about a two night getaway voucher for her & her husband to use somewhere within driving distance? If you're in Victoria the hot springs are pretty plush in either Rye or Daylesford. Maybe a day spa package? Or a voucher for a photographer for their wedding day? Or if for her only maybe to a boutique perfumery or department store for her to buy wedding accessories?
posted by Under the Sea at 4:33 AM on September 21, 2015

It would be fun to celebrate that the couple is making a choice. So rather than an arranged shower, you have envelopes at certain times. The bride chooses A or B and the choice guides the day. You could limit it to a few decisions. It may be a challenge logistics wise, but it could be a lot of fun. Decisions could be food, beverage, activities at the festival.
posted by jennstra at 5:26 AM on September 21, 2015 [2 favorites]

I had a friend who was an unusual bride. We made her a blanket (though this took months of planning, so you might be pressed for time) where every friend knitted a square. You can see the Ravelry project page here. Then we had a surprise buffet at her favourite restaurant and gave her a "we made this for you" booklet to accompany the blanket. It was a lovely hen night.

You could all get together for a night at a craft shop - depending upon your number, you could all get together to make decorations for her wedding (bunting-making at a local sewing studio?) and then go out for a fab meal?
posted by kariebookish at 5:36 AM on September 21, 2015

Similar to chickenmagazine's suggestion I was part of a wedding group that contributed hand written recipes that the maid of honour pulled together to create one recipe book. It went down very well with the bride.
posted by like_neon at 5:43 AM on September 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

I was a bridesmaid in a weekend away that involved multiple brewery tours and tasting rooms, several antique markets, and plenty of general eat/drink/laugh/silliness situations. To this day whenever we're in a pub and see some woman come in the with tiara and sash and hen night nonsense, we look at each other and say "thank god we didn't do that!". There was not a particular moment of our day that marked it as "this is the bride's pre-wedding celebration", and although we all have very fond memories of the weekend, and wouldn't change a thing, I could see how it would be nice to have A Moment. (or at least a memento). Ask at the winery whether there's something they can do to celebrate (like the bring out a cake for a birthday); ask the husband-to-be if there's anything he'd like to present her with, or see if there's any day-of wedding (jewelry accessories etc) that she needs that you could present to her as a group gift (but the wedding-prep theme is nice, differentiating the gift from wedding gifts that are designed to be useful in married life).
posted by aimedwander at 7:29 AM on September 21, 2015

I went to a bridal shower recently where the MOH bought a cute picture book about love, and then all the guests wrote their well wishes/marriage advice/etc. among the pictures in the book for the couple. It was really sweet and the bride seemed to love it.

At my bachelorette party, my MOH had talked to my fiance before hand and asked him several "Newlywed Game" type of questions, which I then had to try and match what he answered at the bachelorette party. It was hilarious, and while it's not strictly a gift, I think it does show your support for their relationship and desire to know more about them as a couple.

Finally, if people want to chip in for a nice gift, I think you can never go wrong with either picking a fancy restaurant that might be a bit out of their usual budget and getting a generous gift certificate that will cover meals + nice wine or cocktails for a date night. They can use it either before or after the wedding as a way to unwind and relax and spend some quality time together.
posted by rainbowbrite at 7:29 AM on September 21, 2015

Can you all split a hotel room between you? It would be fun to segue from the day into the night, and then seamlessly into a slumber party. Might differentiate between a normal day out with friends and a bachelorette party.
posted by functionequalsform at 9:30 AM on September 21, 2015

Since it's not a strippers and debauchery hen's night (OK maybe mild debauchery) why not do an "as you go" scrapbook? Get one (or a couple) of those polaroid cameras that make instant photo-stickers, and a nice book of blank pages - you can paste in wine labels from the vinyard, the photos, well wishes from the members of the party.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 9:42 AM on September 21, 2015

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