Craft your way to a brilliant hen do

Party in style and come away with fab wedding decorations? Julie Roberts from The Crafty Hen reveals how to do it
DIY teacup centrepieces add vintage-inspired flair to wedding tables
DIY teacup centrepieces add vintage-inspired flair to wedding tables

Of course your hen do should be all about fun, but what if you could come away from the party with some seriously stylish wedding decorations in the process? Enter The Crafty Hen, specialists in DIY dos with a UK-wide network of expert instructors offering workshops in everything from fascinator and knicker-making to bunting and fabric bouquets. (Wherever you are, The Crafty Hen ladies come to you!) Here, director Julie Roberts tells us how it works…

What workshops do you offer for brides who want to use the crafty afternoon as an opportunity to create items for their wedding day?
The main three are bunting making, bouquets and buttonholes, and table decorations. Each of these sessions allows us to work with the bride or maid of honour to co-ordinate the materials to suit the wedding's colour scheme. Whatever your wedding theme or feel (vintage, rustic, royal blue, etc) we can tailor the sessions just to you. We also offer the option for brides to make their own garters or wedding jewellery too.

Tell us a little more about these sessions...
In the bunting workshop, the session leader will show you a number of techniques you can use to decorate your bunting including appliqué and decorative touches. We also provide lots of wonderful ribbons, lace, bows, and buttons that you can use to decorate your pennants. You can then all work together to assemble it for the big day.

For the tea cup table decorations, every hen gets a vintage tea cup to fill with hand made textile flowers. You can even co-ordinate the vintage fabric and button choices with your wedding colours, or make your favourite flowers. Everyone will work on their own tea cup, but also get the opportunity to make a matching brooch or hair accessory to keep and wear on the wedding day. 

And if you fancy an alternative bouquet, how about making your own from fabrics, with all the hens contributing? You can even make your bridesmaids’ flowers or corsages, and buttonholes for the gents.

Say 'I do' to a handcrafted fabric-flower bouquet
Say 'I do' to a handcrafted fabric-flower bouquet

How long will the party last?
Our sessions last up to three hours and are suitable for crafty novices or experts alike. Our tutors are on hand to guide you through the process and will tailor the techniques to suit your group. We make sure we have something really simple for everyone to do, and also for those who are keen to learn some crafty techniques, plenty for you to try as well. 

Is champagne allowed?
Of course! A little bit really helps add to the atmosphere... to much and your stitching may go a bit wonky!

Which workshops are best for craft-phobic hens? And for advanced crafters?
Our bunting-making session is great as it teaches you the basics of fabric craft techniques. Those who are a bit more advanced can still get loads out of this session too, as we’ll show you some more technical tricks. It’s a great group effort and will be a fantastic memento on the big day. Our knicker customisation session is also great for novices and experts alike. All our sessions are designed for all levels of experience, so there is something for everyone!

Can hen groups design a custom workshop with you if they have a project in mind that isn't on the usual menu?
Of course, we get custom requests a fair bit, and we love designing these sessions especially for the groups...and sometimes they even make it in to our choice of selections. We have had all sorts of requests, from willow weaving lanterns to quilt making.

Do you provide materials?
We provide all the materials and equipment needed! We love rummaging around antique shops, charity shops and vintage fairs, picking up brooches for our vintage garter making, and finding fabrics for all our sessions and teacups for our table decorations. We also use a variety of fabrics shops, online and wholesalers. 

Do you find locations for the parties?
Most groups have a venue in mind for the crafty workshop, be it a holiday cottage rented for the weekend, favourite cafe, or their aunties dining room. For those who don’t have anything suitable we can help you source a venue, as we have a huge list of places across major cities in the UK. 

How much do your workshops cost?
Prices range from £28- £32 per person. 

For more details and to book your party, visit thecraftyhen.co.uk, and pick up the July/August 2014 issue of You & Your Wedding (on sale 29 May!) or download the iPad edition here for more of Julie's tips on planning a brilliant hen-party crafternoon.

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