Knowing this lovely lady in real life (again through the medium of blog) I correctly assumed it was a case of expat-i-tis, the latin name for a case of gleefully avoiding embarrassing parties thrown in your honour due to lack of locally based family and bridesmaids able to organise a shindig. See why it was shortened?
Once secretly ascertaining that this was indeed the case with her English Knight and groom-to-be Sam, we set to work.
Step 1: Organise a date
Fun ideas in hand, we secretly co-ordinated diaries with Sam (the flurry of messages was quite a tome indeed, including a made up operation name which finally allowed me to utter the glorious phrase "the Albequerque Squirrel is in the Telephone Box" despite a distinct lack of squirrels in New Mexico - contrary to the 5 seconds of mammalian research I carried out.) Ah, the joys of London life.
Step 2: Secure the hen/bachelorette
Step 3: Pick a languageI feel that in the case of transatlantic shindigs, a single case of language should be decided upon right from the very beginning. Unfortunately owing to the bride-to-be's transatlantic leanings vs. the British location we failed mightily on this score. Sorry.
Step 4: Guests
Step 5: A ThemeWe rolled with a vague (and I mean properly vague) literary/DIY theme which coincidentally tied into the wedding beautifully. Having visited The Fable for brunch/Budapest planning sessions a few months ago and spotting the beautiful book booth I had been itching for an excuse to corral a group of friends, which fitted the bill perfectly.
Step 6: DecorationsHaving decided to forsake the normal R-18 decorations that hen parties involve and neon tutus of other hen parties around us (and making sure that on the night Amanda knew just how lucky she was) in proper commando style we picked easily transportable decorations; pastel bunting to throw over the booth, funky beaded necklaces for decorating the table and ourselves (starting a conversation about how big everyone's heads were, sorry team), proper hen-style props for the requisite selfies and a couple of classic hen items to
Step 7: Good Hen/Bachelorette Games
Step 8: Food and drinkWe wanted to keep the evening pretty low-key and picked the The Fable, which it turns out is rather popular for Saturday hen parties. With a fun, funky and literary themed restaurant, we nibbled our way through their menu and a sipped a few glasses of their libations. 6 hours later we stumbled out with smiles on our faces and Amanda festooned with a variety of bunting (the way that every party should end!)
Step 9: Good transport/a decent organiserSlightly ruining Amanda's entrance, the London Transport system played a joker and several of the trains were delayed or cancelled, but it many ways it was so lovely to see her face light up every time someone entered. Also, I should have organized everyone to come earlier and have a backup plan in case the trains weren't working, like take Amanda for a drink. Alas the restaurant is a stone's throw from the station so we plowed on in.
Step 10: AmbianceGood people and no drama. That's all you need, plus a fun soundtrack in the background.
Would we do it again? In a New York minute. (Ps. for more wedding related fun, see Amanda's blog Rhyme and Ribbons.)