If you’ve hit your 30s, we’re willing to bet your Insta grid is bursting with ‘Same Willy Forever’ banners and #MissToMrs balloons right now. For so many, it’s finally wedding season after painful months of foreign travel restrictions and heart-breaking cancellations. Cheers to that!
Brides are grabbing new wedding dates where they can (yay!)… meaning bridesmaids are planning hen parties at short notice (*panic ensues*). Here’s where we come in. We’ve researched London’s most fantastic companies offering bespoke bits and bobs to take things up a notch. Struggling with decor? Food platters not your forte? Give these guys a call for a stress-free, super stylish day. And not a plastic willy straw in sight…
The decor: Tablescape London
First impressions are everything, and a bright, beautiful table set up will really wow guests. The art of ‘tablescaping’ exploded onto social media in lockdown, as bored creatives styled their evermore impressive scratch meals with tablecloths, fancy crockery and even fresh flowers. If can’t wrap your head around building your own, you can rent the perfect arrangement instead.
Tablescape London will work with you to suss out the bride’s style, or you can choose from one of many ready-made schemes. They’ll post whatever you need for a stunning set up, with instructions on how to make everything look perfect. Bride spend her gap year as a scuba diving instructor in Fiji? Bring back memories with the ‘Drop In The Ocean’ theme. Does she love a bit of animal print? ‘On The Prowl’ can be the only choice.
What we love: It’s fully sustainable. Hooray for no single-use plastic!
The flowers: LÖV Flowers
LÖV Flowers’ whimsical floral designs find inspiration in the Scandi approach. The highest grade large headed roses and scented blooms make up bunches in pastel and classic tones. Even better, everything used is fully recyclable and biodegradable.
We especially love their letterbox flower subscription service (it’d make a very cute gift for the bride), and LÖV handily create bouquets and themes for weddings and parties, too. Why not ask them to team up with Tablescape London to complete a rustic set up?
What we *LÖV*: LÖV Flowers can arrange same day delivery or free next day delivery to your door. A godsend if you’re the forgetful type…
The drinks: Lucky Pineapple Cocktails
Often on the road catering for pop-ups around the UK, you might’ve spotted Lucky Pineapple’s glittering golden bar at an event this summer. But did you know they offer a bespoke cocktail service for parties, too? They’ll send everything you need to set up your own DIY Lucky Pineapple bar, with all the hard work done for you. Think ready-to-drink bottled cocktails, full cocktail kits, fresh garnishes & even party playlists – with the option to add little “Lucky” touches the bride will never forget.
Flavours are super wide-ranging and utterly delicious, having been expertly pre-mixed. Our favourite? It’s a toss up between the Chipotle Honey Margarita or a Tropical Old Fashioned.
What we love: The personalised cocktail toppers. Ask your bride to send you their fave photo of their partner-to-be and you can garnish the gang’s Biscoff Espresso Martinis with his or her smiling face. Even more fun if you go rogue and use a snap of the bride’s beloved pet or celeb crush, instead.
The canapés: Kidbay Parties
You’re gonna need some finger food to soak up the cocktails. Artfully arranged grazing boards have been a *thing* for a while now, and we love Kidbay Parties’ playful, super bright take on the trend. Dotted with beautiful flowers, each platter serves as an excellent centrepiece, bringing the crowd together to marvel at the selection of grub (a good ice breaker if not everybody knows each other).
Choose from veggie fruit and cheese boards, sandwich party platters and savoury snacks. We plumped for veggie sausage rolls, vegan pakoras and falafels, and crudities with fresh hummus, pickles and olives. Yum.
What we love: The grazing lunch boxes, handily divided up into portions that work really well for picnics and casual events, in lieu of sit down meals.
The invites: Papier
If the bride’s a paper person, make a beeline for Papier, a haven for stationery lovers who like to stand out from the crowd. You could post her a little party starter – perhaps a notebook to keep track of her (ever-changing, thanks Covid) plans.
Amongst Papier’s offering you’ll find beautiful yet understated invites, menus and itinerary ideas – perfect for adding a little order to the day, and creating a bit of ceremony.
For years now Papier has been our go-to when looking to create a pretty menu for a special dinner party. Offering hundreds of designs to suit every bride (they’ve got everything from neon geometric shapes to nature-themed, hand-drawn scenes via understated monochrome patterns) you really can’t go wrong.
What we love: The guest books. Ask hen party guests to send you their favourite photo of the bride ahead of time, then ask them to handwrite a message on the day. A personal gift she can keep forever.
The meal: Black Circus Food
Dabbling in everything from street food to private dining, Black Circus Food are making a name for themselves in London and beyond. Count on chefs Keir and Luke to do seriously fun things with flavours from around the world, served up with genuine warmth and care. If the bride in question loves to cook, you might book her a cooking demo – or choose a live class for the entire hen party to follow.
Don’t fancy doing any of the hard work? Order a three course meal to be served at the party instead. Our fine dining menu started off with a beautiful gin and blackberry cured salmon starter, with whipped avocado and pickled cucumber. Feasting continued with 48 hour beef rib, Pommes Anna and honey parsnip purée, sharpened up with parsnip crisps, pickled shallot and chimichurri.
Elsewhere on their menus you’ll find Korean fried chicken tacos, BBQ pork belly banh mi, and garlic and soy crispy tofu and aubergine. Desserts are gloriously rich: think miso chocolate mousse cake or yuzu mascarpone.
What we love: All this, whipped up and served while you party on? Bridesmaid duty never felt so breezy…
The accessories: Crown Of Glory
Okay, we said no plastic willies, but it’s not a hen do without some wavy garms to make the bride stand out. Do away with a hastily-bought veil and spoil her rotten with a custom-made hat or headband. We love Crown Of Glory’s range of jewelled hats, handmade to order in colours of your choice. Styles range from military (pictured) through to cowboy hats and turbans.
Why not get one for the groom, too, and whack them out at the wedding after party? Or if you’re attending a ‘sten’ do, these are sure to make the couple stand out…
What we love: This is a properly bespoke service, so you can celebrate the bride with special little details.
Had your fill of cutesy cupcakes? Can’t look at another Red Velvet? If you’re looking to impress a bride with a seriously sweet tooth, check out these super shareable alternatives to more common cakes and bakes.
Pastel de nata party box: Cafe de Nata
We’ve never met a pastel de nata we didn’t like (check our Lisbon guide to find the world’s best).
With branches in Soho, Camden Town, South Kensington and Hammersmith, Cafe de Nata is doing the Portuguese proud, busting out authentic egg custard tarts all day long. Even better, you can now get deliveries up to seven miles from each branch, and we’re pretty obsessed with their Party Boxes. A mix of Apple & Cinnamon, Chocolate, Raspberry, Coconut and surprisingly tasty Vegan options await.
A killer croquembouche: Punk Cake
Stop erring over Victoria Sponge or Chocolate and plump for some out-of-this-world choux buns instead.
Behold, a tower of expertly-made choux pastry, each ball of joy filled with the lightest, most sleek crème patissière we’ve EVER tasted. Then drizzled with molten caramel. Pardon our French, but this dessert is ze tits.
Designed to be shared, guests tear off their own buns (and will be back for more within seconds, trust us). When you’ve finished snapping pics, move fast – once decimated, these disappear fast.
Hole-y matrimony: Crosstown Doughnuts
Handcrafted in London, Crosstown’s ever-changing menu of seasonal flavours will derail any hope of a wedding diet, guaranteed. These aren’t just any doughnuts – think Peach & English Sparkling Rosé, Apricot & Thyme, Matcha Tea and Peanut Butter & Blackcurrant (off the top of our heads).
For events and parties, they’ll send doughy delights to be stacked up on a clear tower, adorned with fresh flowers (so cute), or arranged to create a doughnut wall. So much fun, vegan and gluten-free options, and flavours everybody will like. Winning.